Mike Stevens | Jul 2, 2009

RED BULL BOSS Christian Horner has rubbished claims his team will install Sebastian Vettel as the number one driver for the second half of the championship.

After winning at Silverstone, many pundits claimed the Milton Keynes-based outfit should throw its support behind Vettel, declaring the young driver as the best opportunity to challenge Jenson Button for the driver's crown despite leading teammate Mark Webber by a mere 3.5 points.

But with the season only approaching the halfway mark, Horner said it would be premature to relegate one of its drivers to secondary status.

"It's early in the season to be talking like that for the moment. We will support both drivers equally, but if there comes a time for either driver to have a serious crack at the championship in the last few events, they are both team players and will drive accordingly," he said.

Horner also attempted to dispel concerns Vettel and Webber's fierce on-track rivalry was affecting the team, saying the duo are able to work amicably with the Red Bull engineers.

"They are both professional drivers, they are both at different stages in their career and they are both working for a strong team," he said.

"Obviously there is a professional rivalry between the two of them, but there is no number one driver. Updates are being introduced to the car equally at every race and that's the way it will continue."

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Webber meanwhile remains upbeat about his chances of making a late season tilt for the World Championship after closing his gap to Button to 28.5 points ahead of this weekend's race at the Nurburgring.

Despite the seemingly impossible task facing Webber, history shows the deficit is not completely insurmountable after Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen won the 2007 World Championship despite trailing then leader Lewis Hamilton by 20 points with only six rounds remaining.

While the Australian had previously garnered a reputation as a one-lap wonder who struggled on Sunday, Webber has managed to dispel that myth this year, securing four podium finishes and outperforming Vettel on five occasions in the opening eight rounds of the season.

However, he appears to have struggled compared to Vettel in qualifying, a fact the 32-year old acknowledges he will need to change if he is indeed going to become the first Australian to win the world title since Alan Jones in 1980.

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"Saturday is crucial, we know that, in terms of how tight it is between the four of us, and especially in the last few events," he said.

"I'm still very confident that I can haul some good points in the future. Whether it's enough to be consistently ahead remains to be seen. I'm out there and I'm very happy with my performances so far this year.''

With the Red Bull appearing to overtake Brawn as the premier car in the field at Silverstone, Webber said the championship race is now likely to heat up during this middle part of the season.

He said: "It doesn't take much to turn things round, so I'm looking forward to the Nurburgring. It could be mixed conditions and then we've got Budapest. There are some good races coming up which will test us again and I'm looking forward to it.''

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