Ferrari's dream pairing signals high-risk, strategic shift

Ferrari's dream pairing signals high-risk, strategic shift

It was natural that the announcement that Kimi Raikkonen will rejoin Ferrari on a two-year contract would grab the headlines.

What is less obvious is that the move marks a significant and, some believe, high-risk change of strategy for the Italian Formula One team.

The Finn, who won the 2007 title for Ferrari, was ironically dropped by the Scuderia in 2010 to make way for Fernando Alonso. But the Spaniard, despite winning 11 races for the team, has yet to add to the two world titles he gained in 2005 and 2006 while driving for Renault.

Raikkonen is now 33 and Alonso 32. They are both acutely aware that time is running out if they want to win another title. In such circumstances, one cannot expect either to say "after you" to his team-mate. "The devil takes the hindmost" is more like it.

On one hand, the pairing can be perceived as a "dream team" for Ferrari. It is the first time since 1953, when Alberto Ascari lined up alongside Nino Farina, that the team have had two world champions in their line-up.

Since that time, Ferrari have traditionally preferred to back an established winner with either a younger recruit or a loyal retainer.

Next year, that will change. It is great news for the sport but it could be a double-edged sword for the Ferrari management.

There is a saying in motor racing that the most important driver to beat is your team-mate. He is the one driving the same type of car as you, the yardstick by which you can judge yourself.

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