Sir Jackie Stewart on Saturday said he is confident Kimi Raikkonen will line up in his black and gold Lotus in Austin later this month.
After arriving in Abu Dhabi a day late, Finn Raikkonen said he considered sitting out this weekend’s grand prix because he has not been paid “one euro” in 2013. Lotus cannot hide its financial problems at present, as it waits increasingly impatiently for millions in crucial backing from a group of private investors known as ‘Quantum’.
In the meantime, the Ferrari-bound Raikkonen has warned he might sit out the last two races of the season – in Austin and Brazil this month – if Lotus does not quickly find some money. “As it stands,” F1 legend Stewart told the German broadcaster Sky in Abu Dhabi, “the team does not seem to have the necessary cash to pay the driver and even some of the suppliers. “I hope it’s resolved quickly,” added the 74-year-old, who is an advisor to Lotus’ Gerard Lopez-led team owner, Genii Capital.
Stewart is confident. “The owners tell me that this problem will be resolved no later than the grand prix in Austin,” he revealed. “I hope that’s right and Kimi completes the season. He is a great driver and with the team he has delivered great results this year,” the famous Scot added. Stewart also defended Lotus, insisting that while its financial problems are grabbing the headlines at present, there is trouble elsewhere in pitlane as well. “I know of at least three teams who have not paid their drivers as of today,” he said.