Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has lauded Mark Webber’s work rate as “second to none” as the 35-year-old Australian looks to build on a consistent start to the 2012 Formula One World Championship.
Speaking to the Australian Grand Prix Keeping Track podcast, Horner said Webber’s quartet of fourth-place finishes in the opening four races of the season has the Red Bull driver in a strong position to fight for the title as he did in 2010.
“There’s a world of difference in Mark this year and he seems to be in a great place at the moment,” Horner said of Webber, who sits in third place in the championship standings and who has also be surrounded by rumours that he will join Ferrari next year.
“He’s more relaxed and his performances have been very, very strong. His confidence is high, and I think he can put together a very strong campaign this year. His work rate is second to none, and he’s very focused on fighting for the championship this year.”
Horner also praised the start to the year by Daniel Ricciardo as the West Australian youngster competes in his first full season with Scuderia Toro Rosso, the sister team of Red Bull Racing. Ricciardo scored points on his Australian debut when he finished ninth in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and Horner has been impressed with the 22-year-old’s raw pace.
“Daniel is doing a good job, and he’s showing a real turn of speed,” Horner said.
“His qualifying in Bahrain was phenomenal; to put the car sixth on the grid was fantastic. I think it’s great for Australia to have two world-class drivers with Mark and now the emergence of Daniel.”
In an expansive interview with Keeping Track, Horner surprisingly questioned the benefits of in-season testing, spoke of Pirelli’s influence on the 2012 World Championship, and discussed how reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel has recovered from a difficult start to his title defence.
Copyright-free, broadcast-quality audio from the interview with Horner is available for use and download at this link.
Keeping Track is the official podcast of the Australian Grand Prix. Hosted by renowned motorsport journalists Stuart Sykes and Matt Clayton, the podcast features interviews with a host of key Formula One and MotoGP names at regular intervals throughout the season.