Mark Webber has attempted to diffuse further rumours that he will quit the Red Bull Racing team at the end of the season, regardless of whether he wins the F1 world championship or not.
The Australian currently represents RBR's best hope of landing a first title, but goes into the Brazilian Grand Prix - the penultimate round of the 2010 season - eleven points behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso after crashing out of last month's Korean race. With the team unlikely to impose team orders in order to back Webber's challenge, there was speculation in the Interlagos paddock suggesting enough of a rift existed to make the six-time race winner consider his future, despite having signed a one-year extension earlier in the campaign.
However, amid gossip claiming that he was looking to jump ship and join either Renault or, more favourably, Ferrari next season, Webber insisted that the situation had been blown out of proportion by those looking for a story.
"It is okay," he claimed, having posted the second fastest lap in opening practice behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel, "I think there were a few comments which I don't think was a big surprise to people, but it is fine in the team - absolutely fine.
"I have a very good relationship with the right people to give me, technically, a great chance to do a very good job, and that is the most important thing. As long as I am enjoying my driving and performing reasonably well - and it went okay today - and, as long as I don't forget how to drive in the next few months, then of course I will be here next year."
The 34-year old memorably claimed that his Silverstone victory was 'not bad for a number two driver' after seeing a developmental front wing taken off his car and fitted to Vettel's after the German damaged his in practice - and incident that followed just a couple of rounds after the pair had collided while disputing the lead in Turkey. The Istanbul incident revealed hints of division in the RBR camp, with racing advisor Helmut Marko openly blaming Webber and claiming that Vettel should have been allowed to win. Team principal Christian Horner has repeatedly attempted to heal over any suggestion of unrest - although some of his television interviews have not always given that impression - while Red Bull brand owner Dietrich Mateschitz insists that he does not care which driver wins the title - as long as no-one else does!
Having led the title race on more than one occasion this season, and from Belgium through to Korea, where he made a rare mistake and pitched his car off the track, Webber has been statistically the better Red Bull pilot, but admitted on Thursday [4 November] that it was 'obvious' that the team was more emotionally attached to his German team-mate.
Despite his comments at the start of the weekend appearing to have reignited suggestion of unrest in the camp, however, the Australian insisted to the BBC Sport
that 'there's a good chance I'll stick around to have another crack at it', referring to a second shot at the world title with RBR in 2011.