Red Bull confirm Mark Webber contract extension

By Gareth Llewellyn
mark webber

Webber, 33, currently leads the Formula 1 World Championship

Red Bull have confirmed that world championship leader Mark Webber has signed a one-year contract extension to keep the Australian with the team for 2011.

The 33-year-old, now in his fourth season with Red Bull, leads the Championship ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button despite a collision with team mate Sebastian Vettel while leading the Turkish Grand Prix.

“It was an easy decision to remain with Red Bull Racing,” Webber said. “We began talking very early this year and were in a position to sign by the Barcelona Grand Prix.

“The decision to extend for a further year was a mutual one; it’s widely known that I’m not interested in hanging around in Formula One just for the sake of it and at this stage of my career, I’m happy to take one year at a time.

“I hope we experience more success together in the future and achieve our ultimate goal of winning the world championship.”

Webber’s new contract quashes any rumours of a deal with former world champion Kimi Raikkonen to return to Formula 1 with the Milton Keynes-based team, despite his Citroën rally car being backed by Red Bull.

The announcement will see the Webber and Vettel together for the third consecutive year, and will provide good rivalry and continuity for the team.

Team boss, Christian Horner said: “The decision to retain Mark was very straightforward. He is an important member of our team and is currently in the best form of his career, as the current leader of the drivers’ championship.

“The team is extremely happy that the driver pairing of Mark and Sebastian will remain unchanged for a third
season in 2011.”

Vettel meanwhile has moved to quash suspicion he is the favoured driver following their high profile error in Turkey.

The German told the BBC: “Neither driver is favoured in any way.

“We go out and try to find out who is the better one, like it should be.”

Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes are also expected to have unchanged driver line-ups for 2011.

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