Raikkonen will miss out on final two races of the season for back operation

Kimi Raiikonen's last grand prix for Lotus ended in retirement on lap one in Abu Dhabi

Kimi Raiikonen’s last grand prix for Lotus ended in retirement on lap one in Abu Dhabi

Kimi Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson has confirmed that he will not be racing in the final two races of the season for Lotus or Sauber, thus ending a week of intense speculation surrounding the Finn’s plans before he returns to Ferrari for the 2014 season.

On Sunday afternoon Raikkonen’s management team released the following statement: “Kimi Raikkonen will undergo back surgery this coming week, the consequent four weeks recovery time forcing him to miss the forthcoming United States and Brazilian Grands Prix.”

“Kimi suffered from issues with his back earlier this year at the Singapore Grand Prix and a reoccurence of this problem forced him to have surgery now to help prevent ongoing problems in the future, and to ensure that he is at full fitness for the 2014 season.”

Kimi Raikkonen with Steve Robertson

Kimi Raikkonen with Steve Robertson

“Kimi and his management are saddened that he will not be able to complete the 2013 season with Lotus F1 Team where he was fighting for third position in the Drivers’ Championship. They would also like to thank all fans for the thousands of kind messages received since the news has emerged.”

Turun Sanomat was the first to report that Raikkonen will undergo back surgery, to address a long standing injury which resurfaced in Singapore this year, and got to the point that in Abu Dhabi he had to take pain-killers to allow him to sleep.

Thus while teams compete in the Americas, the Finn will be in Salzburg for his back operation, from which he will require about a month to recuperate fully.

Roberston explained: “Experts have recommended surgery. Of course it is disappointing to end the relationship with Lotus in such a manner. But Kimi can no longer afford to waste time and needs to sort out the injury. It is important that he starts the 2014 season healthy and in top condition.”

Victory in the Australian GP was one of two wins Kimi Raikkonen scored as a Lotus driver

Victory in the Australian GP was one of two wins Kimi Raikkonen scored as a Lotus driver

The decision to skip the final two races comes hot on the heels of confirmed reports that Raikkonen has not been paid by Lotus this year, and that he nearly skipped the Abu Dhabi GP as a result.

He revealed in Abu Dhabi, “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.”

Raikkonen’s salary is reportedly €8-million plus bonuses of €50,000 per point he scores. Therefore Lotus are said to owe him over €17-million euros for the season thus far.

After two years with Lotus, in which he won two races, Raikkonen announced in September that he would return to Ferrari to partner Fernando Alonso in the team with which he won his  F1 World Championship, in 2007.

Kimi Raikkonen with Eric Boullier

Kimi Raikkonen with Eric Boullier

Lotus released a brief statement after the news broke: “Lotus F1 Team can confirm that Kimi Räikkönen will miss the final two races of the 2013 Formula 1 season to undergo, and recover from, back surgery. The team will make an announcement about the replacement driver for the United States and Brazilian Grands Prix in due course.”

It is not certain how the latest development will impact on Raikkonen’s unpaid earnings which were all but guaranteed by head of Quantum Motorsport – the consortium planning to buy 35% shares in Lotus – Mansoor Ijaz,  who said in Abu Dhabi, “I am confident that [Raikkonen] will run the last two races and fulfil his professional obligations to us and us to him.”

Earlier, speaking ahead of the weekend in Texas, Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said of the relationship with his star driver, “He is completely on side. We all spoke in Abu Dhabi to make sure we know where we’re going – and how we’re getting there – for the final races of the year. Our focus is first on a good performance in Austin, and then the focus becomes getting a good result in Brazil.”

Lotus reserve Davide Valsecchi could be called on to replace Raikkonen in the team for the last two races, but there is also speculation that Nico Hulkenberg, who apparently has also not been paid by Sauber, may drive the Lotus in Austin and Sao Paulo. (GP247)

Subbed by AJN.

  • captain tortuga

    My sympathy or this clown is dropping by the day….

