Sorry for the delay. I had to digest and reflect on the events in India before I could decide how to attack this one. So for this edition of my review, I won’t do a rundown of the race as usual. I will touch on what has been the big ‘talkie’ since the race. Yes, even more than Vettels 4th championship. Huge congratulations to him by the way. The superlatives have been used up already. Perhaps that is why some people have grown tired of him. Just like the last time a German broke all the records and won everything that was to win. In Vettels case, I have only admiration for his achievement. And with Newey and the rest of the Red Bull team behind him, I see no reason why they will not be frontrunners next year as well. In spite of regulation changes. Hopefully not as dominant as they are now of course.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand. The infamous Lotus team radio message. If you can call it that. I see that the english media is not touching this subject a whole lot. Which is why I have received help from my Finnish correspondant in translating a few articles in the Finnish media that does cover this in further detail. It is always more interesting to get the stories from people that have an incentive to follow something more closely than others. That is where you find the nuggets and usually the correct perspective.
Here is the video of the exchange between Alan Permane and Kimi Raikkonen:
Permane: Kimi, get out of the fucking way!
Kimi: Don’t shout there fucker! I get out of the way when I have a chance, but not during fast corner.
Some people have tried to marginalize, excuse and play down the way Mr. Permane behaved on the radio. To those people I say, you really have no frickin’ clue what you are talking about. “Oh, but when Kimi does it, it gets on t-shirts and is regarded as funny”. If that is how you view this incident you are either completely clueless or you have a major problem with seeing things in context. Maybe both. Let me sit you down and explain why.
There are drivers and then there is the pitwall. We have all heard drivers giving harsh outbursts, shouting and swearing over the radio during the race. It is normal. They are pumped up on adrenaline and they are trying to drive a tricky car in anger on the track. No wonder they come across as pissed sometimes. The pitwall is expected to be that calm voice, helping and assisting their drivers. Be it focusing, or keeping them updated on other crucial information. They are the calm compared to the storm inside the car.
But here we have a profiled leader within the Lotus team, SHOUTING and swearing from the pitwall to a driver in the middle of a race. Perhaps it has happened in Formula 1 before but I have never heard anything like that in all the years I have followed the sport. Not only is it unprofessional but it is so far out of line that it has left the ballpark. Even if Kimi should have moved over before he did, does not excuse this craziness. Besides, Kimi said that he was going to move over. He just wanted to do it at the right place and not in a fast corner.
Imagine for instance Sam Michael shouting and swearing at Hamilton in Brazil last year now that he was going to Mercedes. Ridiculous right? Yes indeed. In fact McLaren did all they could to try and give Hamilton that last win with them. A stark contrast to the things happening in Lotus at the moment. They were able to do so in spite of having to exclude Hamilton from participating in things regarding next years car.
Anywho. This speaks against any theories that Kimi held up Grosjean for a prolonged period of time. And Massa was never a real threat from behind. From the footage it looked like half a lap behind Kimi at the max. It certainly wasn’t 4 or 5 laps like in Bahrain 2012 or in Germany this year for instance. Those times there was a victory on the line. Not just a 3rd place. Where was the abuse over the radio to Grosjean then? None. Which is good. Because I certainly would not have approved of that either. But the irony is palpable.
It is clear that Permane has a beef with Kimi for some reason. And it came out in the open for all to see once again. We saw this in Singapore when he didn’t even hide that he was not pleased with Kimis drive from 13th to 3rd with backpain. The only thing Permane could say was a sneer that Grosjean was clearly faster and would have had the podium instead of Kimi if not for the DNF. He was also fuming after Korea when Kimi overtook Grosjean when he made a mistake.
Does that justify some fans going apeshit on Twitter and Facebook with abuse and swearwords towards the Lotus team? No, of course not. I detest such behaviour. It’s low-brow and only has the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve. It just stoops them to the level of the person they are criticizing. I understand the frustration and anger because of the blatant unfair treatment that Kimi received. But you will always get a lot further with well-chosen words for your critique.
Having said that, I was tempted to let manners be manners after the race. Only my proper upbringing and many years in the finest private schools saved me from going down the same road as the common riff-raff. So let that be a shining example to you all.. But in all seriousness – it gives Kimi fans a bad name. So please behave is my earnest advice.
