They might have had their differences last year – and very publicly, too – but Mark Webber insists he is happy enough at Red Bull Racing to be contemplating concluding his F1 career there, even if he suggests that moment won't come anytime soon.
The flashpoints of Istanbul and Silverstone stick out most memorably in the mind from 2010, but there were also the likes of Interlagos, where Webber remarked to journalists that it was 'obvious' that his young team-mate Sebastian Vettel was Red Bull's blue-eyed boy and had correspondingly been favoured over him during the course of the campaign.
That led to an uneasy environment to say the last, with the energy drinks-backed outfit's management – and its controversial motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko in particular – failing to handle matters well, and seeming to do all of its dirty washing in the full glare of the world's media rather than behind closed doors.
Webber's very public 'not bad for a number two driver' outburst on the slowing-down lap following his peerless victory in the British Grand Prix was arguably a like-for-like response to team principal Christian Horner's unfathomable decision on live television to blame the Australian for his coming-together with Vettel in Turkey – an incident for which the vast majority of observers held the latter squarely accountable.
The tension endured right the way down to the Abu Dhabi title-decider in November, but further clear-the-air talks in the wake of the Yas Marina finale appear to have restored some semblance of peace to the corridors at Milton Keynes, and Webber remains on-board in 2011 after signing a one-year contract extension last summer. Despite speculation to the contrary, the 34-year-old hints that the forthcoming campaign will not be his F1 swansong.
“I would believe so,” he told F1 Racing
magazine, when asked if he would wind down his top flight career with RBR. “I want to continue – any driver wants this – racing towards the front and hanging out with these punks...week-in, week-out. To race with them is very rewarding and enjoyable.
“Of course you have nerves at the time. There's not a guy in the pit-lane who doesn't have nerves – they'd be lying if they told you they didn't. It's what gets you out of bed. That's what a competitor goes through, and that's what you enjoy.
“Obviously we've had a few headwinds here and there within the team, but to have two drivers do what we did last year is a unique situation and one of them might not...was not supposed to have been in that situation. I hope I can continue to work hard for Red Bull. They know my reputation is that when I do things, I do them to the best of my ability at all times – and they know that I will do that again.”