Lotus retains Raikkonen “Better the devil you know”
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Oct 2012   |  4:47 pm GMT  |  135 comments

Kimi Raikkonen will drive for the Lotus F1 team again next season, a move which was widely anticipated, after no real sign that he was in the running for a seat at Ferrari, McLaren Red Bull or Mercedes, all of whom have confirmed their drivers this summer. There is no word in the statement about the future of Lotus’ other driver Romain Grosjean.

Raikkonen’s comeback from two years away in rallying has been very impressive, he lies third in the drivers championship, the after a competitive season, with six podiums among 16 points scoring results out of 17 races. Only China was a blank; a race were he was in the top five in the closing stages but tried to go too far on the tyres and lost out.

His comeback stands in stark contrast to Michael Schumacher who has only managed one podium in his three years back in the sport.

What Raikkonen has lacked in qualifying pace this year he has more than made up for in consistency, particularly in contrast to his team mate Romain Grosjean, who has cost the team a significant number of points through getting involved in incidents with other drivers. For a a variety of reasons, Grosjean has failed to score points in eight races, almost 50% of the total and only outscored Raikkonen once, in Canada.

Team principal Eric Boullier said at the weekend that he would confirm bothe his drivers for next year before the last race in Brazil. It’s slightly unusual for them to announce separately, with no word about Grosjean’s drive for next year. But perhaps they are keeping him focussed after his recent misdemeanours. There are no serious signals around that they plan to go with anyone else for 2013.

But Raikkonen has used his experience to bring home the best results the car is capable of, lacking as it does that last few tenths of qualifying pace which have meant that victories have eluded them.

In announcing the renewal, Lotus headlines its press release, “Better the devil you know”, an elusive line, to which no further reference is made in the rest of the document.

There is a bit of the devil in Kimi, but there have been no stories this year of the kind of high-octane, devil-may-care lifestyle Raikkonen enjoyed in his previous F1 career. He has said very little, got on with the job and kept his private life out of the papers.

As for his decision to commit to Lotus, despite rumours swirling around this weekend in India that Genii was looking to offload the team amid questions over finance, everything seems to be functioning normally, even if development has tailed off slightly in recent races. THe team had new parts in India and good race pace, but lost some time with development of its double DRS which never actually raced.

“I think my return to Formula 1 has gone pretty well and the team has done a very good job all year so far,” said Raikkonen. “To be honest, I didn’t expect to be fighting for the Drivers’ Championship this season when you look at where the team was in 2011, so it has been great to be on the podium so many times and to score points on a regular basis.

“This season has shown me that I still love racing as much as I ever did. Obviously, I would have not come back to the sport if I did not feel like this. Driving a Formula 1 car still gives me the same inspiration and I feel the same passion for it.

“I think to be able to perform better in the races I have to find more from myself and from the car in qualifying. This season has shown that you have to be on first two rows to be able to win every time. It’s important to improve our grid positions for 2013. That’s one of main targets for me.

“I feel very comfortable with Lotus F1 Team and we share the same philosophy of racing. Continuing with the team was an obvious choice for me and I’m looking forward to making another step forward together next year.”

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1

@KGBVD. I think you have amnesia. Because you forgot the 2005 Suzuka where Kimi started from 17th then won. And how about his overtake in Spa against MS?

And when LH’s car failed in Abu Dhabi, why is Kimi the one who inherited the lead? Of all the drivers, it was Kimi. Was it luck?

2

James,

From the title ‘devil you know’ are we to assume that is how you view Kimi.

‘Man of Mischief’, rebel etc, I think Kimi was let down by Mclaren from 2003- 2006(4 seasons) which has made him the kind of person he is(Am I bothered, Cath Tate) .

His recent statement on his Qualifying in Suzuka tells all when he states he doesn’t care if he ruined other drivers hot laps. But Im sure we all know the essence of the statement is ‘crying over spilt milk’.

So I feel empathy for Kimi when commentators poke fun at him. Though i agree, he does like to odd drink.

3

Best thing about this news, is that we get to see Kimi racing for another year 🙂

4

Kimi is the best driver in the world right now, bar none.

There was all of this talk at the end of the 2012 Indian GP weekend about how Alonso did such a great job, and how all of the experts would like to see Alonso in the same car as Vettel, and then he’d really show them.

I say, let’s see Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Kimi in the same car, with which each of them has the same experience.

