Kimi Raikkonen will miss the US and Brazilian GPs due to surgery on the back problem that reappeared over the Singapore GP weekend.
Finnish paper Turun Sanomat revealed today that the Lotus driver has opted not to compromise preparations for his return to Ferrari in 2014.
“Kimi will travel to Salzburg on Thursday and the operation will be carried out Thursday or possibly Friday,” his manager Steve Robertson told FOX Sports.com. “The doctor treating Kimi has already worked on Kimi’s back issue in the past. Having had cortisone injections in the back already this year and due to the discomfort of being in continuous pain it was felt there is no alternative to delay the operation.”
Inevitably there will be speculation as to how his decision reflects his pay dispute with Lotus and the deterioration in his relationship with the team, especially since the Indian GP controversy. He currently lies third in the World Championship, just eight points ahead of Lewis Hamilton. If he drops out of the top three, he won’t have to attend the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Paris in December.
“Kimi had two successful years returning to F1 with Lotus,” said Robertson. “And it would have been nice to secure another top three position in the drivers world championship and to have help the team fight in the constructors championship.”
It remains to be seen who Lotus will hire for the final races.
UPDATE – 12:00 p.m. on November 10, 2013
Lotus has issued the following statement: “Lotus F1 Team can confirm that Kimi Raikkonen will miss the final two races of the 2013 Formula 1 season to undergo, and recover from, back surgery. The team will make an announcement about the replacement driver for the United States and Brazilian Grands Prix in due course.”