| Source: autosport.com |
Kimi Raikkonen insisted he had no regrets about starting from the back of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix grid rather than the pitlane, despite crashing out at the first corner.
After Raikkonen’s exclusion from qualifying, Lotus had the option to start him either from 22nd on the grid, giving him the chance to make up ground off the line, or from the pits to avoid any first-corner trouble.
Raikkonen took the start from the grid, but tangled with Giedo van der Garde’s Caterham at Turn 1 and immediately retired.
Asked afterwards if he now felt he should have started from the pits, Raikkonen replied: “no”.
He believes he was unlucky that the van der Garde incident did as much damage as it did.
“I went to the inside and then somehow managed to touch with a Caterham,” said Raikkonen.
“We didn’t touch hard but I think the angle was very unlucky and it broke the steering.”
Following a weekend of intense negotiations between the Finn’s management and Lotus owner Gerard Lopez, sources have confirmed that a skeleton deal has been put in place that resolves their issues.
Although Raikkonen had been persuaded to race in Abu Dhabi after threatening to not do so, he and his management team made it emphatically clear that he would not continue for the United States and Brazil races if matters were not sorted.
Speaking on Friday, when he revealed he had not been paid at all during 2013, Raikkonen has said: “I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving – but a big part of it is business. Sometimes when that is not dealt with like it should we end up in an unfortunate situation.
“You have to put the line somewhere, and if it goes over that… it is not really my fault any more.”
That threat, and the possibility of there even being court action if Lotus was not willing to concede some ground, proved a catalyst for the situation to be sorted.
AUTOSPORT understands that on Sunday morning, following more than two days of talks, Lopez and Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson laid out a framework for moving forward that both parties are happy with.
As long as the deal is formally signed off by lawyers, and Lotus sticks to the points of the agreement laid out, then Raikkonen will compete in the final two races of the campaign.
Raikkonen’s presence will be valuable to the team as it is locked in a big battle with Mercedes and Ferrari for second place in the constructors’ championship.