Boullier “optimistic” Raikkonen will stay with Lotus next season
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Aug 2013   |  10:45 am GMT  |  49 comments

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says he is optimistic Kimi Raikkonen will stay with the team in 2014 despite the 2007 world champion being linked with Red Bull.

Raikkonen, 33, won the season opening race in Australia and is currently on a consecutive points-scoring run that stretches back 27 races to last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Finn has failed to score points just once since returning to the sport with Lotus last season and is in contention for the drivers’ world championship for the second consecutive year. He is second in the drivers’ standings, 38 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull.

But along with Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, Raikkonen’s name continues to be linked with Red Bull who are looking to fill the seat vacated by Mark Webber next year.

“I’m very optimistic,” Boullier told the August edition of the JA on F1 podcast. “There is a lot of discussion in the press, most of it is irrelevant. It is all about making Kimi comfortable enough to stay and happy to stay. Part of it is done.

“He knows the team and the environment. Now it’s about building up the right package. He will then take his decision.”

When asked if Raikkonen, who spent two years competing in the World Rally Championship, has exceeded his expectations, Boullier said: “Yes, definitely, above all the expectations. I’m very happy to have him at the team and blossom in such a way.”

Lotus was dealt a blow when technical director James Allison left the team earlier this season, agreeing a deal to join Ferrari. But Boullier has been pleased at the way his technical team has bounced back,

“It was a big shock through the media and also here,” said Boullier. “James was a respected man both technically and as a person. The technical structure in Enstone is already flat so while the departure of James is a blow, we can recover straight away.”

The team have managed to compete with the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes despite having a smaller budget and despite the big regulation change for next season, with the introduction of a new engine formula that will put a strain on the budget, Boullier remains positive.

“I do feel very optimistic for the simple reason that we started early enough to work on next year’s project,” he said. “In the middle of last year, we had a dedicated team working on 2014.

“We also have a strong relationship with Renault and having the engine manufacturer working closely with you is very important so we can simulate what we can expect for next year.”

To listen to more from Eric Boullier, plus an interview with Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn, make sure you listen to the August edition of the JA on F1 podcast available to download via the iTunes store or directly here. 

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Even if Kimi goes to Red Bull and they have the worst season, provided he still manages to beat Seb, then his stock will rise. If the same scenario happens at Lotus, he he might be hard pressed to find a top drive after that due to space…..Red Bull is win/win in many respects…


The reports in the Finnish hews papers say Kimi has made up his mind, and that leaves Lotus option out. So it has to be either RBR or Ferrari.


Räikkönen commented a while ago to media here that people might think his final decision might be considered bad.

To me that leaves two options:

1. Ferrari

2. Lotus

In that order.

Add rumours about Alonso’s break up with Ferrari and…

Well…there’s also the distant third option that comes to mind, which is McLaren, but I don’t see that as likely.


Kimi is just waiting for a confirmation from Lotus that they have sorted out their finances (this is why there is still no decision). He is happy where he is, Eric is right. He is aware that Lotus may not be as strong next year as they are this year, and this is the risk he will take, but he would not go to RB, for all the reasons mentioned by others, unless he decides to leave Lotus. I don’t think there is a Mercedes option. Ferrari??? Would he go back there?


yes, raikonnen is a wild card in many ways but i would tend to think that his comments may well be aligned with a move to red bull. the ‘stupid decision’ comment relates to joining a team with a four times WDC and one which is almost 100% focussed on vettel. in fact despite what some others may think it is vettel’s team in just so many ways.

marko has stated right from the start, ‘the team is built around vettel’ and that has been proven to be a truism. if raikonnen does join RB then what happens to ricciardo? another year at toro rosso? whilst it would be more experience for him it would be a slap in the face for the young driver program.


raikkonen said he has already made up his mind and some people may say it’s a stupid decision but it’s the right one for him. from what kimi said, i suspect he has decided to stay because the obvious choice is to hop into the championship winning car. i would love to see raikkonen against vettel but redbull seem to be milking the attention that brings and want it to last as long as possible. horner even went as far as ensinuating that alonso may also be interested in their seat, just be maximise on the attention.


So why is the deal with Lotus not done, if the decision has been made? The decision to join redbull could also be called “stupid” by some as he is joining a team which is geared towards Vettel and he would be fighting the “lion in its den” directly. So that remark could be seen in either way – staying at Lotus or joining RedBull.


Considering reports that Lotus are apparently running low on spare parts due to outstanding, unpaid invoices to suppliers and the fact that Kimi hasn’t been paid again, it’s not looking likely Kimi will remain with them.

