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Kimi arrives for Abu Dhabi GP

| Source: autosport.com |

Kimi Raikkonen has arrived at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ready for practice, as Lotus chairman Gerard Lopez played down issues between the team and the 2007 world champion.

Raikkonen did not attend Thursday media activities at Yas Marina amid growing intra-team tension.

He will leave for Ferrari next year, and has made it clear that Lotus owes him payments.

The situation was escalated by a blunt radio exchange with Lotus’s trackside operations director Alan Permane when Raikkonen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean was trying to pass him during last weekend’s Indian GP.

Lotus later issued an apology for the language used in the conversation.

On Friday morning the team published an interview with chairman Gerard Lopez on its website, in which Lopez offered fulsome praise for Raikkonen and played down recent incidents.

“Of course, recently a lot was made about the comments between Alan Permane and Kimi during the course of a tense moment in a race, but this was just one exchange taking a matter of seconds in the course of a two-year relationship,” said Lopez.

“It certainly wasn’t the most beneficial few seconds, but you have to step back and accept that everyone is passionate about racing and sometimes these things do happen.”

Lopez insisted that the situation between Lotus and Raikkonen was being overblown by the media.

“One of the unfortunate things about being in the limelight is that people are always trying to make it look like there are huge fights going on,” he said.

“For instance, we discussed the fact that Kimi was signing for Ferrari between the two of us and it was a very frank discussion.

“It was factual, emotional at the same time and although it’s funny to say, he’s a very human human-being.

“The whole Iceman thing actually prevails on the track from where he is very cool-headed and a very good driver.

“In reality he’s a kind guy, he’s a very talkative guy and over the two years I’ve gained a friend in Formula 1 which is a difficult place to do so.”

On Twitter:

@andrewbensonf1
For those wondering, Kimi Raikkonen has turned up. And his manager Steve Robertson has gone for a “chat” with Lotus team boss Eric Boullier
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2 responses

  1. Gio

    I think this debacle would have gone away with an honest statement from Parmane, not one that eludes the real problem. He has been too defensive in his overall statements, talking only about the technical sides when the real problem was/is his attitude. Even Kimi said the Lotus could have treated him better, so the problem is about treatment rather than racing issues.
    Since two heavyweights at Lotus have given out positive statements, I assume that Parmane is unwilling to give out a positive statement or even an apology; he is letting people assume that both parties are to blame.
    Until I see real evidence that the team warned Kimi that Romain was closing in fast, then I think Parmane should take part or even all the blame for not anticipating trouble.

    Like

    November 1, 2013 at 10:27 am

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