Morto David Robertson
A lungo manager di Raikkonen con il figlio
Lo storico manager di Kimi Raikkonen David Robertson è scomparso questo mercoledì ad appena settant’anni a seguito di una lunga malattia.
Fu grazie a lui che nel 2000 Jenson Button, su cui aveva puntato molto, poté entrare in F1, poi assieme al figlio Steve il lungo legame con Iceman seguito fino all’aggravarsi del male qualche mese fa e di cui ora si occuperà la MB Partners dell’ex pilota Mark Blundell.
E come Roberston parlava di Kimi (2007):
How to manage a champion – exclusive with David Robertson
There are drivers everybody wants to manage and there are driver managers everybody envies. Only as a team do they make it to the very top – Ayrton Senna and Julian Jacobi, Michael Schumacher and Willi Weber, Kimi Raikkonen and David and Steve Robertson.
If the driver has what it takes, it’s up to the manager to take him to the team that delivers. If all goes well the story ends in Monaco, at the yearly FIA Gala, receiving the champion’s trophy. That’s where we caught up with David Robertson…
Q: David, you’ve come a long way with Kimi. How does it feel for the both of you to have finally won the title and trophy?
David Robertson: Well, the words that I have to describe this feeling seem, to Steve and I, to be really inadequate. Sheer ecstasy is the feeling and we are still smiling now. When you think that despite two mechanical failures he still did it – winning the most races and scoring the most fastest laps. It was so close in 2003, when he would have been the youngest driver ever and then in 2005, after more failures than I care to remember, he was to be thwarted again. It began to make you think that it was never meant to be, so to finally do it, in such a dramatic fashion against all the odds, was just unbelievable. As everyone knows, with reliability, he would already be three times a world champion!
Q: Kimi has said that nothing will change – that he will always stay the same. Nevertheless, it must be different now that he is champion and he doesn’t have to prove he is of title-winning material…
DR: I am sure that he feels like he says because that is the way that he is. What he says to you is what he means – there are no sides to the lad. But if it were a normal person I’d agree with you that they would feel like they have had a huge monkey taken off of their back.
Q: How did you and Kimi meet? What was it that convinced you that he had what it would take to become a great?
DR: We met when he was brought to our attention through that well known petrol head Peter Collins. Peter told us all about this kid who was in an inferior kart to the rest but was always there in the frame and that in the wet he was amazing. Steve and I then brought him over to test and he was awesome to say the least – he literally looked like he could make the car talk. I know that it sounds corny, but that is the truth. To Steve, he reminded him of the drivers that he had driven against like Schumacher and Hakkinen and he had the best car control that he had ever seen. From the moment that I first met him we took to him completely, hook, line and sinker. As a person, we trusted him and, if you like, he became one of the family, as we literally love him. To me he was like another son and to Steve like a brother. When we address cards to him, we tell him that it is from his English family and you know I like to feel that that is the way that he thinks of us. That’s not to say that his real parents were not 100 percent behind him, because without them he would not be here. They are amazing people too. With them too, what you see is what you get, there are no sides to them – they are the salt of the earth. They sacrificed a lot to enable their son to do what he always wanted to do.
Q: Kimi hasn’t made a wrong move in his career to date – every team he has joined has moved him on. How much does he get involved in these decisions? Or does he trust you completely to make them?
DR: He has a lot of respect for what we think and we make the decisions together. Of course it goes without saying that it was the right thing to do to go to Ferrari, after all, that is the team that all the drivers on the grid want to go to at some point in their career.
