Kimi Raikkonen is ready to impress on his Formula 1 return, and will not be at a disadvantage because of his disrupted preseason testing program, says Eric Boullier. The Lotus team principal thinks Raikkonen did enough over the winter to get fully prepared despite losing running at both the second test and on one day in Barcelona last week.
"I think he has shown us already what he can do," said Boullier, referring to the fastest time the former World Champion set at the last Barcelona test. "We will never recover from the four days we lost and, of course, they would have been welcome. Both Kimi and Romain [Grosjean] would have benefited from the mileage, but it is like it is. We have to deal with the facts, and I must say we did the best with the remaining days we had."
Raikkonen had said over the winter that the biggest issue he faced was understanding Pirelli's tires, but Boullier thinks he is well on top of that.
"Kimi is good at this, but Romain is still lacking a little bit of experience," he said. "However, he [Grosjean] showed very good progress from Jerez to Barcelona on tire management for the race, so I am confident he will do it."
Lotus owner Gerard Lopez told Gazzetta dello Sport this week that he too was convinced Raikkonen would impress in 2012. When asked if it was a gamble, Lopez said: "Not at all. I don't like that people see it that way. Kimi is a quick driver who has integrated very well in the team from a personal point of view. He has told me he considers us a family. We'll see what he does in the races, but I have no doubts and, in fact, we have joined forces for two years."
Lopez thinks that with the investment in the team, and the push to increase resources, that the outfit can target good success in the next few years.
"We are 540 people, we have a new wind tunnel, we have the simulator," he said. "We only lacked two things, but we have them now: a car competitive throughout the season, and the drivers. Raikkonen and Grosjean are super strong. The objective is to get in the fight for the world title in the next three years. We'll go for it."