Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has denied a bungled race strategy at Silverstone could cost his team the services next year of lead driver Kimi Raikkonen.
Having admitted “small talks” with Red Bull about replacing Mark Webber next year are taking place, Raikkonen was angry after the British Grand Prix because Lotus failed to pit him for fresh tyres.
Frenchman Boullier admitted the 2007 world champion was “pretty frustrated”.
But when considering the incident might cost Lotus the talented Raikkonen’s talents in 2014, he insisted: “Kimi’s an intelligent guy and he won’t let a single pitstop call define a decision like where to drive for 2014.
“He seems to like being with Lotus and we’re doing everything we can to show him this is the place to be for next season and beyond,” Boullier added.
However, respected German correspondent Michael Schmidt thinks Raikkonen’s move to Red Bull in 2014 is now very likely.
Writing in Auto Motor und Sport, he said Mercedes’ big steps forward in the past few races “almost forces” Red Bull to push very hard to sign the Finn.
“No team has a better driver pairing than Mercedes,” said Schmidt. “And Sebastian Vettel cannot win a constructors’ championship alone — not against Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.”