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Red Bull extend Mark Webber contract by one year

Mark Webber reflects on his collision with team-mate Sebastian Vettel during the Turkish Grand Prix
Webber is currently top of the drivers' championship with 93 points

Formula 1 world championship leader Mark Webber has signed a one-year contract extension with Red Bull.

The new deal means the Australian, 33, will line up alongside Germany's Sebastian Vettel for the third successive season in 2011.

The two drivers controversially collided when Webber was leading the Turkish Grand Prix last week.

"At this stage of my career, I'm happy to take one year at a time," Webber said in a statement.

"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 1 just for the sake of it."

Webber has been in excellent form this season, claiming successive victories in the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix in May, as well as a third-place podium finish in Istanbul, a race won by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

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Webber had been leading the race, with Vettel in pursuit in second place, when the two drivers collided on lap 40 of 58 as the German attempted to overtake on the straight before Turn 12.

The accident took Vettel out of the race, while Webber was forced to return to the pits to change his damaged front wing.

However, the former Williams driver retained his composure to finish behind the McLarens of Hamilton and Jenson Button, allowing him to extend his lead at the top of the drivers' championship to five points.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the decision to retain Webber had been "straightforward".

"He is an important member of our team and is currently in the best form of his career," said the Englishman, whose team are second behind McLaren in the Constructors' Championship.

I've no intention of retiring

Mark Webber responds to quit rumours in March

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

Vettel is one of the rising stars in Formula 1 and the 22-year-old is contracted until 2011 with the Milton Keynes-based team.

Between the two drivers, Red Bull have won three grands prix this season, the same number as McLaren, while Fernando Alonso's season-opening victory in Bahrain remains Ferrari's only top podium finish in 2010.

Hamilton had hinted Webber could retire at the end of the season before the Australian Grand Prix in March, but the New South Wales-born driver dismissed suggestions he was ready to quit.

"I'm very motivated, enjoying my job and looking forward to a great season. I've no intention of retiring," he said.

Webber became the first Australian since Alan Jones in 1981 to win a Grand Prix when he won at Nurburgring in Germany last July and he went on to record a second F1 victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

He finished fourth in the drivers' championship last season.



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see also
Red Bull drivers play blame game
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull clash hands Hamilton win
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren will improve - Hamilton
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari will bounce back - Alonso
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Turkish GP as it happened
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Turkish Grand Prix photos
30 May 10 |  Formula 1
Webber wins crash-strewn Monaco
16 May 10 |  Formula 1
Webber plays down F1 title talk
16 May 10 |  Formula 1
Dominant Webber wins Spanish GP
09 May 10 |  Formula 1
Webber rubbishes retirement talk
25 Mar 10 |  Formula 1


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