Lotus team boss Eric Boullier says Kimi Raikkonen
is 'completely on side' heading into the final two races of the F1 season, starting next weekend in the USA.
Raikkonen threatened to not see out of the campaign with the Enstone-based team over payment issues that became public knowledge in Abu Dhabi last weekend before a deal was agreed that will see the Finn race in Austin and then at Interlagos before making the switch to Ferrari.
Speaking of next weekend's United States Grand Prix, Boullier insisted that the issues with Raikkonen had been resolved and that the focus of team and driver was now fully on the job at hand.
“He is completely on side,” Boullier said. “We all spoke in Abu Dhabi to make sure we know where we're going – and how we're getting there – for the final races of the year. Our focus is first on a good performance in Austin, and then the focus becomes getting a good result in Brazil.
“We missed out on a podium in Abu Dhabi, but it's clear that the car had the pace to be there. That's where we want to be as that's where you get the most points. It would obviously be fantastic if we could get both of our drivers back on the podium before the end of the season, and if they could both be there in Austin I'd be a very happy man.”
Raikkonen's early retirement in Abu Dhabi meant Lotus lost ground on Mercedes in the race for second in the constructors' championship despite a strong fourth place for Romain Grosjean, but Boullier said the team wasn't giving up hope of taking the runner-up slot.
“There are two races left and 86 points available, so mathematically it's still possible and we're not going to stop pushing in any regard,” he said. “Of course, to score maximum points you need to occupy the top steps of the podium and there's a Red Bull
plus Sebastian Vettel
shaped problem there. Certainly for us, it would be good if Seb took an early winter holiday!
“Looking at the standings and how the teams have been scoring in the last few races, you would have to say that third certainly looks to be a little more within reach, but our approach is the same; to keep pushing all the way.”