Raikkonen, who joins Ferrari next year, went close to not turning up for this weekend’s Abu Dhabi GP, but instead arrived late and took fifth place in the evening’s practice session. The Finn has been at loggerheads with Lotus for months and last weekend the tension saw him exchange profanities with them during the Indian GP.
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 certain issues we’re having,” he told reporters after practice yesterday. “Hopefully it will be fixed and we can finish the season well.”
When asked if he would contemplate not taking part in the final races in USA and 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 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. But Raikkonen said: “Sometimes it’s not very nice when you hear that you are not 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.”