28 August 2011
Webber: One-year deals not bad for me
Mark Webber remains optimistic of a good result to crown a weekend in which he celebrated his birthday and announced a new Red Bull contract.
Mark Webber admits that he is content to keep extending his relationship with Red Bull Racing one year at a time, after inking another 12-month deal through to the end of 2012.
The Australian had been linked to possible seats at Ferrari and Lotus Renault for next season, and had apparently even contemplated retirement, before confirmation of the extension was made public on Saturday at Spa-Francorchamps. For the past two seasons, friction within the team has hinted at Webber's possible departure - particularly with world champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel re-signing through to the end of 2014 - but the Australian claims that any problems, including the row over team orders at Silverstone just a month ago, are now in the past.
"Everything's fine with that now," he told the BBC/i> ahead of qualifying at Spa, "You know I wouldn't be super-happy if it wasn't like that."
Webber confirmed to journalists that the deal for 2012 had been struck prior to the summer break, but that he was happy to have signed on for another year, denying that it represented a reluctance to commit on either side.
"[It was] signed not long ago, I think it was the last race, actually, on the Sunday," he said, "The one-year extensions are not too bad for me, and also I think it suits them as well."
The biggest disappointment of the day, which was also the Australian's 35th birthday, was that he missed out on a second successive Belgian Grand Prix pole, having dominated practice in wet conditions.
"It would have been special, obviously, to get the trio, but we certainly put up a good fight," he reflected, "We were competitive for a big chunk of qualifying, but not competitive enough in the last three sectors when it quite counted. The guys ahead of me did a good job, and that's why their stopwatch stopped before mine did, but I'm still happy to be up here.
"It's easy with Q1 and Q2 sessions like we had, when you have a situation like us, to potentially be here, but you can still make a mistake, so the team's done a good job today. Seb came back at the end of Q3, but we're certainly in the hunt for a good grand prix. I'm looking forward to it.
"It's a beautiful track, we all love driving here - and we wish there was more of them. Obviously the tracks they design these days are obviously trying for more TV and set up for the grandstands, second and third gear stuff which is not really that exciting, but you could drive round here every day of the week.
"We know this place can throw up anything on Sunday afternoon, as we saw last year, so it's a very challenging grand prix for all of us. Lewis won the race but he arrived in parc ferme after a great drive with his car with plenty of gravel in it, so he had an interesting day. That's what can happen around here. But I've had a good feeling on the track all weekend. You need to get everything right – but we're right towards the front, and in reasonable shape, so I'm looking forward to it."
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