Kimi Raikkonen has spoken about his contractual situation with Lotus and the interest in him from Red Bull Racing, saying Lotus know what they have to do to keep him.
After showing consistently impressive form since his comeback, the Finn is in demand and has been speaking to several leading teams.
Raikkonen has consistently said that he is happy at Lotus and that being in the right environment is as important to him as everything else.
But as one of the highest paid drivers in F1, he needs the confidence that the team will be able to deliver to his requirements.
Its’ no secret that cash flow is tight with the Enstone team as they wait to complete the investment from the Infinity investment group of US/Middle Eastern investors. The engine supply deal is not yet complete with Renault.
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier told this website in Spa on Saturday that the pieces were slowly coming into place and is still confident of holding on to his lead driver.
Having dodged his media commitments on Thursday, citing illness, Raikkonen faced the media on Friday afternoon and said of his contract situation,
“It’s the same as four weeks ago. Nothing has changed, apart from more rumours and more teams.
As for his financial position with Lotus he said, “For sure it’s not as it should be, but hopefully those things get sorted quickly.
“They know there are certain issues we have and until those are solved there is no point talking about next year. They know exactly what they have to do first, and then we are open to talk. It’s not really up to me.”
As for the interest from Red Bull Racing, Raikkonen said, “I have no answers from them and I am waiting to hear from them personally what they are going to do. Right now I don’t know better than you guys.”
Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson said before the Spa weekend that his driver had withdrawn from talks with the Red Bull Racing management. However Christian Horner said that there were still plenty of options open.
Raikkonen is mindful of the fact that next year’s switch to hybrid turbo drivetrains will shake up the pecking order compared to this year and he clearly feels that great care needs to be taken when evaluating options. He has had contact with Ferrari about a return there, with some Italian colleagues suggesting that there is a real possibility of it happening.
“The fact is that we will see dramatic changes next year,” Raikkonen said, “And that nobody has a magic wand to make all problems disappear. Probably we will see very different teams at the top than we would expect now.”
Raikkonen is the only driver to have scored points in every GP so far this season and has set a new record of 27 consecutive points finishes up to and including the Hungarian Grand Prix.