Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen gave little away Thursday about the state of his bad back, likely to fuel speculation ahead of the Korean Grand Prix that he is struggling with the injury.
The famously terse Lotus driver raced to third two weeks ago under the lights in Singapore, but there had been concerns beforehand that he might not even make the race because of the long-standing injury.
The former world champion, 33, suffered the injury in a testing crash in 2001.
"I wouldn`t be here if I wouldn`t be racing," he told reporters at the Yeongam circuit. "It would be a bit pointless to come here if I didn`t think that I would race.
"Obviously tomorrow we`ll see. Right now it`s OK. It`s always difficult to say until you drive, but I think it should be fine.
"Once we try it tomorrow, I`ll know more. Like I said already at the last race, this wasn`t the first time and I`m sure it won`t be the last time.
"It`s something that I`ve been dealing with for a long time."
The Finn, who has slipped to fourth in the world championship with six races left, said in Singapore that he was effectively racing for free because he had not been given his full salary from Lotus.
The team later admitted a "cash flow" meant they were behind in their payments.
Raikkonen refused Thursday to say if he had now got all his money, and also dismissed talk about his high-profile move to Ferrari next year.
"Not really, I don`t need to comment on those things. People try to write a lot of things about it," he said, asked if he had received his money.
And asked if Ferrari would be able to close the gap on the rampaging Red Bulls next season, he said: "I don`t know. I`ll try to finish this year and then see what happens."
Practice for the Korean Grand Prix begins Friday.