Mark Webber may have revealed the identity of the man set to replace him in the Red Bull
line-up next season…. Or he could have been having a little fun with journalists clamouring to be the first to break the news.
With Red Bull
Racing backtracking on its intention to name the Australian's successor by the end of August, the debate will roll on to Monza next month, but it would appear that no-one told Webber that he had to keep his counsel for a few more weeks.
Speaking in a pre-race interview with Australia's Channel 10
, the veteran gave the biggest hint yet that Red Bull
would opt for one its own rather than plumping for a former world champion to partner Sebastian Vettel
“The decision is made,” Webber told reporter James Allen, “We all know who it is. I'm happy with that decision. It's good for him and it's good for Australia.”
All of which points towards Daniel Ricciardo being called up from Toro Rosso
to fill one of the prime seats for next season... unless Webber was deliberately creating a smokescreen to deflect the media from Red Bull's real intentions.
Both team principal Christian Horner and technical chief Adrian Newey brushed off follow-up questions in the wake of Vettel's fifth win of the current campaign.
"There is plenty of speculation around but nothing has been signed yet," insisted Horner. "The situation is that we have time to contemplate our selection and there will be no announcement before Monza.
"Mark is not privy to all of our discussions with the drivers but when we are comfortable to announce the decision then we will announce it," he added. "We still haven't fixed anything. We're taking our time to evaluate all our options, and we've been surprised about what those options are."
While pointing out that no F1 driver had ever enjoyed the luxury of appointing his own successor, Horner did appear to pour cold water on the idea that Kimi Raikkonen
could be Red Bull-bound.