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Webber will be given equal treatment
11:08 AEST Wed Feb 6 2013

Red Bull racing boss Christian Horner insists three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel will not receive preferential treatment ahead of teammate Mark Webber this year.

Webber has openly wondered about his preferential treatment as far back as 2010, but Horner said until one driver began to show a clear winning trend compared to the other, the 36-year-old Australian would be given the same options as Vettel.

"Mark has been with team seven years, he knows he'll get equal treatment, that's why he's chosen to stay with us," Horner said.

"What happens on the circuit will determine which way our championship bid will tilt."

Webber said he anticipated it would be a tough season, with rival teams pushing Red Bull harder than last year, when they ended 60 points clear of Ferrari.

He said the team needed to adjust the car's tendency to understeer when going around bends.

"We're not having a Grand Prix race tomorrow, thank God, so we'll work hard," he said. "We're going to be pushed hard. The team have been through a lot in the last four or five years so we are very strong mentally to deal with some ups and downs, as we proved last year."

Horner said last year had taught him how vital an ingredient consistency was.

"We delivered when it mattered," Horner said. "You've got to make sure you get the maximum from each race weekend of the 19 available this season."

Horner said mechanical reliability needed to combine with driver consistency for results to be maximised.

Meanwhile, reliability issues that dogged Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button as McLaren teammates last season made an early appearance in pre-season testing in southern Spain on Tuesday.

As Button completed his third lap around the Jerez circuit, McLaren's redesigned MP4-28 spluttered to a halt just 10 minutes into testing with suspected fuel delivery problems.

The 2009 world champion helped team workers to cover the car before a truck arrived to transport it back to the pits.

Button, who was able to return in the afternoon session, said the team was concerned there could be a recurrence of the fuel pickup problem that caused Hamilton to abandon the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year after leading for 20 laps.

Although Hamilton did not drive for his new team Mercedes on Tuesday, there was a more spectacular car failure for the Briton's teammate Nico Rosberg as a flash of flames followed by smoke erupted from the rear of his Silver Arrow.

The session was interrupted while the car was towed off the track.

The problem which sidelined Rosberg for the rest of the day was attributed to a major wiring fault, the team said on its Twitter account.

"After identifying the cause of the problem we will not be running again today whilst parts are modified ready for tomorrow," the team said. "The part which requires modification is the wiring."

Hamilton is due to be at the wheel of Mercedes' new car on Wednesday.

Last season Hamilton and Button between them won seven out of 20 races - the same number as championship winners Red Bull - but McLaren still only came third overall because of a lack of reliability. Not ending races in the points was less of a problem for Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, which came second overall despite only clinching three wins.


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