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Webber signs “no brainer” Red Bull contract; next year all change
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Aug 2011   |  10:54 am GMT  |  39 comments

Mark Webber has signed the long expected one year contract renewal deal to stay at Red Bull, after a summer of negotiations with team boss Christian Horner and Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz. The deal was announced this morning, his 35th birthday.

The deal means a sixth season with the team for the Australian, who has played a key role in building Red Bull up to world championship level, along with David Couthard, although more recently Sebastian Vettel has been the one who’s taken the spoils.

Webber described the decision to add another year as a “no brainer”, given the competitiveness of the Red Bull package at the moment, unbeaten in qualifying and dominating both championships. Lewis Hamilton said on Thursday that he expects the team to again start next season with an advantage.

But this time next year things look set to change as the deals get done for 2013. There is the feeling that 2012 will be Webber’s swansong year and a new driver will come through to partner Vettel. Neither of the Toro Rosso drivers has shown enough to earn the drive yet, while Red Bull has placed Daniel Ricciardo at HRT to give him a chance to learn the tracks and quietly get used to racing at the premier level. Should they feel confident enough and decide to fast track him, he may find himself in a Toro Rosso next year and then maybe Red Bull the year after.

It looks like Ferrari may make a change after next year, replacing Felipe Massa. The original plan was Robert Kubica but the Pole is still unsure of his ability to drive a car as he recuperates. Nico Rosberg remains the favoured candidate, according to Italian sources, but Mercedes would be determined in their resolution to keep him.

Massa may well find that the new Brazilian business connection at Renault opens a door for him for 2013, especially if Lotus takes more control of the team. There are strong ties between Massa’s manager Nicolas Todt and Group Lotus boss Dany Behar.

In terms of movement for next year, Michael Schumacher is expected to race again for Mercedes but that hasn’t been confirmed, while Rubens Barrichello’s situation at Williams is under review. Force India have to decide which two of their three closely-matched drivers will have the race seats next year and of course the Renault situation remains fluid, pending Kubica’s recovery.

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39 Comments
  1. Hendo says:

    How much is he getting paid?
    More or less than this year?

    Lets hope he goes out as WDC.

    1. Jez says:

      WDC 2013 – nice idea but very unlikely. He has been beaten by his team mate 10 to 1 in races this season…

      1. 15 – 1 if you go back to Monza last year (not including Korea where they were both out)

  2. Andrew Flemington says:

    Happy birthday Mark.!! Well deserved gift. I am looking forward to a shuffle of the top drivers after next year. It is very hard to work out who is the best when they have the same team mates every year. Don’t rule out seeing Mark at Ferrari or even McLaren after next year. He is after all the fittest & most determined driver on the grid.!!

  3. Rossa says:

    Massa can stay in SS…specially taking into account they want him to stay more then Massa. They need him more then Massa needs them. Who will work on the car (as FAILonso doesn’t know to do that) and work for marketing purposes (as FAILonso is important marketing figure ONLY for Spain and that’s why he works only on the part of his beloved Satanader and FIAT as Agnelli have to pay for the Satanader’s credits) all over the world if it’s not Massa? WHO can work on the car with the same or more effectiveness, WHO is important marketing figure all over the world? Felipe Massa. So I wouldn’t surprised if Massa stays in SS as the servant without the right to fight as he is now. Even if I hope he leave for the freedom to race and fight in another maybe weaker team.

    1. Doc Ric says:

      well to be honest I can’t see another top team employing Massa after 2012; I like him but these last 2 years he’s been really distant from Alonso. As for marketing, I guess not all drivers have natural talents at it like, say, Hamilton, but Alonso is still better marketing material in my opinion..

      1. Jez says:

        Massa is the main marketing figure all over the world for Ferrari? I think we are watching a different race series and living in a different world. I agree Massa has had his day and it’s drawing to a close.

    2. Curro says:

      You’re so funny.

  4. Jarv027 says:

    I think it was a no brainer for redbull aswell. Not many class drivers available at the moment. Di resta will probably go to mercedes when schumacher retires at end of 2012. They will want to keep rosbergs experience. Massa is not fast enough, alonso will stay at ferrari. Vettel wont like hamilton alongside him. We will have to see what kubica is like on his return. Maybe button is a good solid option. Id like to see kobayashi given a chance please mr horner!

    1. Doc Ric says:

      Like you I expected this contract, even if Webber hasn’t been as quick as in 2010. His renewal, as with Massa, I think goes in pair with the testing ban. I like both of them, but I also think there ARE younger lads out there that could do well.

