Motor racing-Vettel and Webber face toughest challenge yet | other | Hindustan Times
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Motor racing-Vettel and Webber face toughest challenge yet

other Updated: Feb 09, 2009 19:59 IST
Alan Baldwin

Red Bull expect team newcomer Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber to push each other all the way this season in the biggest challenge of each Formula One driver's career.

"It's going to be fascinating to see how that unfolds," team principal Christian Horner told reporters at the launch of the new RB5 car at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain on Monday.

"Mark has always managed to get on top of his team mate throughout his career.

"Sebastian is going to be the biggest challenge in his career to date.

"But Sebastian is going to have a bigger challenge than he has had to date too. Hopefully they will bring the best out of each other."

Australian Webber, starting his eighth season in Formula One and third with Red Bull, scored 21 points last season to now-retired team mate David Coulthard's 8 while regularly out-qualifying the Scot.

Vettel eclipsed Sebastien Bourdais at Toro Rosso, becoming the sport's youngest winner at the Italian Grand Prix in September and scoring 35 points to the Frenchman's four.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has tipped the 21-year-old as the man to watch this season and Horner agreed the German's rise had been meteoric. But he doubted Webber, recovering from a broken leg, would be fazed.

"I don't think there are many drivers to rival Mark over a single lap," he said.

"Obviously he's got a bit of a challenge on at the moment as he's getting back to fitness but I think it is going to be probably swings and roundabouts during the course of the year.

"I think they will push each other very hard and ultimately bring the best out of each other."


Vettel said his sights on beating Webber at the opening race in Australia on March 29 but otherwise refused to be drawn on his targets for the season.

"The target is to win. Obviously it's not correct sitting here and say I am going to win the world championship," he told reporters.

"I want to, but ... we need to see how we are going, where we are in comparison to the others. I believe that the new rules could give a chance to teams like us to close the gap to the front but the favourites are Ferrari and McLaren, no doubt.

"If we are doing extremely well then we will be in a position to score points regularly and maybe fight for a little bit more," he added.

"I am not the kind of guy to tell you we are going to be here. I prefer to stay on the floor and work hard. If we are getting a surprise then it's much better."