sport

Raikkonen: Lotus can win title

Kimi Raikkonen has no doubt Lotus has what it takes to become Formula One world champions this season.

Raikkonen gave the Enstone-based team their first victory since 2008 - when they were formerly known as Renault - in November when he took the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.

The Finn was on the podium at six other races en route to finishing third in the drivers' standings behind triple-world champion Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

After unveiling Lotus' new car yesterday, the E21, Raikkonen sees no reason why he cannot add to his 2007 title, and give the factory at Enstone its first crown since 2006.

Asked whether he felt the team has what it takes to win a championship, Raikkonen replied: "Yes, I think they do.

"It's clear from working with them that they are racers, and you can see in their history that they've won championships.

"Nothing I saw last year made me think that another championship was impossible in the future.

"Of course, there is some pretty tough competition out there and everyone wants to win.

"But the team have beaten everyone before and there's nothing to say they can't do it again."

For now, after finishing fourth in the constructors' championship in 2012, the target for the team this year is a top-three spot.

Team principal Eric Boullier, however, also believes the experience of their glorious past could stand them in good stead.

"It is fair to say great things are possible," said Boullier.

"The leap we made from 2011 to 2012 showed what we are capable of.

"Add to this the continuity and potential of our driver line-up and we have a very powerful cocktail for the season ahead.

"Our ambitious plan to turn ourselves into one of the top teams in Formula One is coming to fruition, and now we need to harness this with strong and regular podium results.

"We are lean and hungry. Enstone knows how to win championships, but it is a while since we have won, so we are very eager to taste glory again."