Forget about 2012, Rick Santorum has his eyes set on 2016 — at least according to Team Romney.

Wayne Berman, a national finance co-chair for the ex-Massachusetts governor’s presidential campaign, told Politico Friday that Santorum is going after Romney with guns blazing in hopes of securing his chances for the next presidential cycle.

“There is a keen awareness in the party, particularly among fund-raisers and elected officials that Santorum is playing to hurt Romney so that Romney loses,” Berman said.

The theory, Berman suggests, is that if Romney wins, no Republicans, Santorum included, will challenge him in 2016. But if Obama wins a second term, the 2016 field will be wide open — and Santorum, as 2012’s runner-up, would be first in line for the 2016 nod.