Marko hints Webber staying at Red Bull

Mark Webber appears headed for a new Red Bull contract.

The Australian, who signed only a one-year deal prior to the 2012 season, has been linked with a move to Ferrari.

“That’s the way it is with them (Red Bull),” he told Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper. “All I can say is that I have started the last few years without a job for the next championship.”

When asked specifically if the Ferrari rumours are true, the 35-year-old told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper recently: “No. Ferrari will need eight cars next year to fit all the drivers who are going to replace Felipe,” he smiled.

Dr Helmut Marko, who is Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s right-hand man on F1 matters, hinted that Webber is set to be retained.

“He has indicated to us that he has the necessary motivation and wants to keep going,” the Austrian told Sport Bild. “We know where we stand with him, and he knows where he stands with us.”


Webber admits other teams interested for 2013 season

Mark Webber has admitted his return to form in 2012 has triggered the interest of rival F1 teams.

The Australian struggled alongside reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel last year, but two weeks ago in Monaco he returned to the top step of the podium. Webber, 35, is now equal on points with his younger teammate, and just three points from Fernando Alonso’s title lead.

“It was a long season last year,” he told French Canadian newspaper La Presse in Montreal. “But this year is very similar to 2010 for me: I started strong and I fought for the championship until the end,” said Webber.

It is a timely boost of Webber’s form amid rumours of talks with Ferrari, as his Red Bull contract runs out at the end of the season.

“This is a results-based industry,” said Webber. “This season is going well for me. To see that some other teams are interested in my services is nice,” he admitted in Montreal.

“But I am very, very happy at Red Bull. We’ve done a lot together. It’s just rumours for now, but it makes me a bit more comfortable,” said Webber. “That I am having good results makes the other teams realise that I am doing better than an average job,” he insisted.


Webber angry at ‘illegal’ Bull barb

Mark Webber on Thursday bristled when a reporter suggested he won the recent Monaco grand prix with an “illegal” car.

“I’m happy to be called lots of things,” said the plain-speaking Australian, “and I’m happy to have criticism about my driving and lots of stuff. But I will not take criticism in that respect. It completely pisses me off to be honest, because the car has passed every single technical regulation after the race.”

Indeed, despite rumours in Monaco of a post-race protest lodged by Red Bull’s rivals Ferrari and McLaren, the FIA’s clarification about the holes in the floor of the RB8 came only days ago.

“The car passed the test after Bahrain, the car passed the test after Monaco and now there has been a clarification on the rule, and the rule now is different,” Webber insisted.

His teammate Sebastian Vettel admitted it had been “surprising” to learn that while the car was legal in Monaco, the FIA changed its mind afterwards.

“In reality I don’t think that it makes a huge difference on the track, it is just a bit distracting that first it is illegal, then legal, and then illegal again,” the German is quoted by F1’s official website. “What I mean is that in the future people should make a final decision, and spare us this back and forth.”

Reigning world champion Vettel also played down suggestions that, after dominating Webber in 2011, the Australian is – like in 2010 – once again breathing down his neck.

“We are speaking about one race (Monaco) only,” Vettel insisted. “This is a different weekend and a new chance, so let’s see what develops over the next three days,” he said in Canada.

Webber, meanwhile, acknowledged that his form could re-fire the tension in the Red Bull garage.

“It’s a good problem to have,” he smiled.


Haug tips Vettel to hit back at Webber

Was Monaco the turning point in Sebastian Vettel’s so-far meteoric F1 career?

“Not at all,” Mercedes’ Norbert Haug told the German news agency DPA on Wednesday.

Almost two weeks ago in the famous Principality, it was Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber who broke through with victory, meaning the Red Bull duo is now level-pegging in the championship. They are just 3 points from Fernando Alonso’s lead. So does Webber’s new form represent the turning poing for Vettel?

“Sebastian did not win two world championships by fluke,” Haug insisted.

Haug is also hoping lucky seven is on Mercedes’ side in Canada this weekend. Like Webber, Michael Schumacher is also enjoying a new run of form, having secured the first pole of his F1 comeback in Monaco.
Luck, however, has not been on his side in 2012, delivering him just 2 points so far.

That’s where lucky seven comes in. If he wins this year, 43-year-old Schumacher would be the unprecedented seventh different winner of the seventh race in a world championship calendar. The great German has won seven titles, seven grands prix in Montreal, and he even carries the number on his silver racer.

“The characteristics of the circuit should suit us, and we are counting on our car performing well there,” said Schumacher.


Montezemolo: Perez too inexperienced for Ferrari

Sergio Perez is not a leading candidate to replace Felipe Massa next season, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has said.

“We never take a decision before the second half of the season,” the Italian told Reuters.

Montezemolo acknowledged Brazilian Massa’s surge of form in Monaco last weekend, amid speculation Sauber’s Perez – already the cream of Ferrari’s driver development programme – might nonetheless be fast-tracked into the race seat for 2013.

