According to a recent interview he gave the Austrian news agency APA, the proud owner of the reigning F1 champions expects at least one Red Bull RB7 to head the field in qualifying next Saturday, or at least be in the first row for the Sunday race.
“If we are not on pole position, at least we will be on the front row,” he said, basing his comments on Red Bull's strong pace in testing this winter.
This year's Red Bull title defense attempt will be once again headed by Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, with the former having recently extended his deal with Red Bull until the end of 2014, while the latter is entering his last year of contract. Talking about this state of events at his Milton Keynes based organization, Mateschitz hinted that this may be the Australian's last year with Red Bull.
“Should we need to, we have enough talent in our Red Bull junior drivers to fill our cockpits,” added the Austrian billionaire. “But I estimate Mark Webber to be one of the very best and strongest in the field today.”
Ever since the winter testing period started, there has been one driver that outspokenly seems to have set his eyes on Webber's seat for 2012, and that's Scuderia Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari. The Spaniard told the media that his aim for 2011 is to convince Red Bull's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko that he deserves a promotion to STR's bigger brother.
On the other hand, team principal Christian Horner hinted the other day that Webber could be offered another one-year extension to his current deal sometime this year, in case his form in the 2011 season proves as good as the one last year.