No problems with Raikkonen – Lopez

2013 F1 season

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Suzuka, 2013Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez has played down claims of a rift between the team and Kimi Raikkonen.

Relations with Raikkonen, who is leaving to join Ferrari next year, became strained in India when he was told to let team mate Romain Grosjean overtake him.

Raikkonen and trackside operations director Alan Permane swore at each other on the radio during the exchange which team principal Eric Boullier later apologised for.

Raikkonen failed to appear at the Yas Marina circuit for media commitments on Thursday but arrived in time for the start of practice on Friday.

Lopez said: “Recently a lot was made about the comments between Alan Permane and Kimi during the course of a tense moment in a race, but this was just one exchange taking a matter of seconds in the course of a two-year relationship”.

“It certainly wasn?t the most beneficial few seconds, but you have to step back and accept that everyone is passionate about racing and sometimes these things do happen.”

Lopez described Raikkonen as “often misunderstood”. “The whole ‘Iceman’ thing actually prevails on the track from where he is very cool-headed and a very good driver,” he said. “In reality he?s a kind guy, he?s a very talkative guy and over the two years I?ve gained a friend in Formula One which is a difficult place to do so.”

He said he was “sad” the team had been unable to retain Raikkonen, who has “delivered big time”, for 2014. “The only reason we?re fighting for second in the world championship is because of all the points that Kimi has scored. We?re doing everything we can to ensure Kimi and the team can continue to fight right up to the chequered flag in Brazil.”

He also credited Raikkonen for helping Grosjean improve his performance. “For Romain to be delivering the results he is doing so now, it?s really very much because he is driving next to probably one of the best Formula One drivers ever,” said Lopez. “Kimi has been a tremendous help in the development of Romain.”

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21 comments on No problems with Raikkonen – Lopez

  1. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 1st November 2013, 15:26

    Lopez should’ve replaced Boullier, because he isn’t the man, who can handle big team (which Lotus aims becoming to).

    • TheBass (@) said on 1st November 2013, 15:31

      @osvaldas31 I doubt anyone here is an position to judge that, without knowing the internal affairs of Lotus.

      Wwhat we can see, the results, say that Lotus has been doing quite well with Boullier.

      • Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 1st November 2013, 15:46

        @TheBass But judging from things that are visible from outside, he isn’t doing enough to maximize teams potential. Look how many operational errors Lotus have done during the last 2 years, when they where competing at the top. And they even couldn’t keep their top driver.

        • TheBass (@) said on 1st November 2013, 15:54

          @osvaldas31

          Look how many operational errors Lotus have done during the last 2 years, when they where competing at the top.

          Just like McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari and even Red Bull. Mistakes are part of the equation of F1.

          And they even couldn’t keep their top driver.

          If the money isn’t there, there’s nothing he can do.

          You playing the blame game with very little information, not a very reasonable thing do.

      • maarten.f1 (@maarten-f1) said on 1st November 2013, 15:59

        @silence I agree with you; we’re not in a position to judge properly whether or not he’s the right man for that position. However, what does need to change (and I feel this needs to be fixed from a rule standpoint), is that he can be team boss while at the same time being the manager of one the drivers of that team. That creates a conflict of interest, at least in appearance, and is something that can easily be avoided.

        As for these comments from Lopez. I’m not putting too much value into them. But that goes for pretty much every public statement of any team. Press releases are usually a heap of BS (pardon my French) and public comments such as these are as well.

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 1st November 2013, 16:51

      @osvaldas31 – Boullier has done a really good job IMO. Under his leadership, Grosjean has been managed through a very difficult period where he was a public laughing stock and is now a widely respected driver. He’s had the difficult job of keeping Kimi happy despite the team’s inability to pay him in addition to keeping Lotus on the pace.

      There have been mistakes but not as many as most other teams. Considering he hadn’t worked in F1 before he got this job in 2010, I think he’s done a great job!

      Whitmarsh, Domenicali or Brawn certainly can’t claim to have done a better job than Boullier has over the last few years!

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st November 2013, 18:35

      In what would replacing Boullier have helped the team even an inch forward @osvaldas31

  2. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 1st November 2013, 15:41

    While Lopez is showing diplomacy I believe there is a lot of truth in what he is saying. Nice of him to give credit where it is due. Best wishes to Lotus going forward as they have already accomplished much without the huge resources of the bigger teams. I really hope Lotus can win the #2 spot in the WCC, they deserve it.

  3. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 1st November 2013, 16:34

    Reports saying Kimi had to be persuaded to race in Abu Dhabi cuz he’s not been paid all year.

    So there is one problem…

    • toiago (@toiago) said on 1st November 2013, 16:52

      And even worse, it seems that other employees haven’t been paid also. We all know that the Lotus team runs on a much smaller budget than the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull, but this is becoming unacceptable. The people on the team are trying to do their best, and they’re doing things seemingly impossible with the resources available to them, and for them not getting proper rewards for it, it must be rather frustrating.

    • Nathan (@il-ferrarista) said on 1st November 2013, 16:55

      That is really amazing, if it is true. SUrely, an employer _has_ to pay his employee. And a little question in there; can Kimi just boycott the next(?) since they don’t pay him..

    • petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 1st November 2013, 16:59

      Kimi won’t sit the race out – it wouldnt’ benefit him to do so in any way. It would cause issues with his own sponsors, wouldn’t improve his chances of being paid and would be a shame for his fans.

      I’m not surprised to see him sit out the press events but in terms of racing, it’s something he enjoys so why not do it? They’re not suddenly going to pay him because he sits the race out!

      Getting paid is something Kimi’s going to have to fight about in the courts at some stage. By sitting out races, it gives Lotus more leverage. If he satisfies all of his commitments before leaving, it’s not something that can come back to bite him in the arse at a later date.

  4. Strontium (@strontium) said on 1st November 2013, 18:02

    It’s nice of him to credit Grosjean for his part in the constructors battle… What a way to avoid talking about your driver.

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