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GP Week : Issue 194
F1 >>> nEWs Kimi Raikkonen has threatened to boycott the final two races of the season over unpaid wages, with the Finn only showing up at the Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after reaching a last-minute understanding with Lotus, a sign of just how strained their relationship has become in recent weeks. Raikkonen is leaving Lotus for Ferrari next season as ongoing financial issues at the enstone-based team have seen him go all season without pay, with the problems believed to relate to both his basic salary and bonus payments due for every point scored, marring what was once one of the closest driver-team relationships in the paddock. “I came here only because hopefully we found an understanding on certain issues we've been having,” Raikkonen said on Friday. “Hopefully it's been fixed and we can finish the season as well as we can. I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving. But a big part of it is business, and when that's not dealt with like it should we end up in an unfortunate situation. “I mean, you have to put the line somewhere, and if it goes over that, it's not really my fault any more,” the driver – one of the few rebels in the paddock who speaks his mind when most other drivers tend to toe the corporate line – told reporters in the Yas Marina paddock. Raikkonen’s boycott threat comes hot on the heels of a flare up in tensions between the former world champion and his team in the closing stages of the Indian Grand Prix. Running low on fuel and struggling to tease grip from his extremely worn tyres, the 34-year-old aggressively defended his third place from teammate Romain Grosjean, who was much quicker than Raikkonen and was in turn being hotly pursued by the Ferrari of Felipe Massa. Grosjean’s overtaking move on Raikkonen nearly ended in tears for Lotus as their two cars banged wheels, with the Frenchman having to take to the run-off to avoid a more serious accident. Raikkonen’s robust defence invited a swift rebuke from the pit wall, with the team’s trackside operations director Alan Permane telling the driver to “get out of the f***ing way,” with the ‘Iceman’ immediately responding in kind with a similar profanity-laced message. But Raikkonen insisted that that radio exchange wasn’t the main factor in his boycott threat and that the major bone of contention for him was that he hadn’t been paid a single euro all year. “It is all the other stuff, and all the things come together in the end,” he said. “Like I said, it is easy to say that is the reason but it is not that.” Meanwhile, Lotus team principal eric Boullier has conceded that he has no control over whether Raikkonen will race in the final two races of the year or not. “Part of it I cannot answer you,” Boullier said. “There is discussion between Gerard and Kimi and it obviously involves our shareholders and parent companies.” Capping off a difficult weekend for the Finn, Raikkonen’s floor failed to pass the post-qualifying deflection tests imposed by the scrutineers. As a result, the Finn was excluded from qualifying and was sent to the back of the grid. OH 'OWE' KIMI 9 GPWEEK.com // 9 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: