Bouiller: We will push for Kimi

By on Thursday, September 27, 2012

Photo credit: Lotus F1 Team

Lotus team principal Eric Bouiller has said that his team will be pushing as hard as possible to provide Kimi Raikkonen with a shot at the world title.

Raikkonen lies third in the championship with 149 points, 45 behind leader Fernando Alonso.

But Bouiller is insistent that the team is not giving up. When asked about the prospect of challenging Ferrari for third place in the Constructors Championship, the Frenchman was bullish.

"Their package is fast but they are mainly relying on one driver. That is fine if you are chasing the drivers’ championship, but it’s not the strategy if you are chasing the constructors’ championship", he told the Official F1 website.

We are chasing the constructors’ championship to give one of our drivers the chance to fight for the drivers’ championship. And Kimi is now in a position where we will do everything to push him."

When asked about Raikkonen's 2012 season, Bouiller was in praise of his driver.

"His ‘miracle’ is that has built up his race weekends very cleverly. At the start he needed a while to get back up to pace and he probably didn’t make the best out of qualifying", he said.

"But in the race he proved himself to be a very good finisher. He had so many podiums in a row. And about his metamorphosis, maybe it’s because he is getting older? Can I say that? I can at least say he’s more experienced and more mature. (laughs) I think another reason for the change might also be that he is happy with his environment. I think he likes it around here."

Bouiller also revealed that he had a long discussion with Romain Grosjean after his accident at the Belgian Grand Prix.

"I had to be constructive. We had a long face-to-face chat on the Monday after the race. I wanted to put everything on the table - my opinion and his opinion. I wanted him to do the talking more than me. And we reached a consensus that will enable him to step up."

Bouiller was also asked about how much Grosjean's ban hit the team's targets.

"Ha, we had quite a number of DNFs on Romain’s side and they have all affected our championship plan. So the goal from now on is to not miss out on any opportunities any more"

Lotus is yet to win a race this season and Bouiller revealed the team is always pushing for the top position.

"It’s always the next one. We hoped to win in Singapore. It didn’t happen, so we will move our ambitions to Japan and so on…"

Bouiller also described the hiring of Raikkonen as 'pretty cool'.

"There’s no question that it was a pretty cool move to get Kimi on board. We get more than the sporting results. He has brought motivation back into the company. You can feel that people admire him. Admiration can do fantastic things and it’s something that we never anticipated before. Sponsors, for example, love him, even though they know about his reputation for being a person who is difficult to handle. But that in itself is no issue at all. Kimi is playing the game. So the whole package, the whole momentum, is what makes us move forward."

Pushed on where he would like to finish this season, Bouiller said "In an ideal world we would finish second in the drivers’ championship. And we would deserve it. Everybody in this team would deserve that position."

He hinted that the team will retain their line-up into 2013, adding "I would say that Kimi feels very good here."


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