Jun.23 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen is losing the backing of Italy’s influential F1 media.
Heading into Austria, the Finn clashed with reporters following the publication of a story suggesting he has been asked to take a pay-cut for 2016.
“It’s bullsh*t nonsense that you guys come up with all the time,” Raikkonen charged.
The 2007 world champion is under increasing pressure at Maranello, having struggled in 2016 alongside Sebastian Vettel and spinning not only in Montreal, but also on Sunday in Austria, causing a huge first-lap crash with Fernando Alonso.
Giorgio Terruzzi, writing for Sport Mediaset, said in Austria: “Everyone was waiting for Raikkonen’s big answer to the Canada fiasco.
“And he did it. It is difficult to fall asleep in qualifying, but he did it. It is difficult to start from the seventh row in a Ferrari, but he did it.”
And then came the big crash. “President Marchionne had just declared that Kimi’s future is in his own hands, and he got an immediate response,” said Terruzzi.
La Repubblica, a daily national newspaper, said Raikkonen in Austria “destroyed his chance of a contract extension” against the trackside barrier.
And Alberto Sabbatini, Autosprint’s editor-in-chief, speculated that after spinning immediately after his pitstop in Canada, Raikkonen may have again simply “forgotten” to turn off the ‘RS’ (race start) engine mode in Austria.
“Three years ago Kimi told his engineers at Lotus ‘Leave me alone, I know what I’m doing’. But maybe it’s time he is reminded of what to do,” said Sabbatini.
Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene departed Austria admitting that Ferrari has set a “deadline” for the decision about Raikkonen’s future.
“Kimi knows very well what I want from him,” the Italian is quoted by Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper. “He has to get points and prizes.
“In the autumn we will know more. We will decide Kimi’s future after the Monza race,” Arrivabene added.