|© AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau
Kimi Raikkonen has emerged as a potential to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull next year should the Australian decide to leave the team or retire from Formula 1.
Webber, who will turn 37 in August, was angered after he was robbed of a win at the Malaysian Grand Prix by teammate Sebastian Vettel, who he claimed was protected by the team, particularly by Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.
With speculation indicating that Webber will not renew his contract, several drivers, including the Toro Rosso pair of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo, current Red Bull reserve Sebsatien Buemi and even Kimi Raikkonen are now named as candidates for the seat next year.
The Finn’s contract with Lotus runs out at the end of the year, leaving the 2007 world champion, who is good friends with Vettel, with options to consider for next season.
"Kimi is cool and fast and always a candidate," Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz told SpeedWeek.com.
Raikkonen has had prior connections with Red Bull as the 33-year-old was supported by the energy drinks company during his World Rally Championship stint.
The 68-year-old billionaire, however, clarified that Webber would remain as a candidate for 2014 along with the Toro Rosso drivers.