Kimi Raikkonen threatens to boycott races over pay dispute

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer at Yas Marina
Vettel fastest in Abu Dhabi practice

Kimi Raikkonen says he may not take part in the final two races of the season if his Lotus team do not fulfil a promise to solve a financial dispute.

Raikkonen, who decided to race in Abu Dhabi at the last minute, says he has "not been paid a single euro all year".

"I came here only because, hopefully, we found an understanding," he said.

"Hopefully it will be fixed and we can finish the season. If it's not dealt with as it should be, we end up in an unfortunate situation."

Raikkonen ice cold on team radio

Raikkonen's Lotus salary is eight million euros (£6.7m) plus a bonus of 50,000 euros (£42,000) a point. That means Lotus so far owe him 17.15m euros (£14.5m) this year.

He was also not paid in 2012 until the end of the season.

Lotus have cash-flow problems and argue they need to take care of their employees first because Raikkonen is already a multi-millionaire and does not need the money to live.

Raikkonen, who signed to race for Ferrari in September because Lotus could not give him the guarantees he was seeking about their financial stability, said: "I understand the team side of it, but when you have been put in a position and told different stories...

"If people think you don't work for the team or you don't care what happens it is not exactly true.

"I am only here because I enjoy the driving. But there are too many other things that get involved, a big part of it is business. We all try to make the best out of it. It is sad we end up in the position we are."

Team boss Eric Boullier said: "Yes we still owe him some money. It is a never-ending story and I am not here to put something on the fire."

Raikkonen was also upset at the last race in India, when the team's trackside operations director Alan Permane swore at him on the pit-to-car radio when ordering him to move over for team-mate Romain Grosjean towards the end of the race.

Formula 1: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix highlights

Raikkonen admitted he had not been pleased to be talked to in that way but said that was not "a big part" of his unhappiness with the team.

Raikkonen also rejected suggestions he would not try to beat the Ferrari drivers in the race because Lotus and the Italian team are locked in a battle with Mercedes for second place in the constructors' championship.

"I try to do the best I can in every race," he said. "It is not the happiest moment when we have difficulties. I still try to do my best. I have no reason to come here and just drive around."

Boullier admitted Lotus's two main options for a driver to replace Raikkonen in 2014 were Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg and Williams's Pastor Maldonado.

"We have different options open," Boullier said. "Hulkenberg and Maldonado have contracts ready to sign, not signed. We have a couple of other options. Once we decide the strategy of the team, we will pick up the options we want."

He admitted a potential investment deal with a US-Middle Eastern consortium called Quantum could play a key role.

"We want first the interest for the team and one of them is to make sure we can pay them every month," he said. "If we can close the deal with Quantum it could be a different story."

Lotus would prefer to take Hulkenberg, but may be forced to sign Maldonado, who potentially has an annual £30m budget from Venezuela's state oil company, if the Quantum deal does not come off.