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'Leave me alone' - Raikkonen tells Lotus team

Published: 9:05AM Saturday November 10, 2012 Source: Reuters

Kimi Raikkonen has made sure his Lotus Formula One team are kept on message by buying T-shirts for the entire factory with the words "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing" on the front.

The Finn uttered the phrase, which is already part of Formula One lore, after being spoken to by his engineers on the team radio, while on his way to winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last Monday.

Later in the race, he also told them, when reminded of the need to keep his tyres warm while behind the safety car: "Yes, yes, yes. I'm doing it all the time. You don't have to remind me every second".

The victory at Yas Marina was the first for the former Renault team, based at the Enstone factory in central England, under the name of Lotus, and the first of Raikkonen's comeback after two years' absence in rallying and NASCAR.

A team spokesman said a consignment of some 500 T-shirts in the Lotus black-and-gold colours that arrived at the factory this week were a gift from the 2007 world champion, who has an army of fans enamoured with his no-nonsense approach to racing and independent spirit.

"Kimi has certainly made his mark, and shown that he's back in Formula One and back at his best form," said team principal Eric Boullier, in a preview for next week's U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

"Having him back getting podiums and a win is great for him, great for the team and great for the fans. Moreover, 'Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing' has already become a Formula One classic."