SILVERSTONE, June 29th, 2013 (F1Plus / Rosie Baillie) - Formula 1's silly season kicked off early on Thursday morning when Mark Webber announced he would be leaving Formula 1 at the end of the year. The popular choice for his replacement at the moment is Kimi Raikkonen.
The 2007 World Champion will find himself out of a contract at the end of the year and Red Bull have admitted that they are considering the Finn.
Eric Boullier however is hoping that he will choose to stay with the team. Boullier said, “He knows what he has with us” but ultimately “Kimi will decide what he wants to do. He will decide what’s best for him."
Since joining Lotus at the beginning of 2012, Kimi has done wonders for the team, which did not have a particularly good year in 2011 after they were forced to replace Robert Kubica, who was seriously injured in a rally incident before the start of the season.
Last year Raikkonen helped Lotus to fourth place in the Constructors Championship even though teammate Romain Grosjean had 7 DNF’s.
Boullier is confident that Kimi is “happy with what he has” and commented that the team are “talking with him and seeking ... understanding of where we go.”
If the former World Champion does decide to leave the team it could put Lotus in a tricky position as Grosjean is yet to show that he has the ability to lead a team the same way Raikkonen does.
On the other hand, Kimi is known as a man of few words and the number of PR days Red Bull have to do could be off-putting, although if Red Bull want him badly enough he may be able to negotiate the number of events he’s expected to do.
Red Bull are planning to make a decision later in the summer so Lotus only have a few weeks to encourage Raikkonen to stay with the team for the 2014 season.