Q: But with several key people leaving after Michael Schumacher’s retirement, joining Ferrari was a bit of a gamble. You must have believed that even with those uncertainties, Kimi would enjoy a better 2007 with the Italian team than if he had stayed at McLaren or headed to Renault…
DR: Yes, contrary to what other people thought, we thought that the team had more strength in depth than that. The one person that we thought was critical to the move was the man himself – Jean Todt. I have never known anyone that works as hard as he does. If he was not going to be there, then it would have been a different story. Like any great leader, though, I have found that his work ethic has been contagious and that all of the people that are there are the same and they follow their leader. The passion there is second to none. Trust me, there is no other single reason why Ferrari are the team that they are, than the passion that lies in their very core and spreads to every man that works in their factories. Italy is a very proud nation and they are behind their team and their drivers.
Q: A driver dubbed the ‘Iceman’ and a team that is known for its big emotions – how could that combination possibly work?
DR: You are right, Kimi is not one for wearing his heart on his sleeve and this was one of the things that attracted Ferrari to him. They thought that Kimi was different. After all, he was Kimi and not Michael. That, though, has not made any difference and the team are already very fond of him because he never moans, never makes excuses and just gets on with the job. He sometimes makes mistakes himself and therefore never sees fit to blame anyone in the team for their mistakes either. I once remember Ron (Dennis) said to Kimi, ‘hey, we are moving this guy from the race team as he is the one that caused the finger problem’. Kimi immediately said to him that he was not to touch any of his team, as they never did it deliberately and that everyone makes mistakes so please leave them alone. That is Kimi and that is why so many still love him at McLaren – and why they do now at Ferrari.
Q: Kimi is world champion and Ferrari the constructors’ champion, so everybody must be on cloud nine. Leaving the celebrations to one side, how was the year as a whole? When Kimi joined, some argued that with the team so focused on Schumacher, any successor would have a hard time…
DR: I think that as far as the press are concerned they run away with their own views and they are normally a long way from the truth. The fact is that of course Michael was important to Ferrari but so were so many other people, if you like they were the unsung heroes. Schumacher was a great driver, but Ferrari are a great team. Some people got carried away with the importance of a few individuals and forgot that it was the team, not that jack built, but that Jean Todt built and that Michael was a part of that team and not the sole reason as to why it did well. The team were unbelievable with Kimi when he started. They made every effort to make him feel at home and helped him through the difficulties that he had with the new tyres and his new crew.
Q: Looking back at that crucial race in Brazil, how was Kimi emotionally in those days. Did you speak to him about it?
DR: There is no doubt that, as you would expect, he was over the moon he had managed to pull it off. We were so proud of him during the post-race interviews. You could not have written it any better than the way that he handled it, it was word perfect. The good news is that with Kimi, you knew that he meant every word of it. That is why the team were so happy, because they are now aware of him and understand that he never just pays lip service – it was absolutely straight from the heart.
Q: McLaren’s appeal of the Brazilian result left the championship open for almost four weeks. How did he cope during that period?
DR: Well when you know Kimi, you know that he has this very unique philosophy and that is that he never worries about anything that he can not change and that is another of his great strengths. I remember reading a book about how to stop worrying and start living and I thought after I had known him for a very short time that he could have written that book himself. It just comes naturally to him.
Q: Kimi – and his alias James Hunt – occasionally enjoy some wild times. How much do you try to control that? Do you trust that as a professional he knows the limits?
DR: Once again, thanks to the press, things get quoted wrongly and then a lifestyle emerges that is, to say the least, a little way from the truth. The fact is, he is a young man and does like a party. But never, and I mean never, has he let it interfere with the job that he does. He, like the pro that he is, always makes sure that he is in good condition to deliver at testing and during race weekends. I have never had to go to him – we trust him totally. When he competed in that race over the winter on the snowmobiles, he used the alias of James Hunt to get rid of the press, but I’m sure that if he does that this year he will get mobbed.
Häkkinen doesn’t approve Permane’s behavior – Was Kimi ‘paid back’?
Mika Häkkinen believes that the knowledge of Kimi Räikkönen’s switch to Ferrari affected Alan Permane’s behavior in India.
Permane screamed and cursed to Kimi Räikkönen when Kimi didn’t immediately let Romain Grosjean past him in India.
