Saturday, October 31, 2009

all the signs point to one thing!

Kimi to McLaren. It's not confirmed yet but I really feel it. It is what it is - the second coming.

From a PR standpoint, I understand why they won't confirm it yet. As they are still fighting for third place with Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen is technically still a competitor and a team like McLaren would serve their fans and sponsors well by assuring them that both their drivers, Hamilton and Kovalainen, have their full backing as they engage in one final battle in Abu Dhabi.  The non-confirmation of Raikkonen at this point is out of respect to outgoing McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen.

Also from a PR standpoint, I can see that since a few races ago, they've already started laying down the groundwork for Kimi Raikkonen's return without anyone really confirming anything.  Even before it was confirmed that Raikkonen is leaving Ferrari, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has been giving interviews and commenting about Raikkonen's good performance despite having a bad car. It's unusual for competitors to give praises to each other's drivers.  When Raikkonen won for the first time this year in Belgium, McLaren was the only team whose official quotes ALL contained congratulatory messages for Raikkonen.  In Singapore, a few days after Ferrari confirmed Alonso, Whitmarsh was asked if they wanted to take Raikkonen back and he just smiled.  In Japan, a few days later, McLaren's race preview quotes that were released to the media contained a lot of reference to Raikkonen's win in Japan in 2005 and how it brought back memories of the Suzuka circuit.

And now in Abu Dhabi, when asked about his options for 2010, Kimi explicitly said that if he were to stay in F1, McLaren is the only option even if Toyota also made an offer.  The other options aside from F1 are to go rallying or a year-long sabbatical.  He also kind of alluded to an agreement at the FIA press conference when he stated that his F1 contract allows rallying on the side. Well, he's been doing press activities for years and we all know that he isn't the type of guy who would be caught with his foot in his mouth.  In fact, I imagine it's a challenge to actually be his PR counsel because he'll refuse to say anything even if you want him to...  So for him to be able to state that casually could only mean that he knows an agreement has been reached and the deal is in the bag.

Then again, I could be over-reading things. I could be wrong but I hope I'm right!