Kimi Raikkonen victory will help secure financial future of Lotus

 

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier feels Sunday's long-overdue first win should help their financial future.

There have been suggestions of late owners Genii Capital, run by Gerard Lopez, can no longer afford to keep the team afloat and are looking to sell their stake.

Boullier claims they are just "rumours", but if ever the team needed a shot in the arm to prove their worth to potential investors, then it arrived at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi with Kimi Raikkonen's win.

For the team from Enstone, formerly known as Renault, it was their first taste of success since Fernando Alonso triumphed in the 2008 Japanese Grand Prix.

It has endured worrying times since, notably when Renault pulled out as a full works team before Lopez and Genii stepped in.

Stability has followed, along with the masterstroke of bringing Raikkonen back to F1 after two years away, but now it appears they need more if they are to go to the next level and push the likes of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari week in week out.

"There are many things needed to be a top team," said Boullier.

"We have now shown the world we are serious, that we can deliver and so it should help with any commercial discussions.

"But to build a team, a winning team, we also need more experience and time because this team is new in a way, new with two new drivers.

"We have learned this year to work all together, with our drivers, and we've had our ups and downs.

"But we can see now Kimi is here for qualifying and the race, and as for Romain, we will see yet.

"We have been on an upward curve this year, but now there is extra belief and motivation in what we are doing and capable of doing."

Boullier appreciated the good fortune that came their way with Lewis Hamilton's retirement with a fuel pressure problem on lap 20 that allowed Raikkonen to inherit a lead he never relinquished, despite coming under pressure from Alonso at the end.

The victory allowed him to also stand on the podium to collect the winning constructors' trophy for the first time, although he needed a helping hand.

"I have to say I was a bit lost with the protocol, so I have to thank Fernando who helped me out," said Boullier.

"But it was good, and I'm proud to wear the shirt and to take the trophy home.

"We had a better first half of the season and we were nearly close to the win.

"The frustration had built, so there is relief from everybody within Enstone."

PA

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