Mark Webber - Red Bull Racing photoEnlarge Photo
Although he spoke with Ferrari about becoming Fernando Alonso's teammate in 2013, Mark Webber elected to stay with the ultra-competitive Red bull Racing/Renault squad for another season. Webber's contract with the team has been extended for another year, so the musical chairs of silly season will continue in Formula One, as others vie to take over the seat currently occupied by Felipe Massa.
"Mark has driven very well in the first nine races of the season and his performance has been impressive," Christian Horner, team managing director acknowledged. "As there was a strong desire from both sides to continue the partnership, it was a logical decision to extend our relationship and it is with great pleasure that we confirm Mark will drive for us in 2013."
Webber will continue to race alongside two-time reigning F1 champion Sebastian Vettel, who is under contract for the coming season. The announcement firms up Red Bull's racing team for 2013. It's unknown whether Sebastian Buemi will continue as reserve driver.
While he might have been tempted to move elsewhere and "there were discussions with Ferrari, my decision was to stay here," Webber said. "It's been an interesting few months, but overall the continuity and desire for me to continue at Red Bull was very strong. My main focus is on this year's championship, which is very important. In addition, it's an amazing bunch of guys and gals at Red Bull Racing and I really, really like working with them. That has a huge effect on me and how I perform in the car, and it helped me in my decision."
The Australian racer has been with Red Bull since 2007 and together they've earned nine Grands Prix victories. "I'm high on confidence at the moment and firing on all cylinders," Webber said. "I know the team well and I"m very comfortable here; we have grown together over the years and it feels like absolutely the right thing to stay."
It was a good move for Webber to get his plans handled this early in the 2012 season as he's second in the points and needs to focus on the racing at hand. "I've been hearing different rumors and reasons for a long time now; at the end of the day, Iknow everything that has been going on. You want to make sure your focus is clearly on driving the car and the guys that you're working with. It's important the team knows you're 100 percent with them, which of course I am."
Webber, currently 35 and turning a year older the end of August is asked repeatedly about his retirement plans, but seems to get stronger on the track with each succeeding season. "I've been asked (if 2013 will be his final season) this question for the past four years and my answer remains the same," he said. "It's a results-based sport on the front of the grid, so the future lies in my own hands. It's down to me to deliver the on-track results."
For the moment Webber trails Alonso in the point standings 129-116. He'll be back on the charge on July 22nd when Formula One heads for the German Grand Prix.