  5. mad max says:

    A lot of pressure on Mercedes then to produce a good car next year, because if they don’t Schumacher retires and Rosberg goes to Ferrari. Would be a disaster for them loosing both.

    1. Curro says:

      If that happens they should get Di Resta and Perez.

      Loosing Schumacher would allow them to throw more money into the car.

      1. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

        Who’s bringing is sponsorship money into the team to develop the car in the first place?

        Petronas signed to be associated with Schumacher and the media coverage that he brings.

        Perez will bring money through Telmex

      2. Gerry says:

        Schumacher earns 7m per year at merc. I dont think its his salary thats stoping them from developing a fast car in all fairness

      3. Jonathan Dye says:

        Mercedes, and its former guise Brawn, have been reluctant to spend money developing its car. Its nothing to do with Michael’s pay cheque.

        Brawn decided to cut back on updates in 2009 and cruise out the year, saying they had to think about the teams financial future (I think they ended up making over £20m profit in 09) and its been the same in 2010 and this year.
        If Merc aren’t developing their car its because they think they can do better next year before they get the best out of this years car.

        Lewis said that Red Bull had a good car in 09 which they improved for 2010 and then improved again for this year, whereas Mclaren scraped the 09 car and started again, then scraped the 2010 car and started again.

        The teams need to see through their cars to the end of the year otherwise they have no idea if the direction the car was going in is the right one.

  6. Mael says:

    Well that’s 2012 sorted, but I think Webber can go for several more years, so it will be very interesting to see how things develop for him next year.

  7. DonSimón says:

    Yeah, title says it all really. Best seat he’s going to get and if it goes his way theres a small, tiny, nano-chance he could lift WDC

  8. goferet says:

    Mark says it was a no brainer to have signed on the dotted line but what he doesn’t know – or may has forgetten is Newey’s cars after new regulations are introduced are only dominant for a period of two and a half seasons then other teams catch up & beat them the following season so the deal isn’t as smart as he thinks.

    And what’s worse is Newey in 2013 won’t get to grips with the new rules immediately since that too isn’t one of his strong points too like what happened in 2009 & it will take about half a season of tweaking the car before it becomes the class of the field.

    Kubica’s seat at Ferrari is secured no matter what for with Alonso being his best mate on the grid, that’s a no brainer really!

    1. unoc12 says:

      2009? The Red Bull was the fastest single diffuser car from the start of the season and was the overall fastest car by the end excluding the 1 billion dollar Brawn.

      Fact is, for teh all the budgeted teams (i.e. not sacrificing 2007 and 2008 for 2009), the Red Bull has been the best in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

    2. Rodger says:

      You’re right. Mr. Newey did an awful job of adapting to the addition of the DRS this year.

  9. M00bie says:

    Sorry this is off topic but cannot find anywhere more relevant to post.

    Just want to say they better thow the book at maldonardo. How stupid can someone get! He shouldn’t be in an f1 car if he has such a dangerous temperament.

  10. Peter says:

    As much as I like Mark I would really loved to see Kimi in that Red Bull. I think Raikkonen in a relaxed Red Bull environment would thrive. They are just made for each other.

    1. Curro says:

      Let’s face it, Kimi is not coming back.

    2. Mark V. says:

      I wonder how relaxed it would stay at Red Bull if Kimi was constantly kicking Seb’s butt?

      While some might think that wouldn’t happen, we still won’t truly know if Vettel is great or merely good in a great car until he is truly tested. So as much as I am a fan of Webber, I hate to admit that he might be making Vettel look like a better driver than he really is.

      I’d love to see Kimi in a Red Bull to get some redemption but I agree with the other comment: he is not coming back. He is too much of a free spirit and there is no longer any room for those in F1, even at Red Bull. Maybe ESPECIALLY at Red Bull where the golden boy’s reputation is being protected. ;)

  11. The Talent says:

    Did Mark sign a ‘number 2 driver’ contract? Cause after qualifying more than a second behind Seb today I could have sworn I heard Horner whisper, “well, I guess its not bad for a number 2 driver”…

  12. scott says:

    Yay even though we all sought of new, will he win the WDC one can only hope but 1st Mark win a race this season and Happy birthday I’ll have a beer for you.

  13. simon says:

    James Allen, would you know how specific the damage is to the nerves in Kubica’s hand.

    Also which nerves, there are 2 major ones.

