Lotus thinks the biggest positive that will come from Kimi Raikkonen's triumph in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is in showing that the team is serious in its Formula 1 ambitions.
With Lotus having been at the center of a naming dispute and numerous doubts about its financial commitment in recent years, Raikkonen helped silence its critics with his victory on Sunday. Team principal Eric Boullier believes the win marks the start of a promising era for the squad, and he hopes it will act as a message to its rivals and potential sponsors about what it is capable of in the future.
"The most important thing is to show everybody that Lotus is serious," Boullier said when asked what impact this result would have on the team. "We have shown that we can deliver regular podiums, and we can now say we can win as well."
Raikkonen was the protagonist of one of the highlights of the race when his race engineer informed him of the gap between himself and second-placed Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso in the latter part of the event.
"Leave me alone, I know what to do," the former World Champion told his engineer. Boullier said the Finn was simply focusing on pushing to the limit on every lap.
"I think Kimi wanted to focus on the driving as you can understand and he asked to only have the information on the pitboard so I think he knew what Alonso was doing and that he was closing," he said. "This is Kimi, but also he knew that there was a chance to score the win and that he had to do qualifying lap after qualifying lap."
Boullier said that the victory verified the strategy to regain greatness that the team has been following.
"Our strategy is that we want to be a top team, I always said this, and to be a top team we need to keep pushing and keep gaining more results, more resources and more sponsors to establish ourselves. We are happy to share this success with the people [sponsors] we have on our shirt, but it is also important for the sponsors we are talking with.
"The media will relay the message for us anyway, but obviously this win will help us get some positive decisions in commercial discussions to build us up for the future."
Raikkonen's victory comes just three races after the team introduced a major update to its E20, which included the move to Coanda-effect exhausts. With Lotus extracting more potential from the design at each race, Boullier sees possibilities for another win before the season is out.
"Realistically, you can see in Abu Dhabi that we had a strong race, but we needed some factors to make sure that we could win," he explained. "We pushed to get the big points and, if we can qualify in the top five, then we will be here. And if there is an opportunity to win, we will take it."