Mark Webber. Photo: Getty Images
Mark Webber will be 37 this year but his former Red Bull teammate David Coulthard says the Australian could continue in formula one for several years.
Coulthard says Webber is driving as well as ever and there would be no logical reason for the team to unseat him simply because he is the oldest driver in the field.
Webber is caught between his triple world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel, who has continually out-performed him and compatriot Daniel Ricciardo, the West Australian Toro Rosso driver who is eyeing his seat.
But Coulthard says Ricciardo may have to put his ambitions on ice.
''Daniel has very good respect within Red Bull Racing,'' Coulthard said.
''That's the dilemma Red Bull have. ''I'm sure Daniel would be entirely capable, but as a team, you want to keep the equilibrium if it's working.
''If the cake is turning out good every time, you keep putting in the same ingredients.''
However, the situation could abruptly change this season for both Webber and Ricciardo.
If Webber is uncompetitive and Ricciardo has a standout season with the Red Bull No. 2 team, the younger driver could replace him.
Webber has won at least one grand prix each year since his breakthrough victory in Germany in 2009.
But despite winning the Monaco and British races - each for the second time - last year, the season was his worst championship finish since 2008.
He was sixth in the points and will need to improve his form to fend off Ricciardo.
Webber's time at Red Bull has been good and bad - good because he has had the car to win races and bad because he has had a quicker teammate.
''Had it not been for Sebastian Vettel, Mark would have been maybe a multiple world champion,'' Coulthard said.
''The future is in Mark's hands.
''He's a great racing driver and has won nine grands prix, some of them fantastic like a couple of times at Silverstone and Monaco, two very different and challenging race tracks that show the depth of his talent.
''The reality is that if Mark continues to do what he's been doing over the last couple of years, there's no reason why he wouldn't continue.''