Gerard Lopez didn’t swallow his disappointment when losing Räikkönen to Ferrari. It became especially annoying for him when Räikkönen confirmed his departure by leaving a legacy of not getting his salaries paid.
“This is F1, when you say something like that it becomes a huge explosion,” Lopez complained in an interview with Turun Sanomat.
“Kimi is really a fantastic driver and a fantastic guy. I won’t change my opinion of him in any way,” he said.
How does Lopez react to Räikkönen’s departure?
“Kimi has his family here. Sometimes children leave their home and bash their parents. I am sorry, because the guy who leaves us is a guy who I like really much. We believed in him when nobody else did,” Lopez said.
How difficult is it to fill Räikkönen’s seat?
“I don’t know but we are sure that we won’t find a new Kimi. But then again Kimi wasn’t Robert Kubica, and Robert wasn’t Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton.”
“There are good drivers out there. I’m sure that we are the best team to get a driver who is good, but not yet 100 %, and that we can lift him to a new level. If we find a driver who’s perfomance ability is now 80-85 %, then we can add the remaining 15-20 %.”
“We shouldn’t also forget that Kimi wasn’t driving around with any shopping cart from the supermarket, he was driving a really good race car. We can also give a good machinery.”
“We aren’t replacing Kimi with Kimi, but we are going to make sure that we replace him with a good driver,” Lopez assured.
The favorite is Nico Hülkenberg, who’s manager Werner Heinz is anchored in Lotus-team’s pit garage. Felipe Massa is knocking on the door with the support of Brazilian Globo-tv and Brazilia’s Santander, but Toto Wolff already expressed his interest in getting Massa into DTM if he is left without a F1-seat on Saturday evening.
According to information Turun Sanomat has Massa will probably find a seat in Force India.