Crazy ideas that might just work, #1

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Formula 1
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No, not “the man responsible for this site actually writing something”.  Not that.  As usual, my absence can be explained by my being very, very busy with something else.  I would have loved to write about seeing Michael Schumacher near the front of a Grand Prix again without thinking he looked out of place, or about the McLaren role reversal that saw Hamilton’s model of restraint lose out to Button’s gung-ho attack.  Alas, more important things.

Word is that Kimi Raikkonen might be on his way back to Formula 1.  If so, that’ll be a victory of sorts for those armchair pundits who said NASCAR wouldn’t be his long-term home (stay around long enough, folks, and eventually even this writer will get something right), even if some of them might have suggested that he’d stay in rallying instead.  What interests me is his apparent destination.

Williams have a spare seat for 2012.  Pastor Maldonado is locked in, with his sponsorship from Venezuela being worth in excess of £20 million, a sizeable chunk of the team’s annual budget.  Rubens Barrichello, who brings pace, huge experience and nothing in the way of sponsorship, isn’t yet signed up.  All the indications have been that Rubinho would stay for a third season, but it’s emerged that prior to the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, Kimi paid an ‘informal visit’ to the Williams factory in Oxfordshire.

This might well be a quiet reminder to their existing lead driver that there’s a contract on the table which he should sign forthwith, of course, but suppose for a moment that Kimi’s serious.  Why Williams?  Simply, they have a reputation for being a racing team.  Not a PR-driven organisation – teams with an interest in their public image don’t let world champions go at the end of their title-winning campaigns (come to that, you might also argue that PR-driven organisations don’t sign Nigel Mansell in the first place) – but a team which exists solely for Sunday afternoons, presided over by a man for whom motor racing is the reason for his existence.  Raikkonen, whose understanding of PR begins and ends on an island in the Caribbean, likes that kind of thing.

Why not Williams?  Because they’re never going to win again.



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