Webber Supports Changes but Sees Ferrari Still Strong

New Jaguar driver Mark Webber said on Monday he supported Formula One's bid to enliven qualifying but added top performers like World Champion Michael Schumacher would remain able to dominate on merit.

Webber Supports Changes but Sees Ferrari Still Strong

New Jaguar driver Mark Webber said on Monday he supported Formula One's bid to enliven qualifying but added top performers like World Champion Michael Schumacher would remain able to dominate on merit.

"I still believe the best should win. Ferrari went through a very lean spell there and they have worked very hard to get in the position they're in at the moment," Webber told reporters at the official launch of the 2003 season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"The new regulations for trying to spice up the grid, it's enough to do that but it's also enough if you are performing well, you should be qualifying where you deserve to be," added Webber, speaking via satellite from Jaguar's England base.

"So all the rule changes, I'm in favour of them."

Formula One officials announced last month that the top eight drivers would be awarded points in grands prix next year compared with six at present. A second qualifying session would also be introduced, with one qualifying lap for each car and cars to run one at a time.

Webber, who made his Grand Prix debut in Melbourne in March with Minardi, has done his own soul-searching, leaving the Australian-owned also-rans on November 1st to accept a two-year deal with Jaguar alongside Brazil's Antonio Pizzonia.

"It's a huge opportunity for me. I'm tremendously excited to have my new role with Jaguar," Webber said. "I've got a lot of hard work ahead of me but hopefully you'll see the fruits of that hard work come Melbourne.

"Minardi was a very, very small operation, no question about that. We have big resources here (at Jaguar) and obviously that will help make it an easier step forward in terms of pace.

"I've still got a lot of stripes to put on my sleeve in terms of my reputation in Formula One," added the 26-year-old, who claimed two points on debut in Melbourne this year. "It's going to be very, very competitive in the midfield of Formula One. I do want to be racing competitively with the top guys."

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