Raikkonen locked into 2013 contract now says Lopez

By on Monday, September 10, 2012

Photo credit: Lotus F1 Team

Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez has moved to silence the persistent rumours about Kimi Raikkonen's future.

Recently, the impressive F1 returnee and Finn was linked with a switch next year to his former title-winning team Ferrari.

And now amid the Lewis Hamilton rumours, some have mentioned 32-year-old Raikkonen as the ideal successor, reprising his five-year McLaren career of 2002-2006.

Lotus team figures have, however, revealed that Raikkonen is on a two-year contract.

But, in F1, contractual situations are usually complicated, with drivers and teams often only obligated in the event of certain performance-related criteria.

Lopez told Finland's Turun Sanomat that Raikkonen is staying in 2013.

"At least in the short term, Kimi is with us," he said.

"We have an agreement that is based on performance, and it has been fulfilled," he revealed.

Lopez acknowledged, however, that a team should not "force anyone" to race its cars "if they don't want to be with us".

In that case, "Kimi wants to be here, as does Romain Grosjean," the Luxembourgian entrepreneur insisted, "and we are happy with them too."

Lopez said he has not been surprised by the McLaren and Ferrari rumours.

"No," he answered. "This is F1.

"Sometimes the rumours are true, sometimes someone has just come up with it, based on nothing."

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