I guess Valsecchi will replace Raikkonen – the Quantum deal is not done, nor is the PDVSA deal, so Hulk and Maldo probably won’t take over. And why else is Valsecchi present at every single GP? To be a reserve driver that doesn’t drive when one of the drivers is injured?
Some more speculation: I’ve heard some people claiming this is just an excuse. Raikkonen didn’t want to drive because of the money, so the back problems are just a cover up story. Now, I don’t think this is true, but there is probably a small element of truth in it. My guess is Raikkonen just wanted out anyway, and the back problem thing provided the opportunity. I mean, if Webber can race with a fractured shoulder, than with a dose of pain killers Raikkonen could race as well? The difference imo is Webber wanted to drive because he wanted to win the championship, but Raikkonen doesn’t because there is nothing left to fight for and he is leaving the team after the next two races anyway. Thoughts?
Wouldn’t be too surprised were it true, nor would I blame him. I think he will have work done on his back, because back injuries often develop into chronic pain. He probably could race, but he is just human and being in pain can affect his performance and motivation. Same with Alonso for Austin, I once bruised several vertebrae and was ordered to take it easy for a couple of weeks, so I’d imagine he’ll be on watch from both FIA and Ferrari medics to prevent him from messing it up any further.
Of course, he could have waited 3 weeks, which probably wouldn’t endanger his pre-season work for 2014 a lot more than the surgery does now. But not being paid or motivated are pretty good reasons to speed up a surgery.
Why doesn’t an F1 PR department try telling the truth, just for once? This is beginning to sound like Juan Pablo Montoya’s motorcycling tennis injury. And the timing seems odd, after all the shenanigans in India, but why would Raikkonen bother going all the way there (and Korea) with no intention of racing?
Delighted for Valsecchi as he gets a potentially winning car, but F1’s in a bad way if it takes an injury for a talented champion to get his chance.
Hülkenberg will probably go just as well in a Sauber in the last two races (watch out for him if it rains in Brazil!) without the upheaval of changing teams. Unless Valsecchi does something sensational, I still hope he’s their long-term choice.