Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says it is too early for the team to sit down and discuss a contract extension with Mark Webber, despite team-mate Sebastian Vettel putting pen to paper on a new deal with the F1 champions earlier this week.
Vettel has agreed an extension to his current deal which will take him through to the end of the 2014 season while Webber's deal with the Milton Keynes-based outfit is reviewed on an annual basis in a decision taken by both parties.
Although he insisted the team is 'very happy with Mark', Horner said it was too early to talk about extending the Australian's deal beyond the end of 2011 and said that the discussions would be held when the time was right.
"Mark is at a different stage of his career to Sebastian,” he was quoted by Sporting Life
. “At 34 he is not just starting out. He has done 160 grands prix. When the time comes with Mark, if he still has the motivation, desire and is competitive, it's logical to talk about extending his contract.
"But it's too early for either him or us to be having that conversation at the moment. That will take its natural course later in the year."
Horner added that a number of factors would be taken into account when it came to discussions about Webber's future.
"We jointly decided last year, to enter into a contract on an annual basis because a lot depends on him having the desire and motivation to continue,” he said. “It's not just about being quick enough. He'll be 35 years of age this year, and that's not to say he is too old, he has actually blossomed in the latter years.
"But what's important to him and to us is that he has the desire, motivation, hunger, and above all, competitiveness to want to stay and to warrant staying. Mark knows this year is a big year for him, that he will get equal support. He also knows he is not setting out at the beginning of his career.
"He is a shrewd enough guy to work that out for himself without me having to explain that to him."