Eric Boullier says he knows that Lotus can rely on Kimi Raikkonen to keep pushing through the remainder of the F1 season, despite his decision to leave the team to re-join Ferrari next year.
Lotus had been eager to keep hold of the Finn but is instead now seeking a replacement after the Finn decided to head back to the team that carried him to the title back in 2007.
While the disappointment of the Enstone-based team was clear – most notably in the somewhat controversial Tweet
that the team put out after the announcement was made – Boullier insisted that there was full confidence in Raikkonen dealing with the job at hand for the remainder of the year as work starts on finding a replacement.
“Obviously, it was no secret we wanted to keep him, so it's a disappointment that he won't be driving with us in 2014,” he said. “Despite this, we know Kimi will be pushing hard for the remainder of this season to secure the very best results he can for himself and the team, and his fighting drive in Monza shows just how well he can push.
“In the same breath, Enstone has once again proven its pedigree; providing Kimi with two great cars and making his return to Formula 1 a success. It's been a win-win situation right from the beginning. Naturally, we have made preparations in case he decided not to continue driving with the team that brought him back to Formula 1, and I'm confident that we will have a very strong driver line-up next year. We've had Schumacher, Alonso, Raikkonen; new champions will join the list here soon I'm sure.”
Looking to the weekend ahead in Singapore, Boullier said he was hopeful that both Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean would be on the pace as the team seeks to bounce back from challenging weekends in both Belgium and Italy that have yielded just eight points.
"If you want to be competitive in both Championships, you need to be able to fight at the front every weekend; on Saturday as well as on Sunday," he said. "The positive from Monza is that we showed fantastic race pace and both drivers drove exceptionally well. The negative was that we couldn't qualify where we needed to be.
"The results at the end of the last two races weren't a just reward for the team's efforts, but there are plenty of positives to take from Monza; most notably the superb race pace from Kimi as he fought his way back through the field. We head to the final flyaway races with plenty of fight left in us.
"There's no reason to think that a podium will be out of reach [in SIngapiore]. We've been quite competitive on twisty circuits this year and Singapore shares a lot of Monaco's characteristics. Romain loves that type of circuit, while Kimi has always been quick in Singapore. It will be an interesting weekend."