F1: Red Bull To Decide Webber Future In Late August Photo:
Mike Stevens | Jul, 14 2011 | 3 Comments

Red Bull will make a decision about its 2012 driver line-up in late August, team boss Christian Horner has announced.

Before the British Grand Prix, it seemed near certain that Mark Webber would be retained to race next season alongside Sebastian Vettel, who is under long-term contract.

But 34-year-old Webber then ignored team orders towards the end of the Silverstone race, prompting Horner to schedule private talks.

"He risked the second place of Sebastian, his third place and 33 points for the team," Briton Horner said in an interview with Bild newspaper.

The team boss sounded angry about Webber's behaviour.

"I understand that he's racing, but he also absolutely unnecessarily risked a crash. If all 500 people in the team thought only of themselves, we could never achieve our goals," he charged.

Asked directly if Webber has endangered his 2012 seat, Horner answered: "We will meet in late August and take a decision together."

As for the requirements for Vettel's teammate next year, Horner said: "He must bring harmony to the team."

He then voluntarily referred to this week's speculation about Kimi Raikkonen.

"I think his head is in a different place than Formula One at the moment. So far I've seen no signs that he wants to come back.

"We don't have a driver problem; everyone in the pitlane is already beating on our door, and we have time," said Horner.



Red Bull swerve Raikkonen, eye Webber for 2012: confused?

To add further confusion to the 'second-driver' seat at Red Bull, team figures were out in force on Wednesday, playing down links with Kimi Raikkonen and suggesting Mark Webber will be staying in 2012.

It has been reported that the energy drink owned team had targeted world rally and NASCAR driver Raikkonen, F1's 2007 world champion and a former race winner for McLaren and Ferrari, for next year after Webber openly ignored team orders during the British Grand Prix on Sunday.

But team owner Dietrich Mateschitz is quoted by the German news agency SID: "There is still no doubt about Mark's contract extension.

"He feels comfortable with us and within the team is very popular," he told the Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten.

"He can not get a better car, and we can not get a better driver from the market," added Mateschitz.

Team boss Christian Horner was reportedly furious with Webber's insubordination at Silverstone, but Mateschitz seems less bothered.

"I understand that he wanted to come further forward; he would be a bad racer if he did not try," said the billionaire.

As for the Raikkonen rumours, Mateschitz's F1 right-hand man Dr Helmut Marko told TZ: "Kimi Raikkonen is not and will not be an issue for us. He definitely will not drive at Red Bull.

"These rumours are far-fetched and total nonsense," added the Austrian.

Marko added that when Red Bull is ready to replace Webber, it will be with a driver from the company's own talent pool.



Renault denies team set for Cosworth switch

French engine supplier Renault has scotched rumours it might split with the F1 team that bears its name.

It has been rumoured that Enstone based Lotus Renault GP is behind on its customer engine payments to Renault Sport F1 and might therefore switch to Cosworth power for 2012.

Renault Sport F1 chief Jean-Francois Caubet on Wednesday dismissed the speculation on RMC radio.

"We have a very clear contract of three years (through 2013) for the supply of engines (to Lotus Renault)," he said.

"We will respect this agreement. We have been very surprised to hear these rumours," continued Caubet.

"We are seriously discussing with Lotus Renault GP about the V6 engine in 2014," he added.



Mercedes to discuss 2012 contract with Schumacher

Ross Brawn has revealed that Mercedes will consider its driver line-up for 2012 "later in the season".

Michael Schumacher is under contract to stay alongside Nico Rosberg next year, but there has been speculation that the seven time world champion might call time on his mixed return to F1 one at the end of 2011.

"He has a three year contract with Mercedes, and we are very happy with him," team boss Brawn told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"But if he feels that he doesn't want to do it any more, then we need to talk about it. You can't force somebody to do something.

"But we believe in him; he's an important part of our team," added the Briton.

Asked directly if Mercedes still wanted to work with Schumacher in 2012, Brawn insisted: "Yes, of course. We will get together later in the season."

He said Rosberg is "definitely" the best teammate Schumacher has ever had.

"Sometimes it's like the young Michael Schumacher is standing before me," said Brawn. "He goes about his job with an incredible intensity, he has no emotional weaknesses and is incredibly talented.

"Perhaps the situation would be a little easier for Michael if he had a teammate who was not so incredibly strong. But both can learn many things from each other, and everyone is up to the challenge."


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