Lotus 'doing all they can' to keep Kimi Raikkonen as 2014 rumour mill warms up
Di Resta continues to be linked with seat at Ferrari next season
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 25/07/13 1:01pm
Raikkonen remains the key piece in the 2014 driver market
Eric Boullier says Lotus are "doing everything we can" to persuade Kimi Raikkonen to stay with the team for 2014.
The Finn's contract with the Enstone outfit expires at the end of the year and the former World Champion has been installed as the odds-on favourite to replace Mark Webber at Red Bull next season following the Australian's announcement he will quit the sport in November.
"Lotus is a desirable place to be. We know there's been a lot of talk about Kimi's future, and we all know Kimi is an individual and he will make his decision in his own time," said team boss Boullier. "Naturally, we want him to continue in the sport and continue with Lotus, so we're doing everything we can do to make that happen."
The prospect of Raikkonen replacing Webber - previously regarded in some quarters as a 'done deal' - has diminished in recent days following what appeared to be a successful audition by Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo when he debuted in the RB9 at last week's Young Driver Test.
Raikkonen, who continues to insist that he is no rush to make a decision on his future, remains the key piece in a 2014 driver market that is currently in lockdown until the identity of Webber's successor is revealed.
It is believed, however, that Red Bull development driver Antonio Felix da Costa will drive for Toro Rosso in 2014, either as a replacement for Ricciardo or his team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne, while reports persist that Felipe Massa, also out of contract at the end of the season, could be dropped by Ferrari following a series of disappointing results this term.
Former Force India team-mates Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg have both been strongly linked with the potential vacancy alongside Fernando Alonso, with the Scot making no secret of his ambition to move up F1's pecking order.
"Ferrari is an ultimate seat that I want to see myself in Formula 1 because of the Italian side of my family. What Ferrari is to Formula 1 is a very special red car when it sits on the grid," Di Resta told Sky Sports News on Wednesday.
"But I need to wait and see if the opportunities arise. At the moment it's about putting yourself in the framework for those drives."