    Even if he rehabilitates it won’t be 100%.

    Would Ferrari risk it???

    1. James Allen says:

      If you do a search for my posts on it in February there is a full explanation from a surgeon friend of mine who reconstructs hands

  14. Glenn says:

    Well I’m pleased for Mark and RBR. Who cares what the orders are there. Mark knows the score and he’s signed a contract agreeing to it, just like this year. Mark is good for Seb and Seb is good for Mark and the pairing is great for RBR. Yet again RBR will have the strongest driver pairing. Happy Birthday Mark.

  15. Jez says:

    Consider the following conversation….

    RBR: Mark you can stay in the team, with a car capable of passing any other team. You will get full pay. You cannot finish ahead of Seb unless you are two+ places ahead.

    MW: Hmm…

    RBR: You can move to TR, same salary, race anyone on the track. The car is not so great.

    MW: Aw yeah but…

    RBR: You can sign with any other team you like. You won’t have a car fast enough to beat Seb often if ever – or his new team mate. You could get more money and perhaps come 4th often?

    MW: Matey shes a hard one eh. I’ll stick me monicker on the paperwork now.

    RBR: Just one more thing. So that we get the most publicity possible, can you pretend to be angry at the end of races, and say strange things to the press.

    MW: Bonza, fair dinkum I gotcha. I’ll fake a blue to the bludgers in the media with a post race chin wag/ earbashing. Wot a ripper!

  16. Wombat says:

    I just hope he got an iron-clad equal-car equal-treatment clause in his contract. The fragile car he was obliged to use for the first three races (at least) this season essentially destroyed his chances for a run at the title. The story about ‘getting used to’ Pirelli tyres was never convincing.
    He is and remains competitive, especially mentally, once he got an equal-car any gap to Vettel evaporated. And he really enjoys racing with the top guys, I think he still sees it as a privilege not a right. But I’d still like him to spend a season at Ferrari…………..

  17. TomRiddle says:

    Can’t help thinking Mark’s ‘done a Coulthard’ and sold out – another year with a big paycheck to help the retirement fund, but clear no. 2…

    1. Kevin says:

      that’s ridiculous, where else would he go? who else is has an opening that would have a good chance of providing a good car. if he’s a #2 at Red Bull it’s only because he isn’t performing as well as Vettel. At least here his car gives him the chance to win, (even if his teammate doesn’t) it’s better to be in that situation than to be a “#1″ at Sauber or Force India and have no chance of winning

  18. zombie says:

    I wish Mark Webber all the best,and i sincerely hope he won’t turn out to be another Rubens Barrichello and whine endless about being short-changed by his employer and yet staying with them for over half a decade.

  19. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    I don’t see how Webber could have had any strength in these negotiations. RBR could have practically anyone in the field and then some.

  20. quest says:

    Now hasn’t now a single race to Seb’s 7 this season. Not only that has managed to finish 2nd behind him only twice. Really luck to keep one of the two best seats in F1 currently. Its very obvious Red Bull strategy is to have one top driver and once support driver, same as Ferrari.

  21. Kevin says:

    i would be so happy to see Kubica at Ferrari, my favorite driver and favorite team together at last. It would also be interesting to see Kubica vs Alonso because they are apparently good friends

  22. rk says:

    James Allen doesn’t understand that Kubica will be back in next season. He trust hims friend who is a doctor. And that surgeon friend has no idea how is really situation of Kubica today. He has no idea how injuries Robert had six month ago.

    James Allen prefers hims friend’s opinion, , which probably have never seen Kubica on his eyes.
    James doesn’t trust Morelli, who said last Sunday: “The fundamental thing is that we are certain Robert has found again his full capability to return to racing”.

    “If you do a search for my posts on it in February there is a full explanation from a surgeon friend of mine who reconstructs hands”

    That was in February, SEVEN months ago.

    JA wrote on February:
    “It will be a long road. The nerve injuries were very severe and it will be a miracle if he recovers enough feel to drive an F1 car on the limit as he used to.”

    And he was wrong.

    1. James Allen says:

      I do trust Morelli, I know him very well and have spoken to him since Robert’s injury. It is a fact that the nerves were severed and the opinion of experts like my friend is that it’s extremely unlikely someone could recover from that in order to drive an F1 car. So I said, he’s certainly out for 2011 and it will be a miracle if he comes back to his previous level. But I didn’t ever say he definitely wouldn’t come back. Time will tell.

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