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Lotus confident of retaining Raikkonen
21 May 2013
Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez says he is confident of retaining the services of Kimi Raikkonen for the 2014 F1 season – insisting that there is no reason for the former champion to want to consider a move away from Enstone.
Raikkonen made his return to the sport with Lotus last year and finished third in the standings on the back of an impressive campaign that included a victory in Abu Dhabi.
The Finn has already taken victory this season after taking the flag first in Australia and heads to Monaco this weekend sitting second in the standings behind triple champion Sebastian Vettel.
Raikkonen's performances since his return have seen him linked with a move elsewhere, most notably as a possible team-mate for Vettel at Red Bull if Mark Webber moved on at the end of the year.
However, Lopez said he felt sure that Raikkonen was happy with life at Enstone and felt the 33-year-old would still be in Lotus colours next year if the team continues to give him a car capable of running towards the front of the field.
"I'm not concerned," he told the
. "We know we want Kimi to drive for us next year, but then we also know Kimi's character well, which means you can't force him to do anything.
"I know he's happy, and at this stage if he had to choose (which team to drive for next season) I know where he would be.
"The main thing about Kimi is he naturally wants a car to win, and he has got that with us. If he could find a better car somewhere else, and he had an option to go there, then I'm sure he would consider it. But I know we're giving him what he needs, and as long as we keep on doing that then he'll stay with us."
Lopez added that finances weren't an issue when it comes to any possible deal moving forwards and that a deal would be done when the time was right.
"I don't think there are many drivers who make more money than Kimi does in Formula One right now," he said. "With Kimi you never really sit down with him to discuss something as specific as a new contract - you just talk and that's it. It's a different relationship.
"I know it sounds odd, but we don't run our team like other teams run theirs, which is why Kimi fits with us. Of course, we do talk to Kimi about a contract, but most importantly we talk to him about how he feels and about how to move forward, and that kind of automatically leads to the other."
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