The name Kimi Raikkonen continues to swirl in the press and minds of Formula One fans and not just for his second-place finish in t today’s Bahrain Grand Prix. The Finn has continued to be rumored for a move to team with Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull when his contract ends at the end of this season. It’s a tad early for silly season rumors but with the recent tumult internally at Red Bull between Vettel and teammate Mark Webber.
Raikkonen says he has no contract for next year but certainly isn’t pouring water on the rumors:
“I have no contract for next year – that much is true. But further than that, I don’t want to discuss the matter. I want to do well this season and everything else will fall into place,” he said.
“There are many things that are undecided and there is still a long way to go this season, so let’s see how things unfold. We will see pretty significant changes when teams switch to their 2014 car development – and then it will be interesting to see what is going on.
Red Bull has a stable of drivers in the wings such as Felix da Costa but they also have a complete junior team , Scuderia Toro Rosso, that was created to develop the next generation of Red Bull drivers. It worked for Sebastian Vettel and many think current driver Daniel Ricciardo should be the logical choice. That could be the case but Red Bull will choose the best possible option for the complete package and Raikkonen, right now, may be that man.
It would be a bad situation for Toro Rosso drivers Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne but such is the draconian nature of Formula One. Raikkonen has such a massive following among F1 fans and the Finn seems impervious to bad moves or utterances. His every word is praised by fans and they love his anti-establishment attitude. At this point it wouldn’t surprise me to see Kimi become the F1 version of the “V” mask… with an ice cream bar of course.
Would Vettel and Raikkonen make better teammates than Webber and Vettel? Kimi is nonplussed with internal teammate issues and perhaps Ricciardo and Vergne’s pre-season spat in public and continued internal squabbling has put a nail in their F1 career coffin at Red Bull while the genuinely disengaged Raikkonen’s demeanor would be more complimentary to Vettel and would throw cool water on a white-hot situation at the energy drink empire.
Keep in mind, Raikkonen was sponsored by Red Bull in his Rallying efforts so he’s no stranger to their marketing program.