Christian Horner has hinted strongly that Mark Webber will stay with Red Bull in 2012.
Dr Helmut Marko, the energy drink company's motor racing manager, stirred the nest this week when he said that if the Australian leaves the team at the end of the season, Red Bull is likely to promote a Toro Rosso driver.
But Horner, the Milton Keynes based team's British principal, told reporters in Canada that 34-year-old Webber wants to stay in 2012, and Red Bull Racing feels the same way about him.
"Mark has made it clear that he wants to drive next year, and conversations with Mark tend to be quite straightforward," said Horner.
Horner revealed that the conversations will take place later this year, and will involve gauging if Webber still has the right "motivation and desire".
"We believe he does and we're happy to continue," he is quoted as saying by the BBC.
While teammate Sebastian Vettel has roared to a position of dominance so far in 2011, Webber admitted this week that he is struggling with the Pirelli tyres.
Mark has made it clear that he wants to drive next year
"He has had these issues with the tyres that he is working hard to get on top of," confirmed Horner, "but we are very happy with him in the team."
Germany's Bild said on Thursday that Red Bull looked into signing another driver for 2012, with recent rumours pointing to Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg.
"The problem is that no one wants to go up against Vettel," said the newspaper. "He is just too good."