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Lotus boss tries to throw a fire blanket over Kimi Raikkonen fallout
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Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Nov 2013   |  11:10 am GMT  |  183 comments

Lotus F1 team owner Gerard Lopez has issued a fascinating post on the team’s website, seeking to throw a fire blanket over the fallout with his lead driver Kimi Raikkonen after the exchange of profanities on radio during the Indian Grand Prix and Raikkonen’s proposed “no show” this weekend.

Raikkonen had to be persuaded to come and participate this weekend, after the latest difficult moment between team and driver in what has been a tricky period since he announced he was moving to Ferrari next season.

Raikkonen has gone public again this weekend on the fact that the team has not paid him this year and relations are also strained because he is moving to a rival team next season, while Lotus want to bring Romain Grosjean through as a challenger. The team is locked in a championship battle with Mercedes and Ferrari with around $20 million the difference between finishing second and fourth in the constructors’ championship. Lotus needs both drivers to perform at a high level for the remaining races to achieve that.

Contractually he had to drive this weekend, but he made the team sweat, not appearing on Thursday for media commitments. Meanwhile his manager Steve Robertson told Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, “I’ve never heard of a driver being spoken to like that.”

Raikkonen arrives in Yas Marina paddock on practice day (XPB.cc)

In today’s post from Lopez, the team boss says,

“Of course, recently a lot was made about the comments between Alan Permane and Kimi during the course of a tense moment in a race, but this was just one exchange taking a matter of seconds in the course of a two-year relationship. It certainly wasn’t the most beneficial few seconds, but you have to step back and accept that everyone is passionate about racing and sometimes these things do happen.

“One of the unfortunate things about being in the limelight is that people are always trying to make it look like there are huge fights going on. For instance, we discussed the fact that Kimi was signing for Ferrari between the two of us and it was a very frank discussion. It was factual, emotional at the same time and although it’s funny to say, he’s a very human human-being.

Lopez: "It's like the Prodigal Son is leaving us" (XPB.cc)


“For a long time we had the opportunity to keep him in our hands (for 2014), but we weren’t able to operate to the timeframe – or make the offer – that Ferrari were able to do. For me this brought sadness, as it’s like prodigal son leaving us.”

In the same post on the Lotus website, Lopez says he still believes that the long awaited investment deal from Middle East/American consortium Quantum will go ahead, allowing the team to move ahead with its plans.

“We have preliminary agreements with the company we want to partner with, and we’re just waiting for this to be concluded,” said Lopez. “This is a very detailed process.”

“The history is that we decided to offer a minority stake to an investor. We consider this approach as the best way forwards, just like any other Formula 1 team.”

As the waiting goes on, Lotus is believed to be close to a deal with Pastor Maldonado, with Nico Hulkenberg’s signature being dependent on the Quantum investment. This is the bottle neck in the driver market at the moment.

Read the full post on Lotus F1 site Here

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1

Oh well, what a PR disaster this has turned out to be.

2

I don’t think that the shouting of Permane can be identified with Lotus. I guess the person is somewhat unstable and should not be allowed on the pit wall. As for Raikkonen, the shouting was the last drop. If the Lotus does not sort out their issues with him, there is a very high probability that he will not race in Brasil, especially if Lotus gets very close to winning the second place in constructors championship.

3

I think it is not only Kimi whom has not been paid in the Lotus team. Mr. Permane and many others probably will not receive part of their salaries and bonuses either, unless Lotus finished 2nd on the team side.

Probably a lot of sponsorship deals have fallen through also lately. Kimi leaving collapsed the facade for good. The team is obviously in disarray, in cash crisis and desperately trying to finish 2nd to earn their salaries!

Anyway, the unprofessionalism under pressure by Mr. Permane is making things even worse for the team. He should be fired immediately.

4

I wonder if team principle Eric B has been getting a salary this year?

Why should Kimi have to sacrifice his pay? They could of at least made a token payment of 20% thus far?

Hold back Alan’s salary and see if it is pleasant to be sworn at for free?

