Sebastian Vettel says he "wouldn't mind" partnering Kimi Raikkonen at Red Bull
Finn is one of three contenders to replace Mark Webber
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 08/07/13 8:20am
Sebastian Vettel says he "wouldn't mind the great challenge" of partnering Kimi Raikkonen at Red Bull in 2014.
Raikkonen, who Vettel narrowly beat to win Sunday's German GP, is out of contract with Lotus at the end of the season and has been installed as the odds-on favourite to replace the retiring Mark Webber.
Rumours have swirled around the paddock since Silverstone that Red Bull have already agreed a deal with Raikkonen, although the World Champions insist that they are yet to make a decision and three drivers remain on their short-list to succeed the Porsche-bound Webber: Raikkonen and Toro Rosso duo Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
For his part, Vettel says he would not be opposed to joining forces with the Finn.
"I respect Kimi a lot, he has always been straight and fair with me so I wouldn't mind. It would be a great challenge," the German told Sky Sports News.
"Equally, we haven't really discussed it internally, and you have the two Toro Rosso drivers ramping it up in the last couple of races so they [the management] must make their minds up."
It's widely believed that a decision will be made during the upcoming summer break with an announcement then potentially made around the Belgian GP at the end of August. Vettel, though, says he will not be part of the decision-making process.
"It's not my call and doesn't really effect my racing," the 26-year-old insisted. "This year I go step-by-step and next year there are so many new things that if there is one more new thing then it doesn't really matter with all the changes in the regulations, cars, engines. There is a lot to keep us busy."
Christian Horner, the Red Bull Team Principal, disclosed on Thursday that the selection of Webber's replacement will be made by Dietrich Mateschitz, Adrian Newey, Helmut Marko and himself, with the final decision then being taken by owner Mateschitz.
Nevertheless, Sky Sports F1 pundit Martin Brundle believes that Vettel will have a say in identifying his team-mate for next season.
"His choice of words interested me - 'they have to make their minds up', not 'we'. He was really distancing himself from that, but I can't imagine that the team won't involve him quite heavily," Martin said.
"But he has only extended his contract for one more year, it's not a very long-term thing like it is with Alonso at Ferrari, for example."