Erstwhile F1 2010 World Championship leader Mark Webber might be anticipating a trying weekend of things ahead for early-season pace-setters Red Bull Racing in the European Grand Prix in Valencia, but the Australian remains convinced the team will 'be a bit stronger again' in the subsequent races.
For the first time all year, Red Bull was beaten to pole position in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal just under a fortnight ago, and with Sebastian Vettel suffering from gearbox woes and Webber excessive tyre-graining, distant fourth and fifth places at the chequered flag respectively was quite a fall from grace.
Worse still, allied to the points cast carelessly away when the German drove into the side of his team-mate in Istanbul and destroyed a potential third one-two finish of the campaign – and the simultaneous resurgence in form of chief title rivals McLaren-Mercedes and their drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button – Webber and Vettel have slipped to third and fifth in the points table, and RBR has similarly conceded the advantage in the chase for the constructors' crown.
Even more depressingly for the energy drinks-backed outfit, whilst McLaren's MP4-25 is widely-tipped to be in its element on the harbourside streets that wind their way around Valencia's King Juan Carlos I Marina, the Adrian Newey-designed, Renault-powered RB6 is conversely expected to struggle somewhat, F-duct or no – and RBR failed to score a point in the Spanish city in either of the two previous editions of the European Grand Prix that were held there in 2008 and 2009.
Albeit acknowledging that the track is not likely to be the best of the season for the team, Webber is confident that Red Bull will prove more than capable of battling its way back to the top step of the podium around the power-based circuits of Silverstone and Hockenheim next up on the calendar – and therefore, that the balance of power will ultimately swing back into their hands once more.
“Looking to Valencia, it's another venue that might not be that easy for us,” reflected the 33-year-old New South Wales native, “but we surprised ourselves in Canada where we were a little more competitive than we thought we would be. It was a tight group as we finished behind the main teams – McLaren and Ferrari – but I still think in Valencia we have a good chance to get good results.
“I wouldn't pick it as a venue where we're going to go and get an easy victory, because I don't think the layout of the circuit is one that suits us so much, but it's part of the championship, we have to compete on all the tracks and that's how it is. Looking at the races after Valencia, I think we can be a bit stronger again.”