The future of Kimi Raikkonen has been one of the hottest topics of F1's so-called silly season this summer.
For much of that time a move to Red Bull appeared the more likely option for the 2007 champion, however, as Daniel Ricciardo takes that seat alongside Sebastian Vettel for 2014 the question has to be asked, what next for Kimi Raikkonen?
The Finn realistically has three options, stay at Lotus, move to Ferrari or retire from F1 altogether, all three have their pros, all three have their cons so which should Kimi choose.
Staying at Lotus would be my choice for Raikkonen, while the Finn has had some issues as the team struggles financially, new investment is set to come when a new tie up with a consortium called Infinity Racing.
Should that new investment come in it would make Lotus one of the richest teams on the grid, the group has already set a goal of being the fastest car on the grid within a year and for Raikkonen the thought of future success at Lotus could sway the pendulum in their favour.
Lotus also fits with Raikkonen's laid back attitude, the Finn is well known for his hatred for off-the-track activities, while he does do some publicity shoots and adverts for the Lotus sponsors the amount is much less than it would be at another team, in my opinion it was one reason why he didn't join Red Bull
What Lotus must ensure however is a competitive car, while Raikkonen may be chilled off the track he is certainly unleashed when on it and if Lotus can not guarantee a race-winning even championship-contending car then Raikkonen may opt away.
In recent days the speculation has continued to build that a move to Ferrari is the most likely option, while a move back to Maranello would be much anticipated by F1 fans I don't believe is the option Raikkonen would go for.
Of course Raikkonen knows how everything works at the marque Italian team having raced for them for 3 years between 2007-2009 and if the project Ferrari are working on for 2014 appeals to Raikkonen then why not make a move back, but there is one man that would stand in his way.
Fernando Alonso was the man Ferrari rather unceremoniously dumped Raikkonen in favour for after 2009 causing the Finn's two year break. While Raikkonen would have the motivation and the speed to succeed at Ferrari would he be able to co-exist alongside one of the sports biggest egos.
An Alonso - Raikkonen partnership does have all hallmarks of creating the same fireworks the Alonso - Hamilton partnership created at McLaren in 2007 and for Raikkonen the question has to be whether he wants the hassle of such a partnership or whether he feels Ferrari could cope with two absolute top-level drivers in the same team.
The final option Raikkonen has to retire from F1 altogether, Kimi himself had admitted this is not an impossibility and should he not want to stay on at Lotus or not want the move to Ferrari then either heading back to rallying or going back to Finland could be his last resort.
I doubt Raikkonen will consider retirement I believe he is still racing to too-higher level and still wants to add to his solitary championship as much as he ever did.
What's my prediction? I think Raikkonen will stay at Lotus, he has established himself as the number 1 at the Enstone based team, I believe Lotus can continue to challenge for race wins, particularly if the investment comes in, and I think we still have a good 3-5 years left with the 'Iceman' on the F1 grid.
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