Kimi.

If Kimi had been in this 2012 McLaren, or Red Bull or Ferrari, he would have already won the championship.

Well, if he can’t take it this year, then next year; 2012 WC would suit him somehow.

5

That’s quite the claim.

A driver who was ousted from the sport; tried and failed at WRC; comes back to much fanfare, only to reveal that he seems to have forgotten how to pass. He also seems to be unable to come to terms with the DRS zones – how many times has he been repassed on an outlap in the DRS zone?

Kimi is in a fast, reliable car, but takes no chances (beyond one hopeless attempt to pass on the outside per race – he should have won Bahrain). He trundles around and finishes mid-points. Top marks.

6

As previously stated, KGBVD…

KIMI!

I write following the Abu Dhabi GP, and I have to admit, after all your banter, I was pleased to see Kimi on the top step and Vettel and Alonso below.

Don’t shoot the messenger.

7

I’m very pleased to see Kimi win; it just unfortunately proved two of my points.

Firstly, that he can’t pass anymore. Was that ANOTHER failed, half-hearted attempt to pass on the outside during the race? Even DC picked up on that.

Secondly, by some freak coincidence, Kimi once again benefited from Hamilton dropping out. If he didn’t this would have been another Bahrain.

If he put in a blinder of a drive from, say, the back of the grid to, say, the podium, then yes, it would be hugely commendable and I would have to eat my words.

As it stands, Kimi was the 4th fastest driver on Sunday, and lucked into the win (if the race was 2 laps longer, he wouldn’t have). Good for him though!

8

KGBVD:

your comment is ridiculously out of context and seemingly regardless of the machinery and team realities at the moment.

How many years was Kimi in a Ferrari before he won?

Did not Alonso have the same kind of superiority in machinery, as Vettel does now, during his world championship winning years, at Renault?

There is no reasonable denying Alonso`s vaunted team management capability, neither his in-car determination and capability.

However, until we see him head-to-head in the identical machinery as Kimi, without a `team-advantage`on either side, then no one is going to ever know who would win a straight fight; neither you, nor I.

However, until that day, you are welcome to your opinion (I can see by your comments that you are not a great fan of Kimi – good for you), and I am welcome to mine.

Kimi rules!

All your writing won`t change my mind, no need to keep on trying.

9

Out I’m context I’m not too sure about. It has been this year that Kimi has failed to understand the strategy behind DRS, and that it is better to attempt a pass on the inside (or even that, if you’re lucky, MAYBE you can try MORE than once to pass someone).

By your standards, the only thing that Kimi has proven is that he’s better than Grosjean. Before that, we can deduce that he is worse than Massa (which no one could possibly believe– so a reliance on a ‘equal machinery’ comparison tell you nothing).

You can argue that Kimi’s 1st place in ’07 and 3rd place this year are essentially down to Hamilton screwing up. I haven’t seen anything special, particularly since RG is picking up podiums too (when not bouncing off other). He wouldn’t be third if a few other drivers stopped driving like morons.

That Kimi never had dominant machinery MIGHT just be down to the driver’s inability to express that dominance. Not all drivers can: Webber looks like a shadow compared to his teammate and Rubens could never do it in either a Ferrari or a Brawn.

Kimi is good, and I like him quite a bit. But ‘the best in the world’ he is not (THAT is Loeb, without question); he’s not even the best in F1 this year.

10

Average driver finish position:

Kimi: 5.41

Vettel: 5.47

Alonso: 5.71

Webber: 6.06

Lewis: 7.47

Massa: 9.12

Button: 9.47

I would like this to get the WDC rather than points.

11

Good one.

I agree with you on who the best driver has been this year; and your numbers show it.

12

What about his little spat with the Lotus engineers over the steering racks? He apparently demanded a different incarnation at every race up to Monaco, which, naturally, angered the engineers.

It seemed to blow over after that, but he made some similar rumbling about the failed DDRS adventure.

I get the feeling that Kimi can be a bit diva-ish with the technical team. And for some reason, I don’t see him staying at Lotus for years (prob to RB to replace Seb in 2014).

