Kimi Raikkonen's 2013 season is over after it was announced the Finn would be undergoing back surgery on Thursday.
Raikkonen had been suffering from back pain since the flare up of an old injury at the Singapore Grand Prix and his recent form had not been on the same level as earlier in the season.
As the F1 community prepare to head West for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, the 'Iceman' will be in Switzerland in a bid to have the surgery and be fully healed in time for the 2014 season.
His absence does mean however the 2007 champion has raced his final Grand Prix for Lotus, of whom he returned to F1 with at the start of 2012. In the 37 races he scored 2 wins for the team and currently lies third in the Driver's Championship.
For the new V6 era Raikkonen will rejoin Ferrari partnering fellow world champion Fernando Alonso at the fabled Italian team.
Breaking the news with Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, Kimi's manager Steve Robertson indeed confirmed his early departure from F1 as to ensure being back at full fitness for next year.
"In an ideal world it would have been nice to finish the season with Lotus in the final two Grands Prix," Robertson added speaking to Autosport.
"However, due to the severe pain that Kimi is having, sadly it is not possible."
Despite his successful return it brings to an end what had become a frosty relationship between Raikkonen and Lotus.
In India 2 weeks ago the Finn was involved in a radio spat with trackside engineer Alan Permane after refusing to yield a position to team-mate Romain Grosjean, then Raikkonen arrived at the very last minute in Abu Dhabi a week later threatening to boycott the final two races unless he was paid.
By the end of the weekend at Yas Marina those issues appeared to have been resolved with Robertson claiming Raikkonen would indeed be racing in Austin though this announcement appears to be a new twist in the tale.
How the Finn's absence affects the current pay dispute with the team it not yet known.
Another question now being asked is who will likely replace Raikkonen for the final races, currently former GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi and former test driver Jerome D'Ambrosio are being mentioned.
Certainly the news comes as a major blow to Lotus who are currently battling for second in the Constructor's Championship will Ferrari and Mercedes, and the loss of their top driver makes that task a lot harder.
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