DC: Tough for Ferrari to keep Kimi


David Coulthard admits it is becoming increasingly difficult for Ferrari to justify keeping Kimi Raikkonen, saying someone like Nico Hulkenberg would probably be a better option.

Raikkonen, currently in his second stint with the Scuderia, is once again playing second fiddle to his team-mate with Sebastian Vettel outshining him in the same manner in which Fernando Alonso got the better of him the previous year.

While Vettel has won one race and appeared on the podium another four times, the Finn has only one top-three finish to his name.

He has certainly not had a good time of late as his team principal Maurizio Arrivabene feels he threw away a certain podium in Canada when he spun on his outlap, while he crashed at the Turn 2 during Sunday's Austrian GP.

Raikkonen's contract with Ferrari is up at the end of this season, but BBC F1 commentator and former F1 driver Coulthard feels it would be difficult for the Italian outfit to offer him a new deal.

"Right now, there are inevitably questions about Raikkonen's future at Ferrari as a result of his on-track performances," he wrote in his latest column for BBC Sport.

"I can't judge the marketing side of things – there may be something about his rebellious personality that they feel really works for them.

"But if there is no marketing aspect to it, at the moment it is difficult to see what Raikkonen offers over someone such as, for example, Nico Hulkenberg, who is delivering great results for Force India, is cheaper and has more time ahead of him in F1."

Raikkonen's Austrian Grand Prix lasted less than a lap as he lost control of his SF15-T and went sliding into the barriers, taking Alonso with him in the process and the McLaren car ended up on top of his Ferrari in the end.

Several people, including Raikkonen and Alonso, have been puzzled by the incident.

"It is very strange to see an accident like that – Raikkonen was in a pretty high gear when he lost it," Coulthard wrote.

"But one thing I know from driving last year's Williams car is that these new turbo hybrid engines produce massive amounts of torque, and keeping that under control is no easy matter.

"When I was a driver, my throttle pedal travel was routinely about 30-40mm. These days, it is more like 60mm, to give you more facility to control all that torque.

I don't know whether Raikkonen had a moment of brain fade and the torque came in too fast, but it does not look good coming two weeks after losing third place in Canada with another spin, again caused by a boost of power from the engine, although with much less severe consequences.

"We have seen a few tank slapper-type incidents, more than in the past, and I suspect that is to do with the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres.

"It could be something to do with the tyre sidewalls, in that if a driver builds up some momentum and torque in the tyre, it looks like the unloading from one side flicks the car to the other. Certainly, I don't remember really seeing it in my time, or watching it happen before.

"Whatever caused the incident, it is not something you would expect from someone with Raikkonen's experience."