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Kimi Raikkonen says he is open-minded about his plans for the 2014 Formula 1 season, amid new speculation linking him to a Red Bull future.
With renewed focus on Red Bull’s driver line-up following Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber’s team orders furore in Malaysia, Red Bull chief Dietrich Mateschitz was quoted in the German media as saying Raikkonen was “always a candidate” for a seat in his squad.
But Raikkonen said he was still far from entering into any talks over 2014 deals.
“There are always a lot of rumours in F1, that is a normal thing,” he said. “I don’t have a contract for next year and I have no plans.
“You guys make the rumours. The season is only two races old so I’ll try to do this year well and we will see what happens.”
Asked if he expected to still be in F1, Raikkonen replied: “I don’t have a contract so I don’t really have a plan, but of course I probably will be. But you never know. It is a funny place. So far, I have no contract.”
Although Lotus has regularly stated its belief that it provides an ideal atmosphere for the free-spirited Finn, Raikkonen said he never really been uncomfortable in an F1 team.
“Like I’ve always said all the teams have been different, and I have had a pretty good time in all the teams,” he said.
“They all have a different way of being run and I try to achieve the same result.
“I wouldn’t say that this is much better than other places, because I never had any problems [elsewhere] or anything like that. It is just a different place.”
Webber’s future at Red Bull has, of course, been the subject of much speculation since the Malaysian Grand Prix, which was won by Vettel after he ignored an order to stay behind his team-mate.
The subject remains the hot topic of debate in the Shanghai paddock – although Lotus’s hospitality suite appears be the exception to the rule.
“There’s a lot of times that teams will tell you what to do. It’s normal in Formula 1,” added Raikkonen when pressed on the subject.
“It’s not about me or our team, so I’m not interested.”
But when asked if he has already turned his attention to the end of his current contract and 2014, Raikkonen insisted: “I have not. I could even retire,” he told Turun Sanomat newspaper. “I don’t have any contract — nothing — for next year. I am focusing on now.”
Kimi found himself mobbed at Shanghai airport again, but this year he seemed better prepared and even gave a few smiles!
Kimi also did some PR for Lotus: