Mark Webber has revealed that he now has a 'good' relationship with Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel following the well-documented fall-out between the pair as they both did battle for the drivers' crown in F1 2010 – and that he expects next season to be one 'without any friction'.
Whilst all eyes were on the anticipated needle between fellow world champions and countrymen Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at McLaren-Mercedes, in fact the lion's share of the troubles were all experienced by Red Bull. The first flashpoint was obviously Istanbul and that
contentious collision as Webber and Vettel duelled over the lead – with the team subsequently shamelessly electing to publicly blame the Australian when to all-and-sundry it was palpable that it was the German who was to blame – but in truth, the seeds had been sown a little earlier than that.
The likely catalyst for Vettel's over-ambitious move in the Turkish Grand Prix was the fact that he felt under pressure, given that Webber had dominated the two previous races in Spain and Monaco. Sebastian knew he needed to stop Mark's burgeoning momentum firmly in its tracks – only in attempting to do so, he harmed himself and his own reputation rather more.
Then came Silverstone and the now infamous front wing episode, and finally the build-up to the penultimate outing at Interlagos, when Webber expressed his frustrations with the team and his belief that his unexpected title challenge had been 'inconvenient' for Red Bull's aspirations for Vettel to sweep to glory – and Seb hit back by caustically asserting that should his team-mate require 'help', then he should 'take the medical car'.
However, now that the season is over and following a post-Abu Dhabi clear-the-air session – not the first one of the campaign – Webber insists all tension has been dissipated, and the 34-year-old contended that it is 'inevitable' in a situation where the stakes are as high as they are that there will be turbulence along the way.
“I think it's inevitable when you have two team-mates pushing each other as hard as we were,” he told BBC Sport
. “Also, people have to understand that it only happens once every ten-to-15 years, two drivers in one team going for a championship – to have them in the same team and under the same roof is unusual.
“It also happened to be the first time that Red Bull had been through it as a team, so all of us learned a huge amount. There were some growing pains, of course, and being the two competitive individuals we are – both wanting the same thing – it's going to be strained at times, but our relationship is good now.
“At the end of the year, it was good to have a chat about things and push a few things that had happened away. It's hard to talk closely to each other during the heat of battle in the season, but over the winter we'll have more time to build for the season and do a better job, without any friction.”