Christian Horner says upcoming races give opportunities, and pressure, to Mark Webber
Team chief reiterates no decision on 2014 seat until late summer
Last Updated: 17/05/13 5:16pm
Red Bull chief Christian Horner is hopeful Mark Webber can repeat his historically strong Monaco form next week after admitting the forthcoming races represent an opportunity, as well as a period of added pressure, for the Australian in regards to his Red Bull future.
Webber's F1 plans beyond the end of the current season remains shrouded in uncertainty with speculation persisting that the nine-times grand prix winner may retire from the sport altogether after November's Brazilian GP, despite denials from both sides that he has already signed up to spearhead Porsche's return to Le Mans.
Despite the apparent complete breakdown in relations between Webber and long-time team-mate Sebastian Vettel after the Malaysian GP, neither Horner nor team owner Dietrich Mateschitz have ruled out Webber staying on at Red Bull for an eight straight year even though many seasoned observers have suggested the notion is now likely.
Since controversially losing the victory to Vettel at Sepang Webber has endured a disappointing run of races - fifth place last weekend in Barcelona being his best result since - but Monaco has proved a traditionally happy hunting ground for him the 36-year-old having won on two of his last three visits there.
Asked by Sky Sports News if the forthcoming races represented a period of opportunity, or one of additional pressure, for Webber to stake his claim for 2014, Horner replied: "It's probably both.
"At the end of the day there is pressure to perform, but that exists for all the drivers. Monaco is a circuit that Mark in particular enjoys and excels at so hopefully he can have a very strong run there."
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Since going on to a rolling one-year contract in 2009, Webber's Red Bull place for the following season has usually been confirmed by the end of July - although in 2011 a deal wasn't done until the end of August.
Horner reiterated that it was still too early to think about finalising their 2014 driver line-up with Webber's motivation and performance levels set to be central to the ultimate decision on the veteran Australian.
"We're only five races in and just a quarter of the season through this championship," he added.
"Our decisions regarding drivers will be made in the summer and Mark, if he's delivering and motivated and has the desire to continue, of course [as] a driver that we know and achieved so much with us we'll consider very, very closely.
"But no decisions will be made about drivers until later in the summer."