- Alan Permane’s behavior was really not smart or correct. In those teams I have raced the team radio messages have always been understood without any cursing, Häkkinen writes in his column in Ilta-Sanomat.
- I understand that the emotions can come to play when a long and difficult race is about to end, but cursing and screaming only make the situation worse.
Later on Permane and Räikkönen continued their harsh discussion on the paddock.
- Sometimes people hold something against other people. Kimi has snapped all kinds of things to the team during the season, so maybe Permane thought that he will now pay him back.
- Maybe he could have controlled himself better if he didn’t know Kimi was changing teams.
Häkkinen has a clear opinion about Räikkönen’s driving – Did Kimi do the right thing?
- Lotus-team’s operation in India looked quite stupid. The situation where Romain Grosjean tried to overtake Kimi should have been handled better, Häkkinen writes.
Räikkönen didn’t let Grosjean immediately past since his tyres were pretty much worn out. After that there was a heated discussion containing swearing words between Räikkönen and Alan Permane.
- I understand Kimi. If he had made room for Grosjean in the fast corner then his tyres would had been in an even worse condition. Kimi would easily had lost 3-4 seconds before getting his pace back again.
- Kimi was thinking just like every experienced driver thinks. If he had let Grosjean past in the wrong place, then someone else could also had passed him – and Felipe Massa was very close.
- Why was the team’s language exceptionally harsh towards Kimi and why didn’t the team give him earlier information about how close Grosjean was? One could also aslk why Grosjean had to go so greedily for the overtake that tyres clashed, Häkkinen writes.
Manager dumbstruck over the way Räikkönen was treated
Steve Robertson sighed deeply on the phone even on Tuesday. You could hear his sigh from Dubai to Turku when he was asked how he felt about Alan Permane’s public cursing in the team radio when drivers battled for positions in the overtaking situation.
– I have never heard any person from any team management shout at Kimi like that, Robertson wonders.
– Grosjean squeezed Kimi the same way three weeks earlier in Korea. Of course his tyres were now worn out, but Kimi always tries to fight for as long as his machinery allows him to do that, Robertson said.
Some reporter colleagues asked me after India if Räikkönen only drives for himself without listening to anyone.
I asked his manager the same question.
– Just like all top drivers Kimi drives firstly and mostly for himself – otherwise none of them would win championships. But of course Kimi can play for the team. If his teammate drives for the championship when he is out of it already, then he doesn’t make his WDC-battle difficult.
– Grosjean is not driving for the WDC, so in that sistuation he was just like any other competitor to Kimi who threathens his position, Robertson told TS.
Bouillier’s apology and Mika Häkkinen’s words (already translated)
Lopez tips Raikkonen to agree to new Lotus deal
Team owner Gerard Lopez is hopeful Kimi Raikkonen will soon sign a new deal to stay at Lotus in 2014.
As a weekend of fever-pitch speculation nears an end, the Finnish driver’s manager Steve Robertson has now clearly denied rumours Raikkonen has inked a Ferrari contract.
"It’s a load of rubbish," he told the broadcaster MTV3.
"We are in the same place as we were a month ago in Hungary — we do not have an agreement," Robertson insisted.
MTV3 claims Raikkonen staying at Lotus next year is backed by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who wants as many top drivers as possible spread across all the top teams.
So if Raikkonen stays put, Ecclestone thinks McLaren with Jenson Button, Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton, Ferrari with Fernando Alonso and Red Bull with Sebastian Vettel is an ideal situation for the sport.
Raikkonen hinted on Friday that one pertinent issue is the fact Lotus has often been late to pay wages.
But according to another rumour in Belgium, also crucial to Raikkonen staying next year could be a deal that brings engine supplier Renault – marginalised at Red Bull due to the Infiniti deal – closer to Lotus.
That would tie into speculation Raikkonen has demanded certain ‘guarantees’ about Lotus’ competitiveness in 2014.
