I think that these rumors must be coming from Flavio’s incessant attempt to land Webber a well-paying post-Red Bull position. I don’t think Webber has too many options and Flavio is always trying keep his percentages in representation of highest value, so what I think this may be pointing to is that Webber may be going to Ferrari but not as a main driver. If they are thinking of using Webber as a temporary replacement for Massa, then Red Bull must have a plan and cut a deal with Ferrari so they can break contract mid-season and replace him with whoever it is they are anxious to be Vettel’s teammate.
There was mention above how Raikonnen couldn’t change from Lotus, but that’s bullocks. Any contract can be broken if the pluses outweigh the minuses. Kimi has had no problems switching teams before and easily could blame the Lotus team’s numerous costly errors with tire strategies, setup errors, and other things that hurt Kimi’s races greatly.
I actually was surprised that Kimi didn’t return to F1 with Redbull after establishing a deep relationship with them rallying for them. But after thinking about who Webber’s manager is, Flavio, then it makes sense because Webber’s contract is probably rock solid with serious penalties for early termination unless they can establish a way for him to make as much or probably more money elsewhere.
All of this plus added to a few more facts:
+Kimi and Vettel are close friends as well as neighbors in Switzerland.
+ RedBull have enough money to break and make contracts but rolling the dice with young driver is a risk as too if someone is good enough not only to just drive well but to fight for the Championship, especially since they have a B & C team already.
+ They probably would love nothing more then to have two racing buddies who will push each other and fight a close fight all season as well as work as a team to beat other teams.
+Webber and Vettel never established this kind of a relationship and I am sure that Marko is ready to put an end to his in-house fighting. Webber has not only resisted being Vettel’s buddy but that incident with the not revealing his injury two years ago did not sit well with Marko.
+Webber would love a drive with Ferrari no matter how short, for the honor of it, and the chance to prove his many critics how his talent was hampered by politics of a team who didn’t truly believe in him and back him. Ferrari would surely put in a clause stating that if he could consistently race close to or ahead of Alonso, then he would get an option for possible renewal.
+Sergio Perez, a likely candidate for a future Ferrari seat, would not move mid-season because not only would it hurt their relationship with Sauber/Ferrari, but also there would be major financial issues with his lucrative sponsorship contracted with Slim. Also I think that they may not be completely convinced that Sergio is ready yet. He still is inconsistent, and if Ferrari want to fight for the constructors championship they need someone who can compete close to Alonso’s level, because their cars just aren’t dominant these past few years, and may not have won any races at all if it wasn’t for Alonso’s extraordinary skills. If Sergio came in mid-season and at a level similar to Massa, they would really lose face for ditching Massa mid-season and get a lot of bad press.
I do sense both Vettel and Webber are much more relaxed and at ease this season, maybe because they know what is going to happen with the team.
When I first began to write this comment, I was quite unsure and thought that other conclusions were just as possible, but as I thought deeply about all the angles on the many moving parts in this, it has become more and more clear to me that the following is actually highly likely.
(Keith are you reading this? Are my arguments valid?)
CONCLUSION: I have come to the conclusion that, yes, mid-season Webber will move as a temporary replacement for Massa at Ferrari, and Kimi will go to RedBull.
…UNLESS: – Kimi, Webber, or even Massa at mid-season is clearly one of the leaders in the championship then this plan will become nothing more than rumors and we will have to wait until the end of the season to find out. But this season is so unpredictable who knows how many people will be within a few points of the lead.