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Lotus not bitter about Raikkonen departure 12 Sep 2013

Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 with Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 17 March 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E21.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Monza, Italy, Saturday, 7 September 2013 Second placed Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 celebrates with Eric Boullier (FRA) Lotus F1 Team Principal and the team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Hungaroring, Hungary. Sunday, 28 July 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber at the end of the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd12, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday, 8 September 2013

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says there is no ill feeling about Kimi Raikkonen’s decision to leave the team and join Ferrari.

Raikkonen, who returned to Formula One racing with Lotus in 2012 after two years out of the sport, ended speculation about his future on Wednesday by signing a two-year deal to partner Fernando Alonso at the Italian squad.

Whilst admitting the news was disappointing, Boullier said there was no bitterness towards Raikkonen.

“Not at all,” he told the Lotus team website. “Two years ago, when we decided to sign him, quite a few people thought we were crazy. And what happened in the end? We’ve been working with an amazing racer, who scored points for the team 27 times in a row, won two races, put motivation at a very high level at Enstone, and got on very well with his team mate. Now, it’s time to think about the future.

“Of course this is a disappointment to all of us, and we’re sure you will agree that Kimi has been nothing but brilliant since he joined us. In the same breath, Enstone has once again proven its pedigree; providing him with two great cars and making his return to Formula One a success. It’s been a win-win situation right from the beginning.”

Despite Raikkonen’s impending departure, Boullier insists Lotus remain focused on finishing the 2013 season strongly: “We still have seven races together and our aim is to provide both him and Romain (Grosjean) with the best machinery possible.

“There’s still a tough fight out there and we’re still pushing to improve on last season again with P3 in the constructors’ championship."

As to who will replace Raikkonen in 2014, recent media speculation has linked Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg to the drive, but Boullier insists the team are in no rush to name a replacement.

“We are currently in discussion with a few people and will make a decision shortly,” he said. “We are in the privileged position of being the most desirable team on the grid with a seat available, so we are therefore in no rush to announce anyone without establishing what will be the best for our team and the future.”

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