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Horner: 'We want the best two drivers in our cars'
11 May 2013
The recent falling-out between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber over team orders in the Malaysian Grand Prix hasn't dented team morale within Red Bull Racing, insisted team principal Christian Horner this weekend.
"The motivation within the team is sky high," Horner told
on Friday in Barcelona. "We know that we have a competitive and difficult season ahead of us and to have won two out of four races so far is very promising.
"So far we've had two wins, a second and a third, and a fourth place - we are coming to Europe leading both championships," he pointed out. "Why should there be any dark clouds?"
Horner insisted that rivalries between team mates was nothing new in F1, and wouldn't adversely affect the team's performance in Spain or for the rest of the season.
"These things happen, as they are both competitive drivers," he said. "They will go on racing each other as they have done in the past and our expectations are obviously that they don't hurt the team by crashing into each other - and they both know that."
Horner denied that the two drivers were no longer talking to one another: "They talk professionally about developing the car over a race weekend. Obviously on a Sunday their own interests come to the fore again."
"The rivalry between them is nothing new to the team," he added. "Frictions have been there over several years now - that is nothing new. Both drivers are competitive and hungry animals who push each other to the limit, but it is a combination that has won three constructors' championships for us."
But the falling-out over the Sepang result in which Vettel ignored team orders and passed Webber in the closing laps to claim the win does seem all-but certain to result in Webber leaving Red Bull at the end of the current season, leaving Horner with the headache of who he will eventually pair with Vettel.
"It is much too early thinking about drivers for next year," Horner insisted. "Our objectives are very simple: we want the best two drivers in our cars. If they come from Toro Rosso, fantastic as they develop nicely. But we always push to have the best two drivers available.
"Everything else will fall into place towards the end of the summer. There is no pre-conception," he said, adding that Vettel wouldn't have any 'rubber stamp' on the team decision regarding his future team mate.
"He is a sporting guy and has never pressured the team into doing things for his own benefit," said Horner. "He is going to do the best job for himself. And to say, 'This one, yes' and 'This one, no' was never Sebastian's style [or] to dictate, 'I must have this or that.'"
For now, though, all eyes are on success in 2013, and Horner added that the biggest threat to another championship-winning season for Red Bull wasn't any internal friction between the drivers, but rather problems handling this year's latest Pirelli tyre compounds.
"Whoever masters and understands these tyres best and most consistently will emerge [champions] at the end of the year," Horner said, adding that he didn't expect the tweak that the tyre manufacturer has made coming into Spain to have a significant impact.
"We've managed to win two races out of four on the previous compounds so I think it is not such a huge difference," he said. "It was the first look at these compounds here today, so we will see on Sunday."
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