Following on from a similar declaration by team-mate David Coulthard earlier in the week, Mark Webber has moved to underline that he has no fears at all about the validity of his contract at Red Bull Racing in 2008.

RBR is one of the teams double Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has been most prominently linked with since his split with McLaren-Mercedes back at the beginning of the month. Both Coulthard and Webber, however, are adamant their contracts with the Milton Keynes-based squad are watertight, despite the latter admitting his agreement - unlike Coulthard's - does not guarantee him a drive in every grand prix in which his car is entered.

"I haven't gone through my contract in that sort of detail," the Australian told The Canberra Times, "but I'm pretty sure I'll be driving there. David is obviously looking at it a bit more than I am."

Following an immensely disappointing 2007 season that saw him retire six times due to mechanical failure - and lose what looked set to be a sure-fire runner-up spot in the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji after Scuderia Toro Rosso rookie Sebastian Vettel ran into the back of him under the safety car - Webber maintained RBR still had much work to do in order to ensure a more fruitful and competitive 2008.

"It was very frustrating," the 31-year-old admitted. "Mentally I got over them (the retirements) pretty quickly and learnt to just focus on the next race, and the team was happy with my consistency.

"We need to put in a huge amount of effort to address the problems we had during the year, though. Then we've got to try and bridge the gap between the two top teams Ferrari and McLaren, and they're not going to be easy to catch."

Now turning his attentions towards testing at Jerez in preparation for next year, Webber also spoke effusively about the impact Lewis Hamilton had made during his maiden campaign in the top flight - the very trigger that prompted Alonso's premature departure from McLaren.

"He arrived at the top and you see a lot of drivers come in and waste those opportunities," he stated, "but Lewis didn't and he delivered for McLaren. His consistency was a bigger surprise.

"It's never been done before and probably won't be done (again) for a long, long time. It was impressive."

 

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