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Horner: Vettel, Webber are equals

27 February 2013 21:21

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner insists drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be treated as equals this season.

Despite the team's number one driver Vettel aiming for a fourth consecutive Formula One world championship, Horner maintains there will be no preferential treatment for the 25-year-old German at Webber's expense.

"What do I expect of Mark (Webber) and Sebastian (Vettel)?" Horner said.

"I expect them to push each other very hard, as they have the last few years, to do their best for the team.

"We'll be giving them both equal opportunity.

"They've always enjoyed that while they've raced together.

"I think there's going to be some big opponents. Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, Felipe Massa was fast at the end of last year. Jenson Button in the McLaren, Lewis (Hamilton) in his new environment at Mercedes is going to be a factor and of course the Lotuses are a dark horse.

"So it's not just about our two guys, it's about the other two competitors we're racing as well."

Webber is set to begin his seventh season with Red Bull when the F1 championship begins in March after previous stints with Minardi, Jaguar and Williams since 2002.

The 36-year-old Australian is also gearing up to appear in his 200th race but says the hunger to perform remains as strong as ever.

"It's very unusual for a driver to be in a team for so long," Webber said.

"For sure we've achieved some really good things. I would've liked to have achieved more obviously and we have another opportunity this year to get the last box ticked let's say.

"If I'm not performing, if I'm not fit, if I'm not well, if I'm not doing that for sure a top team doesn't want their driver. That's the first job – to make sure I'm performing every single weekend, every single year and then of course you're in the market as I have been in the last few years."

Although Webber has not attained Vettel's level of success, Horner said he was responsible for plenty of achievements throughout the team's evolution into a F1 powerhouse.

"Mark is heading into his seventh season and I think that by the time we get to Bahrain that will be his 200th grand prix in Formula One," Horner said.

"He joined Red Bull Racing fairly early on and he's contributed a great deal to the team.

"He won nine grands prix for us and all of his podiums, bar one, have come in a Red Bull Racing car.

"So it's been great being able to provide Mark with a car to demonstrate his talent and it's been a relationship which has worked great during his time with us."

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