5

Can you imagine any top footballer in the English Football Premier League playing one match not to mention a whole season without been paid??? Kimi is a World Champion… Lotus is a business venture not a charity team.. so why should they assume a world champion driver will drive for free! All the extra media exposure the Ice-man has brought to Lotus is worth it’s weight in gold.

Of course Grosjean is keeping quiet – he’s like the cat that got the cream… this time 12 months ago he was driving demolition derby style and dodged a bullet from been axed and is now their Number 1 Driver in waiting!

6

Back when we cared about Sebastien Vettel’s recent successes, there were comparisons with Ayrton Senna. Not sure why, wasn’t listening.

Although for different reason, perhaps Kimi can be compared for how many months or races driving a car for free, or does it not count as there is a promise of payment later on?

James, hello. Not sure how you would find out, but do you know if the HRT people ever recovered their wages?

Last thing I heard about them was police being called to their last meeting (team closure announcement) because engineers and mechanics had not been paid for months.

7

Just Imagine if Alonso was in Kimi’s place,

1) Fighting for P2 in WDC,

2) Fighting for P2 in WCC,

3) Not being paid a single Euro for whole year,

4) Accused of not being a team player,

5) And told to “get out the f***ing Way”

Lotus should fell Lucky that they have Kimi who has shown great patience over this entire episode.

8

KIMI was really hurt by the way he responded immediately and I felt for him. Not getting paid and still doing his best for Lotus is a long yardstick. It’s worse than Ferrari’s orders to Massa, rather rude in fact, am disappointed with Lotus as it sounded so cheap.

But the fact that KIMI is a multi millionaire the money is no big deal to him. KIMI just wants to go racing and have some fun. Kudos to the iceman!

Abu Dhabi should be good race.

9

James, so since Lotus allegedly hasn’t paid raikkonen, Kimi can sue Lotus for breach of contract, because Lotus owes kimi their fiduciary duty right?surely, they can’t say we will pay him and not pay him on time.

10

I’m sure most of you know that using expletives in radio messages are common in F1 circles, just to ensure that they are not broadcasted to the viewing public. However, Permane’s rant to Raikkonen deserves a rebuke as it was not called for at all. It would have made a *bit* of sense if he had been telling him to give up the place for two laps or so, finally bursting out with that line. But, if that was the first instance where he asked Kimi to give up the place, then it was totally uncalled for.

I’m not a great Kimi fan. But out of the current crop of drivers, I admire him for his no-nonsense attitude and frankness/racecraft. I’ve always had a small suspicion that Lotus were less aggressive when it came to Kimi’s strategies often settling for second rather than try to win.They play it safe when they should be taking risks and do it the other way around like they did in India.

Just a feeling I have.

11

Lotus is a temporary project. They rented name for several years only. As soon as money ends, they are closed. Most probable scenario is an overtake by some make like Renault, VW, may be somebody from Japan…

12

That’s the problem when you have Lopez/Genii, an investment company owning a racing team.

13

When vettel did a multi 21 on Webber, it was a crime that he refused team orders. Why can’t the same f@$%ng logic be applied to kimi

14

LOL where have you been?

15

The engineers are as much a part of the team as the driver. The engineer’s instructions were on the team’s behalf. Why should a separate logic be applied to the driver?

16

First up, you have your timeline wrong

Step One – Grojean tries to pass Kimi on the outside of a corner

Step Two – Kimi loses back end while trying to take corner, and it swipes Grosjean

Step Three – “Team Order” arrives over radio.

If the team order had been step one, your suggestion about the logic would be valid.

‘Kay? ‘Kay.

17

While I understand Kimi’s problem, there are also many engineers, team members, etc that also need to be paid, who would probably need it more. Lotus have been taking advantage of his goodwill and desire to race to avoid paying him, but that runs out after a while if you don’t manage it. And Lotus haven’t.

Also, depending on the payment terms in his contract, he would not be in breach if did not turn up from now on. He didn’t withdraw in 2012, because didnt have the Ferrari drive for the subsequent year to look forward to. He does now, so he doesn’t care.

But all this really highlights in my view, is how fragile team’s finances are at the moment, if the No2 constructor (according to the current standings) is struggling for cash even to pay its driver. Meanwhile CVC is sucking the sport dry.

