Eric Boullier confident Lotus will deliver to keep Kimi Raikkonen
- Credit: LAT Photographic
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has no doubt the Hethel-backed team can clear up the issues needed to be resolved to keep Kimi Raikkonen.
The 33-year-old Finn is crucial to Lotus' future beyond the season, given his talent has transformed the team into winners following his return to Formula One last season after a two-year sabbatical in rallying.
However Raikkonen, who has been linked to 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.
Asked about Raikkonen's future, Boullier was honest enough to admit 'it is still up in the air' before adding: 'As soon as we know we can deliver what he wants then we will sit down. It's all solvable if we can put in place a package we want to put in place.
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'With our new backers we are still working on that, but we have now solved most of the issues and we expect before Monza (Italian Grand Prix early next month) to get the deal completely done.
'It's one of the things that is the key to keeping him, but there is also the technical package we are working on because he would like to see and understand that. So it's not only the financial part, it's also the technical part, it's both sides.'
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Drawing an analogy as to Lotus' progress, Boullier added: 'It was always the thought of this team to compete at the highest level. But obviously you then need to establish another strategy once you reach that first step.
'It's like playing in the Premier League. Initially you fight for wins, but if you want to consistently be like Manchester United it requires another level of investment and commitment.
'This is what we are looking for, what we are working on. We are working on getting stronger.'
But when it comes down to Raikkonen staying, Boullier has no doubts, insisting: 'I am confident he will be here next year.
'He loves the team, he likes to be here, and he likes the environment we have created for him.'
Raikkonen's title chances suffered a considerable blow with his first retirement in 39 races in the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Lotus are examining the cause of a brake failure on lap 26 that has left Raikkonen trailing race-winner Sebastian Vettel by 63 points in the standings.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has suggested the title race is now between the podium trio, with Vettel joined by Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.
Asked whether he disagreed with Horner, Boullier naturally replied: 'I do. Just because we have one problem doesn't mean we are out of the game. I'm sure after Monza on the high downforce tracks our car will be good again.'
Lotus, however, are due to introduce a long wheel-base car from the next race onwards, with Boullier adding: 'It should be a decent step, and we will also have a couple of aero tricks for the car.
'The long wheel-base we expect will help the handling of the car at Monza, and then from Singapore we should have more downforce.'