Raikkonen to miss final two races of season for back surgery

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Kimi Raikkonen will miss the final two rounds of the 2013 Formula One season in order to undergo back surgery ahead of his move to Ferrari in 2014. This means that the Finn will no longer be racing at the Circuit of the Americas in the United States Grand Prix, set to take place next weekend.

Raikkonen has suffered from a recurring back injury throughout his career, but it has become increasingly problematic of late and it was thought that he may take the decision to pull out of the final few races of the year in order to correct the problem.

Speaking to Autosport, Raikkonen’s manager, Steve Robertson, confirmed that the Finn would not be racing in the final two rounds of the season.

“In an ideal world it would have been nice to finish the season with Lotus in the final two grands prix,” he explained. “However, due to the severe pain that Kimi is having, sadly it is not possible.”

Therefore, Raikkonen has raced for Lotus for the final time, bringing to an end a two-year stint at Enstone that has turned sour due to financial problems. He made clear in Abu Dhabi that he would consider walking away from the team early if they could not come to some sort of agreement, but team principal Eric Boullier insisted earlier this week that relations were good with Raikkonen despite him having a seat fitting with Ferrari. Nevertheless, Raikkonen’s decision to have back surgery should allow him to begin life with the Italian marque in 2014 fully fit.

Lotus released a statement on Sunday afternoon confirming the news.

“Lotus F1 Team can confirm that Kimi Raikkonen will miss the final two races of the 2013 Formula 1 season to undergo, and recover from, back surgery. The team will make an announcement about the replacement driver for the United States and Brazilian Grands Prix in due course.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”