Red Bull Racing surprised many in the Formula One world by signing veterans David Coulthard and Mark Webber for 2007, and insists that it has sound reason for ensuring that the same pairing will continue for another year.

With Webber already on a two-year deal that will take him into 2008, RBR announced the re-signing of Coulthard on the opening day of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, keeping the Scot on board for a fourth year.

Neither driver is the product of Red Bull's much-vaunted 'young driver programme', and Webber was signed at the cost of Christian Klien, who had partnered Coulthard for the best part of a couple of seasons, but was deemed surplus to requirements before the end of 2006. Similarly, Red Bull-backed Robert Doornbos and Neel Jani are currently plying their trade in the Champ Car World Series, while current CCWS points leader Sebastien Bourdais - another outsider - is being tipped to join RBR's sister team, Toro Rosso, in 2008.

Team boss Christian Horner, however, explained that experience was vital in the development of a young team, and that Coulthard and Webber possessed exactly the right attitude to bring the squad on.

"Mark's agreement was always for a two-year period, so there's no real surprises there, [and] the logic behind David was very simple," he said of DC's new deal, "We're very happy with the job that both of our drivers are doing. We're in an evolution phase of Red Bull Racing and David's done a very good job for us in the three years that he's been with us. It was therefore entirely logical to extend that relationship for a further year.

"The team is still a young team. There have been a lot of changes over the last 24 months, but it's coming together and, as we've seen, [there have been] glimpses of pace this year. We've had a poor reliability record, but that's something that everybody's firmly focused on and that will improve during the second half of the year.

"In David and Mark, we have a very strong professional committed line-up. I don't think there's a harder working line-up in Formula One than the two drivers that we have. They're very focused, they're both big team players and they contribute a great deal to our programme."

 

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