Lotus bosses sing Kimi’s praises

Date published: February 15 2012

Kimi Raikkonen continues to impress his new employers with the Lotus team bosses saying they are over the moon with the Finn’s work ethic…

Kimi Raikkonen continues to impress his new employers with the Lotus team bosses saying they are over the moon with the Finn’s work ethic.

Several question marks were raised over the 32-year-old’s commitment levels when he decided to return to Formula One with Lotus this season following two years away from the sport.

However, he appears to have settled quickly at his new team and everyone at Enstone is singing his praises after he made an excellent debut during the first pre-season test at Jerez last week.

Lotus F1 owner Gerard Lopez says Raikkonen has been the ultimate professional so far.

“For most people it’s probably one of the big mysteries, because you hear the hearsay and so forth, but we feel very good with him and he clearly feels at home,” Lopez told Autosport.

“He smiles a lot when he’s with us! But most importantly that says he feels more like part of the family.”

Lopez added: “I think Kimi has a public image that honestly from what we’ve seen does not translate into how he really is. He’s a very hard worker, very good at providing feedback, and has a good team spirit.

“Once we talked to him, once we understood why he was coming back, we really felt comfortable. If you look at what happened [at the test], nobody can say that he’s not on the pace.”

Lotus test and trackside operations director Alan Permane also lauded Raikkonen, saying the Finn’s feedback after the Jerez test was top notch.

“He’s very easy to work with, very, very easy indeed – no complaints at all,” Permane told ESPNF1.

“His feedback is excellent, he spends an awful lot of time with his engineers looking at stuff, going through data and telling us what he wants. From what I can see, he’s happy firstly with the car we’ve given him, but also the other stuff – the bits that he asked for when he came, the type of steering wheel he wanted, the seat, the seat belts, things like that.

“We’ve also delivered the braking stuff he wanted, he’s got all that. I think he’s a pretty happy guy.”

Meanwhile, team principal Eric Boullier says they are all on the same wavelength at Lotus.

“We tried to handle his personality and make sure that we don’t bother him too much with too many intrusions, and he’s a real racer,” he told Autosport.

“This team is full of proper racing people and he has fitted very well because we speak the same language.

“We are flexible, but our system is very racing-orientated, and that suits him very well.”