Perhaps he would be willing to sacrifice the cosy set up he has with Lotus regarding minimal PR days and the fairly autonomous position he enjoys for a team with a guaranteed budget and a competitive car that can be continually developed.

James, have you heard anything about the rumour that Ferrari offered Raikkonen a contract for next year on the Thursday of the Hungarian GP?


A contract for just one GP on a day that they don’t even go racing?

No, I can’t see Raikkonen accepting that.



It is a worry and a hard one to call. You have a massive black hole in the finance, and a few on & off deals regarding investment into the team. Still waiting to hear on that front. No money so far.

There is a title sponsor who hasn’t paid anything, yet is still there. The actual sponsors and where they are on the car is a bit of a mess, and needs to be cleaned up. Doesn’t look very professional.

But with a small budget, compared to the big boys, they appear to be punching well above their weight in the results department. This I think generates a lot of good creative thinking and the results as we have seen in the last 2 years is a car, there or there about, challenging for a win at most races. All a driver wants is a car that he can work with and get some good results on the day. Mid field – table car and a good driver looks to leave.

I said in the past there appears to be a one way door at Enstone, with all the senior – named people leaving, yet James Allen said in a reply, not to worry, as they still have James Allison . Well it appears he had one too many disagreements with the management and has left. One thinks it must have been a pretty big disagreement, given that the time he has been there, he has seen a fair amount of controversy. Plus it appears he hadn’t got anything lined up to go to,

With all of that happening, you wonder what the 2014 car – package will be like.

The gut feeling is that he will stay for one more year. Then look to see who has handle the new reg’s the best, and look at what might be on the market seat wise. I don’t believe money is the driving force with him. He doesn’t really need the money, but it is nice to be paid, what you’re owned. A driver once there career is over, looks back at how many championships they have won, how many races, pole position, and podiums they had. That is how they work out if they were a success or not.

Therefore it does make a lot of sense for Alonso to look at the Red Bull seat, as Ferrari just aren’t giving him the package in which to fight for wins. The downside of having Alonso in your team, is all the political baggage he brings and does within a team. Not many drivers want to work with all that hassle.


If I was Kimi, I’d now be looking at the Rosberg Mercedes seat; he ought not to be intimidated by the prospect of racing Lewis.

My prediction at Mercedes, Lewis will continue to trend towards outright dominance at Mercedes.

If Mercedes is serious, and they definitely seem serious, then they should be doing everything to sign Kimi for 2014.

Here is why it works for everybody (except Rosberg, of course):

Of the top four drivers, Lewis and Kimi can handle the competition, and don’t mind leaving it to the road to establish the pecking order.

The Lewis Alonso spat was generated by the entitlement that Alonso had about being the number one.

Likewise, at Red Bull, let’s face it, it’s team Vettel; if anyone doesn’t know this now, just review each race from this season, especially the earlier ones.

Obviously, a move to the Alonso-Ferrari team is a non-started, been there, done that, don’t need the hyper-political activities of Alonso.

The move would free up Rosberg to go to Ferrari, which both sides might be interested in, for their own reasons.

If there is something that Niki Lauda knows, it is how to win!

Therefore, I must assume that Niki Lauda feels the same way I do.

Here is the decision at Mercedes, do they want a delineated Number One and number 2?

Or do they want utter domination, and keeping the spectacle alive with their own private intra-team battle for supremecy.

So ho do you spell supremecy in German (and English for that matter?)


Interesting. You are def right about Rosberg being a fit as Alonso’s No 2.


In a fair fight, I’d like to see the results of a Rosberg head-to-head against Alonso, alas, at Ferrari, it will never be a fair fight against Alonso, but maybe Rosberg at Ferrari, and Alonso… not at Ferrari, could give Rosberg another chance at establishing himself in the top tier?!?

I don’t know. I like Rosberg, rarely complaining or carrying on, but the trajectory, right now, shows Hamilton emerging as THE contender, and Rosberg variable on performance; too much variability to fit in with the likes of Kimi, Vettel, Lewis, and Alonso.


Not like that.

And no way is any of that garbage going to happen! Kimi to Merc when the German team are already purring about their driver line up and Nico and Lewis are good mates? Forget it.


Your comment is on the harsh side. You can say the same thing without the harshness, which takes away from the scant value add of your position.


Anything can and does happen in F1.

If you look at the trajectories of the players, then you see Rosberg, unfortunately, going down, as Lewis emerges.