"We do not need to give any guarantees," Lopez insists. "We are very competitive.
"Rather, the question is about next season. We are very close to reaching an agreement with Renault.
"I believe that we have very good chances. We’ve done a good job to give Kimi what he wants."
And, ultimately, he thinks that when the time is right, sitting down with a new contract and Raikkonen will be a straightforward matter.
"We already talk a lot," said Lopez. "As long as we are able to give him what he wants and we can react calmly, I believe we can reach an agreement quickly."
Lotus remains convinced Kimi Raikkonen will stay on for F1 2014
Lotus still remains convinced that Kimi Raikkonen will stay at the team next year, despite the speculation linking him with both Red Bull and Ferrari.
Raikkonen had held talks with Red Bull, but the team looks almost certain to hand its second seat to its junior driver Daniel Ricciardo.
Ferrari is also currently considering whether or not to replace Felipe Massa, and Raikkonen is understood to be on a shortlist of candidates.
Lotus, however, remains Raikkonen’s preferred option – and his manager said last week that if the Enstone-based team can give the former champion the assurances he wants then he will commit to a fresh deal.
Eric Boullier, the Lotus team boss, admitted he was still optimistic that Raikkonen will stay on board, even though a major financial deal with investment partner Infinity Racing is taking longer to finalise than originally anticipated.
When asked if he was still confident Raikkonen would be at Lotus in 2014, Boullier said: "Yes I am. He loves this team, he likes to be here and he likes the environment.
"But you need to be rational: we have to sort out the strength of the team financially and there is a technical challenge we face for next year.
"It is still up in the air, but as soon as we know we can deliver what he wants then we will obviously sit down."
NO CONCERNS ABOUT INFINITY DEAL
Although progress on concluding the Infinity deal has been slow, Boullier thinks that such complications are to be expected when a team like Lotus aims to put in place such big partnerships.
"There was an effort in this team before to compete at the highest level, and you need to establish another strategy to reach that step," he said.
"It is like playing in the Premier League and fighting for some wins against going for a top three position. If you want to consistently be like Manchester United then you need another level of investment and commitment.
"This is what we are working for, and this is why we are working on getting stronger.
"We have solved most of the issues now, but we expect for Monza to get the deal completely done."
Kimi-Red Bull, non è ancora finita: assalto finale a Spa
MERCATO. Colpo di scena nella telenovela legata al futuro del finlandese, il cui manager incontrerà i vertici del team austriaco in occasione del Gp del Belgio. E tre indizi mettono in forte dubbio l’ipotesi di un ritorno di Raikkonen in Ferrari
Kimi-Red Bull, ultimo tentativo – Come ogni telenovela che si rispetti, anche quella legata al futuro di Raikkonen potrebbe avere un colpo di scena finale. La notizia è stata rilanciata da Tony Jardine, ex dirigente McLaren e oggi opinionista per Sky Sports: a Spa, la Red Bull incontrerà il manager del finlandese per sottoporgli una sontuosa offerta per il 2014.
Le dichiarazioni del manager di Raikkonen, Steve Robertson, che aveva escluso l’ipotesi di un passaggio al team austriaco, sarebbero state solo un mezzo per alzare la posta in gioco. Altri indizi in tal senso sono arrivati da tre protagonisti della vicenda.
Un campione per Vettel – Eric Bouiller, team principal della Lotus, ha affermato che non farà follie per trattenere l’ex iridato a Enstone: "Kimi è un grande pilota – ha detto ad Autosport -. Ma non possiamo permetterci di spendere una fortuna".
Un’altra dichiarazione che spinge Raikkonen in Red Bull è quella del grande capo, Dietrich Mateschitz, che ha puntualizzato come il team stia cercando un pilota competitivo sul "medio termine". Ricciardo, grande favorito per il sedile di Webber, sarebbe un investimento sul lungo periodo.
