Abu Dhabi GP: chassis change adds to Kimi Raikkonen’s woes

The Finn will not respond to Lotus pay details probing but says he is happy on the technical development for Abu Dhabi race drive.

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ABU DHABI // Kimi Raikkonen had acknowledged on Friday that he had almost not driven in the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, and he probably now wishes he had not bothered coming to the UAE as he was disqualified from qualifying last night.

Having gone fifth quickest, the Lotus driver’s car failed a post-session deflection test on the floor of the chassis in scrutinising and race stewards were unsatisfied by his team’s claims that the floor had been damaged by contact with a kerb.

A statement from the stewards said they “did not accept that the incident referred to constituted an accident, or excused failing the relevant test”.

Raikkonen, who won last year’s race at Yas Marina Circuit, is still allowed to start the race and under regulations can either start from the back or the grid or from the pit lane.

The 2007 world champion is not the first driver to be penalised in such a manner in Abu Dhabi.

Sebastian Vettel was thrown out of qualifying 12 months ago after his Red Bull Racing car was found to have not enough fuel on board to meet the required regulations.

The news is unlikely to improve Raikkonen’s already dark mood. He had announced on Friday that he had not been paid any of his salary this season by Lotus.

Before the disqualification had been announced, the Finn had told media he had “no interest in talking about that” when he was asked what arrangement he had come to with his employers to race in Abu Dhabi. When quizzed again last night, he snapped: “It is not your business.”

The penalty is particularly galling for the 2007 world champion as it had been his best qualifying effort since July, and voiced optimism at being able to fight for a podium finish.


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