To borrow A Permane’s expression, how @#$@#’d is that!

18

“While I understand Kimi’s problem, there are also many engineers, team members, etc that also need to be paid, who would probably need it more.”

According to Eric Boullier when this first got out – or at least when I first heard about it, all the other people you mentioned, have been paid.

Paraphrasing: “We had a choice of paying the drivers, or our people. We chose our people.”

19

I feel very sad to see Lotus behaving like this. That black-and-gold John Player Special in the hands of Ayrton Senna in Portugal/1985 lapping everyone but for #2 was my first, most vivid memory of real F1. Doubly sad it is happening to Kimi.

I think Kimi will drive with a vengeance this weekend – and then pull out.

20

Ferrari should just bring Kimi in early.

Lotus must be in breach of contract. Leave it to the lawyers to sort out the mess.

If Lotus don’t have the money – I don’t see how Kimi will recover what he is owed without a messy law suit. Lotus will drag out the legal proceedings before paying Kimi. 17 million Euro will be spent and is being spent on next year’s car, before Kimi will be paid.

Kimi is being extraordinarily gentlemanly to still be driving for free on good faith.

I’m sure there are some of us who have friends, customers, business partners owe us money. Very polite, always the intention to repay; but many don’t get out of the financial hole to be able to repay.

Experience tells us that at some point we need to move on. Until the debt is repaid, you’ll always hear “don’t worry, we are very close to getting this/doing that/ . . . You will be repaid, don’t worry”.

Does the repayment happen? Certainly not in all cases.

When debt is outstanding for 3 months, alarm bells should start ringing.

Kimi should just move on, put on the red suit and battle Alonso!

21

“but he made the team sweat, not appearing on Thursday for media commitments”

I think Kimi missing out thursday press conference is just being played out by Lotus PR:

http://willthef1journo.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/elementary/

22

If he had been called to appear in FIA press conference he would have been there no doubt

This week it was just team media sessions

23

Being very selfish here, I hope Kimi continues to drive for the rest of the season as we are going from BC, Canada to Austin Texas to the race, and really hope to see him race!

Let’s hope they come to an amicable agreement.

24

Also some interesting info on how Kimi “didn´t turn up” for the PR stuff:

http://willthef1journo.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/elementary/

25

According to Mika Salo, Kimi also had to pay from his own pocket for accommodation and flights as well.

26

Certainly the flights thing, I took as given. If you are not being paid, and only coming along to drive, you do have to get to venues under your own steam.

Does give a new slant to the latest news – although granted a couple of thousand of our own currency is probably a bigger deal to posters here than an F1 driver, it means that when Kimi did not turn up in Abu Dhabi, the team had to contact him and persuade him to pay his OWN MONEY to get a flight in from Finland or wherever he was.

There is breaking a contract (not paying), and then there is being ******* cheeky.

27

It has been made a silly spectacle out of couple of f-words. I’m sure Kimi as a Finn doesn’t panic because of them, actually the messaging stays compact and straight, which is generally important, when there is funnywords built in. If only that radioconversation was done in Finnish, we have a larger vocabulary on f-word language. No big deal, anyway, I think. Bigger deal is in my opinion if the man is not paid his salary.

It sounds so funny that Kimi is called “Iceman”. Just because he says things a bit more straight-in-the-matter-wise, just because we Finns usually do. We have no ice here at the moment. A few months in the winter, though.

28

Was Alan Permane, Alonso’s engineer when he was at Renault (blue/yellow livery days)?

29

No adage Greenwood was – now TD at Marussia

30

Kimi is the new Piquet, money money money…

31

Well Kimi, be off, walk if you must. Now we have the unpaid driver to add to the pay driver f1 driver blah blah.

Get Maldondo in now!

32

I don’t ageee with some of the posters who are saying the team are not backing him, thats ludicrous. They need him to get as many points between now and the end of season as possible because 2nd in the constructors is a realistic target and they are clearly desperate for that extra $20m.

33

If Lotus are unable to pay their drivers they should not be racing.

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