Lopez: I want drivers not robots
8 January, 2013
Dec.8 (Apex) – Lotus F1 team co-owner Gerard Lopez is adamant that both Kimi Raikkonen and Romian Grosjean will deliver in 2013, and is quietly content that the former champion, who was coaxed back into Formula One has shut up those who doubted that he still had what it takes to perform at the highest level.
Lopez said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I was sure it would be like it was, Raikkonen put in a great effort which coupled to his talent delivered the results last year. In our team he feels he is being used for what’s most important and the rest of the time he is free, thus he has found a balance. I chat to him every week, he feels good and is filled with enthusiasm. I want drivers, not robots.”
If Raikkonen’s season was stellar, his team mate did not shower himself in glory despite showing signs of great pace and much potential.
Lopez defended the Frenchman who was confirmed by the team late last year, “There were four drivers who had more reprimands than him during the season, but despite this they took part in every race but Grosjean was banned from racing in the Italian Grand Prix. Nevertheless, he has shown that he is a quick driver and I’m expecting a lot from him this year.”
It was no secret in the paddock last year that Genii Capital, who own Lotus, were courting potential investors, but Lopez denied that the company was looking to off load their F1 asset.
“When we purchased the team we took ownership of 75 per cent of the shares, and then we acquired 100 cent,” said Lopez. “But we have always said that, if there are investors who want to enter with some shares, we are ready.”
He added, “I’ve never wanted to sell the team because for me, and for Genii Capital, F1 is a good platform to develop business. With sponsors we discuss sponsorship and advertising on the car, but also it opens doors to talk about wider business too.”
Lotus finished fourth in the constrtuctor’s 2012 F1 world championship, with Raikkonen third in the drivers’ title race and as a result the team has been attracting blue chip sponsors.
“We are close to the top teams and we are backed by companies such as Microsoft, Unilever and Coca Cola. This demonstrates the value we are recognised for,” Lopez pointed out.
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