- Mark Webber at odds with Red Bull's motor sport chief
- Webber says Helmut Marko has his "own agenda"
- Marko said Webber went into a "downward spiral" under pressure
- Australian star Webber has had final operation on his right leg
Mark Webber has shrugged off disparaging comments made about him by Red Bull's motor sport advisor Helmut Marko, claiming that they did not come as a surprise.
Marko cast doubt on the Australian F1 star's ability to cope with the pressure of being a title contender and compared him in unflattering terms to his teammate and three-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
"It seems to me that Webber has on average two races per year where he is unbeatable, but he can't maintain this form throughout the year.
"And as soon as his prospects start to look good in the world championship, he has a little trouble with the pressure that this creates," Marko was quoted in Red Bull's own in-house magazine.
"In comparison with Seb's rising form, it seems to me that Mark's form somehow flattens out.
"If some technical mishap occurs, like with the alternator for example, he falls relatively easily into a downward spiral," was the verdict of Austrian Marko, who is a close friend of Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz
Webber, who has been preparing for the 2013 season in Australia, took a pragmatic view of the remarks.
"Look, everyone at this level has their own agendas and it's been evident for a long time now that I've never been a part of Marko's," he told his personal website.
Webber is hoping to be in peak condition for a crucial season for both himself and his all-conquering team.
He underwent surgery last month on the right leg he broke at a mountain bike event in Tasmania in December 2009.
A small piece of titanium rod, which had been inserted for support in the original operation, was taken out.
"I didn't really know what to expect from having it removed," admitted Webber.
"But I'm very happy that some of the niggles and pain I've sometimes experienced with my training over the past three years already seem to be a thing of the past."
The 36-year-old will go into the season with a new race engineer after his long-time partner Ciaron Pilbeam left Red Bull for Lotus.
Simon Rennie has done the reverse switch to work with Webber.
"I'm certainly looking forward to getting my hands on the RB9 and I also have a new race engineer in Simon Rennie. It's going to be important to have a solid pre-season with him," Webber said.
Webber will open an "exciting and challenging" 2013 season on March 17 in front of his home fans in Australia, seeking his first win on the Melbourne street circuit.