Jacques Villeneuve has admitted he wants Mark Webber to beat his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel to the 2010 title.
The 1997 world champion, in Australia for a touring car race, said the Australian driver has been “amazing” in the face of difficult conditions.
“He’s been very strong mentally, it’s the best he’s ever driven, and the team has been against him as well,” said Villeneuve, referring to Webber’s struggle for status alongside the rising star Vettel in 2010.
Earlier this week, French Canadian Villeneuve said he thinks Webber has a mental advantage over Vettel, who he denounced as “spoilt” by Red Bull.
The German newspaper Die Welt said Villeneuve’s opinion is widespread within the driver camp, its headline announcing that Vettel is “unpopular among his colleagues”.
Rubens Barrichello said the ill-feeling can be traced back to Silverstone, where Webber triumphed despite publicly declaring he felt like a “number 2 driver”.
Red Bull has pledged equality, at least for the three-race run to the Abu Dhabi finale, but team boss Christian Horner thinks the team has bigger problems.
“We are going to have to reckon with tactical games,” said the Briton, referring to Ferrari’s clear system of preference as Felipe Massa supports Fernando Alonso’s title charge.
“Our philosophy,” added Horner, “is different.”
© RIF | GMM