14

I always find this funny that when Kimi does not demand much from technical team which was what pointed out as a drawback in his Ferrari years, he is branded as lacking motivation. When the same driver demands exactly what he wants, he is branded as petulant, lacking adjustment capabilities etc. I think Kimi tried his best to change the steering wheel and then he stopped making fuss perhaps he began like it or just gave it up as something that cannot be changed after few races of his voicing concern. What more could he do so that he would be seen as a driver that is giving the right feedback without being stubborn or diva-ish? I’m sure if Alonso does the same, people will write saying what a thorough professional he is! I remember media jumped on to this issue and someone started this ridiculous rumor (Villeneuve?)that Lotus would like to replace Kimi in mid-season. Any sane brain would not come to that conclusion and this idea was accepted by some media people shows what kind of IQ they have. No wonder Kimi hates giving interviews because he knows what b-s some media write.

15

Shchumacer was brought back into the sport just to up the image of f1 and to bring back sponsors . lot of people dont even remember this. he was aged and knew that the new generation was catching him better machinery or not.

KImi is a great driver . he was the fastest in his days just like vettel is now. he never makes mistakes and his overtaking skill is second to none. his gretest asset by itself is that. he made some amazing overtakings this year. . tactically renault are slow and hence they lost thee bahrain race. . BUt coming back to the point kimi and schumi cant be compared. schumi is now far too old to be in f1.

16

What about Kobayashi?

Any recent paddock talk of him?

17

quite a few people taking James’ “stark contrast” comment to mean “schui is a waste of space”. Schui’s comeback has not exceded, or even reached, expectations. kimis comeback has exceded expectations. both have had good and bad performances, but kimi has impressed more. pretty simple really.

as i was told as a child at school “READ THE QUESTION BEFORE ANSWERING, MAWDSLEY!”

18

Exactly. Thanks

19

It strikes me that James has received a fair amount of vitriol for his suggestion that Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback has been more of a success than Michael Schumacher’s. Regardless of the relative merits of the cars, the relative quantities of luck, the number of points scored by each driver or the number of podiums achieved, objectively Raikkonen’s comeback has been more of a success. That’s not a slur on Schumacher. It’s just an objective comment. No need to brood over the sacrilegious injustice done to your favourite driver…especially when James’ comment was actually only to compare the number of podiums that each driver had achieved. He didn’t even subsequently disparage Schumacher, he simply said that the two comebacks were in “stark contrast” to one another. Regardless of any mitigating factors, by comparing podium achievements, James was simply supplying an objective statistic.

As a side point – great news about Kimi… Christian Horner, if you’re reading this, put him in a Red Bull in 2014. It’ll be the best partnership since Mozart met Da Ponte. Fact.

20

“James Allen Reply:

October 30th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Exactly. Thanks”

…I’ll assume that applies to me too then James…

😉

21

The difference between Kimi and Schumacher, is that Schumacher has been responsible for a number of crashes and scored less then half the number of points then his team mate. Kimi has scored twice the number of points as his team mate. In F1 the first thing to do is beat your team mate; Schumacher has not done that since his return.

In the past he was the best, and he is a 7 time world champion. But in the past 3 years he has been mediocre and if it were not for his past he would not have kept the car for as long as he did.

22

I like every bit of this except for one — I GOTTA PAY SKY AGAIN NEXT YEAR

damn it

23

I wish I could pay Sky (Region blabla). I can’t comprehend with the global coverage F1 have, why we still dont have $5 a month subscription for everyone over internet around the world.

24

the rights elsewhere make a fortune for bernie and co , no way would he allow it

25

According to the Finnish press Kimi was already locked a contract at the Spanish GP, as that is when the clauses of the contract was met. Mclaren was properly never on the cards. But Kimi doesn’t rule them out in the future.

But hopefully Lotus can now really start to take a step forward and give Kimi a car that is really capable of atleast fighting for the championship.

26

Not a surprise that many people are still defending Schumy’s performance during his three years of comeback. But come on guys, he is not a young man anymore. When people gets old, the reflex is getting slower. Remember the accidents when he hit the back of Bruno’s car in Spain and Jean Eric’s in Singapore. Slow reflex!

27

Do you remember when Button and Vettel hit the back of a HRT earlier in the year?

Or when Verge locked his brakes at the start of the last GP?

What about the Sauber drivers at the start of Korea?

Grosjean, Maldanado??

Are they all getting old and loosing their reflexes?

28

Barry Kallow is planning a return I’ve just heard.

