Apr 16, 2013, 10:51 AM EDT
Lotus F1 team owner Gerard Lopez believes Kimi Raikkonen will not leave his team to join Red Bull.
It follows Red Bull owners Dietrich Mateschitz’s remarks two weeks ago that Raikkonen was a “candidate” to join the team next year if Mark Webber leaves.
The prospect of joining the reigning three-time champions could be an attractive one to Raikkonen, who won the drivers’ championship with Ferrari in 2007. His current contract with Lotus expires at the end of this year.
Lopez told Autosport the team’s relationship with Raikkonen is “excellent”. He added “We are well where we are and I think Kimi will stay”.
The Lotus boss believes Red Bull’s mentioning of Raikkonen may have been a tactic to deflect attention from the row between Webber and Sebastian Vettel after the Malaysian Grand Prix.
“Kimi’s position is going to be based on a bunch of things and not on what Red Bull say – I think they have their hands full right now.”
Speculation continues to surround Webber’s future at the team. Rumors over the weekend that he had signed a five-year contract with Porsche to race for their new LMP1 team from next year were denied by the German manufacturer.
Webber raced sportscars for Mercedes before making his Formula One debut.