Valsecchi to replace Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen is to miss the final two races of the 2013 Formula 1 season because of back problems. The Finn aggravated his back injury in training and now needs to undergo back surgery in order to be fully fit for the start of the 2014 season, when he will rejoin Ferrari. Raikkonen will undergo surgery in Salzburg, Austria.

Lotus has not said anything as yet but the replacement driver will be F1 new boy Davide Valsecchi, the team’s nominated reserve. The 26-year-old Italian was the GP2 Champion last year but has not raced this year, despite attending all the Grands Prix with the team.

Valsecchi’s F1 experience includes driving an HRT in the young driver test in 2010. He then became the Lotus (Caterham) test driver in 2011 and drove a car in Malaysia and has since done other tests with Lotus F1 Team.

57 thoughts on “Valsecchi to replace Raikkonen

  1. If Hulk is driving for them next year wouldn’t it make sense to pay Sauber a bit of money to move him now? Surely Sauber can use the cash and given how close they are to catching Ferrari there it’s a good chance that they can make back the money and then some. Or does this say where Hulk is NOT going……

  2. Wow, as a regular visitor I know you don’t write ‘will’ instead off ‘probably will’ by accident.
    Shame, I thought this was an excellent moment to let free agent Hulkenberg drive. Especially when looking at the constructors’.

    1. He’ll probably do just as well in a Sauber – particularly if it’s wet in Brazil. He knows the car and what all its buttons do, and none of the new faces or ridiculous media hype he’d get it he switched teams now.

  3. Do you think this is down to the fact that Lotus STILL haven’t recieved any money from Quantum motorsport?. Perhaps KImi is just being kind the the guys back at the Lotus factory, and not dragging them through the press again?.

    What do you think Joe?

    1. My view is very simple. If the money arrives then Quantum arrives then they will be heroes. If the money does not arrive then they will be viewed in a very negative fashion. It is really very simple.

      1. Have you heard anymore on this then Joe, I know a couple of people that work at Enstone, and they are saying that nothing has changed. No money has arrived as yet, at it all still very much up in the air as to what is happening. I really to feel for the guys there at the moment. You say that you meet with this Mansoor guy , and one of the backers.
        Now I know that he does shall we say ‘ have a bit of a reputation’, but surely the guys part of this consortium ( who are very well respected businessman), wouldn’t want to be make to look like idiots .

        1. Do you think that Gerard Lopex and Eric Lux would waste all this time with the guy if they did not think that there was money there? I do not.
          However, until the money arrives the guy’s reputation is on the line. It is as simple as that. F1 is not a forgiving world so if he fails to deliver, he is never going to be treated seriously again. The pressure is on everybody.

      2. Quite an achievement for Ijaz/Lopez inc to get a fine F1 pundit like Joe to buy their story about “when the boat comes in”.
        Joe, if this Quantum/Infinity mirage is shown to have even a slight semblance of truth, I will eat my pet hamster alive on youtube.

        1. I have not bought anything. Read the column and you will see my view. It is all about delivery. What happened before and what happens after are irrelevant. And don’t think they are working together. That us clearly not the case.

  4. barring winning both races what sort of performance would make them take him instead of hulkenburg, ie do you think there is any chance at all of valsecchi racing for the enstone team next season? if not does it really make sense to run him in the last 2 races over an experienced driver who might get them 3rd in the championship?

  5. My opinion is that Kimi isn’t being that fair taking a early bath to be ready for his new employer.

    Oh yes I know he wasn’t paid but one presumes he has or will be.

      1. Regardless …. this move by Kimi was utterly and totally predictable as well as well as a foregone conclusion weeks ago .. back problem or no back problem … with the real ‘ back problem ‘ IMO being Kimi’s back pocket not being filled with the promised alms for doing his job . Oh I’m sure there’s a physical issue to be dealt with as well … but had Kimi been paid …. he’d of finished the season .The mans got ‘ sisu’ * coming out his ears when treated with respect 😉

        Prediction ; Lotus F1 hits the relegation bin by the end of the 2014 season . We’ll see .

        * Finnish idiom translating loosely as ‘ doing what ever it takes regardless of the circumstances or consequences ‘

        1. Been looking fairly bleak as to season 2014 prospects ever since Allison departed. Can hardly wait to see their next trick.

