Raikkonen a driver in demand
With Mark Webber off to pastures new, Red Bull is trying to land former world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel says he wouldn't mind having him as a teammate.
Nearing the end of his career, Raikkonen says nothing has been decided. His current team, Lotus, is doing everything it can to persuade the Finn to re-sign.
"It is true that Red Bull is pushing hard to get Kimi on board and I am sure that they will put together a very nice proposal for him, even easing his PR life," Lotus team principal Eric Boullier told Formula One's official website. "But again: It will be Kimi's decision."
Moving to Red Bull would likely give Raikkonen a better car and with the team's resources, he is sure to get paid on time. Boullier admitted this week Raikkonen's retainer was paid late.
At 33, Raikkonen's next contract will probably be his last in Formula One.
If Raikkonen does sign with Red Bull, however, he is sure to play second fiddle to Vettel, who is seemingly cruising to a fourth consecutive individual title.
"Through life you go through different stages and in the back of Kimi's mind there must be the consideration that the next contract is his last one," said Boullier. "So yes, there might at the end be some financial considerations that we need to take into account.
"We will offer what we believe is the best for Kimi and for us.
At times Webber's relationship with Vettel has been tested to the limit, notably when the German ignored team orders to pass the Australian and win the Malaysian Grand Prix in March.
Webber will quit Formula One at the end of the season after signing a deal with Porsche to race at Le Mans.
Boullier added, referring to Raikkonen: "Our system is working and if he is comfortable and earns enough for his afterlife then why should he go?
"In the end it's up to him to tell us what he would like us to do and we will look to do it. He knows that we are flexible and that we listen to our drivers."
Raikkonen has managed to stay competitive despite Lotus' lesser resources, sitting third in the standings behind Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
In Sunday's German Grand Prix he finished second to Vettel and only once this season has he ended up lower than his position on the starting grid.
"I don't know what will happen in the future," Raikkonen told reporters Sunday. "Things will be decided at some point but until that happens there's nothing to talk about.
"I would definitely say if I knew something just so that all the rumors and nonsense stops straight away."
Toro Rosso drivers Daniel Ricciardo -- Webber's countryman who just turned 24 -- and France's Jean-Eric Vergne, 23, are also being linked with Red Bull, as is McLaren's Jenson Button.
Red Bull owns Toro Rosso.
"I respect Kimi a lot," Vettel told Sky Sports. "He has always been straight and fair with me so I wouldn't mind. It would be a great challenge.
"Equally we haven't really discussed it internally and you have the two Toro Rosso drivers ramping it up in the last couple of races so (Red Bull) must make their minds up.
"It's not my call and doesn't really affect my racing."
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