Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz believes Kimi Raikkonen is a potential replacement for Mark Webber, should Webber leave the sport at the end of the year.
Red Bull was embroiled in the ‘Multi-21’ controversy which saw Sebastian Vettel defy team orders to pass Mark Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.
A furious Mark Webber has since returned to Australia for a surfing holiday while his Father, Alan and Partner, Ann have moved to quench the rumours that the Aussie is to leave the sport with immediate effect. His place in the sport after 2013, however, remains to be seen.
Mateschitz who regularly backs the Aussie admitted that Webber could leave the sport this year as he has been signed on rolling one-year contracts for the last few years.
“Whether he retires, only he will choose,” Mateschitz said in an interview with Speed Week. “[But] Mark is definitely a candidate for 2014.”
“He is always welcome with us. So too would be a quick junior like Vergne or Ricciardo from the Toro Rosso team. Sorry, I know it’s a diplomatic answer which leaves everything open, but that’s how it is. Everything else is pure speculation.”
Interestingly, Mateschitz brought Raikkonen’s name up in the list of possible replacements. Raikkonen, a close friend of Red Bull’s other driver Sebastian Vettel, was sponsored during his Rally campaign by Mateschitz meaning a 2014 Vettel/Raikkonen partnership could not be ruled out. “Kimi is cool and fast and always a candidate.” he said.
German Tabloid newspaper Bild is also reporting that Webber has been in discussions with Porsche as to making the move to Le Mans for 2014.