“No,” he said of the 22-year-old Mexican. “Perez is a good driver but to drive a Ferrari you need more experience.”

That is where 35-year-old Australian and Monaco winner Mark Webber might come in, with multiples sources indicating a one-year Ferrari deal for 2013 would pave the way for Perez to step up a season later. But Red Bull’s Webber insisted: “This (speculation) always happens around this time of year.

“Only rarely does anyone do anything now, or make any major decisions,” he is quoted on Saturday by AFP news agency.


Webber denies ‘backing up’ rivals for Vettel

Mark Webber has dismissed claims he ‘backed up’ his rivals in Monaco so that Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel could catch up.

Australian Webber won Sunday’s race in the Principality with the other podium challengers, Nico Rosberg, both within a chasing gap of less than a single second. Next up was reigning back to back world champion Vettel.

But when contemplating the ‘backing up’ theory, Webber insisted in his BBC column: “That is absolute rubbish. You always get bitten on the bum when you get fancy. So you just don’t try.”


Webber and Vettel at centre of Ferrari rumours

Australia’s last world champion Alan Jones has urged Mark Webber to join Ferrari. After the Red Bull driver won his second Monaco grand prix last weekend, his team boss Christian Horner moved to play down the 35-year-old’s rumoured 2013 switch to Maranello based Ferrari.

“Why would he want to leave?” Horner is quoted by the Sun. “You could see on Sunday that he is at the top of his game and his future will take care of itself.”

But Jones, who won Williams’ first world championship in 1980, said countryman Webber should think about it if Ferrari have made him an offer.

“Mark has already done one of the two things that most formula one drivers would like to do, and that’s win Monaco — the other one is to drive for Ferrari,” he is quoted by AAP news agency. “I’m sure he’d have a look at it. He gets on extremely well with Alonso, so maybe that could be a good way for him to go.”

Also linked with Ferrari has been Webber’s teammate Sebastian Vettel, who this week denied British newspaper reports about a 2014 ‘pre-contract’.

“How will this work if I don’t know anything about it?” the German smiled to Austria’s Kleine Zeitung.

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, however, confirmed that the story is at least theoretically possible due to the existence of a contract out-clause for 2014.

“2013 is fixed,” the Austrian told Bild newspaper. “For 2014 there is a performance-related clause in his contract — for him and for the team,” Marko revealed.

Former driver and German TV pundit Christian Danner, however, urged Vettel to resist Ferrari’s prestigious lure.

“To go to Ferrari while Alonso is there would be suicide,” he insisted.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda also commented: “There is no hurry for Vettel. No one can anticipate where Ferrari will be in 2014.”


Webber rubbishes Ferrari rumours

Mark Webber has moved to rubbish speculation he might be in line to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari.

The Australian has only a one-year contract with Red Bull, although team figures have indicated a new deal for the 35-year-old is likely. Webber is one of many drivers who rumours say Ferrari are interested in as a replacement for Felipe Massa. However Webber has scoffed at the rumours.

“It’s like someone clicks a switch in May and says, ‘Oh, Mark’s off to Ferrari’,” he said, with the Evening Standard revealing Webber shook his head whilst answering. I’m used to this stuff … I’d say 80 per cent of what you hear is bulls**t.”

Webber admitted he might have been close to retirement at the end of last season, following a difficult campaign when his teammate teammate Sebastian Vettel utterly dominated.

“I was cooked, mate,” he said. “At the end of last year, I needed to recalibrate and reset. As a sportsman I was a bit burnt out.”

His season-ending victory in Brazil, however, was a good foundation to bounce back.

“The best winter I’ve ever had, mate,” said Webber. “I felt like I was flying after it.”

As for who will be champion at the end of topsy-turvy 2012, he insisted: “Not a clue mate. Me.”


Mateschitz: Webber – Ferrari switch just a rumour

Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has dismissed as “a rumour” speculation Red Bull could lose Mark Webber to Ferrari.

“I would wish him a great Ferrari contract,” the Austrian billionaire surprisingly told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper. “But that’s what every driver wants as well.”

Webber has been linked with struggling Felipe Massa’s Ferrari seat, but reports have also mentioned the likelihood of a new Red Bull deal for the 35-year-old Australian.

“He already has a top car with us. He will go where he gets the best car. Anyway, to be next to Alonso would not be any easier than being in a team with Vettel,” Mateschitz insisted. “I see it all as just a rumour.”


Mateschitz hopes Webber remains with Red Bull

Mark Webber appears headed for a new contract with Red Bull, after receiving a clear vote of confidence from the energy drink company’s chief.

Following speculation the 35-year-old Australian could be headed to Ferrari in 2013, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner insisted Webber “is happy to be here, and we are happy to have him with us”. And the Swiss newspaper Blick has revealed that team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, the billionaire mogul, is also happy with Webber.

“I hope that he keeps driving with us for a long time,” the 68-year-old is quoted as saying.