The honeymoon between Kimi and Lotus is clearly over. He has still not received his full salary. He has effectively been demoted to 2nd driver. With the number 1 driver having accumulated only about half as many points. And Kimi is still doing his very best to keep scoring for Lotus to the end of the season. Just because he enjoys driving. And now he also has to put up with public scorning over the radio. This is what is known as unprofessional business conduct. Behave like this while running a business and you will quickly run into problems. Disagreements should take place behind closed doors, not in public like this. It hurts the image of the business. Which it certainly already has for Lotus. Kimi is being his diplomatic self to the press after the race:
Lotus realized this and have now issued a statement in the words of Boullier where he apologizes for the outburst on the radio and that it won’t happen again. A good effort but not quite. I personally think it should have come from Permane himself. But he most likely refused to do any such thing when asked. Here is the statement: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/110961
A sad thing that came out after the race was Alan Permane sending these tweets:
It seems I have upset a few people by shouting at Kimi, I can understand the die hard fans not liking it, but I do find it odd that.. Some of them say they want to kill my family because of a telling off. #losers
Ok, that sounds bad. And Permane received a lot of sympathy for these tweets. However, upon further investigation there has so far not been found a single tweet containing death threats to Permane or his family. What was found was some nutcase that repeatedly tweeted “Fuck your family” to Permane. It’s sickening – but it’s not a death treat. Here is a screen shot:
After a while, Permane decided to delete the tweets above. Probably because he was being called out on it and realized his mistake. But some media channels picked this up and have posted articles saying that he DID receive death threats over this. The world apparently will and wants to be deceived.
So what is next? Will we see Kimi in Abu Dhabi? Time will tell. But I think so. The fact is that Kimi only deserves praise for what he has done for Lotus for the past two years. Certainly not abuse over the radio. He has brought them more points than they ever thought possible. So many in fact that they struggle to pay him his points bonuses for 2 years in a row. Not to mention all the fans, publicity and thereby sponsors that is a direct consequence of Kimis entrance into the Lotus team. Sadly for Lotus, this debacle has hurt them and their image more than people think.
Enjoy the short break to Abu Dhabi. Keep smiling. And keep your cool and wits about you. Just like the Iceman. A small bonus here at the end. A friend of mine caught a small exchange between Permane and Kimi after the race. There is no sound. But if you know how Kimi is and how Finns behave in general, it doesn’t take an expert in body language to tell that this is one pissed off Finn. Thanks to Karthik for this footage.
Here is the small collection of the previously mentioned Finnish articles. Once again a big thank you to my translator.
P.S. After you have read those below, there are a couple of follow-ups articles from Salo, Hakkinen and Kimis manager here: http://f1bias.com/2013/10/30/words-from-robertson-and-hakkinen-on-radiogate/
Saari baffled over Permane’s swearing: He crossed the line
Räikkönen admitted in MTV3:s interview, that after his Ferrari-deal was announced some people in the team seemed to change their attitude towards him. Yesterday, Alan Permane ordered Räikkönen to give way by using swearing words. Räikkönen replied by swearing back.
– It’s easy to determine that based upon that discussion they are maybe not best friends, but one shouldn’t draw too many conclusions over that.
– I question his behaviour. It’s one thing to say it firmly than to say it like he did. It lacked respect and I think he crossed the line. I believe Permane as a smart man knows himself that he overreacted once he gets time to calm down. That’s what it’s like and this is not the most serious thing in the world.
“Kimi was not fuming over Grosjean”
– In sport there is an emotional charge which sometimes boils over. It describes certain kinds of things about the current situation, but it’s not the whole picture. Kimi mostly has good relationships with people in the team who are important for him.
– One thing has to be noted; although Grosjean wondered over Kimi’s actions, Kimi wasn’t angry at him. Räikkönen only said that he is racing everyone and I doubt any of this bothers Grosjean in any way.
Räikkönen in transition
– It’s a transition. I don’t think the atmosphere is disturbing in any way, but it’s clear that in a situation like that they sort of exclude the driver. It’s inevitable.
Lewis Hamilton was in a similar position last year when his switch from McLaren to Mercedes was announced at the end of September. He said that suddenly he didn’t get all data at his disposal and he wasn’t invited to all meetings. Saari thinks that Räikkönen’s attitude has been professional all the time and that he has proved that with his driving performances.
– Now he ran out of tyres. Otherwise Kimi would had been on the podium. The only thing he can improve is his driving in qualifying, but it’s been like that the whole time in Lotus.
