Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Suzuka, 2013

Raikkonen warns he may miss last two races as Lotus “haven’t paid a single Euro”

2013 Abu Dhabi Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Suzuka, 2013Kimi Raikkonen has warned Lotus the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be his last drive for them if they do not pay him his outstanding wages.

Raikkonen told reporters in Abu Dhabi “I haven’t been paid a single Euro this year” by the team.

“It’s an unfortunate thing because I understand the team’s side of it,” said Raikkonen.

“But sometimes when you been put in a position and told different stories and people thinks that you don’t work for the team or you don’t care what happens to them it’s not exactly true if I’m doing it without being really being paid.”

Raikkonen said he had considered not racing because of the situation. He has already agreed to drive for Ferrari next and said earlier in the season the shortfall in payments from Lotus was part of the reason why.

He indicated he had addressed the matter with the team again in Abu Dhabi, saying: “Hopefully we have a bit better understanding on certain issues what has been going through the whole year.”

“I mean unfortunately we end up in that kind of situation and is not really anything to do with me. In the end we try to enjoy this team but on the other side it’s a business and if you don’t respect on that side you can end up in this kind of situation.”

Raikkonen added the radio row between him and trackside operations director Alan Permane was not a significant factor in his warning to the team or his refusal to show up for media engagements yesterday:

“In the end it has happened and it doesn’t change anything any more. But I mean that’s not the reason why I wasn’t here yesterday, it’s part of it but I wouldn’t say that this is a big part of it.”

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165 comments on “Raikkonen warns he may miss last two races as Lotus “haven’t paid a single Euro””

    1. @disjunto Definitely have to give him credit for continuing to drive. Hulkenberg too, though with Sauber attracting Russian backing perhaps he has at least had some money out of them.

      What a parlous financial situation F1 is in at the moment though. This is a team which could quite realistically finish second in the championship this year, their budget is around half that of the richest teams yet they can’t pay their top driver?

      Makes you wonder which of the following categories each F1 drivers falls into: pay driver, paid driver and unpaid driver…

      1. Kimi has shown a lot of patience with Lotus and has continued to drive and do his best. Sadly, this is probably the only leverage he has left. After the season is over all he can do is sue Lotus and that could drag on for years with huge fees from lawyers and court costs all to maybe get nothing.

        Lotus is in an unenviable predicament. Having Kimi drive is their best opportunity to place higher in the WCC and earn more prize money. If Kimi does not drive, Lotus will likely finish lower in the standings without him than with him and earn less prize money.

        I still see comments that Kimi should just take a step back and drive. Or, that he doesn’t really need the money that bad, stuff like that. All I can say is that anyone, anyone with a job or a contract to perform services deserves to be paid for what they do. As someone who has been cheated by a former employer out of thousands of dollars, it is a feeling you never forget.

        I really hope Lotus can get it together and do well. The financial situation in F1 makes little sense for a business that generates as much revenue and profits as it does. If the finances of the teams are killed off to such a point that the show is degraded significantly, the goose that laid the golden egg cannot survive. The Lotus/Kimi situation and pay drivers over paid drivers are highly visible symptoms that the patient is not well.

        1. Don’t forget Kimi is(or at least used to be) a huge factor in the sponsorship Lotus got. It’s not like Rexona, Renault, Clear and Burn lined up for Romain Grosjean ads.Most of it was taking advantage of Kimi’s image and this alone should have been a good enough reason to keep him.

          1. That is exactly my thinking too. The entity Kimi is probably more quite a bit more popular than Lotus the team.

            They are not only losing the best driver ever to drive a full season for free but also a very marketable character indeed.

      2. @keithcollantine imo, Lotus isn’t in financial troubles because F1 is so expensive for them but Genii Capital isn’t interested in running an F1 team respectively in investing money. Lopez and Lux are venture capitalists and their business model is to use leveraged buy-outs to acquire companies with money from investors and resell them with a profit. The Infinity deal was the first step and they gonna sell more stakes. If they don’t find other buyers in the medium-term they’ll simple load the company with debt and go bankrupt.

      3. @keithcollantine there was once a Brazilian footballer, Vampeta, who said something very funny when his team wasn’t paying him: “They pretend to pay me and I pretend to play”.

        Raikkonen looks like he is in the same situation for last few races, pretending to drive. If he actually quit at least he can stop pretending.