Infine lo stesso Helmut Marko, a capo del progetto giovani di Milton Keynes, ha smentito l’ipotesi che a Spa la scuderia campione del mondo possa annunciare l’ingaggio di Ricciardo: "Non ci sarà nessun comunicato in Belgio", ha detto all’agenzia Sid. In tutto questo, il manager di Raikkonen fa melina: "Abbiamo molte offerte. Stiamo valutando tutti i team del campionato. Credo che Kimi nel 2014 sarà ancora nel circus".
Jordan, Kimi andrà a Maranello – Nonostante le continue smentite (l’ultima alla Bbc), la Ferrari è realmente interessata a far rientrare in Emilia il figliol prodigo finlandese.
Secondo Globo Esporte, i vertici della Rossa spingerebbero per un ritorno di Kimi, ostacolato però dal Presidente, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, che non apprezzerebbe una minestra riscaldata.
Per Eddie Jordan, ex patron dell’omonima scuderia e attuale opinionista della Bbc, l’accordo tra Raikkonen e la Ferrari si farà. Detta dalla persona che lo scorso anno anticipò il clamoroso matrimonio tra Hamilton e la Mercedes, l’indiscrezione sembra essere più di una semplice voce. Red Bull permettendo, naturalmente.
Raikkonen admitted Ferrari move at Finnish party
Kimi Raikkonen, no fan of the spotlight, is the man of the moment as F1′s summer slumber ends this weekend in Belgium.
The Finn’s manager has ruled out a move to Red Bull, but some sources at Spa-Francorchamps think the fact the team has put off announcing Daniel Ricciardo’s 2014 deal is a sign Raikkonen might still be in the running.
At the same time, Lotus has made clear it wants to keep the 33-year-old on board, while reports continue to insist there is a real chance Raikkonen will return to Ferrari.
The German newspaper Die Welt even reports that Raikkonen recently admitted to friends during an alcohol-fuelled night out in Helsinki that he will be wearing red again in 2014.
Reporting about the Helsinki party, the German broadcaster RTL suggested Ferrari has put a EUR 11 million contract on the table, including bonuses and sponsorship of his motocross team.
As ever in the ‘silly season’, though, there are conflicting reports.
Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat is now quoting Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson as saying the driver actually wants to stay at Lotus in 2014.
“Kimi likes it at Lotus,” said Robertson. “But we are waiting for information on certain issues that are still outstanding.
“About Kimi’s future, the ball is in Lotus’ court.”
Il caso Raikkonen
Da quando Steve Robertson, il manager di Raikkonen ha fatto sapere che “Kimi non andrà in Red Bull nel 2014″, le speculazioni su un arrivo di Raikkonen in Ferrari sono cresciute a dismisura. Ma è stato anche l’effetto-internet a ingigantirle. Sapete come funziona. Uno lo ipotizza (in questo caso il primo a rilanciarle è stato il giornale finlandese “Ilta Sanomat”), un altro lo riprende e la voce automaticamente s’ingrossa e si fa più “vera” non perché nel frattempo arrivino conferme, ma perché, a furia di ripeterlo, qualcun altro ci aggiunge ipotesi e speculazioni e man mano che rimbalza da un sito all’altro la notizia si fa più verosimile agli occhi dei lettori. E assume sempre più credibilità solo perché ormai lo dicono tutti. Ma cerchiamo di dividere i fatti dalle speculazioni per capire cosa c’è sotto.
Il fatto di partenza è che Kimi non ha accettato l’offerta Red Bull 2014 per affiancare Vettel. Siccome la proposta era vera e confermata, vuol dire solo due cose: primo, non c’era una sostanziosa offerta economica dietro (ricordiamo che Kimi da almeno cinque anni guadagna fra i 10 e i 20 milioni di euro a stagione e a parte Senna che nel 1992 si offrì gratis alla Williams pur di avere la macchina vincente, a nessuno piace svendersi). Oppure semplicemente che la bozza di contratto con Red Bull (di cui non conosciamo i dettagli) prevedeva un ruolo di subordinazione a Vettel.
