Mateschitz: Räikkönen a candidate for '14
3 April 2013 – Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz says Lotus driver Kimi Räikkönen is a candidate to join the Milton Keynes-based outfit next season, with only reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel tied to a contract beyond the 2013 campaign.
The Austrian businessman, who has also made clear that extending Mark Webber's stay at Red Bull remains a strong option despite the recent team order row in Malaysia, included Räikkönen in a list of expected names for the unconfirmed seat.
"Kimi is cool and fast and always a candidate," Mateschitz, whose brand backed Räikkönen during his World Rally Championship (WRC) foray with the Citroën Junior Team back in 2010, explained to German publication Speedweek.
With Webber's long-term future in the sport coming under scrutiny after the Malaysian Grand Prix, Mateschitz reiterated that he 'is always welcome' at Red Bull, while Toro Rosso youngsters Jean-Éric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo remain additional possibilities for the team should the Australian decide to retire from the sport.
"Whether he retires, only he will choose, but Mark is definitely a candidate for 2014," added Mateschitz. "He is always welcome with us, so too would a quick junior like Vergne or Ricciardo from Toro Rosso. Sorry, I know it's a diplomatic answer which leaves everything open, but that's how it is. Everything else is pure speculation."
Webber has traditionally signed one season extensions to his Red Bull contract, with the most recent coming soon after his British Grand Prix triumph last year.