Mark Webber has again brushed off suggestions that his relationship with his Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel and senior team management has sunk so low that he will walk away come season's end, insisting that whilst missing out on the F1 2010 drivers' title would leave him with 'a little bit of a small hole', win or lose in Abu Dhabi this weekend, he will return next year to 'have another crack' at it.
Speculation intensified in the wake of his pre-Interlagos comments last weekend that his strong form this year had perhaps been 'inconvenient' for Red Bull's true aspirations – adding to the well-documented 'not bad for a number two driver' post-Silverstone remark – that Webber was preparing to walk away from the sport following the Yas Marina finale, regardless of the outcome.
However, the Australian has since sought to underline that not only will he be going nowhere, but that despite being up against rivals up to ten years younger than him at 34 years of age now, he will do battle for the title again after describing his 2010 campaign as 'incredible' and the kind of opportunity that at one stage of his career it looked like he would never receive.
“I'm going to be here again next year,” affirmed the New South Wales native. “Of course the longer you drive, obviously the odds of you winning the title go in one direction. I'm not going to be around forever, and I clearly understand these guys (Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Vettel) will have more opportunities.
“When you get a winning car when you're 24 or 25, then you are going to have more chances. Obviously, I didn't really have a winning car early in my career, which is the case for lots of people that come into F1. I now have that, and I've been very successful at the back part of my career. I know I've been very fortunate even to have a chance to get to this point. I'm not greedy, but I know that it has been good to have a chance that I've grabbed with both hands.
“I want to do it (win the title) on Sunday. If it doesn't happen, I'll obviously have another crack next year, so my mentality doesn't change too much. It's human nature to always want more, but there have been a lot of positives [in 2010]. Of course, it would have been nice to close the championship out and be here as world champion, but to have some of the victories I've had this year, and even some of the second places to be honest, they are not as sweet as the wins, but some of the seconds...
“I've had quite a few podiums, the team has won the constructors' – and we could obviously put the icing on the cake on Sunday which would be nice – but it's been an absolutely incredible year for me and for the team. If we don't get the championship there's going to be a little bit of a small hole there, but there will still be a lot of great memories.”