Manager says Raikkonen no longer with Red Bull
LONDON - Reuters
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland walks in the paddock at the Hungaroring racetrack, near Budapest, Hungary on July 25. AFP photoKimi Raikkonen will not drive for Formula One champions Red Bull next season after talks broke down, his manager said on Monday.
The Finn is out of contract at Lotus at the end of the season and was a leading contender to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull when the Australian moves over to endurance racing next year.
Fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo, from Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso, now looks most likely to get the 2014 seat alongside world champion and current standings leader Sebastian Vettel.
“Kimi will not be driving for Red Bull in 2014. We held some talks but a deal will not be happening,” his manager Steve Robertson told www.autosport.com.
A Red Bull announcement could come at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix when the season resumes after a break.
Robertson said staying at Lotus was just one possibility for 2007 world champion Raikkonen who spent two years in rallying after being forced out of Ferrari in 2009. He has shone on his return to F1 with an unfashionable team.
“We are pretty confident Kimi will be in F1 next year,” he said. “There are options - and that is plural - out there and I will continue to talk to teams. I am hopeful we will sort something out in the not too distant future.”
Second in standings
Raikkonen, second in the current standings and third last year, has even been linked in the media with a return to Ferrari to replace the underperforming Felipe Massa but the Italian team have played down the speculation.
The F1 rumour mill even suggested Ferrari’s number one driver Fernando Alonso could be heading to partner Vettel next season after his manager was seen entering the Red Bull motorhome at the Hungarian Grand Prix last month.
Ferrari issued a rare public rebuke to Alonso after he told reporters “The one the others have” when asked following Hungary what kind of car he wanted for his birthday.