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MOTORSPORT: Boulllier confident that Kimi will stay
5:02pm Wednesday 28th August 2013 in Sport
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier is sure he will have resolved the issues to keep Kimi Raikkonen, by the time next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix gets under way.
The 33-year-old Finn is crucial to the Enstone-based team’s future beyond the season, as he has transformed them into winners following his return last season.
However, Raikkonen, who has been linked to both Red Bull and Ferrari in recent weeks, has told Lotus there is no point in talking about a new contract for next year until they have got their house in order.
That means clarifying the outside investment package owner Gerard Lopez has been working on, and also the technical direction the team is due to take from next season.
“With our new backers we are still working on that,” said Boullier. “But we have now solved most of the issues and we expect before Monza (on September 8) to get the deal completely done.”
Boullier has no doubts that Raikkonen will stay, insisting: “I am confident he will be here next year.
“He loves the team, he likes to be here, and the environment we have created for him.”
Raikkonen’s title chances, however, suffered a considerable blow with his first retirement in 39 races in the Bel-gian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Lotus are probing the cause of a brake failure on lap 26, which left Raikkonen 63 poi-nts behind race-winner Seba-stian Vettel in the standings.
Boullier did admit Raikk-onen’s future was still up in the air, but added: “As soon as we know we can deliver what he wants we will sit down.
“It’s all solvable if we can put in place a package we want to put in place.
“It’s one of the things that is the key to keeping him, but it’s not only part, it’s also the technical part.”
Meanwhile, Lotus, are due to introduce a long wheel-base car from the next race onwards with Boullier add-ing: “It should be a decent step, and we will also have a couple of aero tricks on the car.”
1 S Vettel 197pts, 2 F Alonso 151, 3 L Hamilton 139, 4 K Raikkonen 134, 5 M Webber 115.
1 Red Bull 312pts, 2 Mercedes 235, 3 Ferrari 218, 4 Lotus 187, 5 McLaren 65.