Qualcosa, col senno di poi si era intuito, quando Raikkonen a fine luglio ammise più o meno che aveva già in cuor suo preso la sua decisione (senza svelare quale) e che qualcuno si sarebbe stupito perché poteva non sembrare la più logica. Ora sappiamo qual è parte della decisione.
Ma a questo punto l’attenzione si sposta sul rapporto Raikkonen-Maranello. Per prima cosa la proposta Ferrari è reale o no? Sicuramente sì perché il manager di Kimi ha ammesso che è una soluzione che stanno vagliando, e nessuno vaglia una proposta se la controparte (Maranello) non è interessata.
In tutto ciò si inserisce la freddezza di rapporti Alonso-Domenicali che è nata nelle ultime settimane, alimentata dalle critiche dello spagnolo verso la macchina e l’organizzazione ferrarista. Fino a ieri ad Alonso è stato concesso tutto, compreso il fatto di avere un secondo pilota ai suoi servizi che non lo ostacolasse e lavorasse per lui. Ma dopo aver fallito per tre anni di seguito (ahimè si teme anche per il quarto vista la difficile situazione in classifica) l’assalto al titolo mondiale sia Piloti che Costruttori la Ferrari deve aver riflettuto che una squadra con un solo pilota di punta non è produttiva. Le critiche di Alonso e il duro richiamo di Montezemolo sono un indicatore: in pratica il messaggio allo spagnolo dev’essere stato più o meno di questo tono: finora abbiamo fatto a modo tuo lasciandoti il controllo della squadra, ma visto che la strategia non ha funzionato e non possiamo mettere a rischio ogni anno anche il mondiale Costruttori, da domani faremo a modo nostro. Con due piloti vincenti a pari opportunità.
Montezemolo ha detto chiaramente nello sfogo di inizio agosto che vogliono “il meglio” che il mercato può offrire. La possibilità Raikkonen è reale a questo punto (anche se è stata blandamente smentita da Maranello per non ammosciare nelle ultime gare ancora di più Massa) ma non dimentichiamo che la Ferrari potrebbe anche ripiegare su un Hulkenberg senza però – questa è la novità – che sia sottomesso a fare il n.2 di Alonso.
Raikkonen però si lasciò in malo modo con la Ferrari a fine 2009, pagato per un anno sabbatico senza guidare pur di lasciar libero il posto per Alonso. Ci starebbe a tornare? Sicuramente sì perché per lui sarebbe una bella rivincita morale. Cercato e corteggiato dal team che ti aveva mandato via. Che volere di più per il proprio ego? Quante sono le probabilità che questo possa avvenire? Secondo noi molto alte perché non si capisce altrimenti perché uno come Raikkonen, a 33 anni, debba buttar via un’occasione come la Red Bull e restare in un team precario come la Lotus. Che oggi va forte ma domani (e senza Allison) non si sa. Anzi, a ben guardare proprio l’arrivo di Allison a Maranello può essere l’indizio ulteriore che il suo pilota degli ultimi due anni stia per raggiungerlo. Resta da vedere soltanto quale sarà l’impatto di tutta questa vicenda su Alonso che quando si sente non più al centro delle attenzioni del team (vedi Renault 2005 e McLaren 2007) è capace di reazioni imprevedibili.
Di certo c’è che la potenziale coppia Alonso-Raikkonen sarebbe sulla carta fortissima, degna della miglior formazione Senna-Prost dei tempi d’oro della McLaren.
Raikkonen e Ferrari: cosa c’è di vero
Che succederà, d’ora in avanti, con Kimi Raikkonen? Dopo che il manager del pilota ha confermato la rottura delle trattative con la Red Bull (ma gli indizi c’erano già al test di Ricciardo con la RB9 a Silverstone…) il mercato si riapre. E a quasi 34 anni – li compirà nell’ottobre prossimo – Kimi è ancora un “pezzo pregiato”. Anche se finora, sulla scacchiera, non si è mosso molto bene.
