Mark Webber insists that he is ready to tackle the 2011 F1 season - and Red Bull Racing team-mate Sebastian Vettel - 'head-on' after missing out on the world championship title last year.
The Australian, who got his first run in the new Red Bull challenger during the opening test of the new season in Valencia, says that he has shaken off any lingering disappointment from the 2010 campaign - when he led the standings for a long time only to slump to third overall by the end - and is ready to mount another assault on the crown.
"I am approaching this year head-on again," he told reporters during a break in testing, "I have a great team of people around me to try to focus and improve upon what I did last year. There were a lot of things I did right last year. Motivation is absolutely not a problem for any of us going into this campaign."
The 2010 campaign was marred by internal strife at RBR, with accusations of favouritism levelled at team members who appeared to be overtly backing Vettel despite Webber's performances. The Australian, who would have followed in the fading footsteps of countryman Alan Jones had he won the title, even ended the British Grand Prix by uttering the immortal line 'not bad for a number two driver', but insists that, despite carrying that number on his car in 2011, he would not be playing second fiddle to Vettel.
"Nothing has changed, because I have a great opportunity with a great team to go and get some very good results," he claimed, "Obviously, last year, there were some tough times for the team because we both, or all of us, wanted to keep achieving more, and it was a new situation to go for the championship with two drivers in the same team. This is unusual - it doesn't happen very often in F1, so let's hope we can do it again, and maybe, this year, we can have a different result."
Webber recognises that coming from behind to win the title on the back of three wins in the last four races will have boosted Vettel's confidence immeasurably but, despite admitting that there were issues with the German in 2010, insists that they will start the new campaign on a more conciliatory footing
"It should be fine," he insisted, "We had the most intense season last year and this year should be okay, so we'll see how it goes. [Vettel] lost some points with mechanical problems but also, many times, I beat him fair and square, so I need to lift my game a little bit again. I did a lot of things right last year, but also I need to improve."
Team principal Christian Horner admits that, while it can cause friction, Red Bull is also fortunate to have one of the strongest partnerships in the F1 field.
"The success [of 2010] has brought confidence, but not arrogance," he pointed out, "The team goes into this season very motivated and very committed. We achieved some remarkable things last year and that is our target again. [We will] support both drivers with equality, [and] give both drivers the best chance that we possibly can."