There are unconfirmed reports that Kimi Räikkönen has actually secured a minor shareholding in the Lotus F1 (nee Renault) team as part of his recently-announced two-year deal with the team.
Reports in Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo and Italy’s Italiaracing both claim that the 32-year-old Finn decided to forego some of his base and performance bonuses in exchange for some equity in the team, which is owned by the Genii Capital investment group.
El Mundo claims that Räikkönen had floated the same proposal to Williams before his negotiations with the team stalled – prompting his decision to sign with Lotus F1 – “perhaps because (the British team) is listed on the stock exchange”, the report writes.
Räikkönen is not unfamiliar with team ownership. Together with his managers David and Steve Robertson, he owned the now-defunct Double R Formula 3 team. In the World Rally Championship, he entered this year’s championship with his own Ice1 Racing outfit.
|Räikkönen could join the ranks of some of F1’s more famous “owner drivers” (L-R): Graham Hill (Embassy Hill), Emerson Fittipaldi (Copersucar), Bertrand Gachot (Pacific), Jacques Villeneuve (BAR)|
Should this be the case, Räikkönen will become the first driver since former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve to hold equity in the F1 team he races for. Villeneuve reportedly held a shareholding in the British American Racing team when he joined the outfit in 1999.
[Images via ESPN, Formula1.com, India Times, Lotus Renault GP, The Cahier Archive]