Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has spoken positively of outgoing driver Kimi Raikkonen, insisting there are no hard feelings despite the shocking tweet that greeted news the Finn will join Ferrari.
Raikkonen’s switch to the Prancing Horse was officially announced on Wednesday, per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport, and Lotus responded immediately with the following tweet:
The nature of the social media update left question marks over the relationship of Raikkonen and the Lotus outfit, for whom he still must drive until the end of the season.
However, Boullier put those fears to rest when asked if he was bitter about the breakup, per ESPN.co.uk:
Not at all. 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 teammate.
Lotus has since followed up Wednesday’s tweet with a series of similarly light-hearted efforts, reflecting an ongoing mood of positivity in the camp.
Boullier confesses it is impossible not to feel deflated by Raikkonen’s departure, but he expects to be able to tempt another top driver to the team thanks in part to the Finn’s work in building the reputation, per ESPN.co.uk:
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 1 a success. It's been a win-win situation right from the beginning.
For years Alonso has been the main man at Ferrari, but Raikkonen’s arrival will likely see two drivers competing equally—a situation the Finn relishes:
I can't wait to be driving a Prancing Horse car again and to reacquaint myself with so many people with whom I had such close links, as well as working with Fernando, whom I consider a great driver.
For now, Alonso’s focus is still on catching Sebastian Vettel, who takes a 53-point lead to the Singapore Grand Prix next week.