6 July 2013
Raikkonen would defy boycott as Ecclestone warns of sanctions
Kimi Raikkonen intends to race at the German Grand Prix whether or not his rivals are forced to boycott the event on safety grounds.
Kimi Raikkonen has said that he would be prepared to carry on racing even if his F1 rivals decide to withdraw on safety grounds at the German Grand Prix.
Although the threat of a driver boycott receded after two practice sessions without a repeat of the tyre failures that blighted last weekend's race at Silverstone, the possibility remains at least until the end of qualifying, with the Grand Prix Drivers' Association claiming unanimity on the prospect of sitting out the rest of the weekend should the problems return.
Raikkonen, along with fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas and Force India's Adrian Sutil, are not currently members of the GPDA, and therefore were not involved in the decision to vote and issue a statement confirming the intention to 'strike' on safety grounds ahead of the German weekend.
“I am not part of it, sometimes I go – but I hear about it as quickly as you,” said the Lotus driver, who revealed that he had been invited to take part in the discussion, “I heard [about the boycott but] I am sure it is not going to happen anyhow.”
Reflecting on the last time a race was marred by a mass 'walkout', after Michelin tyre problems prompted all but three teams to take the executive decision to quit the 2005 US Grand Prix after the formation lap, Raikkonen said he wouldn't miss out again.
“For sure, I will race whatever happens this time,” he insisted, “[Lotus] haven't had a single problem all year, so I have no feelings. Motor racing is dangerous, anything can happen. The reason why [the tyres] exploded was that the teams were using them wrong. I am fine with it.”
Interestingly, all eleven teams have said that they would respect their drivers decision should they want to back out of the race this weekend.
“It's not something we discussed with the drivers - they came back from the GPDA meeting and said that they'd made that decision,” McLaren's Sam Michael revealed, “We respect that.
“Both of our drivers, and I'm sure the rest, are fully aware of the changes and investigations that Pirelli have done over the last four or five days. It has been a pretty monumental effort to get the tyres that they've got here. I fully appreciate that. We've had a lot of conversations with Pirelli directly and we're happy with the direction and changes that they're making. Both of our drivers are fully aware of that and understand it [but], at the same time, you can kind of understand their concern. They just don't want a repeat of the last race, so we respect them because of that.”
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