Red Bull is planning to pair Sebastian Vettel with his friend Kimi Raikkonen in 2012.
That is the sensational claim of the high-circulation German newspaper Bild-Zeitung, less than two days after Mark Webber ignored team orders at the end of the British grand prix.
2007 world champion and Finn Raikkonen, 31, left formula one at the end of 2009, and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was quoted on Monday as saying “I believe he has put F1 behind him”.
Bild said the plan to replace Australian Webber with Raikkonen is “top secret” but divulged the information of a source “at the highest level”.
German Vettel remains friends with Raikkonen, the pair often meeting in Switzerland to play badminton. Asked recently who his ideal teammate is, the reigning world champion replied: “Kimi.”
The former Ferrari and McLaren race winner had talks with Red Bull last year and has now “apparently changed his mind” about wanting to stay in rallying and NASCAR.
And referring to Webber, Red Bull’s driver manager Helmut Marko told Bild recently: “We have other options but I don’t want to talk about them now.”
The report also said Raikkonen told a Finnish journalist recently: “I have never said that my formula one career is over.”
© RIF | GMM