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Webber joins Coulthard at Red Bull
August 08, 2006 19:50 IST
Australian Mark Webber will partner Briton David Coulthard at Red Bull next season, the Formula One team announced on Monday.
After being replaced by one Austrian test driver Alexander Wurz who will race for Williams in 2007, it was the 29-year-old Australian's turn to oust another.
Webber will take the place of young Austrian Christian Klien at the team owned by energy drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz.
"We chose him for a number of straightforward reasons," said team boss Christian Horner.
"One, he obviously has undoubted speed and ability and, two, he appears to have the determination and motivation needed to succeed.
"We're entering an exciting new phase in the short history of Red Bull Racing and Mark was an obvious candidate to us."
Next year's Red Bull car will be the first overseen by Adrian Newey, the top designer behind a string of titles for Williams and McLaren.
The move also reunites Webber with many former colleagues from his days at Jaguar, the team Mateschitz bought from Ford and renamed after his product.
"I believe I am joining the team at exactly the right time for success in the future," said the driver.
"After I left Jaguar Racing at the end of the 2004 season and discovered that Mr Mateschitz was taking over the team, I said that I felt the team had been placed in very good hands and had an assured future.
"I hope that with Red Bull Racing I can have my best F1 season to date and believe that we can be very, very strong together," added Webber.
Red Bull are using Ferrari engines but speculation has suggested they could switch to Renault V8 units next year with sister team Toro Rosso taking over the Ferrari contract.
Webber is managed by Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and had been linked to the champions as a possible successor to Spaniard Fernando Alonso when the champion joins McLaren at the end of the year.
The Australian's move now makes it almost certain that Finnish test driver Heikki Kovalainen will get Renault's second seat alongside Italian Giancarlo Fisichella if they cannot secure the services of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.
Raikkonen is expected to join Ferrari.
Coulthard, now 35, was delighted to be given a third season with the team after securing their first podium with third place in Monaco this year.
"I can feel that the team is really beginning to gel as a group," said the Scot.
"I'm looking forward to raising the performance of the team and the car and to see Red Bull Racing become a regular points scorer, in with a good shout for achieving podiums and wins."
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