NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Lotus apologized on Monday for bad language in a heated exchange with their driver Kimi Raikkonen during Sunday’s Indian Formula One Grand Prix.
Trackside operations director Alan Permane was heard on the team radio using a profanity to order the Finn, who had worn tires and overheating brakes, to move over and let team mate Romain Grosjean through for third place.
Raikkonen, who famously told his team over the radio last year to leave him alone because he knew what he was doing, replied with some choice words of his own.
“Romain was two seconds per lap faster than Kimi at that time, so it was not even a team order,” team principal Eric Boullier told the team’s website (www.lotusf1team.com).
“With hindsight, this radio message could have been sent in a less emotional way. There was a lot of tension, a lot of potential technical problems, and some of the words that flew around were simply not appropriate,” added the Frenchman.
“I know that quite a few people were surprised and I can only apologize for that on behalf of the team. It won’t happen again.”
Grosjean has finished third in the last three races while Raikkonen’s form has tailed off since the 2007 world champion, seventh on Sunday, announced he was leaving to rejoin Ferrari next season.
The Frenchman had to go off track to avoid a collision with his team mate as he tried to pass and was critical of him afterwards.
“We could have lost two cars. Honestly, I don’t know - it’s not my problem. I overtook him and thankfully we did not lose any points,” he told Sky television.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris