Ferrari insists it was aware of the extent of Kimi Raikkonen's back problems when the Finn was signed up for 2014. The deal was announced in early September, which was before the Singapore grand prix, where Raikkonen admitted he was taking pain killers.
And the 2007 world champion, who is replacing the Williams-bound Felipe Massa, is currently recovering from surgery that has forced him to miss the last two races of the season for Lotus. Asked by the British broadcaster Sky if Ferrari knew about Raikkonen's problems, which reportedly date back a decade, boss Stefano Domenicali laughed: "Of course we know the situation. With the specific situation of Kimi there will be no problem at all," he added.
However, former F1 driver David Coulthard has revealed that the latest "joke" in the paddock is that, given Romain Grosjean's increasingly impressive performances, "Ferrari have signed the wrong Lotus driver". The Scot, though, is not convinced the joke has merit.
"Let's not forget that in their two years as teammates with equal opportunity, Raikkonen has been in front of Grosjean in the championship, and he is going to finish there this year despite Raikkonen missing these last two races," Coulthard, now a television commentator, wrote in his BBC column. "So Grosjean deserves credit where it's due based on the here and now, but world champions deliver over an entire season, and Grosjean has yet to do that."
Meanwhile, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso says he is finally back to full power after his back problems, having struggled through the Austin race weekend with headaches and dizziness and admitting he was "tired" afterwards. "I finally returned (to) training without back pain," he told his Twitter followers, adding a photo of a hotel treadmill session. "Recovery completed. Happy!" the Spaniard added. (GMM)