Soon zimmer frames will be seen speeding up and down the pit lane

29

Lotus should sign Kobayashi – that would give them the most exciting driver lineup in F1!

30
Tornillo Amarillo

Perez was nearer the win than Kimi, and Hulk is younger and showing the same consistency than Kimi lately.

I think also that Grosjean has more potential to get a win than Kimi, if he puts all together. So Lotus should confirm Grosjean for 2013, but without a rush, it is good to see him finishing all the remaining races this year.

31

Pic could have won the Championship by your reasoning. There is a bit of void in that part of “puts all together” – that’s actually why we have World Champions, they are able to do it as compare to others.

32
Tornillo Amarillo

I think Grosjean will win before Kimi, sorry.

33

yea, you think. doesnt matter really =)

34
Adrian Newey Jnr

James, given the issues surrounding Lotus Cars, has there been any info on whether they’ll remain sponsors next year? Will that have an impact on their second driver? Has there been any rumour on who might take his place?

35

I think Lopez has decided that Lotus is the brand they are building the team around and the deal is in place to do that, even though Lotus Cars is no longer putting in any money.

36

Everything was good with Kimi and Lotus. 2 things need improvement:

1. Qualifying pace of Kimi – Imagine what he could have done from Grosjean’s position in the starting grid in the initial part of the season. A few victories would have been in his grasp.

2. Lotus strategy has been poor – They do not seem to be imaginative in undercutting or doing something out-of-the box. Granted that they did not want to lose points and end up with nothing in taking up some aggressive strategy, but they should have at least in a couple of positions tried undercutting etc. which they did not. Maybe this conservative strategy allowed them to get points every race, but they surely missed victories and higher point finishes also a few times due to this approach.

But overall a very good result. I hope Kimi can maintain his #3 position by the end of the season as it looks a bit unlikely now with the performance of McLaren and RedBull being better than Lotus. Still it shows that the other three drivers (JB, LH, MW) have been poorer than KR this season as they had a faster car throughout.

37

I agree but not on the other drivers all being poorer…. Jb had severe set up issues in the first half and although LH is faster, hes not 1 second quicker over a lap. How much of this is team or jbs fault is the difficult part.

LH would have 50+more points just on Spain and Singapore alone, which are team and reliability errors 100%.

Whilst I agree the lotus package with KimI has been brilliant, I don’t think its fair to say the drivers have been poor. The mclaren team however have grossly underperformed.

38

His comeback has been very impressive. He is more consistent and professional than ever! He squeeze the max out of the car every race. His quali pace is still lacking a bit. I suspect he is not super confident pushing the tires or steering not giving him the feedback he likes at quali pace. This brings me to the next point, he did very well learning the new tires, new rules, new car and new team.

Now, it is up to team Lotus to give him the car he needs to win. It is great to have Kimi back in F1. I would love to see more of him on podium. His mono-toned understatements are the best!

39

some of Eric Boullier’s statements to the media are baffling, to the point of being inept.

– Kimi took a while to come up to speed [NOT TRUE]

– A win this year is not on the cards [DEFEATIST, even if true]

The Hamilton of team principals?

41

Was there ever any potential for Raikkonen to take Hamilton’s seat at McLaren? Why didn’t that conversation ever come up?

42

it did according to highly rated journalist from Finland, he must had confirmed from kimi during the summer. But kimi had activated the option automatically as he overachieved than those clauses required from him….sad!!

43

I was a big fan of Michael in his heyday. But to me, it’s apparent now more than ever, that he came back into the sport from retirement ‘primarily’ just have fun – maybe even *gasp* to escape boredom.

Meaning he can’t possibly have been as determined as Kimi has been thus far to not only be on the podium repeatedly, but to actually attempt to win races. I am convinced that if Schumacher actually had this same depth of determination, he would definitely have had a few victories by now.

Happy for Kimi though. and can’t wait to see him back on the top step of the podium!

44

Very odd title they put on, could it be because a french speaker is the author perhaps?

In any case this guarantees Sky’s subscriptions for next year!!!

45

??? …The title of this piece is a bit odd, kimi was a cert – he has done an excellent job this year.

Will he get faster, I’m not so sure (you can almost see old father time lurking in the background of his interviews, just waiting for the right time to leap out and turn him into an old man)

He deserves his place on the grid imo but the distance some of you are looking into the future….wow.

46

Best driver on the grid this year in my view!

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