Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says talks will start with Mark Webber to discuss his future 'in the next few weeks'.
The Australian is currently on a season-to-season deal with the Milton Keynes-based team and has been linked with a move elsewhere for next year – with Ferrari having been mooted as one possible destination if he were to move to pastures new.
So far this season, Webber has scored in every race bar Catalunya to sit second in the championship standings behind Fernando Alonso, with one victory to his name on the streets of Monaco.
With the 35-year-old displaying the kind of form that saw him emerge as a title contender in 2010, Horner said the team was keen to open talks over a new deal with Webber and would look to start discussions within the next few weeks.
“He is doing a great job,” Horner was quoted in the Daily Mail
. “He has driven extremely well this year, his consistency has been strong, he had a great win in Monaco, and he is enjoying his driving again.
“They (Webber and Vettel) are a strong pairing, they drive a car in a similar manner and it's important for us we have two drivers who do push each other to get the best out of each other.
“I'm sure over the next few weeks we'll sit down and talk about the future with Mark.”
Webber himself said he was eager to secure a deal for the 2013 season, although he failed to comment on who he saw himself racing for next year.
“As I said at the start of the year I think the winter break was very good for me,” he said. “My focus was to really enjoy the start of this season and get the most out of my driving again. Of course, that is something that was clearly in my hands with my motivation and my level of spirit towards the job and the guys (in the team).
“When you do enough of it you just have to remember what it is like to enjoy driving the car, so that's what I'm doing at the moment. I really am enjoying my work. So for next year there is a pretty decent chance I'll be racing in Formula One - let's see, come November, who it is with.”