Mark Webber has admitted that he entertained the notion of leaving Red Bull
Racing before finally inking another extension to his current contract on the back of his British Grand Prix
success on Sunday.
The Australian edged closer to world championship leader Fernando Alonso
by joining the Spaniard as the only drivers to have won more than once in 2012, and completed his celebrations by announcing that he would be remaining with RBR as team-mate to Sebastian Vettel
in 2013. Next season will be Webber's seventh with the Milton Keynes-based squad, and his fourth alongside double champion Vettel, but he admits that there were talks with at least one other team before he put pen to paper.
"There were discussions with Ferrari, but my decision was to stay here," he stated simply, confirming suggestions that he was among the potential replacements for Felipe Massa, "In the end, it was [and easy decision]. It's been an interesting few months but, overall, the continuity and desire for me to continue at Red Bull
Racing was very strong.
"It [helps getting the deal done early] and that's another reason to just get it to bed. I've been hearing different rumours and reasons for a long time now. At the end of the day, I know everything that has been going on, [but] you want to make sure your focus is clearly on driving the car and the guys that you're working with. It's important the team knows you're 100 per cent with them, which, of course, I am.
"My main focus is on this year's championship, which is very important. In addition, it's an amazing bunch of guys and girls at Red Bull
Racing and I really, really like working with them. That has a huge effect on me and how I perform in the car and it helped me in my decision. I virtually know everyone's shoe size! I know everyone's names, I know how everyone ticks and I know all the departments which is very, very important for a driver. There's a whole raft of factors."
Asked whether he saw 2013 being his last year in the top flight, Webber appeared to backtrack on claims he has made on and off over the past few seasons, leaving the answer open to fate.
"I've been asked this question for the past four years and my answer remains the same - it's a results-based sport at the front of the grid, so the future lies in my own hands," he noted, "It's down to me to deliver the on-track results."
As mentioned, Webber's extension keeps him in tandem with Vettel for a fourth season - despite rumours also linking the German with Ferrari
in the future - and, even though there has been obvious friction between the two camps, the Australian believes that that can only help Red Bull
maintain its front-running position.
"Obviously, we've worked very, very close together for a long period of time now," he said of the German, "We're still competitive when we hit the track, no question about it. Last year, there wasn't much racing between Sebastian and I but, in 2009, 2010 and this year, there have been some great battles. That's been enjoyable for the team, and sometimes stressful too, as it's not easy for both of us to be at the front. I can understand that, as both of us are thinking about ourselves sometimes, but, ultimately, we know that we need to get the cars home and get the best results for us and the team.
"I think no-one would really have envisaged how long we have worked together, so that's probably been a bit of a surprise. There are not many team-mates staying together for that long in F1, but it's proved to be a successful partnership, with both of us working very hard with the key technical members of the team. It's been a potent operation."