Tug of war between Red Bull and Lotus for Raikkonen’s services 29 June, 2013 Christian Horner and Eric Boullier A tug of war for the services of Kimi Raikkonen, between Red Bull and Lotus, looks to be brewing in the aftermath of Mark Webber’s announcement that he is departing Formula 1 to be part of Porsche’s sportscar programme. Red Bull have made no secret of their interest in Raikkonen, while Lotus are aware that in the Finn they have a very valuable asset not only on track but also off it, as Raikkonen is one of the most popular drivers of the current era. Speaking at the FIA press conference at Silverstone, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner gave his opinion on why the world champion team would be an attractive prospect for Raikkonen. “At the end of the day I guess it’s going to be [about] the equipment at their disposal. They’re going to want to drive – any driver, any competitive driver – is going to want to be in the most competitive environment that he can be in. I guess that’s the same for Kimi as it would be for any driver,” explained Horner. Kimi Raikkonen with Romain Grosjean and Alan Permane at Silverstone Raikkonen has made no secret of the fact that he is very content with his environment at Lotus, and is by no means smitten by the Red Bull interest. Lotus have gone out of their way to accommodate Raikkonen and nurture an atmosphere where he is not stifled by the PR commitments that he so loathes. Lotus team principal Eric Boullier said, “I think the environment he has with us obviously suits him. He told us this many times. As Christian says, he’s a driver, a competitor, so he can see every year we keep improving the team performance and obviously we expect to keep going in this way and match at least Christian’s team’s performance as soon as possible. So, being part of the environment you can like and build around yourself is one of the nicest challenges for a driver.” Horner is nevertheless being cautious about the Raikkonen option, and declared, “Let’s just be clear here, we’re not just looking at Kimi Räikkönen, we have Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne who are true contenders for that seat. We just need to take a bit of time to look at all of the options available to us.” As for the time frame to make an announcement Horner revealed, “I would have thought [that we will make it] later in the summer. We’re not going to let it drag on forever but we can take a bit of time to make sure we make the most informed decision that we can.” (GP247) Subbed by AJN. Related NewsRicciardo surprised by Lotus struggles with Renault engineRenault: It’s completely unacceptable to be coming to the first race as unprepared as we areSome teams will struggle to qualify in Melbourne if 107% rule is implementedRenault invites Red Bull, Caterham and Toro Rosso to Lotus ‘promotional event’ at JerezRed Bull and Vettel titles a formality now focus is on battle for best of the restWebber says the ‘first lap nutcase’ has atoned for his wayward drivingRaikkonen’s manager says 2014 talks with Red Bull still ongoingRaikkonen: My decision might feel right to me but stupid to somebody elseRaikkonen and Webber withdrawn from test due to restrictionsLotus: Red Bull is chasing Kimi and we obviously want to keep Kimi K-15- Owner’s Pride, Neighbor’s Envy. That’s KIMI for you. Stoner @K-15- Well said, my money right there Tom So Kimi will stay at Lotus with a huge exit clause and Ricciardo will go to Red Bull with an even bigger one. If it does not go well for Ricciardo, he is replaced and Kimi can come to the rescue, that is if he get what he wants, which he will !