Lotus to announce Kimi's replacement 'in due course'
Lotus has confirmed Kimi Raikkonen will miss the rest of the season and said it will make an announcement about his replacement in due course.
The news Raikkonen would miss the remaining two races of the season, thus bringing an early end to his Lotus career as he heads to Ferrari next year, broke on Sunday morning in the Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat. Raikkonen's manager confirmed his driver will skip the US and Brazilian Grands prix to undergo necessary back surgery next week.
"Lotus F1 Team can confirm that Kimi Räikkönen will miss the final two races of the 2013 Formula One season to undergo, and recover from, back surgery," read an Lotus' statement a few hours later.
"The team will make an announcement about the replacement driver for the United States and Brazilian Grands Prix in due course."
GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi is the team's reserve driver and has tested the car twice this year, once while standing in for an unwell Raikkonen in pre-season testing and again during the young driver test at Silvestone this summer. The team appears to have been caught by surprise after releasing preview quotes from Raikkonen on Friday looking ahead to next weekend's US Grand Prix.