Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says that Kimi Raikkonen will be paid his salary – and insists that the saga has not done any damage to the image of the team.
“I don’t think it’s damaging the brand of the team to be honest,” he said. “The truth is that yes, we owe him money, so that’s true. He’s going to be paid, that’s true too and if you want to have a little bit more of the story, last year in the same period it was the same story. We were owing him some money but at the end of the year he was fully paid. It’s just the way we manage our cash flow. Unfortunately we are not as rich as some other teams on the grid.
“You can also understand that a team capable of winning this year and fighting for some podiums may not be as sustainable as it should be. We have obviously favoured our people working in Enstone, which is understandable I think, obviously the car development because this is the essence of Formula One if you want to keep competing. So there is nothing else behind this story.”
Boullier denied that the team might change its strategy by taking a pay driver.
“We keep the same strategy that we’ve had for many months. Genii helped us to bring the team to where it is today. We now want to have more finance, more sponsors because we need to step up and guarantee some stability over a few years. That’s part of the strategy, this is what we are still working on, and we need to deliver on that point. We see the timing was not the right one for Kimi, but we still have to deliver this. That would then allow us to chose drivers on merit which is obviously the first choice.”
He also gave his backing to Romain Grosjean: “His future is secure so far because he has a contract with us. Last year was a bit difficult for him; this year he’s doing a great job. In the last four races, we have nothing to complain about. He was one hundred per cent up to speed, especially compared to his famous team mate. We just see now and monitor what he is doing and if everything is going as planned, he will have a great future with us.”