Lotus boss admits Raikkonen gamble
13 December, 2011
Dec.13 (GMM) Although Dany Bahar has admitted signing Kimi Raikkonen involves Lotus Renault spending “a big amount of money”, he expects the 2007 world champion to be a bit rusty initially as he returns to Formula 1 and could well be a gamble.
Asked to compare the Finn’s return with the difficult F1 comeback experienced by Michael Schumacher, team title sponsor Group Lotus’ chief executive said: “Definitely it is a gamble with Kimi as well.
“He has maybe taken two years, but we have the time for Kimi as well.”
Bahar is quoted by Finland’s Turun Sanomat: “Whether it takes three days, six races or 20 races, remains to be seen.
“The important thing is that Kimi steadily improves. As long as this happens, we give him time.”
But there have been questions about 32-year-old Raikkonen’s basic motivation, with some commentators thinking he did not take his earlier career with McLaren and Ferrari seriously enough.
“He has grown up, he is no longer young,” Bahar insisted.
“He knows what he is doing and what is expected of him. I believe he will take things a little more seriously.”
Also being given another chance is Eric Boullier, following speculation the team principal was on the way out.
“After a not-so-good year you are often criticised,” said Bahar. “The important thing is he learns from it and identifies the areas where he has to strengthen, and he has done that.”