As they face their fifth season together in 2013, Mark Webber has played down suggestions his relationship with Sebastian Vettel is perhaps F1’s most fiery.
The pair clashed memorably as they fought for Vettel’s first of back-to-back titles in 2010, and yet Red Bull chiefs have opted to keep them together several years later.
“It’s not easy for both of us to be at the front and I can understand that as both of us are thinking about ourselves sometimes,” Webber is quoted by the Associated Press. “But ultimately we know that we need to get the cars home and get the best results for us and the team. I think no one would really have envisaged how long we have worked together, so that’s probably been a bit of a surprise,” Webber said.
“There are not many teammates staying together for that long in formula one, but it’s proved to be a successful partnership with both of us working very hard with the key technical members of the team. It’s been a potent operation.”
Team boss Christian Horner extended 35-year-old Australian Webber’s contract this week, and insists the pairing alongside Vettel is harmonious enough.
“They have spent a lot of time racing each other and they have spent hundreds of hours together working on developing the car and I think they have a genuine respect for each other,” he said. “Sebastian knows in Mark he has a very genuine competitor, and Mark knows Sebastian has been the benchmark for the last couple of years.
“It’s a healthy situation for the team. I think they now have more experience,” Horner added.