Salo backs Raikkonen’s surgery over Lotus finale

Kimi Raikkonen in Abu Dhabi

Kimi Raikkonen in Abu Dhabi

Late last week, immediately after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, there was no sign that Kimi Raikkonen was planning to sit out the last two grands prix of his tenure with Lotus.

Indeed, late on Friday, the team released its official preview of the US Grand Prix, in which it appeared the Finn’s now tense relationship with Lotus had eased.

“He is completely on-side,” said team boss Eric Boullier, while Raikkonen was quoted as saying he was “particularly looking forward” to the race weekend.

Within two days, Lotus was issuing a new statement, confirming that Raikkonen is out for imminent back surgery.

“Was Kimi sitting comfortably for his seat fitting at Ferrari on Thursday, I wonder?” Reuters correspondent Alan Baldwin commented cynically on Twitter.

“You’d think Lotus might have delayed issuing their race preview on Friday if there was an imminent risk of surgery,” he added.

Indeed, as Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson said the surgery had to happen this week because of “severe pain”, the timing of the Ferrari seat fitting is also awkward.

The well-connected La Gazzetta dello Sport said that Raikkonen was in Maranello last Thursday, where he also met with new bosses Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali.

Ex Formula 1 driver Mika Salo, however, backed Raikkonen’s decision to sit out Austin and Brazil in order to have the back surgery.

“It has been a problem for Kimi for a long time,” the Finn told the broadcaster MTV3.

“He was going to have it done in the winter anyway, so when thinking about all that has happened with Lotus – the wages, the deteriorating atmosphere – then I think this is the right decision,” added Salo.

“It will give him more time to recover before the tests start in January.”

However, Raikkonen’s management says the driver will only have to recover for a four week period, which suggests the surgery could have been done after the season finale late this month.

His absence is a real blow to financially-struggling Lotus, who were hoping to improve on fourth in the lucrative Constructors’ World Championship.

“This surgery may cost Lotus millions,” said MTV3 commentator Oskari Saari. “There is a big [financial] difference between second and fourth.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Kimi is already working for ferrari

    Kimi is already working for Ferrari. How convenient for Ferrari that Lotus will only have one charger up against Alonso and Massa.

    Luca: “Kimi is there any way you can avoid scoring points?”
    Kimi: “Good idea, Lotus will have less budget to fight us next year”

    Even if the HULK or Wettel or Hammer jump into the Lotus there is no way they will finish the last 2 races infront of Ferrari.
    No way can they learn the limits and setup of the Lotus car in 2 weeks.
    Well played Stephano and Luca.

  • iceman 2.0

    This is called hitting below the belt…well done… it would have looked really embarrassing if a lotus overtakes ‘red kimi’ next year. He took care of things and also extracted sweet revenge for the mouthful of slang languages received in India. Finally someone is learning the dirty politics in F1.

  • Spartacus

    IF Kimi really goes for surgery (he better show the surgical scars), he will never be the same again. Anyone who has had a back surgery, no matter how small, knows how “tight” the back behaves after the operation. If Kimi gets a crash or high impact incident while racing/ testing early next year, his back will be in even worse shape than before. And there is only so much a human being’s back can take!