Mat Coch writes:
Mark Webber re-signed with Red Bull because he simply had no other option, claims the Spanish website El Pais. Having endured a season in which he's watched Sebastian Vettel dominate in the sister car, Webber has been little more than a bit-part player less than a year after coming within touching distance of claiming his own drivers' title.
Tensions within the Red Bull garage ran high during the 2010 campaign, and weren't helped when the team appeared to favour Vettel. That was nowhere more evident than the British Grand Prix where the team removed a development wing from Webbers car and fitted it to Vettel's. "Not bad for a number-two driver," jibed the Australian after winning the race.
This season however has been more harmonious within the team, at least from the outside looking in. There haven't been the constant spats which blighted the Milton Keynes outfit last year, though Webber's frustration has been gradually building as the season's worn on. In Singapore it proved too much, the Australian snapping at reporters when asked about his season compared with that of his teammate.
Even still, in late August it was announced that Webber had re-signed with Red Bull for another year. "It's a no-brainer," he said at the time. The news followed hot on the heels of Helmut Marko claiming to Australian television that 2012 would be the Queanbeyan-native's last with the team, comments broken to the Webber camp by Pitpass.
Speaking recently Webber confessed he had "no other choice," but to sign with Red Bull. His hand had been more or less forced since all other leading teams had confirmed their driver line-ups for 2012, leaving Webber the odd man out. Yet while his rivals lock themselves in to long term deals the Austyralian has signed just a one-year extension. "It doesn't worry me too much," he claims. "You can renew for two or three years, but I am sure that both Jenson and Fernando have clauses to opt out of McLaren and Ferrari respectively if they fail to develop a competitive car."
Whether or not next season will be his last in Formula One remains to be seen, Webber revealing he's no plans to retire just yet. "It's rewarding when you drive competitively against the fastest and can make things difficult," he said. "At the moment I don't see myself sitting on the sofa on Monday mornings."
With Felipe Massa widely expected to leave Ferrari at the end of next season, and most other front running drivers tied in to long term contracts, who knows what colour overalls, if any, the Australian will be wearing in 2013.