Raikkonen: Lotus can build winning car


Kimi Raikkonen is adamant Lotus is capable of building a winning car, as the team unveiled its 2012 challenger to the public on Sunday.

The Finn, the 2007 world champion with Ferrari, is returning to grand prix racing with Lotus after having left the sport at the end of 2009 to compete in the World Rally Championship.

Lotus, racing under the Renault name until last year, won its last race in the 2008 season with Fernando Alonso and has struggled to be competitive since.

Raikkonen is confident, however, that the team has what it takes to return to winning ways.

"I think these people know how to build a good car, and even the biggest teams cannot produce a winning car every year," said Raikkonen during the launch of the E20.

"They are very capable people and they have a good feeling about things and they're pushing hard so hopefully we will get good results."

The former world champion said he is not nervous about his return to racing despite an absence of over two years.

"Not really," said Raikkonen, who drove a two-year-old car last month in preparation for his return. "It will be something slightly different to what it used to be when I was in Formula 1 before - with a different team and different regulations, but everybody's different. For some people it's more difficult to get used to new stuff.

"And it depends a lot on the car - if you have a good car it makes your life easier than if you have an average car. I was pretty happy after the first test we did two weeks ago. It felt pretty normal already.

"I think it will be okay but before the first race it's really difficult to say still. We'll wait and see but I'm happy with how everything is going."

Raikkonen will be partnered by GP2 champion Romain Grosjean, who is making a comeback to Formula 1 after a short stint with the team in 2009.

The Frenchman says he is feeling upbeat ahead of his first full season with the team.

"2011 was a fantastic season for myself with the GP2 title and the Friday morning in the car and all the time at the track with the team as the third driver," Grosjean said. "I'm feeling quite good for the season. I'm very proud to be chosen as one of the drivers.

"So far I've a little bit more knowledge about the Pirelli tyres but I think I will be able to get a lot from him. We need to work to bring the team as far forward as possible, which is our main goal. I'm very happy to be alongside him.

"We are all expecting a lot from this year. I've seen the car almost from the beginning to the end of the building, and we're all expectant to see the car on track and after the first four days of testing we will have a good idea of how the season will be."

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