Lotus apologises for Raikkonen radio messages

2013 Indian Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Buddh International Circuit, 2013Lotus say a heated radio exchange involving Kimi Raikkonen during yesterday’s race was “not appropriate” and apologised for it.

In the latter part of the race Raikkonen’s pace had slowed due to tyre wear. He fell to third place and was being caught by team mate Grosjean, who in turn was under pressure from Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.

Grosjean caught Raikkonen on the straight leading to turn four. But Raikkonen moved to cover the inside of the corner, then forced his team mate off the track.

A censored radio message from Lotus’s trackside operations director Alan Permane to Raikkonen was played during the race broadcast ordering him to “get out of the ******* way”. Raikkonen swore back at his team and told them not to talk to him while he was cornering.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said: “Romain was two seconds per lap faster than Kimi at that time, so it was not even a team order.”

“By asking Kimi to let Romain pass, we just made the obvious choice, as Massa could have stolen our podium.

“With hindsight, this radio message could have been sent in a less emotional way. There was a lot of tension, a lot of potential technical problems, and some of the words that flew around were simply not appropriate.

“I know that quite a few people were surprised and I can only apologise for that on behalf of the team. It won?t happen again.”

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187 comments on Lotus apologises for Raikkonen radio messages

  1. Aced (@aced) said on 28th October 2013, 20:36

    Immature at best would be my response to this.

    I mean, we get it, you want to cry and bitch about your best driver leaving but at least pay the damn man before being so butthurt about it.

    The fact they’ve been so ready to throw Raikkonen to the wolves and throw all their weight around Grosjean as soon as he decided to leave really shows the true class of Lotus. Absolutely pathetic in my opinion.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th October 2013, 21:52

      @aced

      they’ve been so ready to throw Raikkonen to the wolves

      If that were even remotely close to being true then when Grosjean asked them to tell Raikkonen to let him past in Korea they would have done.

      • Aced (@aced) said on 29th October 2013, 0:46

        @silence @keithcollantine

        I honestly think you’re missing the point of what exactly went on in Korea. What team principal in their right mind would risk a double podium finish by having their drivers fight it on track just for a meaningless position switch?

        They were so desperately trying to motivate Grosjean(especially his race engineer) that he could take Raikkonen and beat him fair and square to the point that it was nauseating to listen to.

        It’s honestly starting to feel like they’re more interested in “showing” Raikkonen that Grosjean can beat him rather than motivating Grosjean which is what they should focus on right now for next year. I mean, do you seriously believe they would swear at Raikkonen in such a fashion back before he decided he was gonna leave? Hell, at times it even looked like Raikkonen was running the team back then instead of Boullier.

        I get it, from the “humping bunnies” twitter picture to swearing at him and all this attitude change it’s obvious they do feel betrayed. But they shouldn’t at least be ungrateful to him after he’s the one who’s given them 2 wins and all the points they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. It just doesn’t bode very well with me when people are ungrateful.

        On the other hand I really do hope this works out for Grosjean as I really do like him and it would be great to see him doing well. Raikkonen is just plain rude and I’m definitely not a fan.

        • TheBass (@) said on 29th October 2013, 0:50

          @aced That’s looking way too much into it. To put it kindly.

        • TheBass (@) said on 29th October 2013, 0:54

          @aced Also, the order was not for “a pointless position switch”, but because Raikkonen was slowing down Grosjean who was being chased by Massa.

          Of all the stuff you looked so deep into, you missed the most obvious of details. Amazing what fanaticism does.

          • Angelia (@angelia) said on 29th October 2013, 3:14

            Grosjean had just reached Kimi, it was first time when he was close enough to overtake. So Kimi wasn’t actually slowing him down.

            Grosjean decided to try and overtake Kimi on the outside. Grosjean should also have realized that Kimi was driving around with very worn out tyres and his brakes wasn’t working properly, he had to commit to that corner much earlier then Grosjean.
            Had Grosjean just been a bit more patient for another corner two Kimi would have let him pass.
            When Grosjean had to let Kimi pass in Bahrain last year and Germany this year, I didn’t see anyone who was concerned that Grosjean was taking 4-5 laps to get it done.
            If Lotus was so concerned that Kimi would be in Grosjean’s way why didn’t they just pit him, like Red Bull usually does?
            Even when a driver is blue flagged he doesn’t just immediate have to disappear. A lot depends on where you are on the track.

          • TheBass (@) said on 29th October 2013, 4:10

            @angelia Missed the point completely.

      • Candice said on 29th October 2013, 6:14

        Being told to “put a ***** smile ”

        and get the **** out of the way

        Keith needs to stop comparing apple with orange.

