Q & A with Mark Webber
|By Simon Strang||Friday, June 19th 2009, 09:46 GMT|
Q. Is the British Grand Prix more important that the French Grand Prix?
Mark Webber: I'm sure the French are missing it. It's like when Jacques Villeneuve stopped or Juan Pablo Montoya stopped, people forgot them in two days. People move on. People will move on from this, but I think it's important to have it. People do forget very fast, that's the way it is these days, people are over things very quickly. So no British Prix... life goes on, but it will be a shame.
Q. What are your chances this weekend?
MW: I think our chances are very good. We are coming off the back of a strong result in Turkey and the biggest most disappointing thing there was the gap to Jenson. It was our biggest gap to him all year. I don't think he drove his fastest in Monaco but at other events, like Barcelona, I think we have been closer. Brawn were very strong in in Turkey and we hope that is not going to be the case here again, but wishing doesn't get you anywhere and we need to go and do it fair and square in the dry. That's what we are going to try and do.
Q. How much closer are you to achieving that?
MW: Well. When you start knocking out a few fair podiums, that's when I feel I'm getting closer.
Q. So the belief is there?
MW: Yeah it is. A lot of my drives I have been happy with and I know that the opportunity will come, and I am looking forward to the day when there is no one else in front of me. When that will happen we don't know. It might be a little bit of luck, but if it is, I'll bloody take it and I won't care how I get it. But if it isn't with luck and it's all by my own merit then I will be happy with that as well.
Q. Do you like the track, do you feel at one with it?
MW: Yes of course. I have done a lot of work here. I've raced in Formula Ford, Formula 3, F3000, sportscars and Formula 1 and it's a track I know well. It's a sensational circuit. To drive a Formula 1 car here is incredible. So it's a very, very enjoyable track to drive and there's no-one in the pitlane that doesn't say that. Seeing the boys bolting the car together is exciting and I am looking forward to coming back here tomorrow.
Q. Is this the most challenging and dramatic circuit, or is that Spa?
MW: It's in the top three. Suzuka's first sector is pretty exhilarating as well, Spa is very good and here.
Q. If you have equal cars and equal drivers and it comes down to strategy, how do you work that out?
MW: We've had a few close races. It's a fantastic problem for the team to have, because we are getting the most out of the car. Sebastian has been a little unlucky in a few races where it hasn't quite fallen his way. I've had clean races and clean strategies and it has gone my way. But you can't plan for just normal grands prix on strategy because sometimes something does happen.
You have to plan to get both cars to the finish as the most efficient way as possible and that's the way we always do it as a team, going into Q3 and picking the right fuel loads to make sure the cars are in with the best chance of getting the best result. Obviously Sebastian has run short on quite a few occasions, but that's fine because I'm not that much longer than him. That's the way we've done the races.
It's really that you can't stop on the same lap so you have to have one that is running longer. Also that goes for the second pitstop as well. If you had three cars you'd have more or a problem, we have two so we try and do the best job possible to split the race as best we can. There will be cases where we are close together on the track.
Q. Do you have a veto when you feel it's not the right strategy for you?
MW: It's very rare we go against the strategy blokes. We can swing them here and there and obviously the driver has to be totally behind the strategy. For example Sebastian's in Monaco was not that appealing to me, so we tried it on the other car.
Q. So is it that you would rather go for a more conservative strategy?
MW: No mine's not that conservative actually. I'm stopping with everyone else, it's just that the other car is stopping even shorter. I am not long, I am standard.
Q. How much input do you have in the strategy decisions?
MW: They have got all the numbers, on tyre degradation, KERS cars, non-KERS cars being around you. Us drivers aren't that clever mate, we just want to drive the car flat out, so they tell us the best way to do that.
Q. Are you distracted by the off-track politics of the moment or are you focussed on the racing?
MW: I have no problems at all. When the helmet is on it's easy. It's getting boring now, I just want to race the car.
Q. You have lots of new parts on the car this weekend. Do you start each weekend having to learn a new car these days?
MW: With the new regulation change obviously we have had a lot of developments coming into the car from Melbourne onwards. Every team in the pitlane is the same. The team would never put anything on the car that they think would be quite difficult for the drivers to feel or have any understanding of. They know what Sebastian and I like and we are very fortunate to be able to develop the car in that fashion, and it's much easier for the designers to push that way.
So basically I will do the first running in tomorrow like I would my last few laps in Turkey. Of course it is a different track, and it will be green, so you have to get used to a few things, but it is not about getting used to the car.
Q. Is this circuit for your car than Turkey?
MW: It is different. It's more closer to Barcelona. There is only one mega-fast corner in Turkey and that's Turn 8. It's banked and bumpy and it's a very unique corner. Here is a lot flatter, like Turn 3 and Turn 9 at Barcelona. So to answer your question it is different, but whether that relays to us being closer to Brawn, we will find out on Sunday. Not even on Saturday, because Jenson's qualifying pace was not too bad and the Ferraris were only two or three tenths off in qualy, and then they are one second off in the race because the cars and tyres are so sensitive.
Q. How much of a step are you expecting this weekend?
MW: We hope a few tenths… one or two tenths maximum.
Q. Is that enough?
MW: We will see.
Q. We have heard the car is pretty different?
MW: You'll see.