Formula 1 is so full of money, power and politics that it is a very rare occasion when a big decision suits all parties. However, Kimi Raikkonen’s decision to go under the surgeon’s knife and finally sort out a back injury that has troubled him since his Sauber days falls into this category.
The Finn will miss this weekend’s Austin Grand Prix in the United States and the season finale in Brazil. As the ex-McLaren driver is set to return to Ferrari next season and has had problems with receiving payment from his current team, the Iceman will presumably not regret missing out on the last two races of his Lotus career.
Lotus will be relieved to avoid the bad publicity that has accompanied their failure to meet their contractual demands with Raikkonen. The team are set for a fourth place finish in the Constructors' Championship at worse and Raikkonen’s results in the second half of the season (only three points scoring finishes in the last six races) have been overshadowed by Roman Grosjean.
With the Frenchman being the team leader next season, Lotus had a great opportunity to really prepare for 2014.
Bringing in a temporary driver could also help them when negotiating with potential drivers for the new season. Pastor Maldonado is the current favourite.
Raikkonen can now focus on his new career with Ferrari, so to speak, and will be free of the back pain that needed an injection in Singapore.
Ferrari can tap into the Finn’s head a little earlier than they may have planned, while even replacement driver and fellow countryman Heikki Kovalainen gets the chance to remind everyone of his abilities.
While it is highly doubtful he will do enough to stay at Lotus beyond his temporary contract, he may work his way back into a seat further down the grid.
In the world of F1 there are normally winners, and plenty of losers. In this case, everyone is a winner.
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