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Horner backs Webber, warns hopefuls

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has warned potential replacements for Mark Webber to expect the Australian to have a better year than in 2011.
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has backed Mark Webber to bounce back from a disappointing 2011 F1 campaign in what could be his last year with the team.

Despite annual speculation that the 35-year old Australian could be moving on from Milton Keynes, RBR retains an unchanged pairing for 2012, with Webber again partnering double world champion Sebastian Vettel in what Horner believes is, McLaren notwithstanding, the best line-up in F1.

While Vettel romped to his second title in 2011, however, Webber only scraped into third spot in the standings with victory at the final round in Brazil - a result that did not come without some controversy after the German suffered a mystery gearbox problem.

Despite the obvious frustration of not being able to match his team-mate over the course of the year, however, Horner believes that Webber will be back on form in 2012, particularly having got to grips with the Pirelli tyres.

“Mark has gone away, trained hard through the winter and his enthusiasm has been rejuvenated," the team boss told fans at the Autosport International show, "I think 2012 could be a very strong year for him.

“It's very difficult going up against a driver of Sebastian's calibre, being matched and measured against somebody of his standard. Mark had a difficult start to the year, but he adapted. He worked hard at it and to understand the tyres in particular. His performances grew throughout the year, and it was great to see him win that final race in Brazil.”

Despite Webber's age contributing to the rumours of his imminent departure from RBR, Horner insisted that his line-up represented the best of both worlds - and warned those with aspirations of stepping into the Australian's shoes not to get their hopes up to soon.

“For us it's a great pairing," he claimed, "There is over a ten-year age difference between the two of them, so they are at different stages of their careers, but they push each other very hard and bring out the best of each other."

Horner's warning was aimed squarely at the new line-up at Scuderia Toro Rosso, where Daniel Ricciardo, in particular, is being tipped at Webber's natural successor.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.11.2011- Saturday Practice, Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), Test Driver, Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR6
24.11.2011- Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), HRT Formula One Team
27.11.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 2nd position and Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
26.11.2011- Qualifying, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
Mark Webber prepares for the return of his Pure Tasmania Challenge adventure race
27.11.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
27.11.2011- Race, Mark Webber (AUS), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
Daniel Ricciardo tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Googolplex

January 16, 2012 9:25 AM

Sorry Chris, Even a one eyed Webber supporter like me, can't accept your analysis of the situation. I think we have to accept that Seb is a phenomenal driver and it has been difficult for Mark to match him. That said, I think Mark's ability as a driver has been underestimated by many people because they have attributed Seb's runaway success almost entirely to the RBR and have not given sufficient credit to Seb's exceptional ability to extract every ounce out of the car and not make mistakes whilst doing so. I think Mark will be a lot more comfortable in his skin this year, and I am hopeful he will challenge Seb far more than he did last year.

stevyweavy - Unregistered

January 16, 2012 12:27 PM

All this conspiracy theory that they provided Seb with a faster car than Mark can people not see how stupid this is. The money for the team comes from winnnig the constructors championship so slowing down one of your cars makes no sense. The best way to win the driver's championship is to have two fast drivers in two fast cars taking points away from their main rivals. I do accept that where they are trying something new and they only have one set they will tend to favour the driver that they think will most benefit from it and from which the team will most benefit from it. I think that Mark was crest fallen from the 2010 season where he effectively through away the championship - that affected his mentality going into the 2011 season. I expect now he has had a chance to come to terms with it.



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