The future of Kimi Raikkonen has fallen under a new cloud of uncertainty ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, after Red Bull boss Christian Horner refused to rule out the capture of the former world champion.
Raikkonen was believed to be out of the running for next year’s vacant seat, with Daniel Ricciardo expected to be announced this weekend. However, Sky Sports reports a fresh twist from Horner:
Has [Raikkonen] signed for anyone else? It's up to him.
Kimi's manager ruled him out I think. I've only seen what you've seen.
Red Bull’s need for a partner to Sebastian Vettel emerged when Mark Webber announced his decision to quit the team at the end of the current season.
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The manager of Raikkonen, Steve Robertson, then claimed talks with Red Bull had come to an end, leaving the Lotus driver to be linked with a switch to Ferrari.
However, Ricciardo is yet to be confirmed as Red Bull’s choice for 2014, and revealed at Spa he is in the dark over his future.
Horner was keen to stress Red Bull has several options for the seat and hinted the wait may go on a while longer before Raikkonen or anybody else is named.
There is no transfer window in Formula 1. We are not obliged to make a decision until we choose to. As I say, we want to make sure that we make the right decision and we will take the time that we feel appropriate to make that decision.
You have to make sure you consider all the options and there's more options than you could possibly think.
One man who is not influencing the final decision is Vettel, with Horner using the word “rubbish” to describe reports the reigning champion had vetoed a move for Raikkonen. Indeed, Vettel recently said he would prefer the Finn to Alonso.
Horner suggested the final decision will be made around the time of the Italian Grand Prix, which takes place on Sept. 8.