Webber Pledges Future to Jaguar

Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber pledged his allegiance to Jaguar on Wednesday despite media speculation he may replace Juan Pablo Montoya at Williams after the 2004 season.

Webber Pledges Future to Jaguar

Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber pledged his allegiance to Jaguar on Wednesday despite media speculation he may replace Juan Pablo Montoya at Williams after the 2004 season.

Colombian Montoya is joining McLaren at the end of next season but Webber, speaking at a function on Wednesday which began the build up to the 2004 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, said his immediate aim was to win races for Jaguar.

"There is no question that I want to win Grands Prix and it is my job to do the best I can for the team I drive for, which at this stage is Jaguar for next year and maybe the year after," said Webber.

"I make no secret of the fact that I admire the way Williams go about their work. But I'm massively focused towards Jaguar at the moment and I'm looking forward to staying with them for the next few years.

"But we'll see what happens. I've just got to keep driving."

The 27-year-old, who recently finished a trek in the wilderness of Tasmania to raise money for children's cancer charities, said he was impressed with the progress made by Jaguar in 2003 but expected the team to improve next year.

Valencia Tests

Webber scored 17 of Jaguar's 18 points with three sixth-place finishes and four sevenths.

"We set our bar very high in 2003," he said. "The (Jaguar) R4 was very competitive especially in qualifying.

"Sometimes it was frustrating in race conditions we couldn't take that pace to the front guys as much as we would have liked."

Webber will travel on Thursday to Valencia where Jaguar will undergo three to four weeks of testing.

He was unsure of his partner for next year, with the team giving trials to drivers in Spain, though he expected a decision by January.

Briton Justin Wilson raced the last five Grands Prix of the season after replacing Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia but Jaguar are giving Austrian Christian Klein and American Townsend Bell chances to impress in Spain.

Meanwhile, Australian Grand Prix chief executive Steven Wright said at Wednesday's launch that a new stand, named after twice former world champion Mika Hakkinen, would be constructed in the main straight for next year's race.

The Melbourne race, the first of the season, will be held on March 7.

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