Kimi's win shows 'Lotus serious'
TRIUMPH FOR KIMI: Lotus F1's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen salutes the Abu Dhabi crowed from parc ferme after winning the 2012 Abu Dhabi F1 GP. Image: AFP
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
LONDON, England - Kimi Raikkonen's victory in Sunday's 2012 Abu Dhabi F1 GP showed Lotus as a serious contender and should help them secure more backing.
That, at least, is what team principal Eric Boullier is hoping.
Raikkonen, 2007 F1 Drivers' champion with Ferrari, became the eighth driver to win a GP in 2012 when he triumphed under the Yas Marina floodlights while Lotus was the sixth different team.
England-based Lotus was formerly Renault, the team that took Fernando Alonso to two titles, and before that was Benetton, which took Michael Schumacher to the first two of his seven Drivers' championships.
The staff has changed considerably since those days and Lotus has fought legal battles over the use of the brand name, one of the sport's great names, as well as having to deal with a separation from the Malaysian-owned Lotus Group. It's been no secret in the paddock that Lotus, owned by Luxembourg-based Genii capital, is looking for investors and sponsors.
"It's obviously important," Boullier said when asked about what the Abu Dhabi victory could bring. "We believe we showed the world we are serious and can deliver and that's going to help some of these commercial discussions."
Lotus started the season with two new drivers, Raikkonen returning after a two-year abscontion to World Rally racing and Nascar.
The first half of the season was promising, with Raikkonen taking six podium places and running third overall in the championship, but form tailed off until the team introduced a new exhaust system.
Boullier explained: "It's a little bit of extra motivation and belief in what we are doing and capable of doing,." Yet only a week earlier he had said Lotus would have to wait until 2013 to have a hope of winning.
Raikkonen, who has scored points from 15 consecutive races, said on Sunday he hoped the win would give the team more belief.
"They've been working very hard the whole year but with the hard times there's a bit unknown in the whole situation.
"For everybody, I hope, it gives a bit more support and hope that things will turn around and be even better than it's been this year."