Mark Webber extends Red Bull contract for 2013 season

 

Mark Webber has signed a new deal with Red Bull for the 2013 season.

The Australian held talks about a move to Ferrari but has decided to stay with the team he joined in 2007.

Analysis

"Mark Webber seriously considered moving to Ferrari in 2013 - the lure of Formula 1's most famous team and the chance to test himself against Fernando Alonso, the sport's leading driver, was strong. But in the end he is in F1 to win and there is no better guarantee of having a competitive car than it being designed by Red Bull's genius Adrian Newey. Being settled and comfortable, competitive again against team-mate Sebastian Vettel and gunning for this year's title were also influential factors. His decision means Lewis Hamilton has fewer reasons to leave McLaren - his only alternative is Mercedes, although that cannot be ruled out. And Felipe Massa, unlikely as it may have seemed not long ago, will probably now keep his Ferrari seat."

"It's great to be able to make this announcement off the back of the win in Silverstone," said 35-year-old Webber, who narrowly beat Fernando Alonso in Sunday's British Grand Prix.

"I'm looking forward to competing on the edge and pushing myself in every race again next season."

Webber is second in this year's drivers' championship, 13 points behind leader Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and 16 points ahead of team-mate and reigning champion Sebastian Vettel.

"I'm high on confidence at the moment and firing on all cylinders," said Webber, who lives in England.

"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 with Red Bull for another season.

"The team is constantly working hard to improve in all areas and we've shown that together we can win races."

Webber has finished third in the drivers' championship in the last two seasons but there has been an underlying concern from him that the team favour Vettel. The German won the drivers' title in 2010 and 2011.

In 2010 Webber was a serious title contender, but in 2011 he was overshadowed by the dominance of Vettel who was victorious in 11 races.

During that season Webber was ordered by team principal Christian Horner not to challenge Vettel for second place during the closing laps of the British Grand Prix.

Webber history

  • 1991: Takes up karting
  • 1994: Formula Ford
  • 1997: Formula 3
  • 1998: Sports cars
  • 2000: Formula 3000
  • 2002: Joins F1 team Minardi
  • 2003: Switches to Jaguar Racing
  • 2005: Joins Williams
  • 2007: Joins Red Bull Racing

But, after two wins from nine races so far this season, Webber is being put forward as a genuine title challenger again.

And, against that backdrop, he has decided to stay with Red Bull.

"There were discussions with Ferrari, but my decision was to stay here," confirmed Webber.

"With Red Bull I virtually know everyone's shoe size! I know everyone's names, I know how everyone ticks and I know all the departments, which is very, very important for a driver. There are a whole raft of factors.

"So in the end, it was an easy decision. It's been an interesting few months, but overall the continuity and desire for me to continue at Red Bull Racing was very strong."

Vettel is already contracted to Red Bull until the end of 2014 and Webber signing for next year confirms the English-based team's driver line-up for 2013.

"Mark has driven very well in the first nine races of this season and his performance has been impressive," said Horner.

"Much of his Formula 1 success has been during his time with Red Bull Racing and together we have achieved 10 poles, nine wins and 31 podiums.

"As there was a strong desire from both sides to continue the partnership, it was a logical decision to extend our relationship."

Asked if 2013 would be his last season in F1, Webber said: "I've been asked this question for the past four years and my answer remains the same.

"It's a results-based sport at the front of the grid so the future lies in my own hands. It's down to me to deliver the on-track results."

British GP 2012: Mark Webber 'very proud' after 'special' win