Kimi Raikkonen looks set to contest the final two races of the Formula 1 season
Finn's salary dispute reportedly over after Lotus backing finally agreed
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 10/11/13 11:18am
The Finn had threatened to boycott the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in protest at the team's failure to pay his salary for the season, estimated to be in the region of €17 million. Raikkonen did eventually take part in the race although, having been forced to start the race from the back of the grid after his car failed a post-qualifying scrutineering check, he retired after a first-corner collision.
Departing the Yas Marina Circuit just as soon as he could, Raikkonen cut a rather forlorn figure on Sunday evening. Speaking earlier in the week, he had also threatened to miss both the United States and Brazilian Grands Prix - yet it now appears as though his wage demands are finally being met.
'Worry not, he will be back for the final two grands prix thanks to Quantum Motorsports Ltd, which is buying 35 per cent of the financially stricken Lotus team,' reported The Times on Monday. 'The cheque is finally in the post after months of suspense.'
Lotus announced back in June that Quantum Motorsports - a Middle East-backed investment consortium then known as Infinity Racing Partners - would acquire a 35 per cent stake in the team from owners Genii Capital.
However, the deal has taken much longer than initially expected - Quantum is a new company and bank scrutiny of their funds is thought to have been behind the hold-up - meaning that Lotus have struggled to pay their suppliers as well as their World Champion driver.
'The good news for him is that a deal appears to have been brokered between his manager, Steve Robertson, and Lotus,' added The Guardian. 'If this is confirmed by lawyers, Raikkonen will race in the last two races later in the month.'
Raikkonen will then depart to Ferrari, of course, but the deal's completion could also have ramifications for the whereabouts of other drivers next season.
The assumption had been that Pastor Maldonado, who is backed by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, might join Lotus if their financial worries did not ease. However, the arrival of Quantum suggests the Enstone team could now move for Nico Hulkenberg instead.