FUJI, Japan, Sep 30 (Reuters) Ferrari blamed poor communication with Formula One's governing body for a costly tyre error in rtday's rain-swept Japanese Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen, who finished third at Fuji with his championship hopes now hanging by a thread, said the Italian team had not been told they had to start on extreme wet tyres.
As a result, both he and Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa were ordered to pit to change tyres after the race started behind the safety car in slippery conditions with standing water and heavy spray.
''After the race I heard there were some rules to force everyone to start on full wets but the FIA (International Automobile Federation) or race control forgot to tell our team,'' Raikkonen told a news conference.
''That forced us to pit behind the safety car. It cost us but not a lot. All race I could not see anything.'' A team spokesman said they received an e-mail after the start of the race that they had to use extreme wets and were then told by radio that both drivers had to pit or be disqualified.
''Now there's nothing we can do,'' he said.
''It's not the e-mail itself, it's the communication,'' he added.
''When after five laps the driver is asked to come back because he is forced to change the tyres, and then he is 21st, then your race is spoiled. It's as simple as that.'' Raikkonen is now 17 points behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton with just two races remaining while Massa is out of the title chase after finishing sixth.
Ferrari have already won the constructors' championship for a record 15th time after McLaren were stripped of all their points earlier this month for having Ferrari technical information in their possession.
REUTERS BJR PM1444