Kimi Raikkonen spent two-year at Lotus and it led to him being unpaid for over a year and the team almost filing for bankruptcy.
Kimi Raikkonen took a break from his Formula One career at the end of 2009. He went on to compete in rallying and also made notable appearances with NASCAR.
Back in 2012, he signed up with Lotus on a two-year contract. Much to everyone’s surprise, this team had nothing in common with the historical title-winning team.
Let us read as Raikkonen’s exceptional performance led to the team Lotus almost filing for bankruptcy.
Kimi Raikkonen sure knew what he was doing
Veteran Kimi Raikkonen was looking to make his return in F1 alongside rookie Roman Grosjean. The duo was an exciting-looking pairing much to the team’s surprise who expected their car to be finishing outside the points more often than not.
Raikkonen went on to score 390 points across two years in Lotus. He secured two race victories and 13 podiums in a rather overachieving car.
Every F1 fan knows the Kimi comment ‘leave me alone, I know what I’m doing.’ This comment was also made at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Leave him alone, he knows what he is doing! 👍 Kimi Raikkonen won his second #AusGP back in 2013 for Lotus F1 Team #F1 pic.twitter.com/rAPbOXlYlB
— F1 Australian Grand Prix (@ausgrandprix) February 8, 2020
50k Bonus for every championship point scored
F1 driver’s contract details are confidential. The drivers earn plenty of incentives over their base salary as well. Kimi also had an incentive clause in his contract just like every other driver.
However, what differs is how lightly the team thought of their car and Kimi Raikkonen. The Finnish international scored while driving for Ferrari scored 123 points in his two years tenure with the team.
Lotus’ team boss Gérard Lopéz assumed that the tally of 123 points will not be broken by Raikkonen again. Keeping this into consideration, the team decided to pay the Iceman €50,000 bonus for each world championship point scored.
#OTD Precisely 10 years ago, Kimi Matias Raikkonen made his #F1 test comeback. He drove a Lotus-Renault R31 at Valencia. pic.twitter.com/uPCVnb4uAE
— Motorsports in the 2000s (@CrystalRacing) January 23, 2022
Surviving without a season’s salary
Never forget the time Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean escorted Daft Punk to the grid during the 2013 Monaco GP. Peak of the modern Lotus era. 🏁#F1 pic.twitter.com/hdBL9E4Ysh
— Marj. (@bouncebckbelle) February 22, 2021
The 2007 World Champion joined Ferrari after two years with Lotus after revealing to the public that Lotus owed him money. He said: “But the reason I have left the team [Lotus] is purely from the money side. I haven’t got my salary.”
He further added: “Sometimes it is not very nice when you hear you are not really a team player and you don’t have the interests of the team. But in reality, you have been paid zero euros the whole year.”
Kimi would eventually go on to join Ferrari marking an end to his Lotus career. Meanwhile, the Renault group purchased by the end of 2015 and announced their return to the sport for the 2016 season.