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Webber gets some payback
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Webber gets some payback
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Aug 2010   |  9:06 am GMT  |  138 comments

F1 drivers are pretty selfish individuals more likely to stamp on the fingers of another driver climbing the ladder, than help them.

So when I read a story about how Mark Webber helped out fellow Australian driver Will Power, it struck a chord.

The trigger for the story is that while Webber leads the F1 drivers’ championship Power is now emulating him and is on top of the Indycar standings in the US with four wins, driving for the Penske team.

Webber leads F1 championship (Darren Heath)


It turns out that Power owes his career to Webber, who kicked in much of the €500,000 he needed in 2004 to keep his career going, when he ran out of cash.

“I can’t tell you exactly why he helped me out, but if he didn’t think it was worth it, he wouldn’t have,” said Power in Canada’s Globe and Mail.

“But he’d been through exactly the same thing as me trying to find sponsorship and getting back to racing.”

Webber was helped in 1997, at a critical stage in his development by Australian rugby star David Campese, who gave him £50,000 to keep racing in the UK. “Campo” had played rugby with Webber’s father, Alan.

“I was fortunate enough to have a few key people support me just at the right time — like David Campese — to keep my dream alive, so when I was in a position to do the same for someone else, I did, ” said Webber.

“ It’s fantastic to see Will’s hard work and determination finally pay off for him — I’m glad we were able to give him a little boost when he needed it. It was a make-or-break time for him but I could see how determined he was not to give up and go home.

“Maybe he’ll be in a position to re-pay the favour to someone else coming up through the ranks one day.”

Webber is now helping out 16 year old New Zealand racer Mitch Evans, who is competing in Australian F3. He also has a stake in a GP3 team.

I’m sure Webber’s not the only driver who has helped another, but we have had quite a few comments lately on the site talking about karma; Webber mentioned it himself at Silverstone, where he felt that his win on Sunday was a payback for the wing swap episode on Saturday.

When I saw this Jeff Pappone story on the Globe and Mail site, one of the leading papers in Canada, I wondered whether Webber’ whole 2010 season is is in some way a karma payback.

I like the idea of drivers putting something back. It would be great to see drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, who have had sustained backing to get them to the top, do the same. Perhaps they already have.

But it would be a shame if drivers relied on thinking that the kind of backing Hamilton and Vettel had is out there and so contributions like Webber’s aren’t necessary.

Think of it as an investment in the karma bank.

Globe and Mail article

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138 Comments
  1. Harvey Yates says:

    Qote from the article:

    The chance meeting made an impression on Webber, who was with racing for Williams F1 at the time.

    “It was a make-or-break time for him but I could see how determined he was not to give up and go home,” Webber recalled.

    “It was clear he was an incredibly focused guy who had talent and just needed a bit of advice and a few introductions.”

    __

    Nice touch the ‘advice and a few introductions’. The money, it seems, was not worth a mention.

    Good on him.

    I does make you wonder if there’s a new Clark now sitting in a bank somewhere because he lacked suitable advice and introductions. Oh, and the other stuff.

    1. Andy W says:

      I would imagine there are hundreds maybe even thousands of new Senna’s Prosts, Clarks sitting doing mundane jobs because they never got the break… Such is life :-(

      1. James H says:

        Yeah – no one ever picked me up and I’m AWESOME!

        On a more serious note – Mark is a great bloke, extremely grounded and knows how the world works – Karma indeed.

      2. Neil says:

        But even more people who *think* they are Senna/Prost/Clark had only they had the money ;-)

        Don’t forget, 95% of males are better than average drivers ;-)

        Neil.

      3. chris scott says:

        That is the one thing that bugs me about motorsport, in that its a rich boys game, and it looses so much talent that would quite possible make it in other sports

    2. AP says:

      I think that a legendary F1 journalist (Jenkins ?) said exactly that…

      1. Harvey Yates says:

        Dennis Jenkinson. He wrote for Motor Sport for years and was, at one time, the most successful sidecar rider. There can be few who agreed with him all the time but even fewer who did not find his articles compulsive reading.