La domanda sulla bocca di tutti è: Raikkonen può tornare in Ferrari? La risposta: sì, ma è sempre più difficile. Smentite sistematicamente da Maranello, le trattative hanno invece trovato conferma presso lo stesso Robertson, manager del pilota, che ha confermato lo “stop” della Red Bull.
In Ferrari vorrebbero – non ancora tutti – liberarsi di Felipe Massa e negli ultimi mesi sono state valutate le alternative di mercato. Compreso Raikkonen, anche se ad avviare i colloqui è stato il management di Kimi e non la squadra italiana.
Il problema è che, a quanto risulta ad Autosprint, Raikkonen ha già fatto trascorrere un termine di scadenza senza dare una risposta precisa alla Ferrari. Dove, fra l’altro, il suo possibile ritorno non è visto con favore da tutti. Il motivo è semplice: per far posto a Fernando Alonso, a fine 2009, fu sacrificato proprio Kimi. E la Ferrari gli pagò un altro anno di contratto per… non farlo guidare. L’operazione-Alonso fu fortemente voluta da Stefano Domenicali, naturalmente con l’avallo di Montezemolo. Ora la coppia Alonso-Raikkonen viene vista con un certo sospetto.
In tutto questo gioco delle parti, la Ferrari non ha fretta, mentre Raikkonen deve cercare di tenere alto il suo valore di mercato. Se gli restasse la Lotus come unica possibilità, dovrebbe accettare un taglio di stipendio. La squadra di Enstone ha già fatto sapere che non intende “rapinare una banca” solo per pagare lo stipendio di Kimi.
La Lotus vorrebbe comunque allungare il contratto al finlandese. E intanto gli allunga… la macchina. Per il Gp Belgio, è in preparazione infatti una versione della E21 con passo allungato di ben 10 centimetri. Modifica realizzata – per motivi di aerodinamica e distribuzione dei pesi – spostando in avanti la sospensione anteriore e di conseguenza allungando anche il muso.
Kimi Raikkonen’s priority is to stay at Lotus for F1 2014
Kimi Raikkonen will commit to a fresh deal at Lotus if the team provides him with the assurances he is seeking about its future, AUTOSPORT has learned.
After a wave of speculation this week linking the Finn with Ferrari in the wake of talks with Red Bull coming to an end, it is understood that Raikkonen’s priority is actually to stay put for 2014.
The former world champion is relishing his place at the team and the way it is working for him, but wants to know it can keep its current status as one of the top teams.
Rather than be actively chasing a move to Ferrari as some have suggested, Raikkonen is in fact waiting on Lotus to deliver him the guarantees he wants about its future financial and technical platforms.
If the team can do that then Raikkonen will agree to a fresh deal.
Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson said Lotus was well aware of the situation, and knows what it needs to do in order to retain the Finn.
"Lotus holds the key to Raikkonen’s future," Robertson told AUTOSPORT.
"If the team can provide him with the answers he is seeking, which will ensure he has a car that can fight for race wins and the championship, then he will stay."
Lotus is equally eager to keep Raikkonen, but team boss Eric Boullier has made it clear that it is important any deal works for both the Enstone-based outfit and its star driver.
Although Ferrari is Raikkonen’s best alternative if Lotus cannot provide him with what he wants, the Maranello-based team has not yet put serious thought to its 2014 line-up.
There is also the chance that there will be no vacancy there anyway if Felipe Massa can deliver strong results after the summer break.
Raikkonen is prepared to give Lotus more time to shore up its future plans anyway, meaning that it is too premature for him to seriously consider a fallback option.
Lotus won’t break the bank to keep Kimi Raikkonen for F1 2014
Lotus says there is no point in busting the bank to keep Kimi Raikkonen next year, as talks intensify to finalise the Finn’s Formula 1 future.
