Webber Aims to Follow Lead of Australian Idols

Australia's Mark Webber, who will switch from Jaguar to Williams next year, says he will draw on his nation's former World Champions Alan Jones and Jack Brabham to inspire his title bid.

Webber Aims to Follow Lead of Australian Idols

Australia's Mark Webber, who will switch from Jaguar to Williams next year, says he will draw on his nation's former World Champions Alan Jones and Jack Brabham to inspire his title bid.

Appearing via a video link at the launch of the 2005 Australian Grand Prix today, Webber said Brabham had been a huge inspiration. "Three times World Champion. That is something which is very special," said Webber, who has finished 10th and 13th in the Championship in the past two seasons with Jaguar.

"It happened a long time ago, of course, but I still look up to Jack and constantly talk to him these days," Webber added.

Brabham, 78, claimed the 1959, 1960 and 1966 world titles, the last of which was in a car bearing his own name after two world titles with Cooper.

Webber said Jones, 58, was also an inspiration after winning Williams' first world title in 1980. "So there is some history there with an Australian driver in the past," Webber said.

"I'm the next Australian to drive for Williams and I hope that I can achieve what Alan achieved. There has been a bit of a gap (between F1 world titles for Australians), so hopefully we can get on top of it pretty quickly."

Keen Cyclist

Webber, from the New South Wales town of Queanbeyan near Canberra, made his Formula One debut with Minardi in 2002, finishing fifth in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The 28-year-old Australian will have his first outing with Williams at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya this week.

A keen cyclist, Webber started his preparations for 2005 by training with America's six-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong in Texas.

"It was a tiring week for me, and each day got worse because I obviously got a lot more fatigued than Lance did. But we did some awesome things, and he's a real inspiration," Webber said.

Webber also admitted that to make his Williams debut at his home GP in Melbourne on March 6th would be a special moment.

"We will be disappointed if we're not on the podium at the first race, and if the top step is there to be taken then we will fight very hard to be on it," the Australian added.

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