|© AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
With the departure of technical director James Allison from Lotus, Kimi Raikkonen may not have an incentive to stay with the team beyond the current length of his contract, which expires at the end of the season.
Lotus announced on Wednesday that Allison was leaving the team and will be replaced at the post with the promotion of Nick Chester, who has been with the Enstone-based outfit since 2000.
"He is already directly involved with this and next year’s cars, ensuring a smooth transition which has been underway for some time," said Lotus team principal Eric Boullier, adding that the major regulation changes in 2014 will prove to be a challenging one.
Raikkonen has already been rumoured to be in negotiations with Red Bull while questions have been raised whether Lotus has the necessary budget to fight for the title.
“James Allison leaves Lotus, Kimi won't be pleased,” former Formula 1 driver and television pundit Martin Brundle mentioned on his Twitter page. “Key tech personnel changes as important as top driver moves, in many ways fewer of them.”
Allison is one of the top technical directors in F1 currently. His new employer however is yet to be disclosed.
"I'm unsure of James' plans. He knows Pat Fry well (Benetton days) and Alonso (Renault days), best guess: assistant tech' director, Ferrari," Steve Matchett, a former F1 mechanic and television commentator said on his Twitter page. "Any team would be thrilled to have his talents."