Lopez not concerned by Kimi rumours

Wednesday 22-May-2013 11:31

Lotus owner Gerard Lopez has for the umpteenth time played down suggestions that Kimi Raikkonen could leave at the end of the season.

Raikkonen's two-year contract with the Enstone squad runs out at the end of the current campaign, and he has been linked with a move to Red Bull among others.

Although the Finn has stayed pretty tight-lipped about his future, he has made no secret of the fact that he loves the environment at Lotus and Lopez feels he will stay as long as they provide him a competitive car.

"I'm not concerned," Lopez told Press Association Sport when asked whether he was worried Raikkonen would leave.

"We know we want Kimi to drive for us next year, but then we also know Kimi's character well, which means you can't force him to do anything.

"I know he's happy, and at this stage if he had to choose (which team to drive for next season) I know where he would be.

"The main thing about Kimi is he naturally wants a car to win, and he has got that with us.

"If he could find a better car somewhere else, and he had an option to go there, then I'm sure he would consider it.

"But I know we're giving him what he needs, and as long as we keep on doing that then he'll stay with us."

There have been reports that Red Bull will simply wave their chequebook in an attempt to lure Raikkonen to Milton Keynes, but Lopez insists Lotus are paying the Finn a good salary.

"I saw some numbers which are rubbish," added Lopez.

"I don't think there are many drivers who make more money than Kimi does in Formula One right now."

While Lotus would no doubt love to tie Raikkonen down to a new deal as soon as possible, the team know they can't rush the former World Champion.

"With Kimi you never really sit down with him to discuss something as specific as a new contract - you just talk and that's it. It's a different relationship," said Lopez.

"I know it sounds odd, but we don't run our team like other teams run theirs, which is why Kimi fits with us.

"Of course, we do talk to Kimi about a contract, but most importantly we talk to him about how he feels and about how to move forward, and that kind of automatically leads to the other."

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