• Red Bull news

Red Bull keen to sign Webber for 2013

ESPN Staff
July 9, 2012 « McLaren form won't affect Hamilton talks - Whitmarsh | Ferrari expects McLaren to fight back »
Mark Webber took his second victory of the season at Silverstone on Sunday © Sutton Images

Team principal Christian Horner "absolutely" wants Mark Webber to stay at Red Bull in 2013 and is hoping to get talks underway in the next few weeks.

After his victory at the British Grand Prix, Webber is currently second in the constructors' championship, 13 points off Fernando Alonso at the top. Despite being ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel on points, the Australian is a free agent at the end of the season with his year-on-year rolling contract yet to be renewed.

Asked if he wanted Webber to stay, Horner said: "Absolutely. As always with Mark, things are pretty straightforward. He's been with the team for seven seasons and he's had all his success in Formula One with that team and we'd like to see that continue.

He added: "I think, very simply, we have a great relationship with Mark. Mark wants to be in the team next year and therefore, as we've always stated, in the summer we'll sit down and talk about the future. That period of time is obviously coming up pretty close now, so over the next few weeks we'll be talking about 2013."

Webber has been linked with Ferrari as a possible replacement for Felipe Massa, who has struggled to come close to matching team-mate Fernando Alonso this season. But Horner said he was not overly worried by the rumours.

"Inevitably there's an awful lot of speculation surrounding Ferrari, but we're only focused on ourselves and we can't control what other people say or do. I think Mark feels comfortable with the team and over the next few weeks we'll sit down and talk about the future.

"Mark's given me every indication that he's happy here and you can see that in his driving. He's driving very well this year. He's wintered well and he's driving very consistently this year. He's won two big races now - the Monaco Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix - and I think his drive here today was excellent. It was inch perfect, and the move he made on Fernando, again it was absolutely spot-on. It's a circuit Mark's always excelled at and it was great for him to win for the team at our local race."

But Webber himself would not give the game away on Sunday, only saying that he intends to stay in F1, but not mentioning a team.

"[Winning at Silverstone] helps my situation to stay in Formula One. At the start of the year I didn't have a contract, I'm pushing to get a contract for next year. Going reasonably well, got a few points, a couple of wins and I will work very hard to try and stay in Formula One next year."

Horner has been impressed by the way Webber has bounced back in 2012 after a difficult season last year getting used to the Pirelli tyres and Red Bull's exhaust-blown diffuser.

"I think 2011 was a very tough year for Mark, but all credit to him, he's gone away and reflected on that season and come back and got himself in great shape. He's very comfortable in his approach and in his mind and I think some of the regulation changes have helped as well. He's very much a championship contender. We're in a fortunate position where we have both of our drivers as championship contenders."

Asked if he had any concerns about animosity breaking out between his drivers, as it did in 2010 when both were in contention for the championship, Horner said: "I think they've spent more time racing each other and they've spent hundreds of hours in meetings together, working on developing the car. They work as team members and then it's down to what they do on the track. I think there's a genuine respect between the two of them. I think Sebastian has achieved a huge amount in a short space of time and in Mark he knows he's got a very genuine competitor. And Mark knows Sebastian has been the benchmark for the last few years. So it's a healthy situation for the team."