Raikkonen no show for media appointments in Abu Dhabi fuels speculation

Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus separation starting to get sour

Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus separation starting to get sour

Readers please note this report has been updated: Raikkonen turns up in Abu Dhabi for practice

Kimi Raikkonen’s strained relationship with his Lotus Formula 1 team was back in the spotlight on Thursday after the Finn failed to turn up for media interviews at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

A team spokesman said the 2007 World Champion, who is joining Ferrari at the end of the season, was flying in later and would be at the track for Friday practice after returning to Europe following last weekend’s race in India.

Despite the explanation, the no-show still triggered speculation in the paddock about a breakdown in relations between team and driver following an angry exchange during the Indian race.

Raikkonen has skipped Thursday sessions before, notably in Belgium in August when the team said he was sick although most in the paddock felt at the time that his failure to appear had more to do with wanting to avoid tiresome questions about his future.

Kimi Raikkonen with Eric Boullier during happier times

Kimi Raikkonen with Eric Boullier during happier times

The Finn, who won his title with Ferrari and is renowned for his dislike of media sessions, has also cited late or non-payment of his salary as one of the reasons for his departure from the team.

At the Indian Grand Prix, Lotus trackside operations manager Alan Permane told Raikkonen in strong language to get out of the way of team mate Romain Grosjean – and received another profanity in return.

Team principal Eric Boullier apologised for the incident this week and said it would not happen again.

Although both titles have been decided, with Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel taking their fourth successive championships, Lotus is still in with a shout of second place in the Constructors’ standings and needs Raikkonen to play a part in that battle.

Lotus is 24 points behind third-place Ferrari and 28 adrift of second placed Mercedes with three races remaining.

Raikkonen is third overall, having scored 183 points, while Grosjean is seventh with 102 but has finished his last three races on the podium. (Reuters)

Subbed by AJN.

  • ZombieJebus

    Lol, I’m sure the tifosi and team orders at Ferrari will be different, lol.

  • jeff

    Probably wants a formal apology. C’mon he is a champion and currently leads Grojean in points. Permane is a putz who needs to apologize to the team

  • Frank

    Raikkonen is in the wrong. He should have appeared. True enough Lotus owes him money. They are having financial problems but have confirmed that they will pay him. The flip side is that Lotus gave Kimi a chance to return to F1 and provided him with a competitive car which enabled him to showcase his ability and earn the Ferrari deal. Remember that Kimi was not a hot property 2 years ago. I think it was extremely disloyal of Kimi to go public with the pay issue.

  • F1Fan

    Well, a contact is a contract and Kimi has been fulfilling his part over the two seasons with the team. Like he said: We go to extensive lengths drawing up contracts for obvious reasons….
    Lotus should shut up and realize he has delivered more than they expected, which I think Mr. Lopez is well aware of!

  • F1cat

    NBC reporter Will Buxton explains it all on his willthef1journo blog, Kimi told people he would not arrive until Thursday pm. But Lotus booked interviews to make it look like he F**ked them up. It is PR spin big time from Lotus.

  • anuj

    Frank. .. what about what kimi has givin them? Kimi is a known package. .. and just that he was being himself and brought lotus out in d open, besides moving away from them, dont mean anyone can use d f word with him! There is a respect as a driver and a world champion that he has earned and he not a rookie that u can address him d way he was addressed! Lotus needs money. .. championship standing totally depends on how kimi does… about time lotus acts according. .. eric does, so do d others need to!

  • Red Bull Cheats

    @Frank, Williams were also offering Kimi a drive in F1 so no Lotis didn’t do him any factors. Then when he joined them they took ages to fix his steering claiming that he didn’t need a better system. Finally Lotus gave Kimi what he was asking for and he dominated for them. Two years in a row. So no Kimi owes them nothing. And they owe him a lot of money in unpaid salary.

  • jeff

    Anuj
    Well put.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Kimi is a wanker. Acts like a bad boy but is just a petulant child that sucks when outperformed by his team mate. What a knob.

  • Ukwhite

    Wrong mate, you would do nothing for your company without money paid on time. Give him a break, Kimi is Kimi, period.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Kimi is an actor. He has the attention span of a gnat. He is more concerned with his pretend iceman image. A bigger poser than hamilton. Alonso will waste him next year…. and it hurts to say that.

  • Erich Lacher

    He is comming when the time is to come.

  • Kimi4WDC

    Lotus booked all the media events knowing that Kimi will not be there on Thursday. PR war.

  • Snowman

    I am a kimi fan but the guy is being a tad unreasonable now. People paint this picture of lotus maltreating him which is totally unfair – they are behind on their money, and i agree with Kimi for leaving lotus on those grounds, as they are breaking contract. I also agree with kimi for being vocal about it – if someone screws you over, why would you help them cover it up?