        He was co-driver of Stirling Moss in the ’55 Mille Miglia. He was also famously, and incorrectly, supposed to have invented pace notes for rallying. I was caught reading one of his articles in Motor Sport when at school and my English teacher turned out to be a fan of his. Mind you, I had to write a full appraisal of his writing style but that was better than Wuthering bloody Heights.

        He died about 15 years ago.

        He was the first chap to talk about tenths in driving. When someone says they were driving at ten tenths they are nodding in his direction. He was one of the most opinionated of motoring writers, even for Motor Sport.

        As for driving ability, all I can say is that I would probably have been richer that Senna if only I had the money.

      2. AP says:

        thanks Harvey, AP

  2. john slavin says:

    another good article james, i totally agree with you on the view that these guys would step over their “mates” for a bigger or better contract. I get the feeling that these guys have a sense of entitlement. I have become a big webber fan following him for years and now hoping he gets what he has worked so hard for. The thing about webber is in my opinion he is one of the most down to earth f1 drivers there has been for a while and seems like a really genuine guy and stories like this confirms my opinon of him. He’s got my support!

    1. Tom Johnson says:

      What does ‘step over their mates’ mean and which drivers have stepped over their mates for a bigger/better contract?

      What does ‘sense of entitlement’ mean and which driver/s have it?

      1. Darren says:

        Oh now let me think….. taking (or gladly accepting, its the same thing) your team mates new front wing after breaking your own one for example.

        On a serious note though, motorsport used to be a gentlemans sport, there are very few gentlemen left (Webber & Barrichello possibly). I suppose if you have been working towards a goal since your childhood then you would feel entitled to something at the end of it, but you are not. No one is entitled to anything in sport you have to go out and win it.

        The problem exists in the whole world of sport not just in motorsport. I blame the fact that to be succesful in any sport nowadays you have to start when you are about 2. At that age you dont know what you want to do (good grief im 22 and dont know what I want to do) they all get pushed into it by their parents (im not suggesting that this is against their will, what 2 year old would ever complain about being given a thing with wheels?!). This kind of pushiness from parents at an early age has a profound effect on the development of a child. So what you end up with is very pushy and selfish young men & women who have grown up in their own little cocoons where the world revolves around them and their career.

        Now this probably sounds like I am having a proper ripping at the current crop of f1 drivers, I am not, as I said above this is a sport in general thing. There is no doubt that the current breed in f1 are hugely talented and their parents / teams were fully justified to back them from an early age. What I would like to see though is a few older guys who decided for themselves that they wanted to go racing being given some help. Its not talent that they lack, its support.

        Webber for the Championship

  3. d.h. says:

    I really do hope webber wins the wdc, it would be nice to have another non egotistical champion following button, who has also remained pretty down to earth.

    1. Tom Johnson says:

      Who was the last egotistical world champion may I ask?

      1. Henry says:

        Hamilton is pretty egotistical. Alonso is also. Schumacher; yes him too. I’d put my head on the block and say kimi and button were less so. I’m of course commenting only on what I know – how they appear in public, not attempting to claim to know their inner workings personally! that makes up the last handful or so of champions.

      2. Mark says:

        I think Hamilton ‘was’ egotistical – but a season without the best or equal best car (and a bit more maturity) and I think he now gets more how difficult it is when you drive hard and yet can’t get results. I’m no LH fan – but I’ve mellowed towards him in the last year or so – as long as he doesn’t beat Webber this year ;) I think Webber deserves a shot at the WDC – it should be deserved and not gifted, but Webber has experienced more bad luck than perhaps the rest of the current grid combined – so a few things going his way would be good. He’d be a worthy champ – and a great ambassador for the sport.

  4. Monji says:

    Nice read, classic JA again.

    Well it seems to me like Drivers who had tough moments early and their career always make it to the top of course determination and talent is compulsory,

    Look at Nelson Piquet for instance, had it all…
    On the other hand I have to say Nico Rosberg is very impressive for a driver who had all he needed and could simply focus on driving.