        Romain was never yelled at when he deliberately refuse to obey to team orders. Period.

    • TheBass (@) said on 28th October 2013, 22:54

      @aced

      The fact they’ve been so ready to throw Raikkonen to the wolves

      Stop being overdramatical. They asked him to move out of the way when he was 2s slower. That’s it. Sure, he cursed. OH NO THE HORROR.

      Seriously, keep some sense of proportion.

      • Angelia (@angelia) said on 29th October 2013, 3:16

        It was also because of Permane,s lame strategical decisions that Kimi was there on track driving around on 50 laps old tyres, let not forget that small fact.

        • TheBass (@) said on 29th October 2013, 4:11

          @angelia Missed the point again.

        • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 29th October 2013, 5:35

          You get me confused a bit. Once you say that Kimi was not slowing Roman and he would let him by in a corner or two (although it didn’t look that way to me) and now you say that Kimi did it on purpose because they put him on a bed strategy. I don’t think you can have this both ways.

  2. Angelia (@angelia) said on 28th October 2013, 20:38

    I cant believe some people just dont understand the issue here. This has absolutely nothing to do with the cursing. This is about common business practices.

    Forget about F1, and place yourself in the position of an employee would it be alright for the boss to scream at you in front of your fellow employees or in front of customers? This is just something you dont do, even if the employee is in the wrong. This is just demeaning and bullying behavior.
    Permane is a senior figure in the team he is a person with power he should not be screaming at a driver in public. Have you ever seen any other senior team figures act at this way? Nope? Perhaps because it is uncalled for and inappropriate.

    It was purely because of Permane’s strategy that Kimi was in that position in the first place. Permane made a lot of blunders this weekend and I still haven’t seen him acknowledged his own mistakes.
    Yet after the race he goes around doing interviews blaming Kimi.

    BTW They didn’t say anything to Kimi beforehand, Permane admitted as much to Amus. So he just suddenly came on the radio and started screaming at Kimi in public, and yet somehow people dont see how that is unprofessional?

    http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/formel-1/zoff-bei-lotus-wir-sind-von-kimi-schwer-enttaeuscht-7875586.html

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th October 2013, 22:02

      @angelia A one-stop strategy was clearly Raikkonen’s best chance of finishing ahead of Massa and Hamilton. On a two-stop he would definitely have been behind them but with a one-stop at least he had a chance. After all his team mate made a one-stop strategy work.

      • Angelia (@angelia) said on 28th October 2013, 22:55

        Grosjean had new soft tyres in his first stint Kimi did not. So no it was never the best strategy as the components within the situation wasn’t the same. On top of that Kimi’s brakes were overheating that causes tyres to degrade faster.

        The best strategy was a well executed two stop strategy. They should have pitted Kimi before Hulkenberg in the first stint instead of having Kimi stay out there and lose a lot of time on worn out soft tyres, and they shouldn’t have messed up Kimi’s pitstop. Then in the second stint Kimi could have pitted before Rosberg. He would have been on for a podium had the team follow this simple strategy. Instead of trying to do over 50 laps on one set of tyres, which Pirelli advised against.
        Permane said afterwards it was all Kimi’s idea, but there was actually team radio where Kimi was asking for a two stop strategy and they just ignored him. It was due to Permane’s decisions that Kimi was there in the first place.

        Grosjean just approached Kimi, they didn’t say anything beforehand about Kimi letting Grosjean through. Permane just suddenly jumped on the radio and screamed at Kimi. That is just really unprofessional behavior.

        Permane made a lot of mistakes over the weekend first with Grosjean in qualifying and then with Kimi during the race, yet he doesn’t notice any of his own mistakes.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th October 2013, 18:14

          @angelia

          Grosjean just approached Kimi, they didn’t say anything beforehand about Kimi letting Grosjean through. Permane just suddenly jumped on the radio and screamed at Kimi. That is just really unprofessional behaviour.

          You’re assuming that what was played on the radio was the sum total of the discussion. That is unlikely.

          And the idea that Raikkonen’s strategy was inflicted on him by anyone is rather undermined by the fact that he supported it afterwards and even during the race said he wanted to stick with the plan of running a one-stopper.

      • candice said on 29th October 2013, 5:16

        Keith is just a kimi hater. You can tell from how he ignores kimi brake issues, slow pit stop etc and claim romain did better job because kimi suckd

    • @Angelia. Give it a rest, do you get all hot and bothered when a football coach goes off at his players? I hope not as that would be pretty stupid. Same here.

      • Angelia (@angelia) said on 29th October 2013, 0:47

        I dont watch soccer but isn’t exactly the same setup.

