Lotus expect Raikkonen to stay
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: