Webber: Vettel puts pressure on RBR

Mark Webber says the arrival of Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull Racing next season will force the team to raise their game after being beaten by the young German's Toro Rosso this year

Webber: Vettel puts pressure on RBR

Toro Rosso leapt up the order once they had acclimatised to the 2008 Red Bull chassis, and become the drinks company's leading Formula One operation despite being ostensibly the junior team.

Webber says it is important for Red Bull to ensure that Vettel's team switch does not turn out to be a backwards step.

"There will be a lot of pressure on the team with him arriving, because it needs to be a step forward for him, so they need to give him at least what Toro Rosso gave him this year in terms of performance," Webber told autosport.com.

"I think it is good for the team that they have someone who has been going quick in the same car in another team with Sebastian. It is nice to have that. I am always a big fan of having fresh ideas from other teams, whether it is a driver or an engineer. I think it is good. It can help sometimes."

While the power advantage provided by Toro Rosso's Ferrari engine was widely pinpointed as the reason for this disparity, Webber said there was more to Red Bull's problems than their Renault V8.

"You can't always put it down to bad luck or we must do better, you cannot ignore the fact that (Sebastien) Bourdais and Vettel were quicker than us in most places we went to. Why? I don't know. It is not just Sebastian, it is Bourdais as well."

Webber admitted that Red Bull's poor second half of the season came as a huge disapppointment, the team only taking five points in the last ten rounds having previously achieved 24 points.

Toro Rosso scored 32 points in the second half of 2008, and also won the Italian Grand Prix.

"We didn't run out of steam, but we certainly didn't score enough points - that is bloody clear," Webber said.

"The races come thick and fast, you do your best at every one you go to, and clearly it was a let down from the start we had.

"We had six points finishes on the bounce, and a lot of those races weren't given to us - we drove to them, we qualified there. So to be on 18 points early on, and now to be only on 20-odd, having nicked just a couple in recent races, it was hard."

The Australian added that while he believes Vettel's arrival will push Red Bull forward, he doesn't think he has anything to fear from the young German.

"I've had many teammates - and many who people said would be champions of the future," said Webber.

"Whether it was (Antonio) Pizzonia, or (Nico) Rosberg, or whoever - it is more rewarding to have the guys that are quick because at the end of the day, I go back after races on Monday morning, we are still part of the team, and if in my career I had just operated on the level of my teammate then it would not have been enough.

"So you ignore that and you focus on yourself, that is what it is all about. You get the most out of yourself and the most out of your team. If your teammate get more out of it then fair does, but if you are one tenth or sixth tenths quicker then that is how it is. Another new chapter in my career with another new teammate and it's the same thing.

"It is a pretty good driver line-up. He has gathered a lot of experience very quickly, partly because he is a gifted young guy.

"The frightening thing with him is that he will get better. Vettel and myself hopefully will have a good relationship, which seems to be the case at the moment. Obviously when you race each other in the same team, the relationship can be a bit strained at times but we should be alright."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Author Jonathan Noble
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