Lotus boss Eric Boullier says the team has apologised to Kimi Raikkonen over the strategy call that saw him miss out on a potential podium finish in the British Grand Prix.
The Enstone-based outfit elected not to call Raikkonen in for fresh tyres when the Safety Car was deployed for a second time, leaving the Finn to run to the flag on older hard tyres when a number of others had taken the decision to dive into the pits for fresh rubber.
It meant Raikkonen was powerless to defend against his quicker rivals in the closing laps as he slipped to fifth place at the finish and Boullier admitted that the team had made the wrong call in not bringing him in when they had the chance.
“The outcome of the race wasn't rewarding with the amount of work that has been done by the team recently,” he said. “Our strategy was great until the last safety car. We should have called Kimi in to save at least one position and make the podium.
“Unfortunately, we made the wrong call for which we apologised to Kimi and to the team. This sometimes happens and it isn't easy to manage when you have so many safety car periods. In Germany we're confident we will be competitive and aiming to make amends.”
Boullier added that Raikkonen had been frustrated by the outcome of the Silverstone race but said he didn't feel it would have a bearing on his decision over where to race next year.
The 33-year-old has been linked with Red Bull as a possible replacement for Mark Webber when he switches to sportscars at the end of the year.
“We're all grown-ups and we're all pretty frank with each other,” Boullier continued. “It was pretty obvious with hindsight that we made the wrong call. No team can say that they make the correct call on every occasion; whether in race strategy, car design philosophy or any other aspect of the sport. Kimi was pretty frustrated when he got out of the car which is understandable – we wouldn't want a driver who wasn't frustrated after what happened – but there's no point sitting in the corner sulking; we're focused on getting a good result in Germany.
“Kimi's an intelligent guy and he won't let a single pit stop call define a decision like where to drive for 2014. One of his psychological strengths is that he clearly lets you know when he's upset about something, then he refocuses and gets on with the next challenge very quickly. He seems to like being with Lotus F1 Team and we're doing everything we can to show him this is the place to be for next season and beyond.”