Formula 1

Red Bull should sign Kimi Raikkonen, says Buemi

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Red Bull reserve driver Sebastien Buemi believes the team will choose 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen over the two Toro Rosso drivers as the replacement for Mark Webber next season.

After Webber announced he will retire from F1 at the end of 2013, Red Bull said the hunt for his replacement had been narrowed to three drivers Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Both Toro Rosso drivers have impressed in recent races, Ricciardo proving the most consistent with two good weekends in Britain and Germany, but despite the good showings Buemi - himself a former Toro Rosso driver - believes neither will be chosen.

"The situation is not clear yet," he told 20min.ch. "If a team has the chance to get Raikkonen, then it has to do that. So he's really the favourite for the job."

Ricciardo himself agrees: "I would expect a world champion team to take a world champion driver," he is quoted by German website formel1.de.

Further developments could come soon, however, as it is reported Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson is to meet with Lotus boss Eric Boullier and team owner Gerard Lopez this week.

"All we have to do," Lopez told the Daily Record, "is prove it's the right team for him as a racer.

"He has to decide, and I think he will stay."

If Raikkonen is lured away from Lotus, however, the highly-rated Nico Hulkenberg is believed to be the number 1 target as his replacement with Grosjean also receiving a boost following his German GP performance.

Lopez said of Grosjean after the Germany race: "Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen are three world champions, and Romain put himself right in the middle of them (at the Nurburgring)."

 

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