Melbourne: Alan Jones, the 1980 Formula One world champion, says his Australian compatriot Mark Webber will be spurred to outperform teammate Sebastian Vettel this season by reports that the German is getting paid twice as much.
Vettel recently signed a lucrative contract extension with Red Bull that lasts to the end of the 2014 season and which enhanced status since claiming the 2010 drivers' championship.
Webber is now a distinct No.2 in the team, and Jones said that should ignite the Australian's fighting spirit in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix and for the remainder of the season.
"I believe Mark's brutally realistic attitude to racing can put all that aside and that he will throw everything at Vettel and be a championship contender," Jones said in Melbourne newspaper The Age.
"If Mark needs any more incentive, what better than Vettel's new multiyear contract, which I'm told is about double what Mark is getting. If it was me, I'd take great delight in beating the driver who the team bosses thought was worth twice as much."
Jones said Webber must assert himself early in the season by outperforming Vettel, after the German got the upper hand toward the end of 2010 after a close tussle in the first half of the campaign.
"One of Mark's strengths is his ability to surround himself with a strong engineering support group focused totally on him," Jones said.
"He has had the best preseason preparation of his career and I reckon he has both the car and the self-belief to do it."