      2. No wonder he is being such a pain in the back . But one look at his career, and one will realize that beside being a fast driver, he has always been a pain in the back, when it comes to being a human being. Misbehaving with the team, with the sponsors, with the fans, is the story of the Finn’s life, occasionally punctuated by being fast in the car. Good luck Ferrari 🙂

        1. I have a feeling Ferrari know a bit better what it’s like to work with Kimi than anyone writing here… 😉

          I wouldn’t be too surprised if it turns out Ferrari actually suggested such a move to Kimi (he did visit them just a few days ago, after all), and that the teams came to some kind of an agreement over the issue. Most likely Kimi was going to have a surgery anyway over the winter, and it’s obviously very beneficial for Ferrari if he gets an extra couple of weeks to recover.

      3. Thinking more about this, coming from Kimi, yes! that’s possible. If it were another pilot, I’d say that’s a cover story. (that == missing the remaining races due to back pain)

      4. I’m sure he does, and that he’s really having surgery.

        I think the question is, does he really need it -right now-?

        Perhaps I’m falling into paranoia, but I thought it pretty odd that he couldn’t wait a month before going to Maranello for his 2014 seat fitting. Particularly since they presumably -already had- his measurements…

      5. I don’t know any F1 driver personally. But I doubt anyone of them would of them would resort to any underhanded tactics. Once one starts anything of the sort your character is called into question.

      6. So do, I but I still have to go to work? Lets face it, we have seen this before from kimi. He loses interest and then cant be bothered. Plus it doesn’t look good having a certain Romain Grosjean kicking his behind till the end of the season, does it ? You will see the same at Ferrari in 2 years time!

    1. I respectfully disagree. You presume he will be paid, but stuff happens even when all parties have the best of intentions, and he might not. Joe thinks the back ailment is real, so I’ll go with that. But speaking hypothetically, I wouldn’t blame Kimi for living up to his earlier position that if he wasn’t paid he wasn’t driving. I think he’s given Lotus the benefit of the doubt for quite a while, and eventually it’s human nature to begin to think you’re being played for a fool.

      As far as I’m concerned, this season can’t be over soon enough.

  6. Best of luck to Valsecchi, I was starting to think he wouldn’t get an F1 chance. Now he’ll have a myriad of opportunity over these two races! Austin is a hard circuit, Brazil a classic circuit. Short or long wheelbase car… many decisions to make. Only one yardstick – Romain Grosjean. It’ll be interesting to see if he does better than D’Ambrosio did at Monza last year. If he scores points I think he will have done well. This might be his one and only chance, so he has to grab it with both hands.

    I agree with the back – and Kimi is not one for finishing out the season simply to secure third in the drivers’ standings, and the team are losing chances to gain constructors’ places with mistakes anyway. I do hope the Quantum investment turns up for the team and F1s sake.

  7. Shame F1 cars don’t have any suspension any more. Springs have disappeared in favour of complex torque twisty bar systems all of which work to prevent roll, heave, etc but do nothing for the driver’s back, should he run over anything as enormous as a matchstick, let alone a 50mm high kerb.

    Strange that the seats have not been developed to provide some impact damping for the posterior. Basically the opposite of the custard effect is needed, so that it remains rigid normally but softens under a huge impact in a controlled manner. come on fellas it must be possible. look ho much Kimmi’s and Fernando’s backs are costing at the moment, it must be ost effective to develop proper seats.

    I remember an SF short story about a war between advanced species, the aim of the scientists involved, was to develop a matter disrupter. This could only be done using a huge factory and static field generator. But they were led to believe (by deceit, misdirection and huge lies) by demonstration that the other side had made it into a portable weapon. Once they knew it could be done (though it had not been) it threw their thinking in different directions and they of course won the day. So it should be possible to make decent energy absorbing reactive seats for drivers.

  8. I don’t doubt Kimi for one second. The guy’s been suffering physically for some time. I only hope the surgery is useful. As for valsecchi, this seating arrangement will be a great way to charm the other teams as well. No pressure.

