Webber vows to challenge champion teammate Vettel in 2012
February 27, 2012 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Australian driver Mark Webber has been with the Britain-based Red Bull team for five seasons.
- Mark Webber wants to challenge teammate Sebastian Vettel for the F1 world championship
- Webber watched as Vettel became F1's youngest double world champion last season
- The 2012 season begins with Webber's home grand prix in Australia on March 18
- The 35-year-old's contract with Red Bull expires at the end of this season
(CNN) -- Mark Webber could have been forgiven for feeling like a guest at someone else's party during the 2011 Formula One season, looking on as his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel charged to a second consecutive world championship.
The Australian finished third in the drivers' standings -- a massive 135 points behind his German teammate after winning just one race all year, at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
The 35-year-old, who is entering the final year of his Red Bull contract, wants to push on from November's victory and challenge for a first drivers' championship when the new season begins next month.
"I had a pretty strong finish last season but unfortunately it was not the best of starts," Webber, who is entering his 11th season in the elite division of motorsport, told the official F1 website.
Female driver fires up NASCAR series
Danica Patrick enters world of NASCAR
The fascination with Danica Patrick
"So for 2012 I want to have a good start, keep it together in the middle part and have a good finish. And then let's count up the points."
Webber watched as Vettel won 11 of 19 grands prix last year to become F1's youngest double world champion.
The former Williams driver is convinced the championship will be closer in 2012, with rival teams Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes all looking to reign in back-to-back constructors' champions Red Bull.
"We know that Mercedes need to win races this year, Ferrari would like to win races this year, McLaren want to win and we want to win. So let's go to Melbourne to find out.
"Last year it was never just the two Red Bull drivers. It's true Sebastian had a fantastic season last year, but in 2010 everything was much closer. And I think it is the goal to bring it back to that at least."
For the second year running the season will begin with Webber's home grand prix in Australia. He has yet to win in Melbourne, with his best result being fifth in 2005 and 2011.
For 2012 I want to have a good start, keep it together in the middle part and have a good finish
"Irrespective of where the first race is, I want to win it and I am really excited to start the season," he said.
"Sure there is a bit more tension at the home race, but in the car you do your thing wherever you are. I am not going to let anything distract me in Melbourne. That is the plan."
Whether 2012 will be Webber's final year with the Austrian-owned Red Bull team remains to be seen, but he is determined to focus on achieving results on the track.
"When you are in front in Formula One you are always under intense scrutiny. Every corner is analyzed. If teams don't like a driver's style or discipline it does not matter who is waiting in the wings -- you are out anyway," he said.
"Teams will always look at what's best for them as drivers are a huge part of the team. I respect that and will focus on 2012 in this fashion."
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Glitz... check, glamor... check. Teams going bust... er, check. F1 generates billion-dollar revenues, so why can't some of its teams stay afloat?
November 7, 2014 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
With the sport currently facing up to a financial crisis, motorsport journalist Ed Foster explores the history of F1 sponsorship.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0958 GMT (1758 HKT)
He's paid millions to drive one of the world's fastest cars, and he's one of F1's most colorful characters, but Kimi Raikkonen loves normality.
October 12, 2014 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
It took a little longer than expected but MotoGP's young star Marc Marquez wraps up his second world title in Japan.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1039 GMT (1839 HKT)
Rising star Daniil Kvyat made history as the home hero at F1's first Russian Grand Prix, ahead of next season's move to Red Bull.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
September 5, 2014 -- Updated 1604 GMT (0004 HKT)
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.