Lotus balancing Kimi’s PR work

Date published: May 16 2012

Lotus boss Eric Boullier has described Kimi Raikkonen as “a wild animal” who you have to allow to “run” wherever he wants to…

Lotus boss Eric Boullier has described Kimi Raikkonen as “a wild animal” who you have to allow to “run” wherever he wants to.

Raikkonen has made a smooth switch back to Formula One following his two years away from the sport, claiming two podium finishes in the five races to date.

Lotus team principal Boullier feels key to the Finn’s success has been the way the Enstone squad have handled his affairs on and off the track.

“We try to keep politics outside and try to give our drivers what they need,” he told the official Formula One website.

“We know that Kimi doesn’t like PR, doesn’t like media. So why should we bother him with it? Sure we need a balance between his demands and the requests from our sponsors. But he knows that we care very much about his schedule and try to minimise his obligations. That’s it.

“He is a racer so he races for winning and hardly cares about the rest! Kimi is like a wild animal and you have to let him run the way he wants to go. We don’t have to tell him what he has to do because he is a professional and we want him to deliver on track first. That is his purpose. After that there are some obligations.

“Unfortunately for him his personality makes him very attractive to the fans, so he is famous. He and we have to come to terms with the fact that he has many fans, so to a certain degree he is playing the game. We restrict his obligations to the minimum and I see that he is fine with it.”

Many believe Raikkonen has been given the No 1 status at Lotus, but Boullier is quick to point out that the 32-year-old and Romain Grosjean are on equal footing.

“Historically, this team has always pushed for one driver – a definite leader,” he said.

“But that has definitely changed. It’s a thing of the past. I want two fast drivers because that is the way you get ahead in the Constructors’ Championship. So both drivers have the same status.

“Obviously Kimi, with his experience, his character and personality, tends to have a certain degree of leadership. But in fact it is not leadership but probably more attention.

“On the other hand Romain is digging a little place for himself nicely and is getting a lot of respect every weekend from the team. You must not forget that Kimi has done something in the range of 160 Grands Prix and Romain has just finished his twelfth Grand Prix this weekend.”