  9. Since Ferrari signed Kimi without (apparent) knowledge of his serious back issues (if I recall he only brought it up after his move was announced) how likely is the timing of this surgery a demand from Maranello? Wouldn’t surprise me if at his seat fitting the Italians surrounded him with a look of ‘so about this back issue you failed to mention which has a six week recovery period after surgery – maybe now would be an ideal time to consider things…’

    I’m sure Kimi doesn’t have major objections given the unpleasant breakdown of his lotus career but I’d say this was more Ferrari demands than his personal vendetta. Besides Ferrari might like less of a threat from Lotus in the final championship placings…

    1. Ferrari should have been more than aware of his serious back issues, its been pretty much common knowledge, in fact here’s a quote from a report from his rallying days in 2010.

      “The Citroen Junior team driver had planned at least one day of testing between Rally Sweden and Mexico, but was forced to rest instead after aggravating an injury – sustained during his F1 career – in Rally Sweden.”

      1. There have been numerous reports from inside Ferrari that they had no idea he required surgery when they signed him again. Especially a surgery with a very significant recovery period.

        1. Most driver contracts have the following clause (or one like it):

          The driver shall “have the physical, psychological and legal capacity to fulfil without exception all the obligations entered into under the terms of the present contract, retain such capacity for the entire duration of the present contract, and be able to demonstrate such capacity to the team at any time, in particular by the presentation of all relevant medical documents”.

  10. With funding being questionable. How long before other “top” drivers will have to take a “haircut” on their compensation. I am sure there a plenty of drivers that would drive an F1 car for a % of the salary the top one gets……..

  11. As Valsecchi is the 3rd driver, would it be in his contract the he has to race in at least one of the races where one of the regular drivers are not fit to race?

  12. Ah you just have to love Kimi.

    The team put their standard (worthless?) press releases out on Friday evening with the standard preview quotes from their drivers – obviously including those from Kimi.

    The story was given to a Finnish newspaper, with his (former) team then having to play catch up with the media.

    Well ok you dont have to love him if you work in PR for his current employer, but he certainly knows how to deliver a ‘screw you guys’ message properly!

    Whether he really has a back problem that needs dealt with now or not is irrelevant, the way this was handled speaks volumes about the state of relationships behind the scenes at that team.

    1. –The story was given to a Finnish newspaper, with his (former) team then having to play catch up with the media.–

      I didn’t know that Derek. If the chronology is accurate, I would be even more likely to believe the official version is somewhat different to what really happened.

      –the way this was handled speaks volumes about the state of relationships behind the scenes at that team–

      Exactly. The way the story broke is a perfect example of how not to handle important news. Assuming, of course, Lotus was given the opportunity to break the news in the first place. By the look of things, Lotus may have received the news a wee bit second-hand. What does that tell us?

      On the one hand, KR might have made a snap decision out of necessity, albeit one that causes difficulties for Lotus. On the other, there are too many oddities surrounding this affair, for it to be explained away as happenstance.

        1. Fair enough Joe, but it does seem rather odd that Lotus weren’t given the opportunity to control such an important story.

          Just read your new article (“The Lotus position” – nice one). I had looked at the points differential between P2 & P4 in the WCC and thought Lotus couldn’t make up any places. Your point about the Lotus scores since Singapore is interesting. Add in the possible absence of Alonso for the next race and Lotus’s chances are even better. Except KR has just jumped ship. If he hadn’t, Lotus would have been a big threat in the event that Alonso missed the next race.

          Yes, interesting stuff.

  13. Joe, a little off topic but what’s your take on the rumours of Kevin Magnussen getting a seat at McLaren? If true, where does this leave Perez – could he be a late contender for the Lotus seat?

  14. PitLaneTalk ‏@KomivesP31s

    Nico Hulkenberg’s manager: “We have an offer from Lotus for the last two races of this season. We are still negotiating.”

            1. I don’t generally put links up as this attracts all sorts of self-publicists, spam and all the rest of it. I allow them occasionally if I think that the story is correct and the source a valid one.

              1. I was very surprised that you reported Valsecchi to drive for Lotus as a fact when it was obviously not confirmed by any source, that was just guessing. It did makte the most sense though. But anyway: anyone can make mistakes.

                1. What do you know about my source and whether it was confirmed? Answer: Nothing. In fact the source later apologised. However when it was written that was the plan.

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