He might have found himself at loggerheads with the team at times during F1 2010 – and been treated unfairly in the eyes of many an impartial observer – but Mark Webber has revealed that he has never considered leaving Red Bull Racing this year, and will take his future just one season at a time.
From team principal Christian Horner's public criticism of him in the wake of a costly and controversial collision with team-mate Sebastian Vettel in Istanbul over which most deemed the Australian blameless, to the infamous front wing episode of Silverstone, Webber's relationship with RBR management in 2010 has not always been the easiest.
The fact that Horner only learned of his driver's late-season shoulder injury well after the conclusion of the campaign – and even then, through the publication of a book rather than from the horse's mouth as it were – marked another nadir in what has been a bumpy road for the two men this year.
However, despite conceding that it remains his dream – like that of many others – to compete for Ferrari before his top flight career is over, Webber insists he has never felt unhappy enough to seriously consider walking away from the Milton Keynes-based squad.
“I knew as a team we could go through growing pains this year and go forward from it,” the 34-year-old mused in an interview with the BBC
. “It never went through my mind that I needed to go somewhere else.
“I will take each year as it comes. Contract time always comes around, and you're either wanted or you're not. Let's see what happens in 2012. I still need to want to do it. What's really important is that you finish on top of your game. I don't want to be beaten by some guys who I don't think should [beat me].”
Webber went on to offer his thoughts on the FIA's recent overturning of the difficult-to-enforce ban on team orders in F1. Red Bull has always adhered to a policy that it will not ask one of its drivers to move aside for the other unless it is the only means by which to achieve glory.
Regardless of whether a team follows that route or the opposite tack adopted so flagrantly by arch-rivals Ferrari at Hockenheim back in the summer, the six-time grand prix-winner contends that such practice – implicit or otherwise – has always been a feature of the sport in one form or another.
“Like they ever went!” he laughed, suggesting the governing body's 2002 outlawing of team orders in truth served little purpose. “People shouldn't get too nervous about [the legalisation] – they're not going to see it every weekend. I think the Ferrari one was pretty brutal, and that's as bad as it gets.
“When you've got two drivers driving for a team and you can swing the results around every now and again to help the team achieve a better result... It has been done in the past; it's been done up-and-down the field. I've done it myself at times – I've been on the receiving end of it and done it as well in teams I've driven for in the past.”