Four days after Michael Schumacher's last race came the news that Ross Brawn and Paolo Martinelli are also leaving Ferrari's Formula 1 operation. With Mario Almondo taking over as technical director, and Kimi Raikkonen coming in as Schumacher's replacement, things will indeed be very different in 2007.
How will Raikkonen do in a Ferrari? Pretty well, I'd say. He's as fast as any man and will have car reliability such as he has never known. Throw in Ferrari's unrivalled knowledge of Bridgestone tyres (which all must use next year), Alonso's move from Renault, and the Regie's lack of an established number one driver, and at this stage you'd have to favour Kimi for the world championship. Unless Massa beats him, of course.
From the way Felipe has been telling it, there will be no team orders in the post-Schumacher era. Presumably he knows whereof he speaks, in which case it will mark a significant departure from the custom of the past 10 years. I find it difficult to imagine the team revolving around Raikkonen as it did around Schumacher, but you never know. If Kimi puts in anything like the work Michael did, and achieves anything like his strike rate, they - and the tifosi - will doubtless take him to their bosom.
Michael Schumacher overtakes Felipe Massa for the lead of the Japanese Grand Prix © LAT
It will never be quite the same again on the podium, however. After a race, Raikkonen's face tells you nothing. Has he blown up? Been disqualified? Won? The Kimster saves his animation for his leisure hours.