Mark Webber is set to be handed a fresh deal to stay with Red Bull Racing in 2010, with his team confirming that it plans to open contract talks with the Australian imminently.
With huge interest surrounding Webber following his first victory in the German Grand Prix, and on the back of an impressive first half to the campaign, Red Bull has set its sights on retaining him at least one more year. Team principal Christian Horner said that talks would open soon with Webber, with the hope being that a deal can be put together to keep him alongside Sebastian Vettel in 2010.
"Mark is doing a great job and he is a great team player," Horner told AUTOSPORT. "We have got a very good balance in the team and we will get around to talking to him about his contract shortly, but he is a very valued member of the team."
Although Webber is the man of the moment, and could yet end the season as world champion, his contract talks are unlikely to be totally straightforward. Red Bull is under intense pressure to reduce its costs, having already dismissed technical director Geoff Willis, and it may need to put a squeeze on the amount it could pay Webber in 2010.
Furthermore, while Webber would prefer a lengthy deal that could keep him tied to Red Bull until the end of his career, the team is believed to favor a shorter contract. But with the partnership yielding great results at the moment, and all eyes on beating Brawn GP to the championship, both sides may be willing to compromise in order to secure a deal.