Raikkonen locked into 2013 contract claims Lotus boss
10 September, 2012
Sep.10 (GMM) Team owner Gerard Lopez has moved to silence the persistent rumours about Kimi Raikkonen’s future, amid reports that the Finn would be moving away from Lotus team at the end of the season.
Recently, the impressive F1 returnee was linked with a switch next year to his former team, Ferrari with whom he won his 2007 title. 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 revealed. “We have an agreement that is based on performance, and it has been fulfilled.”
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 that he has not been surprised by the McLaren and Ferrari rumours.
“No,” he answered when asked about them. “This is F1. Sometimes the rumours are true, sometimes someone has just come up with it, based on nothing.”
Subbed by AJN.