On his return to F1 last season, following a two-year sabbatical to try his hand at rallying, Raikkonen was within sight of main duellists Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso for the majority of the campaign.
The Finn eventually ended the year 74 points behind Vettel in third place, which was still a remarkable achievement for him and the Enstone-based team.
With winter testing positive, Raikkonen and Lotus on Sunday proved they would be more than just a threat this year with victory in the season-opening Australian GP. Despite the success though, it’s fair to say that the team lacks the financial clout of their main rivals.
The 33-year-old though felt Lotus can slug it out with Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren over the next 18 races. Raikkonen said: “There was a big question mark against us last year as to whether we could keep up with the bigger teams. It’s not going to be easy.
We have the people, all the tools to make it, but money is a big part of it. We don’t have the same budget as Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes, but we saw last year we did well with money and the things we have. We have good plans, and if we can follow them up, it might be good, it might not. So far it has been good, so there is no reason why we can’t keep it up.”