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Lotus confident it can keep Kimi
Lotus co-owner Gerard Lopez is confident his team can prevent Kimi Raikkonen being lured away to Red Bull next season.
There is an open seat at Red Bull in 2014 now that Mark Webber has announced his retirement and Christian Horner has made no secret that Raikkonen is on his list of potential candidates. The Finnish driver insists he has not yet made a decision on where to go next year, but from a sporting perspective Red Bull's unrivalled success in recent years makes it the obvious choice.
However, Lopez thinks the team culture at Lotus is attractive to Raikkonen, an assertion backed up by interviews with the Finn since he joined the team in 2011. Asked what he felt his chances were of keeping Raikkonen on board, Lopez replied: "I would say high."
"He's been treated well like we would treat any driver," Lopez added. "I think this team has a culture that is quite human and somebody told me that for the human-being Kimi this is the best team and for the racer he has to decide."
Lopez is also confident his team can provide Raikkonen with the competitive car he desires next season.
"He knows the technical side of things," Lopez added. "We developed the car to the point last year that the delta between us and Red Bull was the same at the second race as it was at the two last races. So I don't think that is much of an issue.
"People keep talking about budget, and while we have a lower budget than a lot of teams, we seem to do quite well with it. There is a certain culture about this team that does things right and that's the culture that Kimi likes. If we had huge time constraints on him I don't think he would enjoy it, and as a matter of fact he hasn't enjoyed it at other teams before."
Lotus is in the process of bringing new investors to the team, and although they have not taken a shareholding yet, Lopez said the deal was still going ahead.
"That is progressing onwards, but it also sits with us," he said. "We issued a statement because we have to as our group is a well-known group and we can't just wait for things to come out. It's progressing and it's partly up to us to push that forward."