• Red Bull

Horner will miss Webber's attitude

ESPN Staff
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he will miss Mark Webber's forthright approach to Formula One when the Australian leaves the sport at the end of this race weekend.

Webber will drive in the World Endurance Championship for Porsche next year, turning his back on Formula One after 12 years in the top flight. His relationship with Red Bull has been stretched to breaking point over his seven years at the team, following several run-ins with team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who he has suspected the team of favouring in the past.

But Horner said he would not miss Webber's tell-it-like-it-is attitude.

"I'll miss his speed, his dedication, his forthrightness - despite that being uncomfortable at times - he calls it as it is," Horner said. "He's a competitor and I've known him for a long time since I tried to sign him in Formula 3000. It's been a great pleasure to see him to see him fulfil his potential at Red Bull Racing."

Horner admitted there were moments in the team-driver relationship that could have been handled better, but insisted there were more ups than downs.

"There's always things with hindsight that you say we could have handled a little better, but that goes in both directions," he said. "In the seven years that Mark's been here, we as a team have done our very best to support him baring in mind he had one podium before he arrived and now he's got over 40 and nine victories and he's been a big part of our four constructors' victories. Inevitably there are going to be ups and downs in that period, but there have been more ups than downs.

"It's always going to be very tough for any driver going up against someone of Sebastian's quality and calibre. If he just rolled over and did that then he may as well have stopped then. What does he do? He keeps fighting and pushing.

"It's always going to be very difficult for any driver to go up alongside Sebastian, who has achieved the kind of success he has. Ultimately, the only person you can gauge yourself against in the pit lane is your team-mate. You still have the same equipment and the same tools at their disposal. Inevitably, of course, that has been hard for him."

Horner confirmed his two drivers would be free to race as Webber aims for his final F1 victory this weekend and Vettel chases the record of winning nine races in a row.

"It'll be the same as it's been all year. The two of them - unless there is absolutely unheard of circumstances, when they probably won't pay the slightest bit of notice anyway - are absolutely free to race."

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