Days after speculation that he was being chased by Ferrari for 2013, Mark Webber looks set to extend his contract with Red Bull, with reports in his native Australia suggesting that the team is 'all but ready' to offer him another year on his deal.
Webber is currently on a one-year rolling deal with the defending champions, which has led to plenty of speculation over the years that he could be moving on to pastures new.
The Australian was forced to deny talk that he would be switching to Ferrari as a short-term partner for Fernando Alonso earlier this week but could now be close to instead re-signing for another season with Red Bull.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald
, the team are 'all but ready to extend Webber's drive into next year to give Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne a further season to prove themselves worthy of a top drive'.
The Toro Rosso pair are widely tipped as the most likely candidates to replace Webber when he does move on, but both lack experience given that 2012 is their first full season in the sport.
Webber himself has enjoyed a solid start to the new season, finishing fourth in every race so far to sit third in the championship standings, and said he has every intention of remaining on the grid next year.
“I'm really enjoying my driving and clearly I'm off to a really good start this year,'' he said. ''I feel completely reinvigorated and am just really enjoying it, which has been reflected in my driving and my results.
'So I'll keep pressing on. Retirement isn't even on my radar at the moment. The results are there and when they are there I keep driving,''