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Mark Webber coy over Red Bull future

Red Bull's Mark Webber

Webber tight-lipped on Red Bull future

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Sao Paolo

Red Bull driver Mark Webber has stopped short of confirming he will stay with the team next year in the wake of rumours that he could quit.

Webber, who has accused Red Bull of preferring team-mate Sebastian Vettel, has a contract for the 2011 season.

But asked by BBC Sport whether he would quit the team, Webber said: "That's a pretty big step to take.

"As long as I'm enjoying my driving and performing really well, then of course I'll be here next year."

Webber's remarks came in his post-practice news conference, at which all media were present.

In a separate conversation with BBC Sport, he added: "There's a good chance I'll stick around to have another crack at it."

606: DEBATE
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Although Webber is the team's leading driver in the five-way title battle as the season comes to its climax, he has made it clear this season that he feels marginalised at Red Bull - and on Thursday here he said it was "obvious" that the team were emotionally more behind Vettel than him.

Webber trails Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by 11 points with 50 remaining in the final two races of the season in Brazil on Sunday and Abu Dhabi next weekend.

Vettel is in fourth place, behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, 25 points adrift of Alonso.

Webber's remarks on Thursday have increased the already tense atmosphere at Red Bull, but the 34-year-old insisted on Friday that there were no problems at the team.

"Yesterday was a few comments which I don't think were a big surprise to people, so things are fine with the team, absolutely fine," he said.

"I have a great relationship with the right people and they give me everything I need technically to have a great chance to do a very good job."

His remarks on Thursday came in a tense news conference, in which Webber uttered expletives on several occasions as he discussed his title hopes and position within Red Bull.

Team principal Christian Horner responded by insisting the team backed both drivers equally.

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel

Vettel plays down Red Bull rivalry

Following Webber's observations, a number of different rumours have been doing the rounds.

One suggests Webber will leave Red Bull if he wins the title; another that he will leave whether he wins it or not.

Some claim he would retire, others that he would join Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, with Felipe Massa moving elsewhere.

However, the chances of him leaving Red Bull, or even F1, must be considered unlikely. He signed his contract extension for 2011 in the summer having carefully weighed up his options, and well aware of what he sees as the team's preference for Vettel.

The 23-year-old German has come through Red Bull's driver development programme and Horner has made it clear they want to build the team around him for the future.

However, Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has said he does not mind which of his two drivers win the championship.



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see also
Red Bull dominate Brazil practice
05 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
F1 practice photos
05 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Brazilian GP practice as it happened
05 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Mark Webber profile
14 Mar 11 |  Drivers & Teams
Webber rubbishes retirement talk
25 Mar 10 |  Formula 1
No ill feeling with team - Webber
10 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull drivers equal - Webber
10 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Webber takes blame for crash
24 Oct 10 |  Formula 1


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