Kimi Raikkonen will commit to a fresh deal at Lotus if the team provides him with the assurances he is seeking about its future.
After a wave of speculation this week linking the Finn with Ferrari in the wake of talks with Red Bull coming to an end, it is emerging that Raikkonen’s priority is indeed to stay put for 2014. The former world champion is relishing his place at the team and the way it is working for him, but wants to know it can keep its current status as one of the top teams.
Rather than be actively chasing a move to Ferrari as some have suggested, Raikkonen is in fact waiting on Lotus to deliver him the guarantees he wants about its future financial and technical platforms. If the team can do that, then Raikkonen will agree to a fresh deal.
Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson said Lotus was well aware of the situation, and knows what it needs to do in order to retain the Finn.
“Lotus holds the key to Raikkonen’s future,” Robertson told AUTOSPORT. “If the team can provide him with the answers he is seeking, which will ensure he has a car that can fight for race wins and the championship, then he will stay.”
Lotus is equally eager to keep Raikkonen, but team boss Eric Boullier has made it clear that it is important any deal works for both the team and its star driver.
Although Ferrari is Raikkonen’s best alternative if Lotus cannot provide him with what he wants, the Italian team has not yet put serious thought to its 2014 lineup. There is also the chance that there will be no vacancy there anyway, if Felipe Massa can deliver strong results after the summer break.
Raikkonen is prepared to give Lotus more time to shore up its future plans anyway, meaning that it is too premature for him to seriously consider a fallback option.