Lopez: I called Raikkonen directly

By on Monday, February 20, 2012

Raikkonen at the Lotus E20 launch in Jerez

Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez has revealed that he contacted Kimi Raikkonen personally before contract negotiations began between Lotus and Raikkonen's management.

"I called Kimi directly. Without management, without anybody knowing anything. And I got the feeling very quickly that Formula 1 was again at the front of his mind," Lopez told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Lopez also revealed that he doubted Raikkonen was ready to return to Formula 1 last year.

Previously called Lotus Renault GP, Lotus had talks with the Finn during the 2010 season that ultimately failed.

Almost two years on, the 2007 world champion will return to the grid with the Enstone based team next month.

So what went wrong in 2010?

"We felt that he was not 100 per cent ready to let go of rallying. If he had come to us under those circumstances, it would have been because of money," Lopez.

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