Sunday, 10th November, Lotus announces that Kimi wouldn’t compete in final two races due to back surgery. This has come as no surprise to most Formula One enthusiasts who are aware of the tensions building between the Finn & the Anglo-French outfit.
Kimi publicly disclosed that he hadn’t been paid for the entire year and the BBC says Genii (Lotus team financier) decided to prioritise paying staff instead of their star driver.
Now here is the quagmire: Lotus is in financial strife and would be targeting 2nd or 3rd place in the Constructors’ Championship to earn more money from the “FOM pot”. This requires strong point-scoring performances from both drivers. However with Kimi out of the picture, this responsibility falls on Grosjean and possibly their reserve driver(s) Davide Valsecchi or Jerome D’Ambrosio – who haven’t had much racing experience.
Lotus approached Michael Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg for this seat however the team finally announced on 14th November that Kimi’s vacant seat would be filled by another Finn, Heikki Kovalainen (an experienced driver with more recent experience as a Caterham reserve driver, a race win and a few podium finishes under his belt) thereby giving them a good chance to fight for 2nd or 3rd in the Constructors’ Championship.
This blogger is particularly happy with this choice as Heikki was one of the unlucky drivers who lost out to less-experienced “pay drivers” and deserves a seat in a good F1 team. Heikki will race in the Austin and the Interlagos Grands Prix.