Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has conceded that the energy drinks-backed outfit is being built specifically around Sebastian Vettel, clearly seeing the 23-year-old as the squad's future whilst reflecting that Mark Webber is conversely now 'in the autumn of his career'.
There have been constant paddock murmurings this year that whilst Red Bull is eager to see one of its two drivers crowned F1 2010 World Champion come season's end, they would be considerably happier were that driver to be Vettel rather than Webber.
The contentious coming-together in Istanbul – when the German was defended and the Australian publicly blamed by team management for a costly collision that the vast majority of observers held to be the former's fault – and the now infamous front wing episode at Silverstone have only served to add fuel to the fire.
What's more, Horner's insistence that neither of the pair will be favoured over the final three races of the campaign has been perceived as an implicit admission that the team really wants Vettel to lift the laurels – given that Webber is currently 14 points ahead in the title standings, and would be the hot favourite to triumph if only he had the support of his team-mate as does the chasing Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.
Having previously quipped that he wanted to sign his young protégé up until '2028' [see separate story – click here], Horner's latest pronouncement appears to all-but confirm that 2010 represents Webber's only realistic chance of claiming world championship glory for himself – given that henceforth, he will likely be a mere postscript to Vettel's burning ambition and aspirations.
“I repeat, we are building the team around Sebastian,” the 36-year-old Englishman told German publication Auto Bild. “Sebastian has a long career ahead of him, and hopefully he will spend it with us. Mark is in the autumn of his career. He wants to retire while he's at the top, not when he's past his peak like some other drivers.”