F1 » 6 September 2013
Italian Grand Prix: Same questions, different team for Raikkonen
With Red Bull full, attention turns to Kimi Raikkonen's chances of joining Ferrari next season.
Red Bull's door may have been closed in the build-up to this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, but that did not prevent Kimi Raikkonen from being the focus of the media's attention at Monza.
The Finn was widely rumoured to have been in a two-horse race for the seat alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2014, but the speculation was ended by Monday's announcement that his rival, Daniel Ricciardo, would replace Mark Webber in RBR's next line-up.
"It wasn't really a surprise for me," he said of Ricciardo's confirmation, "I don't think anything went wrong. Perhaps they wanted different things, I don't know. It doesn't really matter. It's fine and it's not the first time [things haven't worked out]. They have the option they think is the best, so that's fair enough."
Raikkonen, however, has always said that he was not short of options for next season and, while current employer Lotus remains keen to retain his services for a third campaign, the media's focus switched to Ferrari approaching the Scuderia's home event.
Despite leaving Maranello under a cloud following Fernando Alonso's arrival – with Santander backing – at the end of 2009, Raikkonen is rumoured to be considering an opportunity to partner the Spaniard in a Ferrari 'dream team', replacing the lacklustre Felipe Massa in the 2014 line-up.
The 33-year old recently claimed that there was no acrimony in his departure – which pre-empted a two-year sabbatical in the WRC – as journalists again spent Lotus' media session attempting to prise the slightest hint as to Raikkonen's intention for next season. The Finn, however, was not giving too much away.
"You can ask as much as you want, but nothing has changed since the last race,” he sighed, “We'll see what happens next year and we'll let people know once we know.”
Raikkonen insisted that he has not talked to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo – with whom he was reported to have fallen out - since returning to F1 at the start of the 2012 season, but insisted that there was no bad blood with either the Italian or the Scuderia.
“I've nothing against anyone - the past is the past and that's it,” he maintained, "I don't know why it would be different this Saturday or any other Saturday."
Ferrari has intimated that there will be no decision regarding its 2014 line-up this weekend, giving Lotus a little extra time to work on wooing Raikkonen back into the fold. The Monza announcement that it has done a deal with Dubai-based Emaar may help persuade the Finn that widely-reported financial restrictions could ease next season, but Raikkonen was equally non-committal about his chances of staying at Enstone next season.
"They know the reasons why it's not going forward right now and, until they sort out those issues, we cannot really talk about next year," he confirmed.
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