Gerard Lopez, the co-owner of the Lotus F1 team, says he is confident of being able to retain the services of Kimi Raikkonen
for the 2014 F1 season.
The Finn is out of contract at the end of the year and has been strongly linked with Red Bull
as a possible replacement for sportscar-bound Mark Webber.
While Raikkonen insists that he 'doesn't know what will happen in future'
, the Finn is widely tipped to take up the opportunity to join the defending champions in a move which would see him team-up with triple title winner Sebastian Vettel.
However, Lopez – who brought Raikkonen back to F1 last year after two years away – said he was confident of retaining the 33-year-old for 2014, with the Enstone-based team having proven to be a good fit for the Finn since his return.
"I would say high," he was quoted by ESPNF1
. "He's been treated well like we would treat any driver," Lopez added. "I think this team has a culture that is quite human and somebody told me that for the human-being Kimi this is the best team and for the racer he has to decide.
"He knows the technical side of things. We developed the car to the point last year that the delta between us and Red Bull
was the same at the second race as it was at the two last races. So I don't think that is much of an issue.
"People keep talking about budget, and while we have a lower budget than a lot of teams, we seem to do quite well with it. There is a certain culture about this team that does things right and that's the culture that Kimi likes. If we had huge time constraints on him I don't think he would enjoy it, and as a matter of fact he hasn't enjoyed it at other teams before."