Lopez: Money has little to do with it, Raikkonen will get his money
17 November, 2013
It took many by surprise when Kimi Raikkonen decided to sort out a lingering back problem and headed for back surgery ahead of schedule, missing the final two races of the 2013 season and also his last two drives with Lotus in the process.
Many sceptics believe that it was a way for the 2007 World Champion to get out of his deal with Lotus who he revealed had not paid him at all this season.
Raikkonen declared in Abu Dhabi, “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.”
But Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez insists. “Money has little to do with it, we clarified that in Abu Dhabi – he will get his money.”
Conspiracy theories have buzzed the Austin paddock, suggesting that Ferrari – Raikkonen’s new employers – put pressure on the Finn to sort out his back ahead of his return to Maranello.
Thus killing two birds with one stone, as Raikkonen’s absence would weaken Lotus’ bid to overcome the Italian team in the constructors’ title.
A scenario which Lopez clearly suspects, telling Auto Motor und Sport, “Maybe his new employer advised him that it would be better to seek treatment as soon as possible.”
Lopez also suspects that Ferrari might also have had something to do with Hulkenberg’s sudden unavailability for the seat in Austin and Brazil.
“It was too bad for us, but for sure also a shame for Nico. As I understand it, he was paid (by Sauber) all of a sudden, so he was no longer available to us,” he added.
Instead the team opted to give Heikki Kovalainen the task of replacing Raikkonen in the final two races. (Apex-GMM)