Rumors link Webber with Ferrari switch. UPDATE #3 (GMM) Red Bull Racing has given the strongest indication yet that it is ready to renew Mark Webber's contract for 2011.
In the wake of his dominance in Spain and Monaco, chiefs of the Austrian-owned team indicated they are keen to keep the 33-year-old Australian alongside Sebastian Vettel next year.
But Red Bull's motor sport advisor Dr Helmut Marko signaled recently that joint championship leader Webber's back-to-back wins could have an effect on the "salary negotiations".
Ahead of the Turkish grand prix, team principal Christian Horner hinted to Germany's Bild-Zeitung newspaper that Red Bull is ready to simply extend Webber's current deal.
"If we sat down together on the subject of a contract extension, it would be a pretty short conversation," said the Briton. 05/23/10 (GMM) Mark Webber has indicated he is in no rush to sign a new contract with Red Bull.
In the wake of his two wins within a week in Spain and Monaco, the Austrian team has indicated it is keen to re-sign the 33-year-old for 2011.
But Australian Webber has also been linked recently with a switch to Ferrari, and he told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper that he is not certain who his employer will be next year.
"I've just won two races, back-to-back, and people are asking me where I'm going to drive next year," said the joint championship leader.
"I'm very close to the guys at Red Bull, we've been through a lot, and I have a great relationship with them. Yet things happen and change very fast in this business, and you never know what's around the corner," added Webber.
Interestingly, after boss Christian Horner and advisor Helmut Marko commented on Webber's situation post-Monaco, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz is now quoted as wading in on the status of Sebastian Vettel's current teammate.
"They have different personalities, but when they go into battle they are winners," the Austrian billionaire told Germany's Bild am Sonntag.
Mateschitz also described Webber as a "stereotype of the fair, athletic sportsman". 05/17/10 Mark Webber's victory at Monaco, capping his performances earlier in the season, appears to have secured his future at Red Bull.
Speaking to Autosport, team principal Christian Horner made it clear Webber features in his plans. "We are very happy with the way that Mark is performing," he said. "He's an important member of our team and he has got to a stage where, at 33, we said let's take one year at a time rather than signing some long-winded agreement. I am very happy with the balance and dynamics in team, and there is nothing that we would change for.
"It's all down to relationships and how he feels at the end of the day. He is driving fantastically well, he is a very valued member of the team, so when the time comes to sit down and talk about contracts I am sure it will be a very short conversation."
Asked when he expected a deal to be agreed, Horner hinted it would be soon. Over the last couple of years it's been around the end of May and beginning of June that we begin to talk about things. But with Mark, like all things, it is pretty straightforward." 05/14/10 (GMM) At least three media sources are claiming Mark Webber is a contender to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari next year. Britain's The Sun, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo, and British journalist James Allen all reported the rumor from the scene of this weekend's Monaco grand prix.
It is already rumored that Robert Kubica is another contender to replace struggling Brazilian Massa, whose current teammate Fernando Alonso is under long-term contract.
The Sun also said Webber, 33, could retire if he is not retained by Red Bull in 2011 and is unable to find another top drive. Kimi Raikkonen has been linked with Webber's seat at the energy drink-owned team, and the newspaper said "the pieces of the puzzle" could be in place by July.
El Mundo, meanwhile, raised the possibility that Massa could simply swap seats with Webber and race alongside Sebastian Vettel next year.