Mark Webber has admitted that the Renault team expressed interest in signing him before he agreed to stay at Red Bull in 2012.
“Not only them, I was approached by several teams,” the Australian, who has had a difficult season alongside new back to back world champion Sebastian Vettel, told O Estado de S.Paulo in an interview.
“They [the Renault F1 team] asked about my situation at Red Bull,” revealed Webber. “I have experience, they need experience, but I told them I was going to stay at Red Bull.”
The news is surely a sign that Renault believes it needs to sign a team leader for 2012, with continuing uncertainty about Robert Kubica’s return from injury.
It also raises the question as to whether the leading role would be better for Webber than staying at Red Bull, where in the last two years there have been signs of him being a de-facto number two.
Will he get a fair deal alongside Vettel in 2012?
“I believe so,” answered Webber, with interviewer Livio Oricchio noting that the answer came only after “a deep breath and some time to reflect”.
On the other hand, he is optimistic.
“By the time I understand how to use these tyres better it was too late for this year, but I think it will be possible to start next season at a high level, which makes all the difference,” said Webber.
And if it doesn’t work out, F1 might have to say goodbye to one of its most honest and straightforward characters, who calls himself ‘Aussie Grit’ on Twitter.
“Someone like me who has come through from teams without many resources, like Minardi and Williams and then come to a championship structure like we have at Red Bull, there is no going backwards.
“From here I will go home, not to a small team again. So when I leave here I will do something else rather than race in formula one,” added Webber.