F1 »

'Prodigious talent' Vettel makes 2009 a 'big year' for Webber

The 'prodigious talent' of Sebastian Vettel is set to make 2009 'a crucial year' for Mark Webber, argues Christian Horner – but the Red Bull Racing team principal is confident that the 'dedicated, focussed and hugely competitive' Aussie will prove to be up to the task.

Webber has seen off every one of his Formula 1 team-mates to-date, from Nick Heidfeld and Nico Rosberg to 13-time grand prix-winner David Coulthard, but he arguably has his greatest challenge yet awaiting him this season, following the arrival at Milton Keynes of the sport's new youngest-ever winner, Sebastian Vettel – a driver tipped in many quarters as a future world champion, and one who Horner suggests was almost single-handedly responsible for Scuderia Toro Rosso surging ahead of its 'parent' outfit in the latter stages of the 2008 campaign.

“I think the most significant factor over the second half of last year, and certainly from what we've seen in pre-season testing, was the impact of Sebastian Vettel,” the Englishman told Crash.net Radio of his new charge. “That just should not be underestimated – in essentially the same car he scored 35 points. He's a very prodigious talent that looks as if he's got a great future ahead of him.

“Obviously he's been a member of the Red Bull family for several years now, so he's reasonably well-known to the team and he had tested for the team even prior to the start of last year. He's an intelligent young guy that has obviously a tremendous amount of ability but a very clear-thinking mind. He's settled in with no issues at all and has looked very strong throughout pre-season testing.”

That much is indisputable, and if Webber's pre-season preparations by contrast were disrupted somewhat by his leg-breaking mountain-biking accident sustained during his annual charity adventure Pure Tasmania Challenge towards the end of last year, Horner is confident the New South Wales native will be back to form in front of his home fans Down Under this weekend – and that he will provide Vettel with a stern challenge throughout the campaign.

“I don't think he'll be at absolutely 100 per cent fitness for Melbourne,” the 35-year-old former racer contended, “but he'll certainly be 90 per cent. It won't inhibit him within the car at all. He's made a remarkable recovery since breaking his leg quite badly last November.

“He's a dedicated and focussed individual that's hugely competitive, and he knows that this year is very much a crucial year in his career because he's got quite a challenge from the other car. It's a big year for Mark. His winter has obviously been compromised from a physical preparation point-of-view, but he's done all the mileage in the car and I'm sure we'll see him up there in Melbourne.

“I think we've got a very good balance within the team of youth and experience. Mark is a renowned qualifying specialist and that will be a challenge for Sebastian, and I think they'll bring the best out of each other.”

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel with the Red Bull Racing RB5-Renault at its launch in the Jerez pit-lane   [pic credit: Red Bull Racing]
Williams, FW40, teaser shot [Credit: Williams Martini Racing]
Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 to be unveiled on Feb 26th
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Sebastian Vettel, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, ROC [Credit: ROC]
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after winning the 2017 Race of Champions title in Miami [Pic credit: ROC]
Race of Champions 2017, action [Pic credit: ROC]
Juan Pablo Monotya. Race of Champions 2017, action [Pic credit: ROC]
2017 Race of Champions line-up in Miami [Pic credit: ROC]
Valtteri Bottas, Nico Rosberg
Nico Hulkenberg - Renault Sport F1
Force India reveals the launch date for its 2017 F1 challenge
M-Sport reveals its Ford Fiesta RS WRC challenger
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
Who will replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes?
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner
27.11.2016 - Race, Celebration, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

aye jay - Unregistered

March 26, 2009 2:32 AM

so Dave what your saying is that if webber beats vettel, then vettel must really be bad as he would be beaten by a crap driver in YOUR opinion. webber beat a proven race winner last season and DC has won a lot more races than vettel with the 1 win. dont set yourself up for a fall Dave

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.