Date: 15th August 2013 at 9:01am
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Whilst Ferrari might publicly deny that they want to sign Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen for 2014, reports in the media claim otherwise.

The 2007 Formula One World Champion is certainly in high demand, the Lotus team desperately want to keep the Finn at the team despite their reported financial problems.

But with Raikkonen out-of-contract at the end of the season Lotus have very little say over the future of the 33-year-old.

With Mark Webber retiring from Formula One at the end of the season, Kimi Raikkonen has been heavily linked with a switch to Red Bull Racing to partner current triple Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel has even spoken positively about the possibility of the two becoming team-mates this year, however Red Bull are still considering promoting Daniel Ricciardo from sister team Toro Rosso as team bosses are desperate to see progress from the Red Bull driver programme.

Another option for Kimi Raikkonen could be to return to his old team Ferrari.

Raikkonen of course won his only World title whilst at Ferrari, but his deal ended on a sour note, with Ferrari keen to pay-up his contract to get him to leave the team early in order to bring in Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

At the time Ferrari wanted to remain loyal to Felipe Massa following his devastating and near fatal crash in Hungary [2009], Ferrari of course have also always ran the team with a clear number one driver and with Alonso and Raikkonen that philosophy was clearly going to fail.

However Ferrari appear to have now had a change of heart, with BBC sources close to Ferrari saying that ‘senior figures at the team believe Raikkonen would be the ideal replacement for Massa’.

Massa has of course struggled for consistent performances ever since his near fatal crash in Hungary and whilst an end of season revival earned him a new contract towards the end of 2012, it does seem that the Brazilian’s time is now up at Ferrari.

Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo has always remained loyal to Felipe Massa, but his form would have to seriously improve if he was to win another contract for 2014 and beyond.

The BBC report claims that some members of the Ferrari team believe that Fernando Alonso would benefit from receiving ‘more pressure from his team-mate’ which ‘might force him to dig deeper’.

As well as considering Raikkonen Ferrari could also consider Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg, Force India’s Paul Di Resta and Marussia’s Jules Bianchi, although the latter’s lack of experience would probably count against the Ferrari development driver at this time.

So while speculation is rife during the summer break, what is the official stance from the team?

‘Right now, we’re really not giving any thought to the driver-market situation,’ said a Ferrari spokesman to the beeb.

‘[Focusing on Alonso’s title challenge] That is our priority, Drivers are not a problem for us even if we were to change Felipe.’