        Do you approve of when your boss screams at you in public? Or perhaps you are type of boss who screams at your employees in public.

        • Not the same setup, exactly, just like F1 manager and driver is nothing like a normal employment relationship which you keep referring to. Do I care if my boss yells, not if I’m paid many millions I wouldn’t. Also you don’t know what there relationships is like and Kimi isn’t a shrinking violet away from the cameras, and he got what he deserved with that silly move. Your comment about me yelling was juvenile.

          You don’t watch football, maybe if you did you’d realise that in this situation it’s not a big deal.

          • Angelia (@angelia) said on 29th October 2013, 4:36

            But F1 is a business, and Permane is the second in command of that team, that clearly means that he has much more power and authority against Kimi.

            How did Kimi get what he deserved, what exactly did he do wrong? He was on worn out tyres, and his brakes wasn’t working properly he had to commit to that corner much earlier then Grosjean, he car was clearly sliding around. Why did Grosjean decide to try and overtake on the out side, when the car in front is sliding around? Grosjean could have used a bit of patience, as Kimi let him through right aftter a few corners. It shouldn’t have been difficult for Grosjean to get pass Kimi was much slower.

            If it is such a dead normal everyday thing for senior team members to scream at their drivers, then please provide some examples to proof your point.

            It wasn’t a juvenile question, it was a question to make you think about the situation from your own perspective.

  3. Strontium (@strontium) said on 28th October 2013, 20:39

    Raikkonen told them not to talk to him while he was cornering.

    HAHAHA brilliant!

    People are taking this far too seriously. If they swore and got annoyed then so what? It’s just part of the sport and is nothing new. Stop overreacting.

    No need to apologise Lotus

  4. goonerforyou said on 28th October 2013, 21:17

    See the whole incident here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zpPGk2t4LU

  5. Speaking of the ‘appropriate’ word… maybe Lotus could first keep their word for their payroll obligations. EB even criticized Kimi for letting that little matter of fact out to the public. Fairness is a one way street with EB.

  6. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 28th October 2013, 22:39

    Due to social media F1 has become a lot more sociable and it’s nice to be able to follow the drivers and team personnel and see what goes both behind the scenes and sometimes get a glimpse of their personal lives. However it’s sad that a few idiots decided to send abuse to Permane just because he shouted at the holy untouchable demi-God Kimi Raikkonen. Honestly I think Raikkonen has some of the worst fans in the sport, don’t get me wrong here but judging from some on the comments on here, Youtube, Twitter and other forums it seems that Kimi is the only driver above criticism. Of course this is only the minority and most Kimi fans are actually decent people but it is truly sad some of the things that this handful of people spout all over the internet.

    Just for the record I think it wasn’t right for Permane to yell at Kimi like that (even though we don’t know the whole story) but it’s too late to change anything and the reaction from some people has been way over the top. I’m pretty sure arguments and swearing happens on a frequent basis between drivers and their engineers. I don’t see why this fallout suddenly exploded in such a way.

  7. Feuerdrache (@xenomorph91) said on 28th October 2013, 22:51

    There was no need for an apologize. The swearing was nowhere near discussion worthy. It happened before to Grosjean in Korea.

    The main issue I’m rather having that Kimi fans aren’t acting rational at all. They treat Permane as new enemy because he was a rude to their favourite driver. Kimi was often behaving like a monkey towards others – in Abu Dhabi 2012 or the comment about Perez after Monaco 2013 for example. Additionally you shouldn’t forget how often Grosjean had to let Kimi pass during 2012 and 2013. It was about time that he shows some humbleness and gives Grosjean the place without a big fight – he should have the racing intelligence to know when to give up.

    It’s even more amazing that Kimi fans suddenly went crazy towards the team that allowed their driver more PR freedom than ever before. That Lotus didn’t pay him money shouldn’t be an arguement for a driver that is considered a “pure heart racer”.

    The whole topic has been overinflated thanks to the heavy criticism (and more than that…) on Lotus by the Kimi fans on social media. There is a difference between being a supporter and irrational fanatic hating on everything that is against their favourite driver/team.

    • Angelia (@angelia) said on 28th October 2013, 23:03

      The issue doesn’t have anything to do with the swearing.

      Does your boss scream at you in font of co-workers and in front of clients? Would it be the correct protocol for a boss to follow?

      How can people not understand this?

      Any discussions between drivers and race engineers are among equals, but you dont have a senior member with more power scream at someone in public. That is just demeaning and bullying behavior.

      How did Lotus give Kimi more PR freedom? He did a lot more PR for them then Grosjean ever did.

