Lotus expect Raikkonen to stay

Source: autosport.com

Lotus expects Kimi Raikkonen to commit himself to another year with the team, despite the Finn being linked with Ferrari.

It emerged over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend that Raikkonen is on the list of contenders at Ferrari if the team elects to replace Felipe Massa in 2013, despite a strained relationship between the 2007 world champion and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Neither Raikkonen nor Ferrari moved to totally dismiss the idea at the Hungaroring, but Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says he is not worried because he sees no better option for his driver than staying where he is.

“It is nice that Ferrari is in the newspapers, but I don’t know that Kimi has plans to go back to Ferrari,” explained Boullier, who saw Raikkonen challenge for victory at the Hungaroring.

When asked if he expected to keep both Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean next year, Boullier said: “Definitely. There is no reason for them to leave.”

Ferrari insists it is still happy to bide its time over choosing its second driver for 2012, even though that may mean losing an outside chance it could have of luring Raikkonen away.

Team principal Stefano Domenicali said: “Kimi was a world champion with us and I saw the speculation in the media but nothing more than that.

“I can confirm what I said to you last week; basically we are not in a rush to make a decision or announce anything because we want to take our time.

“We are aligned with Felipe and we want to protect him, and it is important for this championship. So there is nothing new to report.”

When asked to categorically rule out interest in either Raikkonen or Jenson Button, who was linked with the team in reports in the Italian media, Domenicali said: “There is no rush on our decision and no information I can give you now, but I think the drivers you mentioned have contracts with other teams and we are not in a rush.”

F1 editor Adam Hay Nicholls’ opinion on Ferrari ditching Kimi:

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4 responses

  1. Following article translation courtesy of Nicole:

    http://www.ts.fi/moottoriurheilu/f1/373132/Lotus+ei+luovu+kuskikaksikostaan
    *
    * Lotus will not abandon their driver-duo **

    F1 | Turun Sanomat 29.7.2012 23:33

    Soon Eric Boullier doesn’t have fingers enough when counting the podium-positions. After Bahrain Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean was again on the podium together.

    Lotus is fighting even harder for the WCC-silver, just as hard as Räikkönen is driving for the WDC.

    They even asked Bouillier about the rumor on the paddock where Ferrari would be interested in hiring Räikkönen for next season.

    – What can one say to that? I’m sure it’s a nice rumor to put in the magazine. However I don’t believe Kimi would have any plans to go back to Ferrari.

    Boullier confirmed that Lotus will keep their current driver-duo in 2013, although there are only options about it.

    – We definitely want to continue with the same duo. There is no reason to change them and there’s no reason to leave either, Boullier said.

    Räikkönen wasn’t bothered over the Ferrari-thing.

    – I don’t have anything bad to say about them. I had a good time in the team and won my WDC there. Things could have gone a bit nicer in the end. But life goes on and you never know what happens. But I’m satisfied in Lotus and am not going to get in the mess of rumors. Ask those who write about them.

    Boullier smiled widely after the 2nd and 3rd positions.

    – It was definitely a tought result to get both cars on the podium on a track like Hungaroring. For me this was an even better race than Bahrain, since our both drivers recovered after difficulties and were able to challenge the leading man.

    – I am also pleased that after announcing about our input in qualification, both were in the top 5. If we can do similar performances on other tracks, then we can drive for victory in every race.

    Bernie Ecclestone interfered the international interview to congratulate Bouillier.

    – Almost there! Well done! Ecclestone cheered.

    – Kimi did a phenomenal lap before his pitstop and overtook Romain due to that. Of course there is stress when the cars are so close. They are both fierce drivers but respect each others in a healthy way, Boullier praised.

    – We have big updates coming to Spa and Monza, Boullier promises.

    There also something else coming than just the DDRS-wing.

    Turun Sanomat, Budapest

    HEIKKI KULTA

    July 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm

  2. yeahh..Kimi better stay and win his WDC here in Lotus :)

    July 31, 2012 at 3:06 am

  3. Leonardo

    Eric Boullier is an idiot.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:52 am

  4. Kimi4WDC

    I just hope Lotus will re-adjust their targets through summer break and Kimi will be a number one driver as he got the best chance of World Title. Nothing to take from Grosjean, he is fast and I’m sure he will have a better start next season, but every point counts this season.

    July 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm

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