F1: Lotus team principal Eric Boullier to hold talks with both Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean after India clash

The Finn forced his team-mate wide when he was trying to overtake for the final position on the podium

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has promised to sit down for talks with Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean in Abu Dhabi later this week to ensure there is no repeat of the incident that almost saw both cars come to grief in Sunday's Indian Grand Prix.

Grosjean - charging back from 17th place on the starting grid - was challenging Raikkonen for third place on lap 56 of 60 when the Frenchman was forced wide by the Finn, who was struggling on badly-worn tyres.

With the Ferrari of Felipe Massa closing in, the incident led to an angry exchange over the team radio, with an engineer telling Raikkonen to "get out of the ******* way".

After the Finn delivered a colourful retort of his own Grosjean was finally able to get past on his way to claiming the bottom step on the podium, while Raikkonen slipped back to an eventual seventh place at the chequered flag.

The dynamic in the Lotus team has changed dramatically since it was confirmed the Raikkonen would leave for Ferrari at the end of the season, with Grosjean now very much in the ascendancy and on a run of three straight podium finishes.

There is still room for fireworks between the pair over the final three races, beginning in Abu Dhabi in just a few days, but Boullier hopes calm heads will prevail.

Speaking about Sunday's near-miss, Boullier told reporters: "They are free to race each other, but it is true that we were maybe expecting a little bit of an easier manoeuvre. You're never happy when you see both cars fighting and one car going off, so you just make sure they fight in the team's interest.

"I'm going to speak to both of them in Abu Dhabi. It's true that we are working for these guys to deliver, but there is a team to think about."

Boullier insisted nothing should be read into the decision to force Raikkonen to move aside.

"If his tyres hadn't dropped off we would say let them race," he said.

"Kimi is a competitor so obviously he is racing everybody and I can understand that.

"But when the tyres are dropping off and you are two seconds off the pace, if it's your team-mate you don't have to make a drama with this and you have to bring the cars as high in the ranking for yourself and for the team. But don't stop the other guy bringing points home for the team."

Lotus are expected this week to confirm Grosjean will be retained next season, while the identity of Raikkonen's replacement - with Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg top of Bouiller's wish-list - could also be announced.