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Red Bull vacancy leaves Raikkonen with 'difficult' decision
Kimi Raikkonen says he is facing a tough decision on whether to stay at Lotus next season as rumours gather pace that he will move to Red Bull to replace Mark Webber.
On Thursday Webber announced that he will leave Red Bull to drive for Porsche in sports cars next year, leaving the door open for Raikkonen to join Sebastian Vettel if a deal can be struck. Red Bull has made no secret that it is interested in the Finn, with team principal Christian Horner saying "Kimi would have to be an option" for 2014.
However, Raikkonen said he has no contract at present, adding: "If I have something certain on paper then I will tell immediately because it will stop people asking the same questions."
"It [the Webber announcement] doesn't change anything since the last two races," Raikkonen said. "Obviously people will talk more about the chances [of going to Red Bull], but it doesn't really change what I am going to do next year. That's my decision."
After making progress in the two years since returning to F1 with Lotus, Raikkonen said it would be a very tough decision to leave his current team.
"It's never easy and it's not the first time there has been several options on the table and you take the one that you think is right for you at that moment," he said. "It's hard to say if it's the right or wrong decision and you have to live with whatever you do.
"I wouldn't be back in Formula One if it wasn't for them [Lotus] and for sure they also got something good out of it. I've got no complaints but there are certain things that have got to improve. I've had a great time with the team so far and that's why whatever the decision will be it will be difficult. We both know, me and the team, what we have to do to make things go forward."
Raikkonen said the overhaul in engine regulations for 2014 made it even more difficult to make the right call.
"I think it's ten times more difficult than if you took the same rules and the same car, but you hear a lot of stories from different engine manufacturers that they will be much stronger than others but I don't know how much truth is behind that. So you make a decision that you think is right and you have to live with it."
Raikkonen has been given more freedom at Lotus than he had at his previous teams and he said it would be important to retain that under his next contract.
"You want to have a good car and certain things have to be right, but there are a lot of small things that have to be right for yourself. It might sound like stupid small things, but I have been long enough in the business that I know what I want and there are things that I would like or the decision might be different."
And Raikkonen did not rule out the possibility that he will leave the sport completely.
"I always said there would be two or three options and until I have a contract there is always the option that I will not race. I think there is a long time from now until the beginning of next year and there are a lot of things that can happen in life that makes the decision for you and I might not be racing. But I think there is a bigger chance that I will be in Formula One next year."