| Source: autosport.com |
Kimi Raikkonen will commit himself to a fresh contract at Lotus as long as the outfit continues to build on its strong start to the campaign, reckons team owner Gerard Lopez.
The Finn is a free agent at the end of the year, and his strong comeback to F1 has already seen him emerge as one of the key players in the 2014 driver market.
But despite speculation already linking him with other teams – including Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari – Lopez says he is ‘convinced’ that Raikkonen will remain where he is providing Lotus maintains it competitive form.
“Kimi is a fantastic guy,” Lopez said in an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT. “The thing about Kimi is that he is very thankful we brought him back to where he is.
“And we are very thankful that he has brought the team to where it is now. So it fits nicely.
“To be honest with you, I am convinced, and I don’t say this lightly, that if Kimi gets what he wants from us in terms of performance and so on, we will see Kimi moving forward with us.
“He knows that; and he says that. He is not going to get what he gets with us here anywhere else. It doesn’t matter if the team has a blue car, a red car or a silver car.
“But this is also racing. So we have to make sure that he has a good competitive car. He has got one. As long as we can give that he will be with us.”
Raikkonen has won two races with Lotus since returning at the start of 2012, and is currently 10 points off leader Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship.
Lopez said he never had any doubts that Raikkonen would be able to produce such form after being lured back from rallying, even though there were many people sceptical about the choice because of the Finn’s relaxed public image.
“We must have had 11 choices [for 2012] – and I can tell you from the outside it was by far not the most obvious one. But to us, it was,” he said.
“Honestly there is a lot of pride in this team that we made that choice because we were 100 per cent convinced. It is one of those things where you look at people and say, ‘I told you so’.
“We were absolutely convinced that he had what he takes. I dealt with him, talked to him and knew what I was going to get myself in to.
“I knew I wasn’t getting someone who was going to shoot a commercial every week or whatever. That is not what we want. But a dedicated racer? That was a given.”
7 thoughts on “Lotus: strong car will keep Kimi for 2014”
Personally, I dont believe Kimi will stay at Lotus. The car is not as quick as Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes – and certainly not in one-lap qualifying. Kimi has already stated that Lotus needs more speed, and judging by the last three races in a row, this has not been the case. This will heavily influence his decision should they be unable to provide that raw speed needed to beat Vettel.
Well, I think KIMI has been enjoying his stay in Lotus so far. In Ferrari,it’s kind of mixed feelings, the only world champion in 2007 and the depressive 2008 & 2009. I would support his staying in Lotus if they keeps this strong form and the development.
I think the best thing for Kimi in 2014 will be to have a Renault engine due to the shift from V8 to V6 next year. Will it be a Lotus or Red Bull, i think we will have to wait due to the unpredictable nature of Kimi but we can be sure he will take the best decision. From my view the Red Bull shift seems the best one. Nevertheless i hope Kimi is able to fight for the WC this year. Anyway big thanks to the Enstone team to have brought Kimi back in F1 and given him a competitive car.
I agree with you on this. With all the fuss about Mercedes, I think Renault will silently produce another masterpiece as they have done many times before.
Yes, I would love Kimi in Red Bull, but I’m hoping for competition sake that Lotus can push through the final obstecles to become major top team.
Can’t wait for Spain!!! I think Kimi will win, but Lewis will be on pole.
As Lotus has said: strong car will keep Kimi for 2014. Boys – you know, what you have to do!! Such mutual confidence between Kimi & team is so refreshing. I hope, Lotus will find this key success factor and they will stay all together in 2014 as well!
I would like to see Kimi be world champion with Lotus
But somehow McLaren is where he started and McLaren really need Kimi if you ask me
I hope no matter where Kimi is next year that he will have a top car so he can fight for the championship
There is no doubt that Kimi is the most natural talented driver in the F1 circus
I want to see Kimi back in McLaren, he can win championship like country man Mika….