Räikkönen to miss final races for surgery
10 November 2013 – Kimi Räikkönen will miss the final two races of the 2013 Formula 1 season, with the Finn opting to undergo a back operation next week. His current Lotus squad is yet to confirm who will take his place for the US and Brazilian events.
Ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Räikkönen was embroiled in a salary row with the outfit, revealing that he had not been paid all year. However, both parties appeared to reach an agreement that would see them reach the end of the campaign together.
The latest development, broken by Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, will see Räikkönen travel to Salzburg, Austria for early back surgery. Having initially flared up in Singapore, his condition is now said to be too intolerable for further racing this year.
With two months between the final race in Brazil and the opening pre-season test of 2014, there were concerns that delaying an operation any longer could have affected Räikkönen's preparations when he makes his return to former employers Ferrari.
In terms of a replacement driver, Lotus reserve Davide Valsecchi has been on hand all season should an opportunity arise. The Italian, 26, claimed the GP2 crown in 2012 and completed mileage at the wheel of the E21 chassis during pre-season testing.
The team could of course opt for someone outside its pool, with Nico Hülkenberg the desired 2014 team-mate of Romain Grosjean. But according to reports in the German media, drafting the Sauber driver in for the last two rounds is an unlikely prospect.
When contacted by GPUpdate.net on Sunday, a spokesman for the Enstone-based outfit said an announcement over its second driver would be made "in due course".