All of the signs may suggest that Mark Webber is set to leave Red Bull Racing at the end of the 2013 season, but the Australian driver claims that his future with the team is largely down to him.
Webber’s future in F1 has come under scrutiny after the multi 21 fiasco saw his relationship with the team plummet to an all-time low, yet he inferred that another year with Red Bull is possible.
“The ball is pretty firmly in my court, which is nice,” Webber told Sky Sports Australia. “I have to of course continue to keep driving well, otherwise then that ball will go out of your court and other people will roll into that seat because they’ll probably be more attractive to a team like Red Bull.”
Yet to win a race this season, Webber is keen on claiming his third British GP victory at the next race, and he showed no signs of losing any love for Formula One despite rumors suggesting that he may be set to move to Porsche’s WEC team for 2014.
“I’m not taking it lightly, I’m very, very driven and focused and I don’t trivialise how important it is for me to operate at this level. I love doing it.
“I’ve got some big decisions to make, but not shortly, I don’t think. I still need to have a bit more time, and we can leave it reasonably late, I think.”
Webber’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel, recently extended his contract with Red Bull until the end of 2015.
We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.