Lotus not bitter over Räikkönen exit
12 September 2013 – Lotus insists that it is not bitter over Kimi Räikkönen's decision to leave the team for Ferrari, and has described their partnership as "a win-win situation" from the start.
Having impressed since his return to the sport last year, Räikkönen found himself at the centre of intense rumours this summer. After missing out on a seat at Red Bull, it looked likely that the Finn would remain with Lotus, but the Enstone-based outfit was ultimately unable to provide him with his desired technical and financial assurances.
On Wednesday it was confirmed that Räikkönen is to re-join Ferrari in 2014, replacing Felipe Massa and teaming up with Fernando Alonso. But despite the outcome, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier has made it clear that there are no acrimonious feelings.
"Not at all," Boullier explained during an interview published on the official Lotus website. "Two years ago, when we decided to sign him, quite a few people thought we were crazy. And what happened in the end? 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 [Romain Grosjean].
"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, Räikkönen. New champions will join the list here soon I'm sure."
He added: "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 a success. It's been a win-win situation right from the beginning."
Boullier admitted on Wednesday evening that Sauber's Nico Hülkenberg and the aforementioned Massa are on the list of candidates to replace Räikkönen next season, adding that the squad will make its final decision in the near future.