Eric Boullier insists Lotus is not Kimi Raikkonen’s team despite conceding there are times they have to adjust to the Finn
Last season, Raikkonen emerged as Lotus’ leading driver as the Finn bagged the victory in the Abu Dhabi GP as well as third place in the Drivers’ Championship.
But despite predictions that the 33-year-old will play a pivotal role in this year’s Championship, Boullier insists Lotus is not a one-man team.
“No, because I don’t want to have a spoiled character who is probably leading the team in the wrong direction,” was his response when asked by the official F1 website whether it was a case of ‘King Kimi’ at Lotus.
“We are not servicing his moods. We are just making sure that he can be himself. This is a big difference.”
The team boss, though, admits there have been times it has been better for the Lotus outfit to adjust to the Finn rather than the other way around.
“On top of being Kimi - the character that we know - he did cleverly build his system. It takes some time until he gets up to speed, but he is delivering because he knows that probably his strongest asset is race craft.
“And little by little over the course of the year he adjusted all the parameters to make himself fast, strong and in a position to deliver - the Kimi we like!
“He might have his moments sometimes, but it is up to us to adjust what we want to achieve to his style rather than the reverse. I probably prefer to switch the team to the style of Kimi.”
As for Raikkonen’s team-mate, Romain Grosjean, Boullier says one of the goals this season is to “transform Romain’s enthusiasm into results. If we succeed that would mean a lot of points at the end of the year.
“You do everything you can. From building his environment, protecting him, supporting him - doing everything we can to make him feel good.
“But in the end it is up to him - only him - to build up and grow.
“We have to be patient, but not for three years, not for ten years - it has to be now. I think he has some of the best speed over one lap, now he has to learn to do the rest. Then I predict that he will be one of the best drivers.”