News over the weekend is that Australian Mark Webber will drive his eleventh season for Red Bull, the team he is currently in his fifth season with. While job security is great in such a competitive work place, is Red Bull the right place for Mark?
Unfortunately for Webber his value as a driver is moving towards the development side of his career. With a championship out of reach for the remainder of his career, Mark's options lie with a team looking to get the most out of an under developed car. So who would benefit from having the seasoned Australian in their seat?
The top name that springs to mind is Renault, the place he should have been years ago! While most people still hold hope of a Kubica return, in all likelihood, we have seen the last from what would have been a great career. I'm sure Robert wants to compete in the sport he has devoted his life to but the reality is his new life would be that of medications and impaired mental ability. It could well be time to let the Kubica dream go. This leaves Renault with a few choices. Currently in the car is Nick Heidfeld, a competent driver but word is the pairing of Heidfeld and Renault is on the tumultuous side. Renault is not getting the results it is after and fault is landing firmly on the German. Could Webber be the key to Renault moving towards the front of the grid?
After Renault, the choices are slim! Sauber just announced their driver pairing will remain for 2012, quite possibly a bad decision for them. Great to see Sauber getting behind Perez but securing a senior driver for development would have been a major coup for the team.
Ignoring Williams, who's relationship with Webber is forever tainted, that just leaves the back markers of Lotus, Virgin and HRT. While I'm sure Virgin and HRT could do a lot with Mark, they just aren't geared to use him. Virgin are using Glock well and he is signed on for the foreseeable future while HRT, well, who cares about HRT?
Lotus then become the only other place for Mark to place his helmet. While I'm sure Kovalainen is ready to lead the team he could always be left in the number two spot making room for Webber. Trulli is well past his best and, unless Lotus see no other option than to keep him, it's time for Trulli to retire to his vineyard. A pairing of Webber and Kovalainen would be a strong foundation to drive Lotus towards the front of the grid.
While his options are few, Mark should really start shopping around. Another year with Red Bull is just waisting everybody's time. Clearly the number 2 at Red Bull should go to a deserving development driver *cough - Daniel Ricciardo - cough*