    What i don’t agree with is lotus openly building a car with kimi as a clear number one all year, even admitting it in an article published on this website before melbourne, and then the one time he can actually give something back and help grosjean out, he forces the guy off the track and ignores the team to the point of where they scream at him. Kimi brings this stuff on himself by being a recluse and by being generally indifferent to the stuff going on around him. Fact of the matter is, grosjean was a lot quicker and grosjean was going to pass him eventually no matter what he did. Kimi just decided he’d rather take his teammate out than get overtaken, and now is being praised as a hero for it because his engineer used the f word. Oh, and the best part of the whole thing, his engineer gets death threats for reacting in a hostile way to kimi acting like a complete moron…

    Kimi is an incredible driver but he just does not care about anything, and it is a weakness. The team is fighting for the constructors title and since he signed with ferrari his performance has dropped noticably. Amazing how his “chronic bad back” has mysteriously disappeared as quickly as it arrived, didn’t bother him too much 2000-2009, did it?

  • Ukwhite

    Gents, Permane shouted at him to get out of fuc$ing way. Who of you being Kimi wouldn’t get pissed?

    Initially I thought the same, blaming Kimi, but then I realised that was rude from Lorus. Matter of fact, Boulier said sorry for the team. Now I am pissed on Kimi though that being called today by Boulier he took the flight to Emirates.

  • Ferrari2014

    Could just be a PR stunt…

  • hillside

    PR or not, Lotus is moaning like bitch that has been left by their man. Lotus has to move on and stick it out with Romain wrecked

  • Tamburello_1994

    Team Lotus showed their true colors with the “humping bunnies” picture some weeks back. Bush league – Completely unprofessional.

  • Fletcher

    I think Kimi is playing the victim here. We don’t know the whole conversation from pit to Kimi prior to the swearing but I am guessing Kimi was not listening or cared to follow instructions from his team so much so that he had to swear to get his attention. Remember Grosjean was faster and had also an engine issue with Massa catching him. That’s why Kimi should have moved but istead he makes it hard for Grosjean to pass. Yep what a knob. I am still convinced he took out Perez back in Monaco. Playing the victim. Good luck Ferrari

  • Dr. Azlan

    No one cares about 2013. It’s all done. Everyone is now focused on 2014.

  • Erich Lacher

    Its not fair to blame Kimi because he is so good and fast and never the first as blaiming others.

    Lotus-team made something, what they have to think about
    very careful how to get out of the past.

    As among the teams and drivers Kimi has earend their total respect.

    Do not forget comments of other drivers, like Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso and many others etc.

    And 2014 he is still better also as a driver.

    Its nice to see the global support of Kimi of all over the world.

    Respect like in football.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    He always blames others. . It’s kimi.

    Pretends to be cool, but is a sook.

  • Ukwhite

    Cultural issues are serious matter, Finnish is Finnish, not everybody understands it. Accept or let him alone.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Why aren’t the other Finn’s wankers, then?

  • Boycottthebull

    I think the best thing for Lotus’ reputation is to let Kimi go to Ferrari. His fans simply wont accept he can do anything wrong that whenever he doesnt do well they go on the attack and claim it must be Lotus picking on their poor little boy. He stupidly almost took both of their cars out during India, the team responded firmly. And Kimi hasnt been known to swear back? Respect goes both ways. Poor thing he is so vulnerable to the F word yet earlier in the year he was saying in PUBLIC Interviews how other drivers should have their faces punched in. People thought this was wonderful of him. It appears the etiquette handbook is different for Kimi than eveyone else. He is renown for missing his media appointments which he has to do for F1 not for Lotus but as part of the sport. Its not conspiacy on Lotus’ part that he has missed yet another one like he has so many times before. Its why RB decided not to sign him, he is lazy and wont meet his media obligations and wasnt prepared to put in the simulator time needed for the new cars next year. As Ferrari put it he just pack his bags after a race and doesnt show again until the Friday before the race. Lotus took a chance on him when no one else did and they were even laughed at. Kimi owes them as much as they owe him. He has a reputation for loosing his motivation and has slumps in form. Its why Ferrari gave him the flick. Now that he has his big Ferrari deal he simply has no motivation to give it 100% any more. I respect is raw talent but I dont respect him as a professional driver. Unfortunately when you speak out against other drivers its called valid criticism but when its about precious Kimi you get called a Troll. Swear at him in private race communications and your family get death threats even though he swore back. It must be nice to be untouchable.

  • Hawk

    What I have realized all along is that Kimi is all about himself and nothing like the team. He does not care about Lotus. It shows. Lotus for 2nd in WCC? No. He is fighting for his 3rd.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Well said, boycotthebull