Former F1 racer David Coulthard says he feels the battle between Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen at Ferrari next year is set to be fascinating for fans.
Raikkonen was revealed as Felipe Massa's replacement earlier this week after agreeing terms to re-join the team on a two-year deal.
While that will give the Scuderia
one of the strongest driver pairings in the field, some have suggested that it could also lead to a potentially explosive inter-team battle between the two former champions.
With that in mind, Coulthard admitted it would be fascinating to see how the new partnership works out between the Spaniard and the Finn.
“In years to come will Ferrari's rehiring of Kimi Raikkonen be remembered as a triumph, a bold move that heralded a return to former glories?” Coulthard wrote in his Daily Telegraph
. “Or will it be remembered as a disaster, a relationship that ended in tears for a second time in the space of a few seasons? I cannot say for certain but it is going to be fascinating finding out.
“One thing I do know, having worked with Kimi, is that what you see is very much what you get. He is cool, unflappable and completely apolitical. He just does not get involved in all of the paddock conspiracy stuff.”
Coulthard added that he didn't expect Alonso to face a similar situation to when he joined McLaren and partnered Lewis Hamilton, with the Spaniard set to raise his game against his new partner.
“A lot of people refer back to Fernando's time at McLaren in 2007, and cite that season as proof that he is liable to throw his toys out of the pram if he does not get his way,” he said. “I disagree. I believe Fernando lost his cool because he felt destabilised and betrayed by the fact that McLaren did not deliver on promises made, rather than because a rookie Lewis Hamilton was challenging him.
“In my opinion, Fernando is the complete driver and will raise his game with Kimi there for the next two seasons, which is a worry for everyone else.”
While Coulthard insisted that the battle between the two drivers was set to be good to watch, former Ferrari driver Alain Prost expressed concern that there could be trouble ahead.
"I think it's a choice born from a certain tension between Fernando and the Scuderia
that has been clearly evident during the year,” he was quoted as stating on French TV. "Now he will no longer be the undisputed number 1, at least not initially, and I'm not sure Stefano Domenicali has the ability of a Jean Todt or a Ross Brawn to handle a situation like this.
"In Italy the press applies a lot of pressure, so I presume that sooner or later there will be trouble."