Money a 'side issue' in latest Raikkonen deal – Lopez

06.02.2012 Jerez, Spain - Kimi Raikkonen (FIN), Lotus Renault F1 Team - Portrait - Formula1 World Championship Pre-Season Testing  - Jerez de la Frontera +++ © Copyright: Stange /

Kimi Raikkonen

Feb.10 (GMM) Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez insists he is delighted with Kimi Raikkonen, despite negotiations in 2010 to secure the Finn’s services fell flat.

After a two year break to drive rallies and in Nascar, the 2007 world champion is back in formula one this year with the former Renault team.

“We had some contact with Kimi in 2010,” revealed Lopez, according to Finland’s Turun Sanomat newspaper.

Reports in 2010 linked Raikkonen with the Enstone based team, but the talks apparently soured after becoming public knowledge.

“I think (in 2010) he was still enjoying the challenge of rallying, giving the impression that he wanted to do it and F1 at the same time,” said Lopez.

He also hinted that 32-year-old Raikkonen considered money as a crucial element in the 2010 talks.

“This time everything was different,” he said. “I can assure you that Kimi came back because he wanted to race and that money was a side issue.”

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, joked on Thursday when he was asked if he had seen his friend Raikkonen at Jerez after the Finn’s two days of running.

“I haven’t. I think he went straight to the bar,” Vettel laughed to the MTV3 broadcaster.

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