Formula 1 News

Webber 2014 season with Red Bull in doubt?

The team denied the validity of a report that suggested the exit by claiming it was "pure speculation".
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March 27th (GMM).- Mark Webber will leave Red Bull at the end of 2013, major German newspaper Bild is reporting.

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"Bild has learned: Webber will not get a new contract at Red Bull," the article reads.

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But after the Australian driver hinted he might quit the team or F1 in the wake of the team orders saga in Malaysia, Webber's father Alan and partner/manager Ann Neal have confirmed the 36-year-old will be back at the wheel in China next month.

"There is no question whatsoever about Mark not continuing this season," Neal told the Telegraph.

Beyond 2013, however, Webber's future is much less clear.

Central to Webber's management throughout his career, Flavio Briatore thinks the driver's relationship with teammate Sebastian Vettel is now terminally broken.

Asked if one of them will leave Red Bull at the end of the season, the Italian told Rai radio: "For sure. I don't think it can be fixed now."

British journalist Bob Mackenzie agrees: "(Red Bull's) next decision will be who will replace the Australian."

Indeed, while Webber is this week surfing in his native Australia, Vettel on Tuesday was at work in the Red Bull simulator at Milton-Keynes.

McLaren's Jenson Button - now the most experienced F1 driver on the grid - agrees that the impact of the Sepang saga for Red Bull is "big".

"Even if they sit down and discuss it, it is not going to change the outcome," he is quoted by British newspapers. "What has happened is still in their minds. It does not go away."

Spain's El Mundo newspaper adds: "Vettel and Webber have never got along, but now a wide gap has opened up between them."

But Red Bull told the BBC on Wednesday that the claims are "pure speculation".

"We are two races into the current season and it's far too early to be talking about 2014," the team said in a statement.

Red Bull said the Vettel/Webber pairing had been highly successful, but also survived periods of "intense rivalry", including their collision in Turkey 2010 and occasion that have seen both drivers "ignoring team orders at different times".

"The team has managed the situation each time in its own way behind closed doors," said the team.

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