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After a weekend in which Mark Webber fended off a barrage of questions over his future, Red Bull has now confirmed the Australian will remain with the team in 2013.
"I've been with Red Bull Racing since 2007 and have achieved nine grands prix wins during that time," Webber said. "I'm high on confidence at the moment and firing on all cylinders. I know the team well and I'm very comfortable here; we have grown together over the years and it feels like absolutely the right thing to stay with Red Bull for another season."
Webber's confirmation ends speculation linking him with a move to Ferrari in place of Felipe Massa, the former Minardi driver opting to stick with the devil he knows.
"We have gone through plenty together here," he said. "We went from the days when Red Bull had not long owned the team to what it is now. The team really changed when we started to get successful, in terms of getting the balance right between being extremely professional on all fronts to still keeping that laid back and approachable attitude that the team still has within reason. It is just one nice big family now in many ways and we have grown so much. We've come a long way and I think it's clear that I fit well here and that's what I really like about it.
"I virtually know everyone's shoe size! I know everyone's names, I know how everyone ticks and I know all the departments which is very, very important for a driver."
"Mark has driven very well in the first nine races of this season and his performance has been impressive," added Christian Horner. "Much of his Formula One success has been during his time with Red Bull Racing and together we have achieved 10 poles, nine wins and 31 podiums. As there was a strong desire from both sides to continue the partnership, it was a logical decision to extend our relationship and it is with great pleasure that we confirm Mark will drive for us in 2013."
There was no suggestion of the pending announcement beyond a string of non-committal answers over the British Grand Prix weekend despite reporters' best efforts. Even Red Bull driver advisor Helmut Marko seems to have been caught out, the Austrian claiming in the foreign press that the squad's driver wouldn't be confirmed until August.
The rouse continued until just moments before Red Bull confirmed his announcement, with Melbourne paper The Age. "I'm not far off my decision," Webber said. "I've had discussions with people close to me and we had more discussions over the weekend, so getting closer [to a decision]."
Webber's been on a rolling one-year contract with since he joined the Milton Keynes squad in 2007, though whether it proves to be his last in Formula One remains to be seen. "I've been asked this question for the past four years and my answer remains the same," Webber said. "It's a results-based sport at the front of the grid so the future lies in my own hands. It's down to me to deliver the on-track results."
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