LONDON, May 18, 2013 (AFP) - Mark Webber will be under pressure to produce his best at next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix if he is to keep alive his hopes of retaining his seat with defending champions Red Bull next year.
After a difficult, incident-filled start to the 2013 season, the 36-year-old Australian knows he has to deliver consistent strong performances to ensure he stays at the top.
And Monaco, where he has always shone and produced one of the finest wins of his career, is expected to see him bidding to land the 10th win of his career on the unforgiving streets of the Mediterranean principality.
Under-pressure Red Bull team chief Christian Horner has been linked with a series of different drivers as potential successors to Webber, notably since defending triple world champion Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and 'stole' victory from the Australian in Malaysia.
Asked about Webber's future this week, he said he was now in a period of opportunity, and added pressure, as the team begin considering their possibilites for 2014.
"It's probably both," he told Sky Sports News. "At the end of the day there is pressure to perform, but that exists for all the drivers. Monaco is a circuit that Mark in particular enjoys and excels at so hopefully he can have a very strong run there."
Horner, however, insisted it is too soon to be talking about next season.
"We're only five races in and just a quarter of the season through this championship," he said.
"Our decisions regarding drivers will be made in the summer and Mark, if he's delivering and motivated and has the desire to continue, of course, and as a driver that we know and achieved so much with us we'll consider very, very closely.
"But no decisions will be made about drivers until later in the summer."
Webber is without a win this year, in part due to Vettel's conduct in Malaysia. The German has won twice and now leads the title race with 89 points while Webber is sixth with 42.