Horner: No change to Red Bull driver equality

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Christian Horner says both Red Bull drivers will continue to receive equal treatment by the team this year.

Sebastian Vettel has won the drivers’ championship for the last three years running but Horner indicated he would not receive any special status as a result:

“I expect them to push each other very hard as they have for the last few years and to do their best for the team,” he said.

“We’ll be giving both of them equal opportunity, they’ve always enjoyed that whilst they’ve raced together.”

Mark Webber is set to reach his landmark 200th race during the season and Horner praised his contribution to the team: “He obviously joined Red Bull Racing fairly early on and has contributed a great deal to the team.

“He’s won nine Grands Prix for us and all of his podiums bar one have come in a Red Bull Racing car. So it’s been great that we’ve been able to provide Mark with a car to demonstrate his talents and it’s been a relationship that’s worked well during his time with us.”

Horner expects challenges from several teams in the upcoming season: “I think there’s going to be some big opponents: Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, Felipe Massa was fast at the end of last year.

“Jenson Button in the McLaren, Lewis [Hamilton] in his new environment at Mercedes is going to be a factor and, of course, the Lotuses are a dark horse. So it’s not just about our two guys it’s about the competitors they’re racing against as well.”

See more from Horner in the video below:

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.