Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is confident that he can keep Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus for 2014 despite advances from Red Bull for the Finnish driver.
Following Mark Webber’s decision to retire from Formula One at the end of the season, Red Bull have been seeking a replacement for the Australian driver and have narrowed their shortlist down to Raikkonen and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo. In pursuit of a second world championship, Raikkonen’s reasons for leaving Lotus would be evident as Red Bull have dominated the sport for the last three-and-a-half years. However, Boullier is confident that he can offer Raikkonen a better working environment.
“I’m very optimistic. There is a lot of discussion in the press, most of it is irrelevant. It is all about making Kimi comfortable enough to stay and happy to stay. Part of it is done,” Boullier said on the James Allen podcast.
“He knows the team and the environment. Now it’s about building up the right package. He will then take his decision.”
The trade-off for Raikkonen in his decision is clear. Red Bull may be able to offer him a more competitive car, but he would have to contend with Sebastian Vettel as a teammate which, as Mark Webber has proven this season, is by no means an easy task. Furthermore, Red Bull tend to undertake a great deal of promotional work with their drivers, something Raikkonen tends to distance himself from.
Therefore, staying at Lotus may be the more sensible option, although he may be less capable of challenging for a second world title.