Webber happy to help Ricciardo settle

Veteran envisages no competitive tension with the newest kid on the block.

Veteran envisages no competitive tension with the newest kid on the block.

MARK Webber says he envisages no competitive tension with the newest kid on the block, fellow Australian Daniel Ricciardo, despite the fact his arrival on the formula one grid puts him in prime position to eventually succeed the veteran at Red Bull.

As if it has not been hard enough for Webber to constantly field questions about his rivalry with teammate and world champion Sebastian Vettel, the 35-year-old now has to contend with questions on the arrival of Ricciardo and Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne at Red Bull's development team, Toro Rosso. Webber played a key role in easing Western Australian Ricciardo's transition into formula one but at testing in southern Spain, Ricciardo said both now had to run their own race.

''I guess he's still got his career now and his things to worry about - I'll try not to get in his way too much,'' the 22-year-old said. ''And, you know, now we are on the same route together, maybe he doesn't want to tell me too much but that is completely understandable.''

Webber told The Sunday Age he was not contemplating retirement and said even though his replacement might come from the young men at Toro Rosso, it would not fuel tension. ''Not at all, you know, I've been through enough on and off the track to know that nothing is forever,'' he said.

''[According to the media] I was supposed to be replaced by Kimi [Raikkonen] four years ago.''

He said the arrival of a second Australian on the grid did not necessarily open doors to formula one for others. ''I think what could and will happen is that when you have Australians winning and if Daniel goes on to have a good career, which I have no doubt that he will, it stimulates more people to have a crack at it but it won't be made any easier in many ways. I still think you'll have to be trying very hard.''

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