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Kimi goes MIA at Abu Dhabi Q&A

2013-11-01 08:27

WHERE WAS KIMI? Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen had not showed up for interviews on Thursday ahead of the Abu Dhabi GP on Sunday. His absence is an indication of the strained relationship with the team. Image: AFP


ABU DHABI, UAE - Kimi Raikkonen's strained relationship with the Lotus Formula 1 team was back in the spotlight on Thursday (Oct 31) when the Finn failed to turn up for media interviews at the Abu Dhabi track.

A team spokesman said the 2007 World champion, who will drive for Ferrari for the 2014 season, would fly in later and be at the track for Friday practice after returning to Europe after the previous weekend's race in India.


Despite the explanation, the no-show triggered speculation about a breakdown in relations between team and driver after an angry exchange during the 2013 Indian GP.

Lotus trackside operations manager Alan Permane told Raikkonen in strong language to get out of the way of team mate Romain Grosjean during the Indian race - and received another profanity in return.

Team principal Eric Boullier later apologised for the incident.

Raikkonen has skipped Thursday sessions before, notably in Belgium in August when the team said he was sick but most in the paddock felt it had more to do with wanting to avoid tiresome questions about his future.

Raikkonen won his title with Ferrari and is renowned for his dislike of media sessions; he has also cited late or non-payment of his full pay as one reason for leaving the team.

Although both titles have been decided - Red Bull and its driver Sebastian Vettel taking their fourth consecutive championships - Lotus is still in with chance for second place in the Constructors' standings and needs Raikkonen to play a part in that battle.

The team is 24 points behind third-placed Ferrari and 28 away from second-placed Mercedes with three races remaining.

Raikkonen is third overall in the Drivers' championship with 183 points. Grosjean is seventh on 102 but finished the previous three races on the podium.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Abu Dhabi GP weekend.

Read more on:    ferrari  |  lotus  |  kimi raikkonen  |  abu dhabi  |  f1  |  motorsport

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