Kimi Raikkonen has played down Ferrari's threat to walk away from Formula 1 over the fractious and escalating budget cap row, but has insisted that if the Scuderia
does pull the plug on six decades of uninterrupted competition at the highest level, then he will likely go with them.
Having failed in its bid to gain an injunction against the FIA's unpopular and drastic cost-cutting initiative – one it claims would engender a 'fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased' and 'unilaterally' imposed two-tier F1 of haves and have-nots, likely penalising larger and richer competitors – Ferrari has re-iterated that its menace of withdrawal is not one to be taken lightly.
The Italian manufacturer's actions have been dismissed in some quarters as mere 'posturing' and betraying flagrant self-interest over the interest of the sport as a whole, but whilst acknowledging that the team's absence from the grid would be a significant loss, Raikkonen hopes the threat will not ultimately come to fruition.
“First of all, it's not good for Formula 1 in any way to have this sort of thing going on,” underlined the 2007 world champion, who has a contract with the Maranello-based outfit until the end of next year. “For me personally, if Ferrari is not in Formula 1 and if other big teams like BMW or McLaren are also not in the sport, it is not good for F1. They are the teams that make F1 and if you change the teams for other teams – new teams that come from GP2 or somewhere else – then it won't be the same anymore.
“I am 100 per cent behind the team, and whatever they choose to do I will go along with. Hopefully everything will get sorted out, [and] my own feeling is that we are not going to disappear from F1. I cannot be 100 per cent sure, [but] I still have a contract with them and they are racing in many different categories, so I am sure they will find something for me to do! I work for Ferrari and we are one big family; this is my job and where I want to race. Whatever they do, I will do the same with them.”
As to his hopes in this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, meanwhile – turning his attentions back towards the on-track action and away from all the politics in the paddock – the Finn is hoping to maintain Ferrari's Barcelona improvement in form, even if his own chances in the Spanish Grand Prix a fortnight ago were undone by a critical qualifying misjudgement and race day unreliability.
“The car was definitely better in Spain and we certainly made a step forward,” contended the 17-time grand prix-winner. “The race was particularly disappointing as we could see the car was quick enough, but problems prevented us from getting the results we wanted. We have made some silly mistakes, but the important thing is that we have learned from them and hopefully that means we won't repeat them. At least it showed we had made the first step forward, although there is a lot more to do.
“[Monaco] is very special and we will do the best we can, though honestly it is impossible to make any predictions. Here in Monaco, every corner counts for the lap time, so you need to be fast everywhere. The whole circuit is a challenge. The most important thing is to have the car set up right, and from that you pick up the speed. You definitely need to have a strong qualifying as it is pretty difficult to overtake here, and you can get stuck behind other cars and just follow them until something goes wrong with them or they pit.
“Brawn GP looks very strong right now, but I'm sure other teams will be winning races later this season as it evolves. For the moment they have the advantage, even if we can see that others are gradually getting closer to them.”