According to reports in the Spanish media Mark Webber will continue in F1 next season, albeit no longer with Red Bull but in a red Ferrari suit instead. While no claims of concrete contracts are being made, El Confidencial reports they have been told, “It’s done.” While El Mundo Deportivo claims Webber has signed a pre-contractual agreement with Ferrari.
Webber has been on one-year deals with Red Bull in recent years, claiming it helps keep his motivation high. However, with the fast charging juniors of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso team believed to be in the hunt for Webber’s seat, it may be that Webber has no choice but to seek a contract elsewhere if he wants to extend his F1 career.
The rumour mill also suggests Webber may only be at Maranello for one year, with Sergio Perez to replace him in 2014. It’s understood Ferrari is happy to leave Perez at Sauber for another year to gain more experience. Either driver is expected to make a better fist of things than Felipe Massa, uncontracted at the end of 2012, who has struggled at Ferrari so far this year. The Brazilian also endured a terrible season in 2011.
Webber has a good relationship with Fernando Alonso which could assist the Australian’s recruitment into the team. Alonso is highly regarded by Ferrari and his opinions would surely carry some weight. Both drivers also have links with Flavio Briatore, which could aid discussions.
While the rumours of Webber and/or Perez remain unverified it does appear certain that Massa’s days are numbered.
No doubt the topic will be discussed while the teams are in Mugello for in-season testing this week. If we hear any more we’ll let you know.