Raikkonen: I nearly didn’t come to Abu Dhabi because I’ve been paid zero euro the whole year
1 November, 2013
Despite denials by Lotus that there are serious issues between them and their star driver Kimi Raikkonen, in the aftermath of a foul mouthed exchange at the Indian Grand Prix, the real reason the Finn nearly skipped the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is because he has not been paid any money this year by the team.
Asked by media at Yas Marina if the expletive laced radio altercation in India was the cause of his discontent, Raikkonen replied, “It’s easy to say that’s the reason why I didn’t almost come, it’s not that simple. Sometimes it’s not very nice when you hear that you don’t have the interests of the team and then you’ve been paid zero euro the whole year.”
He added, “It doesn’t put you in the best place, but that’s how it goes and hopefully we found an understanding on both sides how we should deal with the situation right now and fix the issues and try to finish as well as we can.”
Raikkonen’s salary is reportedly €8-million plus bonuses of €50 000 per point he scores. Therefore Lotus owe him over €17-million euros for the season thus far.
“I came here only because hopefully, we have found an understanding on the certain issues that we’ve been having. Hopefully it will get fixed and we can finished the season as well as we can,” said Raikkonen who only arrived at Yas Marina Circuit a few hours before FP1 started, after having skipped the Thursday media appearances for the team.
The heated exchange between Lotus trackside director Alan Permane and Raikkonen during the Indian GP captured headlines, but was not the full reason for Raikkonen’s discontent. Lotus have subsequently released an official apology.
But Raikkonen instisted, “It’s a small part of it. Those things shouldn’t happen but unfortunately it happened and that’s not really the issue. It’s the other stuff and obviously all the things come together in the end.”
Raikkonen, the 2007 World Champion, announced in September that he will be rejoining Ferrari for 2014 and beyond, amid ongoing reports that Lotus are struggling financially.
Meanwhile Lotus have been in damage limitation mode, releasing a long interview with chairman Geraard Lopez singing the praises of Raikkonen and his contribution to the team.
Lopez revealed, “A lot was made about the comments between Alan Permane and Kimi during the course of a tense moment in a race, but this was just one exchange taking a matter of seconds in the course of a two-year relationship.”
“It certainly wasn’t the most beneficial few seconds, but you have to step back and accept that everyone is passionate about racing and sometimes these things do happen.”
“The fact is [that] he will be missed and I really think that this is one of those partnerships in Formula 1 that is – and will be remembered as being – very, very special. It’s difficult to think about the fact he’s not going to be in our black and gold car next year. I think he feels the same way,” mused the Lotus team boss.
“There’s no such thing as regrets, but there is such a thing as sadness, even if [it is] disguised sometimes…he will be missed, and from what I’ve discussed with him he will miss this team.”
“It doesn’t take anything away from the relationship and it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that I certainly gained a friend and that [friendship] will continue to exist,” added Lopez. (GP247)
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