Just days after admitting that his team would have to wait until next season to return to the top step of the podium, Lotus F1 principal Eric Boullier is hoping that Kimi Raikkonen's success in Abu Dhabi will help give the squad extra impetus for 2013.
The team has come close to victory on a number of occasion this year, not least with Raikkonen in Bahrain, but appeared set to settle for a string of second places as the E20 dropped behind its rivals in terms of performance. Raikkonen, however, had other ideas and, after a blistering start from fourth on the grid at Yas Marina, was ideally placed to benefit from Lewis Hamilton's retirement. Despite having to survive both the return of the safety car and late pressure from Fernando Alonso, the Finn held firm, delighting the entire Lotus garage with its first win since Alonso triumphed in Japan in 2008.
It is well-known that the Lotus name is something of a misnomer as the Enstone-based team has endured a rocky ride with the Malaysian owned marque, from the awkward 2011 season when there were two separately-owned Lotus teams on the grid, to the embarrassment of learning that its title sponsor was pulling the plug on their relationship. Despite retaining the historic moniker, the team is largely funded by owner Genii Capital, but Boullier is optimistic that Raikkonen's success will help bring in greater investment for 2013.
"It's obviously important," he told reporters, "We believe that we show the world that we are serious and can deliver and that's going to help some of these commercial discussions."
The team, of course, is no stranger to success, having earned back to world titles with Michael Schumacher in 1994--95, and again with Alonso in 2005-06, but did so as Benetton and Renault
respectively, before becoming Lotus this year. Throw in two new drivers - one returning from a two-year sabbatical in the WRC and another, Romain Grosjean, being given a second chance after winning the GP2 Series title - and the usual changes in the technical regulations that better-funded teams have found easier to deal with, and Raikkonen's victory will have extra meaning for the squad.
"It's a little bit of extra motivation and belief in what we are doing - and capable of doing," Boullier concluded.