Mark Webber will start his campaign for the 2010 Formula One world championship title firing on all cylinders after final surgery on his injured leg, while Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel can only improve as he gets older.
That's the view of Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who is looking forward to his unchanged line-up picking up from there it left off in Abu Dhabi in 2009. There, the distinctive blue RB5s claimed a 1-2 finish to follow on from wins for Vettel in Japan and Webber in Brazil as Red Bull ended the season as the dominant force, prompting many of its rivals to adopt elements of its 2009 design for their 2010 challengers.
Australian Webber won two races in a breakthrough campaign despite badly breaking his leg in his own adventure race event in Tasmania at the end of 2008. Although still limping and undergoing radical treatments right up to his home race in Melbourne last March, he made it through the year, finally taking his first win, in Germany in July, and doubling up with success at Interlagos and a battling runners-up spot in the finale to head into 2010 confident that he can challenge for the title.
"Compared to 2009, obviously he is much better prepared in that he's been able to train properly throughout the winter," Horner said of the 33-year old, "He had a small surgery at the end of November just to remove a couple of screws from the plate within his leg, which has given him a lot more movement and freedom to train thoroughly."
Vettel, meanwhile, approaches 2010 having finished as the closest challenger to world champion Jenson Button, and Horner is confident that another year under his belt - especially one as successful as 2009 - will have served the young German well.
"Sebastian is such a young guy, I think he will only have developed and grown stronger and benefited from his experiences in 2009," Horner continued, speaking to Reuters
, "He just continued to grow throughout the 2009 season, so he goes into 2010 with two years of experience under his belt.
"He has five grand prix wins, pole positions and fastest laps and there is only one trophy missing from his cabinet at the moment. He has obviously been working extremely hard on his fitness as well, so I'm quietly confident that both drivers will be bang on the pace."