Webber writes off Melbourne chances

Mark Webber has written off his chances of a strong showing in this weekend's Australian Grand Prix - claiming it will probably take until the start of the European season for his Red Bull Racing team to fully get up to speed

Webber writes off Melbourne chances

After a difficult early testing period with his new RB3 car, Webber is pessimistic that his team are going to be fighting with the top outfits when the season kicks off in Melbourne this weekend.

However, he is confident that a big development push planned for the car can help lift their performance - especially when the teams return to Europe after the first three flyaway events.

"I hope we can finish the race and try and get some points," said Webber during an appearance at the charity Pit Stop Pro Am Tennis Tournament. "They are not exactly ambitious goals but that is where we are right now. There are three or four top teams at the moment - Ferrari, McLaren, BMW and Renault. They are all looking solid so that is already eight cars. It is very, very tight at the front, but we want to break into that.

"Last year I retired while I was leading the (Australian) race, and had a good chance to finish third. I still had to make a pit stop but third was definitely on the cards. I would love to be in that position again this year but I probably won't be. But as the season goes on we can definitely make it better. I am not expecting anything amazing but I don't expect to be at the back of the grid either."

Red Bull Racing tried out a new aero package during testing at Magny-Cours last week, but poor weather at the French circuit meant the team could not judge just how much of a step forward it is.

Webber is well aware that progress is needed with the car, though, and he remains upbeat that things will improve as the season goes on.

"We have got work to do," he said. "It is so competitive, it always is every year and if you are a little bit off then you are exposed. We are hard on ourselves as a team.

"We want to go forward and at the moment we are probably outside that (leading) group, and it is very easy to be there. You have three or four teams that are doing a really good job and they will be the top ten. Each team has two cars, and it will fill up very quickly.

"Toyota and probably Honda are two teams that don't meet the expectations they want, and we might be part of that group as well. But as the season goes on it will move around very, very quickly."

The one piece of good news for Webber, however, is that is now fully comfortable in the RB3's cockpit - having initially suffered from bad bruising because of the tight confines.

"(It's) a lot better mate, yeah," said Webber. "I was in big trouble at the start but I am comfortable and legal now FIA wise. I am a bit high, but I have played that game with my hips before and it is just not worth it."

 

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