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Lotus wants to be 'closer' to Renault

ESPN Staff
August 31, 2013 « Ricciardo sure he could take fight to Vettel at Red Bull | Maldonado not worried about his reputation »
Lotus wants a closer relationship with Renault to remain competitive next year © Sutton Images

Lotus is trying to negotiate a closer relationship with engine supplier Renault, which it believes could be the key to keeping Kimi Raikkonen at the team next year.

Lotus used to be owned by Renault, but was bought by Genii Capital when the French car manufacturer reduced its involvement in F1 to just supplying engines in 2010. Red Bull is currently Renault's most successful customer and the engine supplier has an exclusive "premium" deal with the world champions.

Lotus is expected to stick with Renault next year under the new engine regulations but is currently negotiating its new contract.

"We are discussing how to be closer with Renault, in whatever shape it is," Genii boss Gerard Lopez told Autosport. "That is why the contract hasn't been signed yet."

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier thinks Raikkonen is seeking proof that Lotus will be competitive next year before committing to the team.

"It's clear that Kimi likes racing for us and would like to continue, which is a testament to all the hard work put in by everyone at Enstone," Boullier said. "From our perspective, we can see what a complete driver he is and how much he brings to the team in many different areas.

"Kimi wants to be assured that we have everything in place to tackle the significant changes we will see in the sport next year. We're working hard to assure him that Lotus F1 Team is where he should be and piece by piece we are getting all our ducks in a row."