– If we start to see really bad performances then we can say that his attitude has changed, but he works like a professional. I don’t sit at their lunch table every day listening to what they talk about, but Kimi has seemed to be in a good mood on the outside and I haven’t seen any anxiety on the outside on either sides, Saari said.
Turun Sanomat, Column 27.10.
Kimi Räikkönen is not the only iceman in Lotus anymore. It is becoming more and more apparent from the team management’s orders to Kimi that the emotions have clearly cooled – and even frozen.
Right after Kimi’s Ferrari-deal was announced, Kimi battled himself to 3rd position (from 13th) in Singapore even though he had backpains.
After the race, when I asked Alan Permane in a friendly manner from what he thought about that kind of persistence from a driver who is leaving the team, his reply chilled the atmosphere at once. Permane dismissed the question by saying that everyone could see that Romain Grosjean was faster and that he would have beaten Kimi without the retirement.
In Korea Räikkönen overtook Grosjean and came in 2nd, although the Frenchman cried to get his position back. Eric Boullier said that he knew without asking that Kimi wouldn’t had obeyed him at that point.
Now in India the team management’s language has turned vulgar. Permane snapped when Räikkönen made Grosjean’s overtake so tough – and the driver paid him back the same way…
At least Lotus got what they wanted. Grosjean took a Räikkönen-like 3rd podium while his teammate collected some odd points in the background like in Japan. Lotus caught Ferrari with nine points and the 3rd position is now 24 points away.
Räikkönen’s race was much like his 3rd race in Lotus last year in China. There Kimi tried to hold on with worn tyres in 2nd position ahead of a long train, then when he lost the grip completely the whole row went past him. Räikkönen came in 14th.
At least it didn’t go that bad this time.
It has been boiling between Räikkönen and Lotus for a long time
There was a lot of fuss around Lotus on Sunday in Indian GP after Alan Permane and Kimi Räikkönen cursed to each other on the public team radio. Permane and Räikkönen had a heated argument on the paddock where they apparently shouted things that can’t be printed. Räikkönen was not seen in the Lotus team photo where they celebrated Grosjean’s 3rd podium.
Räikkönen’s comeback to F1 with Lotus has been a significant success story. Out of the big stars only Niki Lauda and Alain Prost have made a successful comebacks to F1 after having a break.
Räikkönen have benefited from Lotus and Lotus has benefited from Räikkönen. Lotus couldn’t however fulfill their obligations. They didn’t pay Räikkönen’s salary in time so it was no wonder that Räikkönen made a contract with Ferrari in summer.
After the summer break, Lotus clearly changed their attitude towards Räikkönen. Earlier the car was being completely suited around Räikkönen, but after the Ferrari-deal the team has concentrated their resources around Romain Grosjean. Räikkönen’s and Grosjean’s driving styles are very different and the one suffers when the other is favoured.
Due to the better treatment in autumn Grosjean has got a lot of self-confidence. At the same time Räikkönen has faded. However, Räikkönen doesn’t obey team orders and the argument on Sunday was only a matter of time.
Lotus is also irritated over Räikkönen revealing that his salaries were delayed. Räikkönen would be free to leave the team immediately because the employer hasn’t kept their commitments. Räikkönen has decided to drive in Lotus for the rest of the season just for the joy of it.
The media awaits with interest for Räikkönen’s arrival to the paddock area in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Sebastian Vettel secured his 4th WDC on Sunday, but Räikkönen probably gets more requests for interviews.
We will wait with excitement to see if Räikkönen and Lotus can make up their argument and if Räikkönen even drives in the season’s last races.
Kimi and Permanes exchange of words continued in the paddock
Kimi Räikkönen and Alan Permane shouted to each other on the team radio in Indian GP. The exchange of words continued on the premises after the race.
French Canal Plus channel F1 commentator Julien Febreau posted a comment on his Twitter-account according to which Räikkönen gave an earful to Permane.
– The exchange of words between Raikkonen and Permane in Lotus premises after the race was brilliant. Kimi was surprisingly convincing, Febreau tweeted.
Permane shouted orders to Räikkönen during the race and he ordered Räikkönen to let Romain Grosjean pass. The exchange of words included lots of swearing words.
– Kimi, get out of the fucking way, Permane shouted on the radio.
– Don’t fucking shout on the radio, Raikkonen answered and said he would let him by when the opportunity comes.