      • @Angelia. Once again, ok for football coach to yell at players? Of course it is. Comparing this to a normal job is stupid, pay me $10 mil or so and yell at me all you want.

        • Angelia (@angelia) said on 29th October 2013, 1:21

          Once again I dont watch soccer but okay I’ll bite.

          A coach is there to, well coach. Drivers dont need coaches, and especially not while they are driving around with worn out tyres and brakes that isn’t working at 300km/h.
          A coach runs around on a massive open filed with hundreds of people cheering, talking at the same time. If he doesn’t shout no one would hear him. Soccer is a team sport everyone has to work together towards the team goal and everyone has the same goal for the team. That does not apply in F1.

          As for F1 it is a sport, but there also a normal business structure within F1 that you dont find in other sports. In team sports everyone is much more equal, whereas F1 has a big hierarchy. It does make sense to apply some of the same laws to F1 that would do in any other business, as F1 is also a business.

          Do you have any other examples of where senior team members screamed at their drivers in public?

          • Referring to a coach yelling at players when they are not running around with people screaming, this happens all the time in multiple sports. Very easy to find.

            “Do you have any other examples of where senior team members screamed at their drivers in public?”. Yes but it’s irrelevant, I do not see a problem, Kimi deserved to cop it, he wears it and everyone moves on. It’s only armchair experts making a big thing of it.

            David Coulthard has explained of some woppers that used to flow via the McLaren radio, I know they weren’t broadcast, if that’s an issue for you and others like you, then blame the broadcaster for choosing to air it.

          • Angelia (@angelia) said on 29th October 2013, 4:57

            This wasn’t such a small thing, according to the French press Kimi and Permane continued to fight in the hostility area where everyone could see it.
            Again this would have been a great opportunity for Permane to discuss the issue behind closed doors, rather then fighting with his driver in public.

            So you dont have any examples then? Dont you find it in the least bit strange? If this suppose to be such a normal thing, why doesn’t anyone have other examples of senior personal screaming at their drivers in public?

      • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 29th October 2013, 5:48

        If the employee has been stupid the manager has the right to raise the voice to drive the point through the thick skull.

        • Angelia (@angelia) said on 29th October 2013, 6:47

          Sure and he can do it behind closed doors not in public.

          Where exactly was Kimi so stupid, Grosjean tried to overtake him in a fast coner while barely had working brakes and his car was sliding. Grosjean could also have tried to find a better spot.

          • @angelia don’t even bother trying to discuss this issue with the kimi-haters, especially the biggest kimi-hater-of-them-all, @keithcollantine. Rest assured that if it was any driver other than Kimi who was being subjected to verbal abuse in front of a global TV audience, despite also not having been paid any of the wages owed him by his employer, keith would be the first one to write an editorial lamenting the situation.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd November 2013, 22:21

            @joepa I didn’t consider the comment “abuse” for reasons already explained. As always I’m happy to discuss the facts but I’m not going to waste my time on silly things like being called a ‘Kimi hater’ or being accused of hypocrisy on hypothetical grounds.

  8. Angelia (@angelia) said on 28th October 2013, 23:11

    I would love to see how people would have reacted if it was Helmut Marko screaming at Webber to get out of Vettel’s way or if Domenicalli was screaming at Massa to get out of Alonso’s way. But even second drivers are not treated like this by senior team personal.

    • DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 28th October 2013, 23:29

      Helmut Marko, Stefano Domenicalli and Alan Permane all have very different roles within their respective teams. Not sure what point you’re trying to make with that statement.

      • Angelia (@angelia) said on 29th October 2013, 1:02

        They are all senior team members. The point is that there is no reason the handle to handle a situation where one teammate has to pass the other in such a way. It was Permane’s fault that Kimi was there to begin with.
        When Massa was told to let Alonso pass the team handled it delicately. When Webber was told to let Vettel pass in Brasil last year they asked him, and didn’t comply. There was championship at stake but the team didn’t scream at Webber.
        In Germany this year when Grosjean was asked to let Kimi pass he took 5 laps to do it, and no one had any issue with that. Permane certainly didn’t scream at him.

        Give me example of how often do you hear senior team members screaming at drivers in public? I would like to see it, if this was such an ordinary everyday event.

