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Webber 'has place at Red Bull'
Mark Webber has been assured of his place at Red Bull providing he continues to deliver for the team.
Not for the first time going into a new Formula One season, Webber is apparently facing the end of the road. As a driver operating on a rolling one-year contract with Red Bull, and with the Australian turning 37 in August, there are many who doubt how long he can continue in the sport.
Speaking to Press Association Sport, though, team principal Christian Horner said: "The last three years have apparently been Mark's last. Yet he has been retained by the team because of what he has done in the car, and again the same rules apply this year."
He went on: "We want the strongest pairing and Mark has contributed significantly to our constructors' world championships over the last three years, and even came close to winning his own title in 2010.
"Mark has been employed by the team to do the best job he can and he knows what's expected of him. There are an awful lot of drivers who would like to be sat in a Red Bull car but Mark is there on merit, and while he delivers for the team he will have that place."
It was Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko who fuelled the debate about Webber earlier this year by questioning his mental strength and his consistency. Marko suggested Webber can be unbeatable for a couple of races, but is unable to maintain such form over a year.
Asked whether Webber has it within him to deliver on a more regular basis, Horner added: "The difficulty for Mark is he is constantly judged against a young man in the other car who has achieved so much.
"What Seb's done in 101 races, with 26 victories, being a three-time world champion, youngest points scorer, pole winner, race winner, is remarkable.
"Mark's being constantly measured against a driver that is, in my view, the best of a generation and that makes it harder for him. But at the same time Mark measures the opportunity of being measured against the best.
"He has also demonstrated on his day he can be unbeatable and he does just need to string a campaign together, with 19 of those performances."