Lopez expects Raikkonen to agree new deal very soon

Gerard Lopez with Kimi Raikkonen

Gerard Lopez with Kimi Raikkonen

Lotus team co-owner Gerard Lopez is hopeful Kimi Raikkonen will soon sign a new deal to stay with the Enstone based outfit in 2014.

As a weekend of fever-pitch speculation nears an end, the Finnish driver’s manager Steve Robertson has now clearly denied rumours Raikkonen has inked a Ferrari contract.

“It’s a load of rubbish,” he told the broadcaster MTV3.

“We are in the same place as we were a month ago in Hungary – we do not have an agreement,” Robertson insisted.

MTV3 claims Raikkonen staying at Lotus next year is backed by Formula 1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who wants as many top drivers as possible spread across all the top teams.

So if Raikkonen stays put, Ecclestone thinks McLaren with Jenson Button, Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari with Fernando Alonso and Red Bull with Sebastian Vettel is an ideal situation for the sport.

Raikkonen hinted on Friday that one pertinent issue is the fact Lotus has often been late to pay wages.

But according to another rumour in Belgium, also crucial to Raikkonen staying next year could be a deal that brings engine supplier Renault – marginalised at Red Bull due to the Infiniti deal – closer to Lotus.

That would tie into speculation Raikkonen has demanded certain ‘guarantees’ about Lotus’ competitiveness in 2014.

“We do not need to give any guarantees,” Lopez insists. “We are very competitive.

“Rather, the question is about next season. We are very close to reaching an agreement with Renault.

“I believe that we have very good chances. We’ve done a good job to give Kimi what he wants.”

And, ultimately, he thinks that when the time is right, sitting down with a new contract and Raikkonen will be a straightforward matter.

“We already talk a lot,” said Lopez. “As long as we are able to give him what he wants and we can react calmly, I believe we can reach an agreement quickly.”

  • Boycottthebull

    Oh Lotus dont give Gimmi Gimmi Kimi what he wants. He has gotten too greedy, cut him loose and get someone better value for money. Grosjean is already quicker and costs a tenth as much. Kimi isnt worth it. Get the Hulk on board and you will have a great team and you wont have to put a coin slot on the side of your cars so Kimi can squeeze the last cent out of you.

  • jeff

    Sure he is greedy. But Bernie made this a mega billion $ industry. Kimi is just following suit.

  • Boycottthebull

    @Jeff, yes your perfectly right of course Billionaire Bernie has extorted so much money out of the teams (presumably to pay bribes) that most of them are on the verge of bankruptcy that we now have 17yo pay drivers entering the sport to make ends meet. But still when the team of drink cans cant even afford Kimi you know he has taken Bernies lead a bit too far. How can Lotus off performance guarantee? How about Kimi offer the same and at least beat his team mate in qualifying? Door swings both ways Kimi.