"You want to win a championship every year when you race because it's a waste of the year when you don't win," he told Sport360°
. "It's disappointing not to be in a better position for the Championship but we have to keep trying."
That suggests that Raikkonen is as much auditioning the team on a year-by-year basis as they are evaluating him as a driver. At this point, he clearly likes what he sees sufficiently to commit for another 12 months at Lotus - if not more.
"We have the people, we have the capability of making a good car, so I don't see a reason why we shouldn't have a good chance next year," he said. "But the fact is, until we ride the car for the first time we don't know how good the car is going to be."
While walking away from F1 for a second time would be entirely in character for Raikkonen, it also wouldn't be a surprise if he was to move across into another F1 team if Lotus didn't live up to expectations and give him the equipment he needs to challenge for the title in 2013.
“Ferrari could have ended in a slightly nicer way but the people I worked with who are still there, I had a very good relationship with them and go and talk to them still,” he told the Daily Telegraph
. "It's not like I had some fight against somebody. I'm okay with everybody it's just that things could have ended in a nicer way. But it doesn't mean that I couldn't go back there."
Even a return to McLaren in the future wasn't ruled out, with Raikkonen saying that he had never fallen out with then-team principal Ron Dennis despite the newspaper speculation: "I have never had a fight with him. There is nothing wrong with our relationship. People just try to make [expletive] stories."