Lopez praises Raikkonen; optimistic ahead of 2013

By on Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lotus F1 team boss Gerard Lopez says that he is pleased with Kimi Raikkonen's contribution to the team.

Raikkonen returned to the sport in 2012 and finished in third place in the championship, dismissing accusations that the Finn would be unmotivated.

"That makes me smile," Lopez told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I was sure it would be like this, Raikkonen put in a great work load to compliment his talent and the results are the fruit of that. Here he feels like he is being used for what’s most important and for the rest of the time he is free. He’s found a balance. I speak to him every week and he feels good. He has enthusiasm and desire. I want drivers, not robots."

After a dismal 2011 season, Lopez believes that Lotus proved themselves in 2012.

"The quality of the drivers; the speed of [Romain] Grosjean; the development push, which meant that we arrived at the last race in our best shape; the confirmation that for the second year in a row we were able to build a competitive car. If we can optimise these four things we’ll be at 100%."

Lotus finished fourth in the championship, 75 points behind McLaren. Lopez defended Grosjean, who took 96 points compared to Raikkonen's 207 and came under criticism for his involvement in several first lap incidents.

"There were other drivers who had more reprimands than him..but he paid the price for the others. However he showed he’s quick. I’m expecting a lot from him this year."

Lopez also added that while there is no pressing intention to sell the team, they will consider dealing with any willing investors.

"We [Genii Capital] won it 100%. But we’ve always said that if there are any investors who want to get involved with shares, we are ready. But I have no intention of selling the team, because it’s a fantastic way to develop our business. With the sponsors we talk not only about their place on the car, but also about wider business activities."

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