Gerard Lopez knows Kimi Raikkonen will take his time over Lotus future
- Credit: LAT Photographic
Lotus owner Gerard Lopez feels he has to prove to Kimi Raikkonen the team is perfect for him as a racer and not just as a human being.
The Hethel-backed outfit had great time of it in Sunday's German Grand Prix, with Raikkonen second and Romain Grosjean third in the Norfolk marque's double podium – behind the Red Bull of championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
Raikkonen's future has become a hot topic of conversation in Formula One, with the Finn seemingly involved in a tug of war between Lotus and Red Bull.
The Milton Keynes-based marque are currently mulling over who should replace Mark Webber when he retires from the sport at the end of the season.
Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz and team principal Christian Horner have both made it clear Raikkonen is on their radar, with Toro Rosso duo Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne also in the running.
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The smart money is on Raikkonen, with three-times champion Sebastian Vettel stating after his victory on Sunday he would be excited by the prospect of working with the 33-year-old, who finished just a second adrift at the Nurburgring.
But Raikkonen is happy with his working environment at Enstone, with the team going out of its way to ensure promotional and media activity is kept to a bare minimum given his dislike of that side of F1 – although providing a winning car is another matter.
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'He knows he is being treated well here, as well as we would treat any other driver, and that's a big difference whether it's here or somewhere else,' said Lopez.
'This team has a culture which is quite human and it works well, it does things right, and it's a culture Kimi likes. If we imposed huge time constraints on him then he wouldn't enjoy it, as he hasn't at other teams before.
'So it's the right team for him as a human being. All we have to do is prove it's the right team for him as a racer.
'He has to decide, and I think he will stay. We've not done all we can yet. We will do more, and let's see.'
Asked to rate his chances of keeping Raikkonen, Lopez said: 'I would say high because we know him well.'
Horner has previously stated he would like to resolve the matter by the end of F1's summer break next month.
Lopez, however, knows Raikkonen won't be pushed: 'If I know Kimi he will want to leave it as long as possible.
'Right now Kimi hasn't made a decision yet. He's waiting to get all the information to make the right decision. You can't rush Kimi into anything, not if you are us, not anybody.'