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Thursday press conference - Monaco GP - Pt.1

Gerard, can we talk drivers with yourself too? Kimi Raikkonen has hinted recently that there are maybe a couple of options open to him for next season. He's certainly being asked an awful lot about his future. I assume Lotus would like to keep him but realistically how likely is that?

Gerard Lopez:
Well I think Kimi's quite happy where he is right now. Knowing Kimi well, outside of the track too, he could just as well announce that he's stopping altogether. So, I wouldn't take any bets whatsoever. I think we're looking pretty good in terms of keeping him, as long as he gets what he wants, including a performing car, which is what he really wants. For the rest, we'll see. He for sure will tell you there's no such thing as a pre-contract, only real contract, and we'll sit down at some point in time and discuss the future with him. But everything is wide open on the one hand but on the other hand everything is looking pretty good for us to stay with us. So we'll see.

Do you feel external and internal pressure then, a) to develop a car that Kimi - and Romain Grosjean - can perform in, and b) is there external pressure from other teams who would be interested?

Gerard Lopez:
I don't think we need to put on any additional pressure, I think I put enough pressure on them to perform - but I think it's good if you have a driver that really wants to have the best possible package and actually can make use of it - and Kimi certainly can. The other thing with Kimi is that he needs an environment in which he can function, and he certainly has that with us.

Bob, turning to you, it's been a very positive start for Force India this season. I wonder if the start changes the target and your goals for this year? Is fifth place in the constructors' championship a realistic target given what's happened so far?

Bob Fearnley:
I think it's one that we certainly should aspire to. It would be very, very hard to continuously compete with McLaren through the year but they're also going to have some issues in terms of when they switch over to the 2014 car and, like all of us, when do we move those resources? I think a lot will depend on how far they've got with this car when they actually do that. But for sure, we've already amended our programs and our team principal is very keen for us to ensure we stay fifth.

Finally on the subject of drivers, Alain, for French drivers in Formula One this season, we're here in the South of France for the Monaco Grand Prix, do you see anything in those drivers that might indicate to you that one day they could be the next French world champion?

Alain Prost:
Difficult question! Because the last 20 years there have been announced many, many times a new French champion. Just let them work, you know? There are four, we are very lucky to have four, different competitiveness in teams. Romain for sure is in the best position to win at least maybe the first race very soon. And just wait and see. Don't put them under too much pressure, they have enough.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
11.05.2013- Qualifying, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
20.04.2012- Free Practice 3, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director
20.04.2012- Qualifying, Gerard Lopez (FRA) Genii Capital
Robert Fearnley (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal.
13.04.2013- Franz Tost, Scuderia Toro Rosso, Team Principal
10.05.2013- Free Practice 2, Alain Prost (FRA), Former F1 driver
10.05.2013- Free Practice 2, Alain Prost (FRA), Former F1 driver

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