        1. @paulk – “Raikkonen looks like he is in the same situation for last few races, pretending to drive. If he actually quit at least he can stop pretending.

          Fact check =
          Singapore – 3rd
          Korea – 2nd
          Japan – 5th
          India – 7th (after doing over 50 laps on a set of tires, overheating brakes the whole race and fuel saving towards the end of the race)

          Many wish they could “pretend” so well.

      4. @keithcollantine Agreed. This is, to me, somewhat sad. In addition, with races taking place in exotic and debatable (who said unethical?) places, what’s gonna be the future of F1? Unpaid drivers “managing their tyres” in front of tribunes “filled with virtual” fans (cf. the big pictures of Ferrari fans behind the Ferrari drivers in the karting photos posted in the Abu Dhabi GP build-up, ).

        Sad, I would say. Especially when we talk about a team that can well finished in the 2nd place with a much lower budget than its top opponents, thereby demonstrating that creativity and knowledge can take you a long way even if you’re “on a budget”, so to say.

      5. @Keith_Collantine

        Makes you wonder which of the following categories each F1 drivers falls into: pay driver, paid driver and unpaid driver…

        Ha-ha, that’s hilarious until we realize the implications for the sport.

      1. Agreed and I don’t think he should drive the last 2 races if they team really have not paid him. To my thinking, welching on payments for services already rendered, contract or otherwise, is one of the most low-down actions possible. I did not expect a team with that kind of pedigree to behave in a such a manner.

        1. @Loup_Garou
          Absolutely, if he races then collecting the money could become an issue and be dragged out in court which will affect Kimi for many seasons.

          Plus it sets a bad precedent for all teams to do that to their drivers and other staff.

          I think the FIA or Bernie should step in and resolve this. Teams should pay their drivers and other team members in full.

          I think Kimi has handled this like a gentleman which is very surprising. If they can’t pay him in full before Austin he should NOT race, period!

          1. I completely disagree that this is surprising at all! Kimi may not be some classical 60’s 007 gentleman type but in my opinion he is by far the best behaved driver on a grid full of self centered, spoiled little brats. I don’t think I recall a single incident of Kimi complaining about other drivers or bitching after the race. He always rubs it off, calls it a racing incident and cuts whoever the offender was a more than reasonable amount of slack.

            That’s why I don’t quite understand @Keith_Collantine s alleged “distaste” for Kimi (despite taking all the F1F headlines today, hehe). After all he is not British so don’t expect him to have British manners but let this just be yet another example of what a standup guy he is.

  1. I agree with Räikkönen that it is ridiculous not to get paid despite a contract. I didn’t think he would have not been paid anything at all! Don’t think it is a good sign for the financial health of Lotus…

    1. You say that because you’re not going to either the US or the Brazilian GP, I’m travelling to Austin in two weeks time and I know which driver I want to see on track.

      Also is in the best interests of Lotus to have Kimi racing, there’s a lot of money in second place in the WCC and Valsecchi would be way off the pace in two tracks he’s never raced on.

  2. The first thing that came to me when I heard about this is that had Lotus paid him all the money he is owed this season, that money would not have gone to developing the car and other costs as well. Yes I would be annoyed if I were him, but stepping back and gaining some perspective would help. Just my opinion, though.

    1. I agree, but by my calculations from what I’ve heard (3 million euros for the 2013 season + 50,000 euros for every point he scores), with 183 points scored, Lotus owns Kimi 12 million euros. That a huge amount of money!

      1. I never implied he didn’t have a right to be worried or annoyed, I was merely referring to the fact that he’s willing to skip the last two races. Personally, I don’t think he’ll back out in the end – but part of me wouldn’t mind as it’d be nice to see Davide Valsecchi step in.

  3. His patience with Lotus is enormous, it seems. I also think he should drive the last two races, for his own sake at the very least. Shows he’s a classy guy.

    This is far from good news for potential drivers who are in the race for Kimi’s seat. Begs the question if they are able to pay Hulkenberg or Massa next season while staying competitive.

      1. They’ll go for Maldonado’s money …

        Take Maldonado for his money just so they can pay Kimi.
        So effectively Maldonado will be paying Kimi’s salary in F1? Lovely.

