Christian Horner announced yesterday that the Red Bull Racing team he manages will continue its relationship with German Grand Prix winner Mark Webber. The news of Webber’s contract extension means that the squad will retain the same driver pairing for the next season, which has already proved quite successful with the team having taken three victories so far in 2009 and remain Brawn’s closest challengers for the titles.
Mark Webber has raced with Red Bull since 2007, and was initially partnered with David Coulthard. However, his relationship with the team actually pre-dates the team in its current guise, as Webber drove for Jaguar in 2003 and 2004. When Ford decided to pull the plug on their Formula One operation, Dietrich Mateschitz stepped in and purchased the squad, renaming it inline with his energy drink company, Red Bull.
Since joining Red Bull, Webber has suffered frustration after frustration as each year, the car appeared to have pace, but ultimately proved to be unreliable. However, with the shake-up in regulations for 2009, Adrian Newey and the team at Red Bull Technologies have developed a great car that appears to be holding together over race distances. Initially, Sebastian Vettel seemed to get the upper-hand on Webber, but a dominant win despite receiving a drive-thru penalty proved that Webber has talent, and when given a decent car, can get the job done.
[Mark] has continued to show huge commitment and determination this season, especially following his bike accident at the end of last year.
His recent results show he is on the form of his life – most notably with his recent win at the German GP – and he has the motivation to deliver at the highest level. It was therefore a straightforward decision to extend the relationship. Christian Horner.
I’m extremely happy that Red Bull and I have been able to agree to race together again next year.
Even in the leaner and tougher years at the start of my relationship with the team, I’ve always enjoyed working with them, so now to go through this purple patch, which we hope will continue for a good while to come, makes the work even more enjoyable.
We’ve got a very exciting finish to this year’s championship, but I’m also looking forward to helping to develop and race the RB6 in the 2010 world championship. Mark Webber.
Red Bull have stated that they are allowing their drivers to race each other at the moment, and as most pilots have stated in the build up to this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the next few races could be critical in the fight for the championships. Both Red Bull Racing and Brawn are determined to do well, but as history has pointed out on a few occasions, drivers who have their following season confirmed usually drive well in the proceeding races to the announcement.
Mark Webber is currently 1.5 points behind his team mate and 22.5 behind championship leader Jenson Button.