Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has backed Australian Mark Webber to improve and step out of his team-mate’s shadow in 2012.
For the 2011 season, The unlucky Aussie had to wait until the final round at Brazil to scoop up his first win of the season, and seventh win of his career. He finished the season in third place behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s Jenson Button.
But Horner believes that Webber will mount a stronger challenge for the 2012 season.
“Mark has been with the team for five seasons now and he’s a very valued member for the team,” Horner told Autosport.com “He’s training hard, his motivation seems very high and I’m sure he’s going to be fully focused on having a very strong 2012.”
Horner also said that it would be too early to back either of the two young Toro Rosso drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne who will partner up at Toro Rosso for the 2012 season..
“Those two guys are both very competitive,” Horner said. “They are products of the Red Bull junior program and are both Red Bull Racing drivers on loan to Toro Rosso to develop them. “Time will tell. There are no guarantees. It’s the best way to see how their talent evolves over the next season or so.”
Ricciardo, who featured for part of the 2011 season with HRT, and Vergne have replaced Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari. Buemi has since joined the Red Bull team as a reserve driver.