        Maybe I’ll should save this question for later, but if a poor team like Sauber/Williams/Lotus get an influx of money from the ‘pay’ drivers, when would you expect to see the increased funding having an effect on the performance of the team? You could argue Maldonado’s money hasn’t done Williams any good.

        1. Well, yes and no – Maldonado scored their first win in a long time last year. I just can’t help but think that they really do need a overhaul in management, Toto Wolff seemed to be having a decent impact on them last year but ultimately he moved to Mercedes.

        1. Well, in some way there is a real point to that. If the question is whether Lotus could have been as competitive if the had give Kimi the 15M instead of engineering, the counter question is whether they could have scored so many points without Kimi?

          Of course not, and Kimi never agreed pay for the development of his car. At the end of the day Lotus will receive a lot more prize money because of acquiring Kimi’s top standard efforts for free. It is unfair and embarrassing for Lotus. Get it fixed!!

  4. Sad end to a great two years, really. But if he’s not paid, it’s hard to do much. Other teams have dropped drivers because they didn’t bring money in time, this is the other way around.

    Which is a “good” surprise considering all the pay-driver talk ! now we got the unpaid-driver !

    Also, this doesn’t help Hulk’s prospects, does it? With all the rumours about Maldonado stepping in… I’m scared. What’s gonna happen with Lotus?

    1. I think Hulk’s salary is likely to be a little different to Raikkonen’s… I’m guessing he wouldn’t be prepared to sign for Lotus until after the Quantum deal has actually been sealed, putting the team in a better financial position.

  5. I doubt Lotus will (be able to) pay Räikkönen the 10-20 million euros that they owe him just so that he drives the last two races for them. If they were willing and capable of doing that, they would have paid him already. It’ll be interesting to see whether Räikkönen carries out the threat he made.

  6. Now this begs another question … If Kimi had not been paid, how about Romain Grosjean ? are they paying him at least ? We can say Kimi is a veteran and he would have some reserves to take care of these scenarios. Romain being a rookie must be much more cash strapped.

    Or is Romain thinking that Keeping his ride itself would be the greatest Pay he can get this year ????

        1. @kaiie
          This is Romain’s second full season. Or do you mean his last season wasn’t “a full season”, because he was banned from one race? :P Nevertheless he had started 26 races before this season, so he’s hardly a rookie.

  7. I thought the original problem was that he hadn’t been paid points bonuses but if he genuinely hasn’t been paid at all, that is a damn poor show from Lotus. Sure, he doesn’t need it (his divorce notwithstanding!) but nobody should be taken for a ride if you’ve been given assurances.

      1. Good point. It’s easy to forget that these guys (the ones that are very well compensated) don’t just leave their moolah sitting in a current account where it will be devalued by inflation and vulnerable to a bank collapse. I wonder if any of them took nasty losses in the crash and ongoing depression.

  8. I’m sure Raikkonen doesn’t need to be paid ever again, he’s a very wealthy man. But it’s the principle of the thing. He was hired by Lotus to do a job, which by and large he has done excellently. It seems that he’s been very patient and understanding over the entire season with them. As soon as he secured a drive with Ferrari for 2014 it would have been very easy for Kimi tell Lotus he’s taking an unpaid vacation and not show up ever again. It’s to his credit that he’s stuck around and (recent qualifying issues aside) continued to perform at a very high level.

      1. @hohum Well as Schumacher’s direct successor at Ferrari I remember he was being paid very handsomely for his skills, or to not use them at all in 2009. Plus he’s been in F1 for over ten seasons mostly at large, wealthy teams. Unless he’s completely squandered his money I think it’s a fair assumption that he isn’t lining up at soup kitchens between Grand Prix.

          1. Well it all depends on where he invested his money, I agree he should be wealthy but a lot of people who thought they would never have to worry about money again have been wrong. James Hunts name just popped into my head as I typed this.

      1. @peartree See my above comment to Hohum as to why it’s probable that Raikkonen is not broke. He’s earned tens (possibly well over a hundred) millions of euros. I also said that he’s entitled to his pay. I appears you’ve completely misunderstood the essence of my comment, or not read it all.

      2. @colossal-squid I’m very aware that he earned a big sum in 09, to add up to all the millions he earned previously but

        I(t) appears you’ve completely misunderstood the essence of my comment, or not read it all.

