Lotus team boss Eric Boullier says that Red Bull are 'pushing hard' to try and sign Kimi Raikkonen for the 2014 F1 season.
The Finn has emerged as the front-runner to replace Mark Webber when he moves to sportscars next year, with Red Bull bosses keen to see the 33-year-old partner Sebastian Vettel in a partnership that would easily be one of the strongest on the grid.
Lotus has insisted it hasn't given up hope of retaining the services of the 2007 title winner but Boullier admitted that only Raikkonen himself could ultimately make the decision over where his future lies.
“I don't think that there is a fundamental change to what I said before,” he told the official F1 website when asked if Webber's decision to leave F1 had changed things. “It is true that Red Bull is pushing hard to get Kimi on board and I am sure that they will put together a very nice proposal for him, even easing his PR life. But again: it will be Kimi's decision.
“We have spent some time talking already, and we will sit down again. Through life you go through different stages and in the back of Kimi's mind there must be the consideration that the next contract is his last one. So yes, there might at the end be some financial considerations that we need to take into account.
“We will offer what we believe is the best for Kimi and for us.”
Boullier added that he felt sure that Lotus can offer a package to match Red Bull when it comes to his future and insisted that the future of the former Ferrari man had no bearing on the long-term future of the Enstone-based squad.
“All that matters for Kimi is to win in a positive environment - nothing else,” he said. “There are always differences from one team to the other, but I think we can easily match Red Bull Racing. Kimi is not in for the next ten years, but for the few years he is planning to stay he wants to enjoy it, win races and if possible the championship. That's it.
“You can't build a business plan on Kimi wishing to stay or not. The investors are here for the long term. They see that with fewer resources but with a proper driver line-up we can fight with the big boys. That is why they are here and sustaining the team to help us take it to the next level.”