Briatore: Webber an Option for Renault in 2005

Australian Mark Webber could move to Renault in 2005 if the French team decide to exercise an option in his contract, Flavio Briatore revealed in an exclusive interview for Atlas F1.

Briatore: Webber an Option for Renault in 2005

Australian Mark Webber could move to Renault in 2005 if the French team decide to exercise an option in his contract, Flavio Briatore revealed in an exclusive interview for Atlas F1.

Webber has a contract with the Jaguar team until the end of the 2005 season, but Briatore, who manages Webber, has an option for the Australian to drive for Renault. The Italian entrepreneur, however, said it's too early to decide on Webber's future.

"We manage Mark Webber and we have an option on him in 2005, so we have to decide whether to exercise this option," Briatore said. "You never know in Formula One what the situation will be like in more than a year's time, but at the moment Webber is part of our group and he's with us."

The Queanbeyan-born driver, in his second year of Formula One after one season at Minardi, impressed with Jaguar and he was linked with a move to the Williams team after Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya announced he will drive for rivals McLaren in 2005.

Briatore said the speculation was normal following Webber's strong season, but he denied Williams had approached him.

"There was no approach, but the speculations don't surprise me," he said. "I always believed in Webber and I invested money in him and now he looks good so sure for Frank [Williams] it's cheaper to get Webber now than to groom him over years.

"But he is our driver and we will see what happens next year, because in 2005 we have the possibility to have him back in Renault or leave him in Jaguar for another one year and then bring him back to our team. But he is ours, and he is a long term investment. I am not saying right now what is going to happen because I myself don't know how things will turn out.

"For example, if I feel that I don't need Webber because [Jarno] Trulli is great or [Franck] Montagny is great - and at the same time Frank [Williams] approaches me and asks for Webber, then maybe if I can give up Webber then I will do this for Frank, because my relationship with him is very very good.

"But right now Mark is very happy with Jaguar and we have another year to decide on our 2005 line up."

Read the entire interview in this week's issue of Atlas F1.

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