Dietrich Mateschitz is giving Mark Webber at least an equal chance to get back on terms with his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel in 2012.
After his 2010 title challenge, Webber was utterly dominated by back to back world champion Vettel last year. But team owner Mateschitz told Kleine Zeitung newspaper that the pair will continue to have equal status this season.
“Our attitude has not changed – there are no team orders,” the Austrian billionaire said. “It starts at zero again, for both of them.”
As for which Red Bull driver will get the upper hand in 2012, Mateschitz is open minded.
“From today’s point of view it is difficult to say. But why not (Webber)? I’m curious to know how hard or difficult or impossible it will be for Vettel to defend his dominance,” he added.
Beyond 2012, however, Webber has no contract, and Mateschitz confessed that “our primary goal is to put one of our juniors in the car”. He also admitted that rule changes could play against Red Bull for 2012, but still expects Adrian Newey’s car to be on the pace.
“The competition copied from us so much last year that at the end our advantages were no longer the same. But at the last race we still had quite a bit of an edge. Of course you take that into the new year.”
Based on the initial Jerez test, however, he said it is too early to say the RB8 is the best car.
“These tests are not to scale,” said Mateschitz. “Everyone drives with their own goals and plans or to meet certain criteria. But I do think the balance of power has stayed about the same.”