Red Bull moots Raikkonen as replacement for Webber

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Kimi Raikkonen could join Red Bull in 2014 if Mark Webber decides not to continue with the team.

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz told Germany’s Speedweek “whether he retires, only he will choose but Mark is definitely a candidate for 2014”.

He said both Toro Rosso drivers were contenders for a seat in an RB10 alongside Sebastian Vettel. But Mateschitz added Lotus’s lead driver is also under consideration: “Kimi is cool and fast and always a candidate.”

Raikkonen drove for Red Bull’s rally team during his two-year sabbatical from Formula One. He has won two grands prix since his comeback with Lotus last year but his current contract expires at the end of this season.

A Raikkonen-Vettel partnership would be the first time either driver has been paired with another world champion.

Webber indicated he is considering his future after the acrimonious conclusion to the Malaysian Grand Prix, in which Vettel overtook him in the final stages despite being ordered not to.

The strained relationship between the pair began before Vettel joined Red Bull. During his sixth grand prix start at Fuji in 2007 Vettel crashed his Toro Rosso into Webber’s second-placed Red Bull behind the Safety Car, putting both out of the race.

Since donning the same overalls the pair have continued to cross swords. Vettel has usually come out on top, winning the last three world championships.

They collided at Istanbul in 2010 while disputing the lead. Webber’s reluctance to hold position behind Vettel at Silverstone in 2011 and to help his team mate’s title bid at Interlagos the following year deepened the wedge between the two.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.