        • zimkazimka (@zimkazimka) said on 30th October 2013, 9:22

          if the team wanted to avoid another “Leave me alone, I know what i’m doing moment,” they had to bring their point across in a stronger way. they did. Permane didn’t say “Hey, ******, move out of the way.” he emphasized urgency in the passion of the moment. and that’s fine in sports.

          now, you keep talking about some unspecific work environments, seemingly asking to compare the situation to everyday office jobs. this is ridiculous. F1 is a supersport – the grand combination of show-business and top-tier sports entertainment. anywhere you look in these areas, you’ll see strong language used in the heat of the moment, exchanged between ‘senior members’ and ‘personnel’ – stars/managers, actors/producers/directors, team owners/players, etc. often time we are talking about millionaires arguing – it’s all acceptable FOR THEM. i could understand this point, if Kimi was suddenly offended and spearheaded the office anti-bullying movement. but he’s quite fine with the entire thing and is likely already passed it, being concerned with the money issue and all…

          i wonder what would Ron or Flavio say…

  9. uan (@uan) said on 29th October 2013, 0:48

    First off, I’m not a huge Kimi fan.

    Initially I thought Kimi was in the wrong, but rewatching things, I don’t think Kimi was trying to be overly aggressive in the corner. If you watch, he totally loses traction on his tires, and for the rest of that lap and the next one he’s basically driving on ice and barely keeping it on the road.

    It also sounded like in his next set of messages is that he was trying to find a could place to pull to let Grojean through.

    Also, in his career, Kimi’s never had issues of being passive aggressive towards his team. He’s not out there deliberately trying to muck things up for his teammate. He’s many things, but that doesn’t seem to be the way Kimi operates.

    And if anyone had reason to be frustrated, it is Kimi. With brake issues, being left out with tires that had already fallen straight off the cliff and were dead, etc.

    You know, Red Bull gets slammed, but constantly we hear how RB will pit Webber to get out of Vettel’s way (whether true or not, it’s a good way to do it). Ferrari has done that to Massa. Lotus SHOULD have done that with Kimi. Before that incident, with Kimi losing 2 plus seconds a lap, they should have pulled him in for fresh rubber and there would not have been an incident. But Lotus probably got greedy hoping for Kimi to hang on somehow for an even higher finish.

    Permane didn’t look good. I’m glad Lotus apologized. I have more respect for them. We admire drivers for raising their hands when they make mistakes, so should we admire teams for doing the same.

    • Hendra said on 29th October 2013, 5:14

      +1

    • Deb Luhi (@debeluhi) said on 29th October 2013, 5:58

      If Kimi didn’t want to be aggressive in defending his position he shouldn’t be driving on the inside (defensive) line of the corner. If he left the inside line for RG he would have been overtaken without the risk of collision and as a benefit would’ve have a better exit speed off the corner loosing less time to Massa and the other cars behind.

  10. it is good that Kimi is going to Ferrari – this screaming as Pemane held on the team radio does not fit into Formula One .. addition that it was he who was responsible for the non-existent strategy in India. !! ??

  11. uan (@uan) said on 29th October 2013, 3:43

    I’m beginning to think the apologies came because the initial swearing by Permane was predicted on Kimi purposefully fighting for position against his teammate, and after the race and the debrief, realizing that Kimi actually wasn’t doing that. So Permane had egg on his face. Lotus as a team did.

  12. vincente said on 29th October 2013, 11:27

    Ha! Yelling at someone who you owe some 10M$ is not a good idea anyway.

  13. Hard Hitter said on 29th October 2013, 11:43

    Kimi should Qualify atleast 12th for the rest of the season, and finish a max 8th. That would teach the potty mouth clowns some manners.

  14. people don’t get a simple thing.
    it’s not the sweraing itself, u say “sorry” and it’s over…it can happen.
    it’s that everybody saw why raikkonen immediately became number 2 driver in favour of gros.
    now everybody has another prove of it.
    and don’t get me wrong. they don’t sabotage kimi as they didn’t sabotage romain before…simply inverted number one and 2 driver.
    lotus once said “in our team there’s no number one and two driver.” implying that both have same materials and opportunities…what a lie! romain and kimi have totallly different driving style…how could they accomplish to satisfy both of them?if one is favored, the other one suffers.
    lotus deceived tons of fans by stating untrue things. they DO have number one and two drivers just like the majority of teams. wake up!!
    now of course they want romain to take the majority of points and place kimi somewhere in the top ten…there is a big difference between a second place and even a fourth place in terms of points.
    why do they act like that?because romain has a fixed salary, without bonus. they aren’t able to pay raikkonen’s past salaries…how could they manage to pay him 20 points per race(60000 eu per point)?

    moreover they have to show sponsors that even romain is a number one top driver and lotus can do well also without kimi.
    normal things which has happened tons of times in f1 which is a money based sport. we have seen many scandals in recent years and many others surely happened without we even know about them. forget talent.
    if u look for pure talents to be protected then watch some other sports like athletics.

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