Red Bull Racing's outspoken adviser Dr Helmut Marko has indicated Mark Webber will be expected to play a supporting role to Sebastian Vettel as the German bids to make it four Formula One titles in a row in 2013.
Webber won impressively in Monaco and Britain last season but otherwise struggled for consistency as he finished a distant sixth in the drivers' championship.
Vettel clinched a third straight title in thrilling fashion at the final race in Brazil in November, having won five races over the course of the campaign.
Although Red Bull insist both men have equal standing and are free to race each other, Marko said Webber was aware of where he stood heading into the new season.
"Mark knows what we expect of him," Marko told German newspaper Sport Bild.
"For four years, Vettel and Webber have driven together in our team. Sebastian was runner-up once and champion three times.
"The statistic speaks for itself. There is no reason to think the balance of power will change."
Webber signed a new one-year deal with Red Bull after his victory at Silverstone in July.
The 36-year-old Australian said finding the right time to retire would be crucial, but he is yet to decide when.
"I haven't been there yet but it is going to be a very difficult moment, no question about it," Webber told GP International magazine.
"I suppose it's just about getting the timing right - not pulling the plug too early, knowing you have more to give of yourself, or going too long and not being quick enough or struggling to do the things you used to be able to do.
"That can become an issue as well."