Lotus: Räikkönen thrives in our environment
8 January 2013 – Gérard Lopez, head of Lotus team owner Genii Capital, believes Kimi Räikkönen was able to find the perfect balance to his work and personal life in 2012. Having been criticised for a lack of enthusiasm in the past, the Finn surpassed expectations by securing the outfit's maiden victory under its current guise.
Räikkönen, who returned to Formula 1 following a break of two years, finished on the podium a total of seven times last season, prompting Lopez to claim that the more relaxed atmosphere at Lotus has allowed him to get closer to his full potential.
"It makes me smile," Lopez explained to Gazzetta dello Sport. "I knew it would be like this. Räikkönen has put in a great amount of work to compliment his raw talent and the results are the fruits of this.
"He feels like he is used for what’s most important and the rest of the time he is free. He’s found a balance; we speak every week, he feels good. He has enthusiasm and desire. I want drivers, not robots."
Lopez went on to talk about Räikkönen's current team-mate, Romain Grosjean. Despite a turbulent campaign, which featured a one-race ban for his part in the violent first corner crash at Spa-Francorchamps, the Frenchman has been backed to shine.
"There were four drivers who had more reprimands than him, but they took part in every race and Grosjean was instead banned for the Italian Grand Prix," he added. "However, he has shown that he is quick - I’m expecting a lot from him this year."