In Monaco in 2009, Kimi was invited to participate in a technical management meeting to give advice and to try to solve the F60's problems while Massa was sent to the simulator. Ferrari wouldn't have done that had they not valued Kimi's techincal feedback more than Massa's...a lesson they learnt after losing the 2008 WDC.I think Kimi had immense speed as a driver - in fact I think overall he's probably quicker than anyone currently driving in F1 but I think he lacked tactical and technical knowhow - not because he wasn't intelligent but I think really because he lacked interest in it.
Kimi then explained his success after Hungary in 2009 by telling reporters "They changed the car the way I wanted it to be changed"...Ferrari had no option but to focus on him only as a result of Massa's injury. And when they did, Kimi pulled out podiums and a win in a dog.
Im my opinion, they focused on the wrong driver in 2008 and early 2009...and Schumacher - who hated Kimi but loved Felipe' - interfered way too much.
And here are some other quotes...
Ferrari's head designer Nick Tombazis - 2008: "Working with Kimi is easy. Kimi speaks a little but everything he says is important. The whole team appreciates Kimi's contribution when it comes to testing. Kimi is a superfast, humble and harmless guy".
Kimi's main problem was he was apolitical and couldn't be bothered speaking Italian or 'kiss arse' at Ferrari like Schuey/Massa did and Alonso now does.
After the 2008 season, his manager Steve Robertson said: "In the fierce development competition Kimi lost his car when they started building it in the wrong direction. Unfortunately it happened during the time when there was no possibilty to test. There was nothing to compare to and we couldn't go back fast enough. 3-4 races went bad and it killed all the hopes of winning the WDC this year". That was after Canada/France where Kimi was in line to win both races until Lewis piled into him in the Montreal pitlane...and then the exhaust went when he was leading at Magny Cours.
Chris Dyer: "We had a tough and a hard season but Kimi did exactly the right thing within the team and everyone respected what he did and how he reacted to this situation. We had a fantastic car but unfortunately we made mistakes when thinking about what's best for our driver (Raikkonen)."
Domenicali in Autosprint (an Italian magazine)Dec 16,2008 (paper edition):
Did Kimi share his problems with you?
- We always talk with each other and argue about general technical issues. From the technical point of view he was dissatisfied with front suspension, and it didn't work the way he wanted. The front suspension to suit him was a recurrent topic of our discussions.
How fast did you discover that?
- In midseason. We changed the suspension in Germany and returned it for Kimi in Monza.
Chris Dyer - 2009: "Kimi gives a very specific description of the way the car behaves and he reacts very sharply to the changes we make to the car. You can't ask for more". Dyer said to MTV3.
Andrea Stella: "Kimi is a very intelligent guy, a great driver, very talented. Kimi controls the car unbelievably well. There's a lot of potential with this co-operation"
Andrea Stella to Turun Sanomat in endseason 2009:
"Kimi could do so many things with the steering wheel that even our engineers couldn't have advised him. In that sense Kimi is better than Michael Schumacher. When I was Michael's data engineer I always had to tell him exactly how he could drive faster in different corners according to the computer. With Kimi you don't need advice like this. He finds the solutions himself."
You want me to write a book?
I mean McLaren loved him. He was metronomic. Ron Dennis loved the guy. Whitmarsh pursued him...but Raikkonen - for whatever reason - didn't want to be in F1 or in a McLaren bad enough.
His love is Rallying.