  • hillside

    all charitable causes has end, Lotus took advantage of Kimi’s generosity.

    just cant imagine an employee not gettin paid on time is just ridiculous

  • Nemo Nobody

    good chance for lewis to finish 3rd

  • McLarenfan

    And yet he opted to drive the short wheel base for Austin these are mixed up stories but if he needs an op then he needs it I hope they sort it for him Pain can be hell.

  • Spartacus

    I guess the pay check hit the bank account.

    Perhaps all this noise over not being paid was to ensure he got the chance to bunk off early?

    I say this but I do respect the no-nonsense of Kimi and his speed when driving.

  • Mopar21222

    And so it ends, how dumb do they take the fans to be? Kimi is my man, so I’m disappointing on how everything has shaken out, including his 1st turn schamazal, in which it appears that he blatantly drove into the Caterham.

    They must have reached some payment settlement, hopefully he gets all sorted-out and starts with a great attitude and environment next season.

    Bring-in the Hulk, he should tell Sauber to stick it too.

  • Spartacus

    Just stupid… Kimi should have skipped Abu Dhabi altogether and headed off to Salzburg for his back surgery. The earlier he has it, the more time he has for rehab.
    And if I were Luca or Stefano, I’d be hiring an in-house Orthopaedic A.S.A.P. (since Alonso is also having back problems… Stock up on more Arcoxias and Epidural shots.)

  • Dr. Azlan

    Why should Lotus pay Hulkenberg? No need to pay Kimi which means no need to pay any driver.

  • The Pessimist

    I’m glad Kimi took the right decision by opting for surgery rather than race for a team which has not paid him a penny so far this year.

    This also raises more questions about the so called investment from ‘Quantum’ which is yet to fructify inspite of statements from Mansoor Ijaz stating that it’s all done. Lotus would be better off going for a pay driver rather than risk their reputation by partnering with a troll like Mansoor Ijaz who is an attention seeker and a known fraudster.

  • Boycottthebull

    As usual the Kimi can do no wrong fans reinvent everything in their heads to make Kimi a saint even when he is acting deplorably. They take Kimis simple broken english statement that he has not been paid a penny as gospel. They deliberately didnt hear that the team has also stated it was only he bonuses that had not been paid and his contract facilitated payment at the end of the year just like how he was paid in 2012 where he WAS paid in full. This back surgery is NOT urgent he was going to do it after the race season. Ferrari have asked him to bring it forward so it doesnt have any effect on next year with them. Its true Lotus’ financial state is not good and could have handled the Kimi situation better but so too is Kimi breaking his contract to prepare and serve his future team when he should be performing for his current one till the season is over. While all the blind fans are backing him he is really aiding his future team and not fulfilling his commitment to Lotus. He lied when he said he 100% on board with Lotus for the rest of the season. He even went public this week saying how he was disappointed and hurt by people saying he wasnt a team player. He is a team player team Kimi, and once that big buck check from Ferrari came it his performance and loyalty when out the window. No respect for him whatsoever.

  • ZombieJebus

    @Boycottthebull:

    here have a tissue. you look like you need one!

  • Boycotthehaters

    Agreed

  • Wayne-In-NH USA

    Looks like “Boycottthebull” and “Boycotthehaters” are one and the same person!

  • Alonso_is_slow

    why would Rai endure some pain for free?

  • Red Bull Cheats

    @ Boycottthebull, Please tell us where you learned the inside terms of Kimi’s contract from. Since all the F1 reporters don’t have that info, only have an opinion on the contract and Boullier himself said that they chose to pay the staff before paying Kimi. Let us know what you know more than Kimi and Boullier and all the F1 journalists in the world. I’d love to hear your source.

  • Boycotthehaters

    Kimi is such a show pony.

  • K-15-

    @boycotts: Loyalty? Go get a dog if you want loyalty. He’s in it for glory and money. Then why drive when you don’t get both?? Personally i wanted him to sign off at brazil, but like someone said earlier Lotus are now paying for ‘using’ kimi.

  • K-15-

    Kimi is not a charity. He is a man. A real man. A man’s man. My kinda man.