Eric Boullier happy to look for a future Lotus champion following Kimi Raikkonen’s departure

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier (right) congratulates Kimi Raikkonen on his Australian Grand Prix

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier (right) congratulates Kimi Raikkonen on his Australian Grand Prix victory in Melbourne at the start of the year. Photo: Charles Coates - Credit: Archant

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier acknowledged there are no hard feelings over Kimi Raikkonen's return to Ferrari from next season.

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier acknowledged there are no hard feelings over Kimi Raikkonen's return to Ferrari from next season.

The Finn and former world champion, who was out of contract at the end of this season, confirmed his Maranello return this week – in turn ending his two-year stint with the Norfolk marque.

It was Lotus who took a chance on Raikkonen when he decided to end his two-year break from F1, having walked out Ferrari in the winter of 2009.

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And the success of Raikkonen's return will come full circle next season – leaving Hethel-backed Lotus with big boots to fill.


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But for the Enstone team, whose previous guises include Renault and Benetton, they know there will always be another talent out there to pick up.

'Two years ago when we decided to sign him, quite a few people thought we were crazy. And what happened in the end?' said Boullier.

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'We've been working with an amazing racer, who scored points for the team 27 times in a row, won two races, put motivation at a very high level at Enstone and got on very well with his team-mate.

'Now it's time to think about the future. You know, we remain a medium-sized team and there are some areas in which we're not in a position to fight against the other top teams just yet.

'We've had Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Raikkonen. New champions will join the list here soon I'm sure.

'Of course this is a disappointment to all of us and we're sure you will agree that Kimi has been nothing but brilliant since he joined us.

'In the same breath, Enstone has once again proven its pedigree; providing him with two great cars and making his return to Formula One a success. It's been a win-win situation right from the beginning.'

Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg has been widely touted as favourite for Raikkonen's seat, while Felipe Massa's Ferrari exit has created another candidate.

But Boullier is in no hurry given what Lotus can offer any new recruit.

'We are currently in discussion with a few people and will make a decision shortly,' added Boullier. 'We are in the privileged position of being the most desirable team on the grid with a seat available, so we are therefore in no rush to announce anyone without establishing what will be the best for our team and the future.'

Following last weekend's grand prix in Italy, Formula One returns to action in Singapore next weekend.

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