Romain Grosjean says he would be 'more than happy' to step up at Lotus
But Frenchman adds that losing Raikkonen "would be a loss for the team"
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: August 22, 2013 4:37pm
Vettel practicing for fatherhood
Romain Grosjean reckons he's more than up to the task of leading the line at Lotus should Kimi Raikkonen decide to move elsewhere.
The Finn's future has been a major talking point in F1 circles this summer and even though his own management team have ruled out a move to Red Bull next season, it's hardly served to dampen the speculation.
A return to Ferrari, or even McLaren, is being mooted for Raikkonen, who himself opted not to discuss the matter at Spa on Thursday after he was struck down by a mystery illness.
Grosjean, however, was present and buoyed by two strong races in Germany and Hungary - not to mention filled with the joys of fatherhood after his wife gave birth to their first child during the summer break - he said he felt capable of assuming greater responsibilities.
"I've always said that losing Kimi would be a loss for the team. He's a very good driver, he's a World Champion and he's good to have as a team-mate," the Frenchman said.
"We push each other to the limit but if he leaves then we still have to do the job, to try and win races and score a lot of points.
"At the moment, we have a good way of working together. But if he leaves then we'll be more than happy to get the lead and keep Lotus where it is or still improve."
Grosjean said he would be more than happy to stay with the Enstone team, who have recently had to contend with rumours that their financial status is far from secure.
"I feel very happy with the team and it isn't any secret that I'd like to stay there. I think we're on a good progression," said the 27-year-old, whose current team boss, Eric Boullier, also heads his management team.
"There's a lot of talk about Kimi but, to be honest, at the moment I'm just trying to focus on the way back and having races like we had in the last two grands prix."
For Grosjean, of course, Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix dredges up memories of the start of last year's race, in which he caused a spectacular multi-car collision.
He picked up a one-race ban for the incident but, having made a clean getaway in every race so far this season, he insisted those days are behind him.
"I've think I've progressed a lot and worked on that. And the 2013 starts proved that I've done my duties and I'm better with starts," he added.
"I'll keep pushing and giving my best in every circumstance. When all eyes are on you, it's easier for the others to play with that but I'm here to give my best and try and win races."