Kimi Raikkonen believes he can make another step forward with Lotus in 2013 after re-signing with the team.
Raikkonen has claimed it was "the obvious choice" to remain with the Enstone-based marque following a successful return to Formula One this season after a two-year break. The 33-year-old Finn has been pleasantly surprised to be fighting for podiums this season, claiming six so far - although he has yet to claim a victory - and figuring in the title hunt.
Raikkonen is currently third in the drivers' standings, 67 points behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, with 75 still to play for. After putting pen to paper on his new deal, Raikkonen said: "I think my return to Formula One has gone pretty well and the team has done a very good job all year so far."
He added: "To be honest, I didn't expect to be fighting for the drivers' championship this season when you look at where the team was in 2011. So it has been great to be on the podium so many times and to score points on a regular basis.
"I feel very comfortable with Lotus and we share the same philosophy of racing. Continuing with the team was an obvious choice for me, and I'm looking forward to making another step forward together next year."
Team principal Eric Boullier confirmed following Sunday's Indian Grand Prix a driver announcement was imminent. However, only Raikkonen has been announced, with no word yet on Romain Grosjean who has been involved in a number of first-corner incidents this season to blot his copybook.
But with regard to Raikkonen, Boullier said: "Kimi has made an exceptional comeback to Formula One.
"From the first time he sat in the car this year it was clear he had lost none of his pace or technical feedback and we have been rewarded by a focused and motivated driver all season.
"For Lotus to be fighting for such strong championship positions this year is in no small part attributed to Kimi's talent and experience of racing.
"It was a natural conclusion for us to confirm that will be harnessing his abilities for next season."