Q & A with Mark Webber

Mark Webber says he is not taking anything for granted ahead of the new Formula 1 season after the Red Bull driver set a new benchmark time of 1m19.299s time in testing at Jerez on Friday

Q & A with Mark Webber

The Australian revealed after his proper consistently dry day of running that he believed the new RB6 to be a 'good car' but that it was too early to say how it compares to that of his McLaren and Ferrari rivals.

Q. How representative were the times? You did a 1m19.3s...

Mark Webber: Yeah. It wasn't too bad today, it was good to get some dry running in. It was a mixture of very high and other different fuel loads. It's got to be done because every dry lap is pretty important these days so this is a lot better than we expected today. Also tomorrow looks half decent.

It's a good baseline for us to work on next week as well in terms of consistent testing. This is the first time we have had a consistent track, so hopefully next week we can start to home in on a few more specific things.

Q. Have you had to re-jig the plan for the last couple of days given that the last two have been a washout?

MW: Not really. Both Seb [Vettel] and I wanted to test similar things because as a team that's the things we had highlighted to test. He would have been doing the things I was doing today if it had been drier for him sooner. I think that we both do the same things for the team so it was a question of the conditions controlling what we would test. We need more track time to evaluate things.

Q. You didn't seem to do any really long runs compared to some of the other guys.

MW: We did a few. We had one red flag I think, but yes we would have liked to have done at least one more. We'll probably do one a bit longer than we had planned for tomorrow to make up for it.

Q. What are the new tyres like?

MW: The fronts don't seem to be going too bad today. They are behaving differently to last week already so we have got some good information on the fronts. And the rears are certainly of interest to get your head around! We know that Jerez is a pretty special venue for tyres - in terms of how demanding it can be on them.

I think everyone is learning a lot about the tyres as they go along. Even if we had had this spec of tyre on the low-fuel cars last year it still would have taken a learning curve. It's just that it's coupled with a new type of tyre along with a heavier car.

Q. Which compound were you guys running with today?

MW: Both.

Q. There was a story in the news that you thought about leaving F1 after your accident...

MW: No it wasn't after my accident. It was like the Williams times, times when I wasn't enjoying every single moment in my career, and there are times when I think I might go and do something else, but the fire was re-lit with Red Bull basically. I was very excited about working with these guys.

It's absolutely nothing against Williams at all, it's just that part of my career was frustrating and I wasn't enjoying my work as much as I would have liked to. But it changed at Red Bull. Totally 180 [degrees] the other way. It's put some petrol on the fire now and I enjoy my work again.

Q. So there is nothing about Formula 1 now that makes you still think of leaving the sport?

MW: No. The slow cars that we'll have at the start of the race this year, things like that where it's disappointing to be going backwards in terms of lap time, or in terms of how F1 is as a driver... You always want to be pushing flat out, that's how I like F1 to be and in the past - particularly last year and the few years before that - that's how it has been. But this year is a little different.

But this is a challenge for the driver to get used to. We have a new regulation all the time, traction control on, traction control off, V8s, V10s, we always have a different situation. So this is a new challenge for us this year with the fuel and I don't see anything that is particularly frustrating me or making me change my mind over my position.

Q. Has it been a benefit for you working with Sebastian?

MW: It was very enjoyable last year. A healthy rivalry for sure. It made me very determined and motivated to do well, because you have someone like that you have to be on the top of your game. I had a lot of good races last year. Qualifying was a little bit more demanding for me, particularly going into Q3. Q2 was interesting last year, but now at least we will have low fuel going all the way through so let's see how we go this year.

All in all we have the same relationship now as we did before we were team-mates which is a very good sign for us two, and that is also a credit to the team and how it has been managed from the management at the top through to the drivers and how we go about our business. It's not a team where there are unhealthy vibes going in one direction or the other. It's a healthy team and that's why it helps the drivers have a good relationship.

Q. Have you ever had a really bad team-mate in your career?

MW: Not really. I've had different ones, but not bad ones.

Q. From your experiences so far in testing, do you think Adrian Newey has come up with another miracle of aerodynamics?

MW: Adrian, unfortunately always moves the bar very high for himself so he makes a rod for his own back he gets to such a high level. He's such a genius. Obviously last year there were a lot of people that were copying some of his concepts this year - which is a real credit to Adrian because he was the guy that thought of these things last year.

But he is a very competitive guy, whether it is on a tennis court or in racing cars he is competitive, so he is always thinking of ways to find performance and luckily enough for him, he is a big part of the performance of the car. We are happy about that because he is very clever and he generally knows what things to attack. It's all prioritisation and what areas you want to focus on.

He's generally pretty good. For sure he has had some difficult cars, in the McLaren days there were a few that didn't work out, but generally Adrian is a good guy to have in your corner. He has won so many races and is one of the all-time greats in terms of F1 design.

Q. Do you think that Red Bull is a step ahead again, compared to the others?

MW: Today was pretty good, next week might be different. We need to keep an eye on things as they progress in the early part of the championship. I promise you that in Malaysia we won't be talking about the second test in Jerez, things change fast in F1.

Q. Today in the dry, could you sense some improvements in comparison with the old car?

MW: Yeah. When the car is very, very heavy, it's a different ball game. Plus the tyres... it's like Roger Federer with a tennis racket - the tyres are crucial for us. The tyres are that different as they are. It's so hard to compare. But the basics of the car are very good - we have a good car. We still have more learning to do and there is a lot of hard work to be done.

Webber cautious over RB6 testing pace

Previous article

Webber cautious over RB6 testing pace

Next article

Kobayashi plays down loss of mileage

Kobayashi plays down loss of mileage
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Plus

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021