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Mark Webber backs Ricciardo and Red Bull

Even in Formula One retirement, Mark Webber can't say the `S' word.

Webber has counselled his Australian compatriot Daniel Ricciardo, who has taken his seat with reigning F1 champions Red Bull Racing.

But in all their chats, Webber hasn't mentioned the `S' word - Sebastian Vettel.

Asked on Friday if he'd given Ricciardo any tips on dealing with Vettel, Webber curtly replied: "Nup. Not at all."

Webber's strained relationship with his former teammate Vettel defined their time as Red Bull Racing teammates - bluntly, they despised each other.


And Webber said Ricciardo would have to fend for himself in the Red Bull Racing ranks with Vettel.

"I have spoken to him (Ricciardo) a little bit ... but he's a big boy," Webber said.

"He doesn't need much advice. Everyone has got to do it their own way.

"He's in a sensational team, there's a lot of experience inside the team to help him in achieving what he wants. He knows that he can do a good job and he's ready for it."

Webber retired after finishing third in the drivers' championship last year, with Vettel the runaway winner.

The Australian said he wasn't missing F1 ahead of the season-opening Australian grand prix in Melbourne.

"I'm happy to be here chilling out," he said at the Albert Park track.

"I had my time. I'm very very happy with my long career and it's time for the other guys.

"Daniel now is in the seat and he can really enjoy a long career and capitalise on his potential. He has earnt his stripes and I'm looking forward to seeing how he'll go."

Webber said predictions of Red Bull Racing's demise were premature, despite widespread troubles in preseason testing of new hybrid turbo engines, bodywork changes and fuel restrictions.

"This is absolutely new technology, it's trail-blazing," Webber said.

"It's in its embryonic stage so this new technology is very, very difficult for the teams to get on top of so quickly.

"There could be some frustrations.

"It's a very tricky start to the year in Melbourne ... it would be a very brave man to underestimate Red Bull."