If you were hoping for a dream team of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen at Red Bull Racing, it seems that won't happen for 2014. The soon-to-be vacant seat at Red Bull was long-speculated to be Kimi's after Mark Webber retires at the end of this year but that isn't the case according to Raikkonen's manager, Steve Robertson who told Turun Sanomat:
"The negotiations with Red Bull were not successful and ended some time ago."
While AUTOSPORT confirmed the words of Robertson, they speculate that staying at Lotus F1 is the Finnish driver's best chance but that does suggest that the rumors of moving back to Ferrari are not true. Lotus F1 man James Allison has moved to the Scuderia and recent speculation has the Fin speaking with the Italian team about a possible return...after being paid not to race in favor of acquiring Fernando Alonso. Regardless, Robertson says that Kimi still have choices:
"We are pretty confident that Kimi will be in F1 next year," he explained. "There are options - and that is plural - out there and I will continue to talk to teams. I am hopeful we will sort something out in the not too distant future."
Speculation is that Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo will be the teammate to Sebastian Vettel but niggling rumors of Fernando Alonso possibly being available still linger like grief thief's at a funeral. Red Bull said that money was no object regarding Kimi's potential signing so what was it that sent both parties walking away from each other? Media responsibilities? Press days?
Red Bull is a marketing company and it would be difficult to have a star such as Kimi Raikkonen and not capitalize on his own particular brand but it's well-known that the Fin doesn't like doing media and press appearances.
Is Ricciardo a worthy replacement for Webber? Would he the be the logical choice for Red Bull? There is the lingering rumor of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso as a possibility as his management team were seen chatting to Red Bull at the Hungarian Grand Prix a few weeks ago but that would require some contract stipulation that would allow for his departure as it is understood his current agreement runs through 2016.
Ferrari were keen to squash those rumors but a public spat with Alonso over his comments after the Hungarian Grand Prix have left some wondering if Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is feeling the brunt of a rapidly souring relationship.
It's all speculation but then Silly Season normally is. What we do know is that the hottest seat in Formula 1 is available and the list of callers must be enormous. Could Australia's Daniel Ricciardo be the lucky man?