Raikkonen is considering his options for 2014, but hopes of a switch to Red Bull appear to be over after his manager Steve Robertson revealed on Monday that talks had collapsed.
While Lotus is eager to keep Raikkonen on board, and the former champion has expressed privately that he wants to stay there, the situation depends on the Enstone-based outfit proving that it has the financial and technical package in place to maintain its strong form.
The money situation is a key factor, with Raikkonen having had issues in the past with wage payments being delayed.
That background means there is no guarantee Raikkonen will commit to a fresh deal with Lotus, with the team admitting that there will be no point in it over-stretching its budget just to keep him.
Speaking before it emerged that the Red Bull discussions were over, team principal Eric Boullier said he would only be happy to keep Raikkonen if the circumstance made sense for both driver and team.
"We haven’t finished the story with Kimi, so we want to keep going," he told AUTOSPORT.
"Kimi is a good figure for the team. Obviously he is a very good driver, and everyone knows how good he is.
"He’s also helping us in terms of awareness to get us into the right place of where we want to be. I think he is a natural fit for the team and the team naturally fits around him.
"I would like to keep him, to be honest, but I want to keep him with the right conditions.
"If we can’t afford him because of finances, then I don’t want to have him because he will be a pain in the arse – and it will difficult to build something on this.
"But if we can have him, then I would like to keep him."
Lotus is still finalising a deal with investment partner Infinity Racing that it hopes will provide it with exactly the kind of financial stability that Raikkonen is seeking.
Analysis: could Kimi Raikkonen rejoin Ferrari for F1 2014?
With Kimi Raikkonen no longer in the Red Bull running, his best alternative outside Lotus if a deal cannot be agreed appears to be Ferrari.
The Italian team, which Raikkonen drove for from 2007-09, winning the title in his first season, could have a seat available if it chooses to replace Felipe Massa in 2014.
Raikkonen’s manager Steve Robertson has rubbished talk that an agreement is already in place for him to return to Maranello, but admitted to AUTOSPORT that Ferrari was on Raikkonen’s radar as a consideration.
"It’s an option," said Robertson. "My job is to talk to all the teams that have available seats, and that is what I will be doing."
Ferrari, however, is not yet devoting any effort to worrying about its 2014 driver line-up, because its priority is to rediscover the on-track form that Fernando Alonso will need if he is to win the championship.
Sources suggest that Ferrari’s senior management will only be ready to consider its driver options after the Italian Grand Prix – by which time it should have a clearer picture of its competitiveness and Massa’s form.
That means Raikkonen may have to wait for a few more weeks before he can make progress on his Formula 1 future.
Although Raikkonen’s departure from Ferrari to make way for Alonso was not on the best of terms, it is understood there is no underlying reason that would make it impossible for him to return – and that Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo would accept it if he was the best driver available.
However, there is also no shortage of other available options – including Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta.
RECAP: RAIKKONEN AT FERRARI
Michael Schumacher was edged towards the F1 exit to allow Raikkonen to join Ferrari in 2007, as the Finn left McLaren after a promising but ultimately frustrating five seasons of showing great pace but missing out on titles.
Raikkonen rectified that in his first season at Ferrari, winning on his debut in red in Melbourne.
He then put a mid-year lull behind him to surge through and beat McLaren duo Lewis Hamilton and Alonso to the crown amid the backdrop of the McLaren/Ferrari spygate scandal.
But Raikkonen ended up playing second fiddle to team-mate Felipe Massa in 2008 and could only win once in ’09 as a furious Ferrari was caught off-guard by rivals’ interpretation of diffuser rules. He left for the World Rally Championship at the end of the year.
RAIKKONEN’S FERRARI STATS
2007 2008 2009 Wins 6 2 1 Poles 3 2 0 Champ pos 1st 3rd 6th Points 110 75 48