Wheels24

Hot Kimi: Can Lotus afford him?

2013-04-19 09:43

MANAMA, Bahrain - Kimi Raikkonen is moving closer to committing to Lotus for the 2014 F1 season, according to team boss Eric Boullier.

The Frenchman was playing down reports that Red Bull had expressed interest in signing the 2007 World champion to replace Mark Webber in 2014.

LOOKING OUT

Boullier told Germany's Bild newspaper: "These are the usual games - it's not just Red Bull, other top teams have interest too - but I'm also interested in (Fernando) Alonso, (Lewis) Hamilton and (Sebastian) Vettel, although only Vettel if he listens to my team orders," he laughed.

"We've already spoken to Kimi about a contract extension and he sounded very happy."

In truth, however, with Finn Raikkonen's stock on the rise after impressive form since his World Rally sabbatical, Lotus might struggle to afford the 33-year-old for 2014. It is reported that team owner Genii has put a part of the team on the market, with Gerard Lopez admitting it might be some time before a title sponsor is signed.

MONEY NO PROBLEM

Asked if money would factor into Raikkonen's decision, Boullier said: "Kimi doesn't race for the money. For him it's very important that he feels at home and has the freedom to be who he is.  I really see no reason why he should leave.

"I don't know if other teams would treat him as well as we do - and we can definitely afford him."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Formula 1 season – fresh reports every day.

GMM

Comments
  • Denzil Ford - 2013-04-20 11:23

    Kimi looks VERY comfortable at Lotus. I think he should stay there. WAY too much public/marketing requirements at Ferrari and RedBull. The ways he's driving now, I think Lotus would not struggle to get more big sponsors on board. Big question is rather, would the new sponsors bow to Kimi's no BS persona?

  • Cobus Fenwick - 2013-04-22 19:15

    Well said Boullier. That is why he is an EDGE-Driver and will always be in contention if he has the right car. He has been there and is matured and know what he is capable of. He does not need money to become something. He is paid well and is racing to win. It is difficult to race anybody with a car that is not as fast and still be competitave. He is a true champion, and always was, with no fuzz. That makes him better than most of the drivers today. Red Bull will only be interested in Kimi if Vettel's time of glory is over. No matter who he drives for, his team mate would be the NO2 driver, not negotiable.

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