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Pay promise keeps Kimi on board

2013-11-04 08:05

'KIMI WILL RACE': Lotus F1 team's new investors, Quantum Motorsports, has solved the team's financial woes and committed to pay driver Kimi Raikkonen his unpaid wages, "and then some". Image: AP


ABU DHABI, UAE - Lotus is confident Kimi Raikkonen will race in the last two grands prix of 2013 after new investors in the Formula 1 team promised on Sunday to more than compensate the driver for unpaid wages.

Mansoor Ijaz, chairman of a consortium of private investors buying a 35% stake in the team, told reporters after the 2013 Abu Dhabi GP that talks with the 2007 champion's manager prevented his walk-out.

He said also that, once the long-awaited investment deal had been completed in the next few days, the team expected to sign Germany's Nico Hulkenberg as the Ferrari-bound Finn's replacement for 2014.


Ijaz said: "I met Kimi's manager last night, Steve Robertson... I've apologised to Steve, we've apologised to Kimi. We intend not only to make sure that his pay is made whole, and then some, but also intend to compensate our employees and management team.

"I am confident that Raikkonen will run the last two races and fulfil his professional obligations to us and us to him."

Raikkonen, who retired after a first-lap collision in Abu Dhabi, made headlines before the race when he turned up a day late and told reporters he had considered not competing because of unpaid wages and other issues. He also held out the possibility of boycotting the final rounds in Texas and Brazil.

The Finn will return to Ferrari, the team with which he won his title in 2007, in 2014.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier told reporters separately that the problems with his driver had been resolved but would not go into details. "I cannot say anything about what has been agreed because this is confidential between both parties," he said, "but it is all settled."

Lotus, owned by Luxembourg-based Genii Capital, has been waiting for months for the new investment to be finalised and Boullier was cagey about when the deal would be final.

However Ijaz, whose consortium has changed its name from Infinity Racing Partners to Quantum Motorsports to avoid any confusion with Red Bull partners Infiniti, said it was definitely happening and had been completed from their side.


Ijaz assured reporters: "We're going to clear the debt and then we're going to bring very high-quality sponsors which you'll see very soon. Those sponsors will give us the longevity and capacity to compete at the top end of the business for a long time.

"The team is going to pay a lot of bills this week, let's put it that way. We've asked them to make sure things get paid as quickly as possible."

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