  5. Stu says:

    This episode only goes to cement in my mind how Webber is a true gentleman of the sport and deserves everything that he gets in the 2010, and hopefully other, seasons.

    1. Dave Roberts says:

      I couldn’t agree more Stu. In addition he is a man’s man to boot.

  6. Six Speed says:

    Mark cops a lot of flack in the Australian Media but he really is a great ambassador for Australia and F1. A lot of people in Australia don’t understand the sport and got frustrated with Mark jumping from one bad car to another. Now you watch them jump on the Webber band wagon as he tries to clinch the title!

    1. Dan says:

      I’m not exactly a fan of the Australian media (far from it), but I haven’t noticed any negative treatment of Webber, even when he has a poor result.

      I would agree that he should get more attention, but I would like to see F1 in general get more attention here :)

      1. Raoul says:

        You clearly haven’t been reading or listening to any Australian media since Mark started driving in F1 then.
        Australian’s suffer terribly from ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’. Especially when someone succeeds overseas in what is viewed as a rich man’s endeavour. In Australia, motor sport fans idolise touring car drivers like Peter Brock and Dick Johnson and think Marl Webber is “w@*ker”. This opinion is due to a serve lack of understanding when it comes to F1 in this country. And also a serve lack of understanding around the circumstances of Mark’s rise to the ‘top’. If only the vast majority of Australians knew that Mark and his family were not of great means and had to struggle and fight to even get the chance at a drive in F1…He’s the ultimate underdog, he’s humble and down to earth and he calls it the way he sees it. Those are qualities that all Australians should admire.

      2. Billy McGee says:

        Sorry Raoul but I think you are wrong. I’d say the majority of Aussie motorsport fans have been supportive of Mark and know what he has had to endure over the years.

      3. Immi1974uk says:

        As an Aussie living in London for the past 10 years I can’t profess to knowing the Aussie media during that time. However I distinctly remember Alan Jones commenting that the Australian’s need to get behind Webber and that he was Australia’s best driver to come along for quite some time. Unfortunately that comment was made at 2 AM which is the time that most F1 races ended in Australia.

        The fact is that the majority of Aussies see Motor Sport as Touring Cars and the F1 telecast does not (or at least didn’t) have the depth or support that it does in the UK. I can only imagine that the average Aussie is not going to know much about F1 and that most Aussie reporters are not going to have much focus (or word/lines) for reporting on F1. That environment hardly lends itself to more than the odd sensationalized article.

      4. Josh Symons says:

        I agree with you Raoul, the media have been very negative, and it reflects in the opinion of non-motorsport fans. Every Monday when I get to work (as everyone knows Im a F1 fan) they have something negative to say about Webber. Even when he wins! – “its the car! – Webber’s no good.” “It was a gift.”

        I am always defending Webber from the general public, and as we know, the media prints what the general public want to hear.

    2. Nadeem says:

      Totally agree. It’s a shame that we don’t get much Australian backing for our young drivers. Webber had yellow pages and fosters at least.

    3. Andrew says:

      Could not agree with you more, amazing how many Australians, very much including the media, have suddenly started supporting Webber this year, seemingly from nowhere.

      Fantastic article James, Mark is a great bloke and really deserves the championship, having been behind him since he begun in Formula 1, I really hope he can go all the way and clinch it!

    4. Nathan says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I have been arguing with people here for years about how good a driver he is but people just don’t understand the sport.

    5. Alex says:

      Mark never gets negative media in Australia. In fact, considering his lack of achievements (despite his talent), all the write ups i’ve seen since he started have been somewhat biasedly positive. I think the problem is F1 isn’t a very big sport in Australia and none of the journos really understand what is going on- thus the reason he hasn’t always been on the backpage.

    6. I’ve always wondered what Roy and HG would do once Webber started winning. To mind they have always been the harshest of the “Australian Media” towards Webber, but they are comedians, so it’s always been pretty humorous, albeit harsh.

      Good to hear though that Webber helped out Power, though, good news story.

