Kimi Raikkonen is set to replace Red Bull’s Mark Webber ahead of the 2011 season.
A report in Germany’s Bild am Sonntag said the return of the Finn to formula one, to become his friend Sebastian Vettel’s teammate, is already being arranged.
Raikkonen, 30, is already under contract to the energy drinks company, having switched from Ferrari to world rallying for 2010 with the Red Bull-funded Citroen Junior Team.
RBR team boss Christian Horner recently admitted that hiring Raikkonen for 2011 is an “interesting idea”, and speculation about Webber’s expiring contract was re-fired this weekend when Lewis Hamilton tipped the Australian to retire.
Horner said on Saturday: “We are very happy with our drivers. Mark is driving very well, and he is not old, as Michael has demonstrated.
“The average age (of F1 drivers) has dropped, but as long as Mark is motivated, competitive and quick, I don’t think that he has any thoughts of stopping just yet.”
Vettel told Bild am Sonntag: “Kimi and I are good friends, but in the end I don’t care who sits in the other car because I still have to beat him.”
He would not confirm that the Raikkonen deal is close to being finalised.
“I don’t know what the team is planning. And in the end, it is of course Kimi’s decision. He needs to see how he feels.”