        I add, I read your comment but you misread mine. I said that Raikkonen earned his money and he earned the right to spend it, meaning that even if he still has some dough he could need it but more importantly he deserves it, he isn’t like other people that haven’t had to work for it, not to mention deserve the money. Have you understand this now.

        well he has made lots of cash but that doesn’t mean he aint earned his cash, he earned it and also the privilege of spending it all, you don’t know if he has money or not, it’s not like for example with Grosjean where you know that his family is loaded.


        1. @peartree So you just reiterated what I said in my first comment?

          But it’s the principle of the thing.

          is to my mind not in conflict with your statement that

          he has made lots of cash but that doesn’t mean he aint earned his cash

          I say in my comment Raikkonen deserves his money – the implication being that he deserves do do with it as he pleases afterwards. I say you misread my comment as my pointing out his wealth was only to put into sharp relief the fact that despite his wealth he has earned his money. You pointed out the same thing then questioned whether he was wealthy or not, something that was mainly irrelevant to my argument – that he’s earned what he is owed by Lotus.

          Now do you understand?

    1. Yes, it is the principle of the thing. When someone is hired to do a job, it is immaterial whether he/she is wealthy or needs the money. If they do the job that that they are supposed to, then they have to be paid for it as agreed, as simple as that. That is the basic law by which the world works and trying to look at it in a different way is nonsensical.

      Those of us here who are employed expect to be paid for the services rendered, right? Some of us may enjoy the work, for others it might just be routine and for still others a necessary chore. But at the end of the day we do it because of the paycheck at the end of the month or whatever and if for some reason that is not forthcoming, all of us feel cheated irrespective of the size of the savings in the bank.

      1. +1 And don’t forget last year, they did not pay him until the season’s end when they got their Bernie Bonus payment (constructor’s champ prize money for coming 4th). Of course if they had suffered a poor run of luck and finished much worse, would they be able to pay? Is that any way to run a railroad?
        (err F1team)…

    1. If Lotus couldn’t afford a driver of Raikkonen’s caliber, then they had no business signing him in the first place. He isn’t doing this as a beloved hobby; it’s his profession, and he’s one of the best people in that profession. I find the suggestion that he should be happy to drive for free to be a bit much!

      Maybe people ought to think back to Ayrton Senna — someone whose love of racing I seriously doubt anyone would question — and the way he approached contracts. Then ask yourself: Would Senna have continued driving for Lotus this season?

    1. You must be kidding right? Lotus has had ample opportunity 11 months to be exact, to pay him however for some reason they have failed to do so. Why would that change in a month?

  9. To be quite frank given all this I find the way Lotus has acted towards Raikkonen since he announced his switch to Ferrari a little childish. It strikes me that Boullier seems to think that the team – and he in particular – is the victim here, portraying a situation where Raikkonen backstabbed the team (think bunny tweet) by leaving for ‘money’ or whatever (which, strictly speaking, is true). Intentionally or not, there seems to be an animosity towards Raikkonen coming from the higher ladders of the team – already in Korea it seemed weird to me that Boullier himself pushed Grosjean to regain the place from Kimi, never mind being told by Parmane whether he could please move out of the way.

    Truth is, they shouldn’t just be grateful he even bothers but should appreciate the fact he’s kept it relatively quiet for half a year. The situation strikes me as one where Boullier was given entrance to the toy shop with brilliant performances at the beginning of the year and is now sulky that he’s not having his member card renewed.

  10. Yes i said this back along when he was getting praised for still racing?, Huh what so he should race the guy is set up for not 1 life loads of lies he never needs another penny again he as it all in his balance. Yeh yeh its a contract and it shoulnt be broken i get that. but i have no sympathy this is a guy who as earned extortianate amounts lol why should he not race, he is after all a boy racer who races anything quick according to some.

    1. Well, i think it’s the disrespect that bothers him the most? Rich people need a lot of money, they have huge expenses (“it’s not the large income, but the low expenditure”). I think he would have raced for free if he didn’t need the money. If Kimi did race for free some would probably say “he has to race for free, otherwise nobody would want him”. Haters keep on hating.

    2. Maybe Genii should forego profit or paying anyone else as well because they love racing? Are Boullier or Premane getting paid?
      Hypocracy thy name is Lotus… Everyone who says he should do it for free is welcome to join him in solidarity by donating a year’s wages to charity, or just ****.

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