Raikkonen pay row puts Vettel in desert shade
Finn is believed to be owed more than 15 million euros by Lotus
Agence France-Presse in Abu Dhabi
Unpaid Kimi Raikkonen on Friday threatened to walk out on Lotus in a dramatic Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gesture of defiance which overshadowed world champion Sebastian Vettel’s scorching practice pace.
Raikkonen, who joins Ferrari next year, went close to not turning up for this weekend’s race, but instead arrived late and took fourth place in the evening’s practice session.
The Finn has been at loggerheads with Lotus for several months and last weekend the tension was exposed when he exchanged profanities with them during the Indian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen is believed to be owed more than 15 million euros by the team.
“I came here only because hopefully we found an understanding on the certain issues we have been having,” said Raikkonen at the end of Friday’s practice.
“Hopefully it will be fixed and we can finish the season as well as we can.”
When asked if he would contemplate not taking part in the final races in the United States and in Brazil, he said: “For sure. I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving, but a big part of it is business.
“Sometimes when that is not dealt with like it should, we end up in an unfortunate situation. You have to put the line somewhere, and if it goes over that ... it is not really my fault anymore.”
Earlier in the day, the team had tried to play down the extent of their problems after making apologies for the language used in last Sunday’s interchange between Raikkonen and pit-wall boss Alan Permane.
Raikkonen said: “It is a part of it. It is true those things should not happen but they have happened. That is not really the issue.
“It is all the other stuff, and all the things come together in the end. Like I said, it is easy to say that is the reason but it is not that.”
“Sometimes it is not very nice when you hear that you are not really a team player, and you don’t have the interests of the team [at heart], but you have been paid zero euro the whole year,” said Raikkonen.
Raikkonen’s paddock rage came on the day when world champion Vettel clocked the fastest time ahead of Red Bull teammate Mark Webber in second free practice.