Webber plays down any rift and quitting rumors

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Following his comments about Sebastian Vettel being Red Bull’s favorite driver, Mark Webber is playing down any talk that he’s stirred up a hornet’s nest of trouble at the team. His comments come after both Christian Horner and Vettel responded to Webbo’s remarks.

Now, up front I’m going to say: This is my take. The BBC is spinning things much differently and, frankly, probably in a way that’s a better headline. But I just can’t see it the same way. Here’s the BBC headline: “Mark Webber coy over Red Bull future.”

But asked by BBC Sport whether he would quit the team, Webber said:”That’s a pretty big step to take.

“As long as I’m enjoying my driving and performing really well, then of course I’ll be here next year.”

Webber’s remarks came in his post-practice news conference, at which all media were present.

[snip]

“Yesterday was a few comments which I don’t think were a big surprise to people, so things are fine with the team, absolutely fine,” he said.

“I have a great relationship with the right people and they give me everything I need technically to have a great chance to do a very good job.”

In a separate conversation with BBC Sport, he added: “There’s a good chance I’ll stick around to have another crack at it.”

(Autosport, for what it’s worth, is going with a story headlined, “Webber: No plans to leave Red Bull,” which includes the same quotes.)

So, do you think Webber got frustrated during yesterday’s questioning and responded a bit more abruptly than he intended? Somewhat unlike him to get flustered that way.

And do you think he could leave the team? I suggested in our post on Horner and Vettel’s response that Horner’s comments did sound to be like they laid the seed for Webber not to return.

For me, the bottom line is this: If Webber goes somewhere else, he isn’t going to get a better chance to compete for the championship. He’s proven this year that if he drives well and scores the points, he can be in the hunt for a title — and that’s whether you (or he) thinks he is relegated to second driver status. Where could he go and be a clear No. 1 with anywhere as good a car? And where could he go where he really wouldn’t be, at best, a co-No. 1 with someone like Robert Kubica?

I’m not sure the guy has a lot of great options.

And, frankly, for Red Bull, I think the best thing that could happen is for Webber to win it all this year and then have Vettel come out strong next season. Webber would have his title and maybe settle in as a No. 2 at that point.

Maybe.

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