That is the view of F1′s outspoken 1997 title winner Jacques Villeneuve, who acknowledged that the predictions of outright war between the two world champions have not yet been proved right.
But the psychological war, according to Villeneuve, has most certainly begun.
“Fernando’s plan is obvious — he wants to beat Kimi at all costs,” said the French Canadian.
“In the tests it was all calm, but in Melbourne Fernando showed his true potential.”
Indeed, Finn Raikkonen struggled with the handling of his 2014 Ferrari throughout the Melbourne weekend, while Spaniard Alonso comfortably beat him in qualifying and the race.
“In the first three races Fernando is trying to destroy Kimi psychologically and get the team to rally around him,” Villeneuve said.
But Villeneuve tips Raikkonen to fight back.
“Kimi is not an ‘iceman’,” he insisted. “He has created this image to isolate himself, but like any driver, he doesn’t like bad results.
“But I don’t think Kimi fans should worry — he also had problems with the handling in 2007 but he still became world champion.
“I think the rule changes will even play into his hands,” Villeneuve told Germany’s Sport Bild.
“In qualifying, Alonso will be faster, but this year that’s not so important.”