Despite Lotus having expressed its confidence at being able to keep Kimi Raikkonen on board into 2014, the Finn admits that he expects to field offers from elsewhere on the grid before making up his mind.
After an impressive comeback season in 2012 was capped by victory in Abu Dhabi, Raikkonen opened 2013 with another win in Australia, and currently sits second in the overall standings, just four points behind Sebastian Vettel. Lotus is third in the teams' standings, largely due to the much smaller haul of points accumulated by team-mate Romain Grosjean, and said in the build-up to this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix that is was confident of keeping Raikkonen [ see separate story
] for a third season, but the Finn is keeping an open mind – for now at least.
Having already been quoted by the Italian media as saying he had a couple of offers on the table for next season, Raikkonen told a bigger media gathering in Monaco that he expected to have more options than that when it comes to making a decision about his future.
"I'm sure there are some options, there's no secret," he confirmed, “[but] there is also the option that I don't drive anything because, right now, I don't have a contract - nothing.”
Knowing that his whereabouts in 2014 will be an enduring topic this season, particularly with few top drivers being free agents and Mark Webber rumoured to be quitting F1, Raikkonen attempted to head off future questions by saying that he would not be making a decision any time soon.
“When I have [a contract] and when I know what will happen, I will tell you,” he insisted, “It's as simple as that. But I' m sure it won't be the next race - or the race after that. For sure, it will take time. I'm not in a hurry.
“If I was desperate for a contract, I would probably have already tried to sign for next year [in 2012] but, like I said, I'm just trying to do my work well and, if I do that, I'm sure I will get the contract. I don't really think we have to sit down every day and discuss it, because nothing's changed. The decision has to come from me and I've not made any decisions."