Mark Webber will become their veteran driver next year, Red Bull Racing announced Thursday in the wake of David Coulthard's Formula One retirement decision. The energy drink company team and the Australian agreed terms on a new contract.
"I'm very happy to have signed up for another year with Red Bull Racing so early in the season," Webber said. "As far back as the middle of last year, it was very clear to me that I enjoyed working with the team, playing my part in its development, and helping it move forward. So far this year, our reliability has improved and that's allowed us to exploit our performance. The progress the team has made in the last 10 months has been excellent, and I am looking forward to carrying that momentum through to the end of the season. Continuing with Red Bull Racing for 2009 was a very easy decision for me to make, as I enjoy being part of this team and that has shown through in my driving."
Webber, 31, had been the team's only driver to score points this season until Coulthard finished third in the Canadian Grand Prix.
"Earlier in the season, both parties expressed a desire to continue working together and so it was a very quick and short discussion that led to an extension of our agreement," team boss Christian Horner said. "Mark has driven fantastically well this year. He has really demonstrated that he is a world-class driver, and this year the team has been able to give him the tools to endorse that fact. While all our efforts are currently concentrated on maintaining our fourth place in the constructors' championship, the next challenge facing us is to make the big step and challenge the top three teams, and we believe Mark is absolutely the right guy to have in the car to help us achieve that."
Webber, from Queanbeyan, New South Wales, has two third-place finishes and three starts from second grid spot in six F1 seasons. His debut for Minardi saw him finish fifth in his home grand prix.
Red Bull lies in fourth place in the World Constructors' Championship, one point ahead of Toyota.