Raikkonen could walk away from Lotus before season’s end

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Kimi Raikkonen has said that he could leave Lotus before the end of the season unless he receives some of the money that he is owed by the team.

The on-going feud between Raikkonen and Lotus over payment has been well documented, with the team insisting that the situation is completely normal as this is how they manage their cash flow. However, Raikkonen, who will leave the team at the end of the year in favor of a move back to Ferrari, is losing patience and could leave early as a result. He also revealed that he very nearly didn’t come to the race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“I came here only because we found an understanding on the certain issues we have been having,” he explained to journalists on Friday. “Hopefully it will be fixed and we can finish the season as well as we can.

“I enjoy racing, I enjoy driving, but a big part of it is business. Sometimes, when that is not dealt with like it should be, we end up in an unfortunate situation. You have to put the line in somewhere.”

The breakdown in the relationship between Raikkonen and the team was evident in Korea when trackside operations director Alan Permane swore at the Finn and told him to move aside for the quicker Romain Grosjean. Raikkonen, known for his dislike of communication over the radio, swore back and told them to leave him alone. Eventually, Grosjean did pass his teammate and went on to finish in third place.

Therefore, Raikkonen may not be racing at the Circuit of the Americas later this month when Formula One makes its annual visit to the United States. Should this be the case, it is likely that third driver Davide Valsecchi would step up to his seat for the final two rounds of the season.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.