After all of the ‘plays’ made by Mercedes, if they are serious about mounting a challenge next year, then it is they who should have two top tier drivers, and it looks like Rosberg is settling in the second tier with the likes of Grosjean, Perez, Button.

Michael Grievson

All teams started work for next year early.


Kind of the opposite of how I approached my schoolwork…which in hindsight is probably one of the reasons why I don’t work in F1 😉


The spectacle would be weakened by having two of the top four drivers in the one team; at the moment there is genuine competition from four teams each with a leading driver and ideally this combination of top class car and driver should spread down the field and not be concentrated in fewer teams. Based on that I’d like to see RB sign up Ricciardo, Ferrari if dropping Massa go for a driver from their development program and McLaren get a decent car


I disagree. Some of the most spectacular seasons in F1 have revolved around intra team battles IMO. That the drivers and team need to preserve this PR facade for sponsors in the modern era is the only factor that dampens this a little.

On a side point, I’m guessing that a company like RB who is only in F1 from a brand promotion standpoint might expect a little more from Kimi then he would like to commit to and this is probably the sticking point in that particular negotiation.

On another note however the loss of Mark Webber (and the various scandals with front wings, Multi 21, Helmut Marko’s repeated Vettel favouritism) will make Red Bull an even less likeable entity than it is now. They *need another eminently popular driver and while Ricciardo seems like a nice enough chap, Kimi would do wonders for their brand.

He also fits the ‘extreme’ mould quite well with his tattoos, lifestyle and image… He’s repeatedly said vodka is his drink of choice, I wonder if Red Bull is his mixer of choice too? 😉


Ya. Because the team’s are so interested in preserving the spectacle of the race.

I agree with your dreams though!


‘…and McLaren get a decent car’

Nice finish 🙂

One thing with having two leading drivers in one team: More often than not we get fireworks 😉


Gut feeling still says all things considered, Raikkonen will move to Red Bull.

Adrian Sutil already eyeing a Lotus vacancy (he said there’re a couple of ‘interesting’ options dependent on a few drivers moving – an obvious reference to Lotus and Massa’s Ferrari seat).

The problem for Massa in the 2nd half of the season will be that tere will be 2 Red Bulls, 2 Lotuses, 2 Merc and 1 Alonso to fight for good race results and given he needs good points to secure another year, it is looking tough for Felipe this time around.

Hulkenberg vs Bianchi for the 2nd Ferrari seat.

DiResta stays at Force India and they probably take Calado to partner PDR.



One year with a Marussia won’t (or at least shouldn’t) have Bianchi competing for a Ferrari seat.

Looking through the driver’s table and assuming Ferrari only select current, experienced, drivers that leaves us with; di Resta, Sutil, Grosjean (?), Maldonado (?) and Hulkenberg.

Unless Massa gets his sh*t together it’ll probably between Hulkenberg and the Force India boys for Massa’s seat.


Agreed. I really am happy Sutil is back in F1, and his performances have been pretty good if you ignore the retirements – he has proven the naysayers wrong about his comeback. But it is REALLY hard to overlook The Hulk for that second Ferrari seat, if Ferrari go mid-field shopping. I have long believed that Hulk should already be at McLaren (if sponsorship were not an issue!), rather than Checo. But at present he would certainly be more competitive than Massa, and yet his ego would not threaten Alonso. His speed, however, just might…


Sutil together with Eric Lux at Lotus, you reckon? After what happened in the nightclub in Shanghai?


Well, there are one or two elephants in the room I guess 😉


James, is the sword closer to Massa’s neck this time around ? Unless he can pull some rabbits out of his hat, i highly doubt if he’ll have a drive next season.


I sense it is. I think Montezemolo is unhappy and he’ll want things to change..


Optimistic Kimi Raikkonen will stay with the team in 2014


Uh, just 2014???

I wonder if Kimi will sign a one year deal just like Vettel then hop into the Red Bull in 2015 once the seat has become vacant.

And seeing as Eddy Jordan already changed his mind and said Kimi would be staying at Lotus, maybe it’s true.

But with this scenario, it would come across like Kimi is afraid of Vettel but as the fans know, Kimi is afraid of nothing. So we will just have to wait and see, I guess

Anyway, lotus have done more than a good job with the team especially so because they’re very easy on their tyres irrespective of whether they’re on 2012 or 2013 rubber.

The areas that need improvement are with the strategy, pitstops speed and of course a car that works in cooler conditions.


I’ve said this before but I really don’t think Kimi would like to work for Christian Horner. Just don’t see their personalities fitting well together at all.


What is the news on these big investors that Lotus apparently need to keep Raikkonen?

