August 22nd, 2013 (GMM).- With speculation over his future at melting point, Kimi Raikkonen called in sick on Thursday.
Earlier, as the F1's media spotlight prepared to shine on the Finn as he chooses between Lotus, Red Bull and Ferrari for 2014, Reuters correspondent Alan Baldwin described the 2007 world champion as "the least garrulous" driver on the grid.
And yet, Baldwin added, he is "the man everyone is talking about" ahead of the Belgian grand prix, the first race after F1's forced August slumber.
Raikkonen's media rounds would have been packed to the rafters on Thursday, but the 33-year-old is not yet at Spa.
Reporters were hoping to hear why he will not be joining Red Bull and what his plans are for the future.
Lotus said Raikkonen is unwell, but will be present for Friday's free practice sessions.
In a brief statement, the team said: "Thursday media call cancelled due to illness - he will be here tomorrow Friday."
There was no official word from Lotus about the nature of Raikkonen's problem.
On the flip-side, as three teams seemingly tussle for Raikkonen's services, Felipe Massa is fighting simply to keep his seat at Ferrari.
Reporting from Spa, Guardian correspondent Paul Weaver said the Italian team has given the Brazilian two more races - Spa and Monza - to prove he should stay beyond his 2013 contract.
At the very same time, Germany's Welt newspaper is reporting that negotiations between Ferrari and on-the-market Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg have begun.
Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson said this week that he believed the Finn will stay at Lotus in 2014 if the team provides him financial and technical guarantees.