Mark Webber Q&A

In his first year with Jaguar Mark Webber proved to be one of the revelations of the season. His performances in qualifying came as a surprise to many, and for much of the season he was a contender for points. Mark also made life hard for team-mates Antonio Pizzonia and Justin Wilson, both of whom found their reputations taking a battering. However, his final total was disappointing, and in real terms he scored less than Eddie Irvine managed the previous year with an inferior car. Crashes when well placed in Brazil and Indianapolis didn't help, but more damage was done by poor reliability and the team's inability to get the most out of its package on Sundays. Adam Cooper asked the Aussie for his thoughts on the past season and the one to come

Mark Webber Q&A



"It's been a good season, but the frustrating thing was the retirements in the first three races. I was running fifth in Melbourne with plenty of fuel in the car, and we had a driveshaft failure. In Malaysia I was eighth and we lost the engine there. And in Brazil I crashed. We were carrying extra kilos from the first stop there with a fuel pressure problem. We had a lot of things going on at the start of the year, and we lost a lot of points there with team errors in terms of reliability, and also my mistakes.

"We learned a lot in Brazil, and we knew we were going well from the get-off. We were very disciplined in the winter in terms of testing, and we weren't getting involved in any low fuel runs. We got to Melbourne and we were very quick in the race, so we were all very happy, and we knew it was going to be a reasonable year for us. The points we've got I've been happy with, and I'm happy with how I've taken this opportunity with Jaguar. I've grabbed it with both hands. It's been a very solid year, and I've really enjoyed working with the guys. There are a lot of clever guys in the team who are making my job easy, so it's good."



"The car was good on one lap, but on Fridays we did tend to have a better circuit as the session went on - Michael always had worse track conditions than I did, for example. In Budapest we were third on Friday, and Michael was 12th. It think our average Friday position has been fourth of fifth. It's an achievement, but it's not fair conditions for everyone. Saturday is more fair in a way, because the track is not ramping up as much as it does on Friday."



"Yeah, Budapest was solid I think. We had two massive qualifying laps, and in the race I had a lot of attention early on because of my graining. But not one person ahead of me retired. If there was some attrition, we could have finished on the podium. There wasn't any, so we weren't. That was a race where Rubens retired behind me. It was really, really enjoyable, and it was a sixth place we really earned."



"I wasn't too fired up, to be honest. We went very long, we had a lot of fuel from qualifying, and I was determined to stay out as long as possible, even in the rain. I was just hoping that it would stop raining. It's something Ayrton Senna would have done! Sometimes it backfires, sometimes you have a big win from it. When we had the shower before the start of the race I was very surprised how quick the track dried, so I had that in mind of course. The rain obviously was a bit too heavy and I lost the car round the back. I was due in that lap."



"It did, especially that part of the track. The guys asked me about the tyres when I crossed the line, and I said I still want grooves at the next stop. But when I got to Turn 6 I realised there was no way, because the rain had really started. We'd had a discussion on the grid, and I was going on the aggressive side for sure, because I wanted to make the dries work. I felt if we went onto the wets it was going to be difficult to compete. I'd probably do the same again, unless it's ridiculous and you've got to swallow the pill and come in."



"It was. But like the guys said, you can also throw 17 other points into the pot as well. It's always going to be expensive in terms of points when you go off in a position like that, but you've got to play hard to win well. If you take the conservative line you're not going to win much at all."



"It would be nice, it always helps. Every single area would benefit. We know the weaknesses, and we've got some big ones, which is good news for us. We know what we need to work on for next year, and we'll be focussing very hard on that in the winter. We obviously don't need to work too much on our qualy performances, we need to work on our race performances, which comes with testing and mileage and working hard with Michelin. People might think it's easy - let's just do this, move the weight around, and do X, Y and Z. We're working hard to address the problems."



"Oh yes. The revolving door, as they call it! You don't have to double check and triple check everything from winter to winter. These guys are in the same position, and they know what pain we've gone through this year in certain areas, they know where we're strong and where we're weak, and we'll roll with that into January and February, which is important, instead of having new people come in with their chest out or whatever. Everyone wants to feel important when they arrive, and that's probably what's happened in the last three or four years. But now we've got a super team, good guys, and everyone can be very happy with it."



"Yeah. Of course I want to be winning races, but there's time for that. I want to give it the best shot here as possible. I really enjoy working with the guys. You can never say never, you don't know what's going to happen, but at the moment, I'm focussing on Jaguar."



"If you think they could have won the constructors' this year and they're thinking about putting you in one of their cars, that is a very big pat on the back, for sure. The next step would be Ferrari, in terms of your emotions."

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