Kimi Raikkonen is 'not doing enough' to promote Formula 1 as the sport's reigning world champion – that is the assertion of Bernie Ecclestone, ordinarily a staunch defender of the Finn.
Raikkonen – famously averse to PR work and public appearances – has seemed increasingly lacklustre as the 2008 F1 campaign has progressed, having not now triumphed since the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona all the way back in April and trailing team-mate Felipe Massa – a man who he invariably had the beating of en route
to the crown last year – eight-four in the qualifying stakes.
Ecclestone is convinced that the Ferrari star's current slump is entirely out of character for the 17-time grand prix winner, and tipped him to fight back soon. Raikkonen has triumphed in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps – the next round on the calendar – for the last three races in succession.
“I mean, he is a super-talented driver, and I just can't believe that the way he's driving at the moment is Kimi,” F1 commercial rights supremo Ecclestone told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek
programme. “He's always been quicker than Massa. Massa's quick, but [Raikkonen] shouldn't be that far behind.”
The 77-year-old was also keen to criticise both Raikkonen and his world championship-winning predecessor Fernando Alonso for 'not doing enough' in their role as ambassadors for the top flight on the back of their title successes, and disagreed with those who suggest the former has fallen out of love with the sport recently.
“I don't know if he's ever been in love with it,” Ecclestone reasoned.