Lopez: I am very confused about the timing and content of statements by Kimi

Gerard Lopez and Kimi Raikkonen in happier times

Gerard Lopez and Kimi Raikkonen in happier times

Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez has slammed Kimi Raikkonen, after the Finn revealed that he is only leaving for Ferrari in 2014 because he has not been paid.

Raikkonen had shocked reporters with his brutal honesty about his unpaid salary on Thursday, but Lopez told the German newspaper Welt that is not the full story.

“He will get his money, as in previous years and as agreed, at the end of the season,” Lopez said.

“I am very confused about the timing and content of these statements by Kimi,” he added.

Lopez insinuated that Raikkonen, who was dropped by Ferrari at the end of 2009 to be replaced by Fernando Alonso, is being ungrateful after Lotus revived his Formula 1 career following his two-year rallying and NASCAR sabbatical.

Kimi Raikkonen celebrates winning the 2013 Australian GP with Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen celebrates winning the 2013 Australian GP with Lotus

“Unlike with Michael Schumacher and his comeback, [Raikkonen] had a car that enabled him to win,” said Lopez.

“We have done everything to enable him to succeed,” he added.

In a separate interview, Lopez said he doubts that the money issue alone triggered Raikkonen’s decision to leave Lotus.

“If that was the decisive element in him not staying with us, it would surprise me, but it is how it is,” he told RTL Letzebuerg.

When also asked about Raikkonen’s comments, Lotus boss Eric Boullier defended the team on the basis that the Enstone-based staff and suppliers are prioritised in terms of “cash flow”.

“Unfortunately we are not as rich as some other teams on the grid,” he said.

Romain Grosjean has matched the pace of Kimi Raikkonen but not the consistency

Romain Grosjean has matched the pace of Kimi Raikkonen but not the consistency

But as Raikkonen departs along with a few other well-known names, Blick newspaper reports that twenty more Lotus employees have sent applications to top teams including Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren.

Bild newspaper said some mechanics are also waiting for their pay. Lopez, however, said that Lotus is not on the brink of collapse.

“Most of the team’s debt is with me, so the only one who can put Lotus out of business is myself,” he insisted. “As long as I don’t do that, the future of the team is secure.”

In fact, Boullier said on Friday that Lotus is not considering boosting its coffers by signing a ‘pay driver’ to replace the departing Raikkonen.

He confirmed that Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg are the frontrunners. Boullier did not even rule out signing them both, to the detriment of Romain Grosjean.

“In my position, unfortunately, I have to consider every option,” the Frenchman told Brazil’s Totalrace.

“But Romain has a contract with us and recently he has been matching Kimi. If he keeps doing that, he has a good future in Formula 1.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • hillside

    Lotus needs Kimi more than Kimi needs them. Lotus is just pathetic as they’re now

  • Dr. Azlan

    I hope Lotus will be strong financially as they are doing an incredible job considering being just a small team in a very expensive sport.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    Timing of statement = when Kimi was asked a question. Content of statement = the facts. Sorry if that surprises you Lopez.

  • Tomas

    Has it crossed your mind that you Lopez,and also Boullier are being “slightly” ungrateful to Kimi after he’s been travelling on his own expenses since the beginning of the season collecting points for you? These kind of statements from you is harming your business far more than Kimi answering a question whith a fact, and a fact that has not been a secret for the last months to anyone.