Mike Stevens | Nov 12, 2010

Mark Webber on Thursday denied that Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could be his last.

Webber, in the running for the 2010 title, was outspoken about his position at Red Bull a week ago in Brazil, sparking rumours he is set to walk away not only from Red Bull but also Formula One.

But the 34-year-old has a contract for 2011 and he told Auto Motor und Sport that he is still feeling good about his career.

"I still feel butterflies in my stomach before a race. When I no longer care if I'm beaten or not, that's the time to stop," he told the German publication.

But Webber, who has lived in the UK for years, admits that it has been hard at times to be away from his real home.

"A racer's life takes a lot of effort and many sacrifices," he said.

"My opponents live in Europe and between races often go home. But I'm in Australia maybe five weeks a year. I still have the motivation at the moment," added Webber.

But he is not willing to commit beyond 2011.

"Yes, pretty much I'm taking (my career) on a year by year basis," he told the Australian news agency AAP, also denying he has any plans to quit after Sunday.

But he acknowledges that retirement is looming at some point in the future.

"I'm a little bit wary of it," he said to Auto Motor und Sport.

"For everyone in it (F1), your whole rhythm of life revolves around it. When you wake up on Monday morning, you check on the computer the data from the race sent by the team.

"Then I speak to my race engineer on the phone. Your life (in retirement) takes a whole new direction.

"It will be a new experience. You've spent most of your life doing nothing else but racing. I'm not there yet, but I really want to get the timing right."

(GMM)

 

Organiser In Abu Dhabi For Emergency Australia GP Talks

Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) Chairman Ron Walker has dashed to Abu Dhabi as a dispute threatens to race Melbourne off the 2011 calendar.

He said the country's official motor racing body, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), is demanding $800,000 in fees to sanction the Albert Park event.

If the AGPC does not pay, CAMS is threatening to recommend to the FIA's World Motor Sport Council that Australia be deleted from next year's schedule, said Walker.

He said the situation follows the Victorian State Government's request that the organisation of the event be put to tender due to CAMS being "a monopoly".

"We will not sign a new contract with CAMS unless they modernise their management and reduce their prices," Walker is quoted by the AAP news agency.

He has travelled to Abu Dhabi for emergency talks with Bernie Ecclestone, who has said CAMS could be retained as the sanctioning body while another organiser – for example the organiser of the British Grand Prix – is appointed to run the 2011 race.

But CAMS have said 'you (must) re-hire us on our terms or we will apply to the FIA to have you removed from the calendar', Walker revealed.

(GMM)

 

Team Strategy Is Not Top Priority For Vettel

Sebastian Vettel says thinking about a team strategy this weekend is his third priority at best for the Abu Dhabi season finale.

If - as he did in Brazil last weekend - the German wins on Sunday ahead of his teammate Mark Webber, it will be Fernando Alonso who is crowned World Champion.

With 'team orders' illegal and ruled out by his employer Dietrich Mateschitz, whether Vettel will voluntarily move over to help Webber win the title is therefore "hotly debated" at present, the 23-year-old admitted.

"Without joking, I am not thinking about it now," he told Bild newspaper whilst travelling by plane to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

"My first goal is pole position, my second is winning the race. And if necessary I can analyse the situation and decide very quickly," Vettel said.

The marketing professor at the top Spanish business school IESE thinks Mateschitz's approach to the 2010 season finale is very clever.

Red Bull car designer Adrian Newey is the latest to weigh in on the debate, insisting that both drivers will have a free run to the title this weekend but hoping that one might be "magnanimous" enough to help the other.

"If they lose the championship, they have not betrayed the values that convey the brand, so Red Bull still wins. They cannot lose," marketing professor Jose Luis Nueno told El Pais newspaper.

Another global marketing expert, Josep Franch of the ESADE business school in Barcelona, asked rhetorically: "Is if profitable for Red Bull to fail to win in order to defend their ideals?"

Answered Miquel Altarriba, of the Universitat Ramon Llull: "I do not think Red Bull will betray its identity."

"If they lose with this strategy, it will not work out badly for them," he thinks.

(GMM)

 

Ricciardo's Role For 2011 Still Unclear

Daniel Ricciardo's role for the 2011 season is not yet clear.

The Australian, at the very top of Red Bull's junior programme, has been the F1 reserve driver in 2010 and is scheduled to drive the title-winning RB6 in next week's post-season tests.

But after finishing this year's Formula Renault 3.5 series in second place, the 21-year-old's full time role for 2011 has not yet been announced.

Red Bull's secondary F1 team Toro Rosso has said it is retaining both Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari next year.

GP2 might then be seen as the logical next step for Ricciardo.

But Red Bull's motor sport consultant Helmut Marko admitted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "We still don't know what we are going to do with him next year."

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