I don’t know what to think about this lack of news with signing Kimi. What is going on? If RBR wanted Ricciardo they would have had him by now, he would be very easy to sign, but they seem to be no closer to signing Raikkonen either. If he wanted to go to Red Bull he would have went by now.


In deed. Kimi not commited, and neither are the investors. RBR is really throwing a monkey wrench into Lotus!


I do not know, there are different reports from media. Apparently Lotus has a 120M debt and Kimi still did not get his salary which was escalated to Bernie last year.

Allison wanted to leave the team because of uncertainty and the lack of money to support his ideas to develop the car. Other people are also concerned.

I honestly do not know…if this is true and Kimi knows it, I just do not see him staying. It is obvious Lotus will not be competitive next year without money and Allison. Mercedes and Red Bull is the place to be. Ferrari will struggle as they cannot get the act together with their wind tunnel and will be behind in development assuming they sort it one day. If Kimi has a real chance to join the Red Bull, he will be silly not to.


I wonder about this. If RBR is serious about it’s driver development, and since we know the price is right with Daniel, can RBR really not give the seat to him? They know they have Daniel 100%, so why not string him along a bit and keep the pressure up on Lotus and keep Kimi thinking about options even if RBR really don’t want to pay his price.

Also, with engine such an unknown in 2014, I’ve said already – does RBR need Kimi, or is it Kimi who needs RBR? Guy in the #1 RBR car is doing just fine winning the WDCs as well – as in there is no better result Kimi can deliver.

The more I think about this, the more I feel that RBR will give the seat to Daniel 1 year + option and we may do this dance again in 2014 once engine picture is clear.


The issue is they want to win WCC as that is where the team gets more prize money. With Mercedes having two good drivers and with their potential numero uno status next year (God knows if that is correct), RedBull will be taking some sort of risk with Daniel in the team. What if he does not score enough points like Webber does? You surely know Kimi will definitely score more than Webber, so if they have competitive car, WCC is easy for them. The only issue RBR will be concerned is potential conflicts on the track between Kimi and Vettel – we saw one in the last race. There will be many more such occasions next year if they are in the same team (only if Vettel is behind on the track, Kimi will not bother much if he is behind Vettel in the race as he is more matured). These conflicts on track are rare between Webber-Vettel as they rarely fight for similar positions, but it will not be same with Kimi-Vettel combo.


RBR already proved that WCCs can be won without having “two Vettels”. 🙂

And if only they improve reliability and finish both cars more regularly, WCCs are guaranteed. Seriously, we all know there is room for reliability improvement at RBR. Hopefully not at price of speed.


Exactly- and i would say with Kimi they will have this problem every race- no matter who is in front- They both know how to attach from behind.


Plus: Infinity deal for 35% of Lotus looks like it may or may not come good

Plus: factory people and crew apparently threaten to strike unless they are paid

Plus: Kimi’s on salary in arears and he has already threatened to leave now before season’s end [is reported somewhere]

Kimi to RBR certainly makes sense

Kimi back to Ferrari would be the dream scenario. Drinks all round!


Kimi to Mercedes this season, or Ferrari, for the balance would be optimal, but ultimately landing on Mercedes for a 1 year deal for 2014, then who knows, McLaren for 2015, powered by HONDA!


Boullier bravado?


What ever it is, if he really does have this supposed cash shortfall, then Boullier/Lopez have been pulling rabbits out of the hat for a while; good job!

But if that is so, obviously he’s going to go; as I wrote before, I think a Mercedes move would be best, they have a steep upwards trajectory, and Lewis would be viable for a functional work relationship, while Vettel, captain of team-Vettel, would be less than ideal, certainly, and if Alonso stayed at Ferrari, I don’t think it would be a very viable environment to launch/continue a title chase.


You’ve got to know when to hold’em, and when to fold’em!


Part of it is done…another part will be done when the big money arrive to save the team.

By the way, Alan Permane said there wont be any new development for 2nd half of the season, not sure if Kimi’s happy to heard about this.


What they have said is that the upgrades for the rest of the season have already been developed.


Where did you come to know of this Alan Permane saying, “… there wont be any new development for 2nd half of the season…”, information?

That doesn’t sound right to me; I expect updates for Spa, significant updates, though more a refinement of the Hungarian updates and improvements to ‘the device’.

I hope the reigning King of Spa has his day, during the race; love to see a Lewy-Kimi dual across the entire race.


I too read something similar in an article…

What basically it said was that after Spa upgrades there isn’t much in the pipeline for the rest of the year…

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