      1. Mark OZ says:

        These guys always refer to him as Mark “DNF” Webber – the DNF specialist… Aussies like a little dig here and there, Webbo is proving the doubters wrong and there is a fair bit of humble pie being eaten race by race.

    7. Leo Sayer says:

      A very good point. The same necessary ‘team swapping’ worked for a certain Jenson Button, though he may have bitten off more than he can chew in partnering Hamilton. Nevertheless, his win in Australia was a champion’s masterclass. I’m happy that people are at last appreciating Mark’s talent, and it’s great what he’s done for Will – another huge talent. How great for F1 if Mark (another down to earth pure racer) follows Jenson to the WDC this year? So much better for the sport than cynical practices of the Alonsos and Schumachers… Time will tell anyway, as we are in for an amazing spectacle in part 2 of a spectacular season. The only glitch I see is that James isn’t commentating…

  7. Amritraj says:

    Hi James,

    I was going through a pretty bad day, but this article has brought some piece to my soul.

    I think the key take away from this article is that believe in your dreams, and don’t be shy of taking help as long as your intent is clean, and conscience is clear.

    I think Webber saw this in Power and decided to help him.

  8. Cliff says:

    Nice article James.
    It appears that the more I read about Mark Webber I start to realise that I very little about the man. The man deserves total respect. I was never a big Mark Webber fan, but he made some comments about Jenson Button straight after Brazil last year. Whilst many were beating up on Button, webber told it as it was, reminding JB’s detractors that the other drivers on the grid failed to take advantage of Button’s below par performances. I came away from reading that article with a changed view on Mark Webber, quite simply because of his honesty, no excuses, just straight forward honesty. Now I read of this donation to a fellow racer. Webber’s story reminds us that we should not make assumptions of someones character without knowing all the facts. If JB or LH can’t win the WDC Webber would be my choice and I think F1 would have a driver who would be a great Ambassador for twelve months and beyond. As for LH & SV doing something similar to Mark Webber, who knows? Given the ‘leg up’ that they both recieved, they should not have to be asked to give something back!

    1. schupologist says:

      I find it ironic how someone who is
      endeared to Webber by his honesty can
      still want LH to win the WDC ahead of
      Mark even though LH was once stripped
      of a poidium for LYING.

      1. Cliff says:

        Schupologist, I assume its a play on words. Now thats irony.

  9. Ginger says:

    This is why fans warm to him, I didn’t know that he had done that but it is easy to spot that he is a decent fella. He is also the only driver to live in the UK I think. All the others choose to live elsewhere to pay less tax, okay there may be some other benefits of living in Monaco, granted.

  10. David Hewitt says:

    I already thought Webber was a top top bloke, but this further enhances his reputation.

  11. JohnBt says:

    “Think of it as an investment in the karma bank.”

    I like it very much and it’s true!

    Mark’s been know to be a good and friendly man.
    He deserves all the good karma.

    Most of all he’s giving it back.

  12. nbevans says:

    Reminds me of that film called “Pay It Forward”.

    1. Wayne Sadlier says:

      just what i was thinking.

  13. Jack Flash says:

    Great to know… looks that for once the nice guy finishes FIRST!

  14. mohamed says:

    i would not have known this if it were not for u james. Thanks. Keep the articles coming. On the subject of drivers giving back, is it true that michael schumacher was the single largest contributor to the tsunami relief fund in asia a few years ago? I think the figure was 10 million euros. Is this correct?

    1. john slavin says:

      hi mohamed, you are right, he did donate 10m live on a tv fundraiser for the aid effort. The tragedy hit Schumacher personally: a close friend and his two sons, ages five and four, were killed in Thailand.

      “It’s so unfathomable and horrible what happened to so many people,” Schumacher said during the telecast. “One cannot simply blind it out. We’re suffering with them.”

      1. drchroy says:

        Just a bit of correction. The person who died along with his two sons were not his “close friend” but his bodyguard Burkhard Cramer & his two sons :(

  15. Irish con says:

    Just goes to show what a decent guy webber is.

    Marks or fellow readers has any1 got a idea where u can get DVDs of full races like japan 05 or Hungary 06 cheers

  16. Andy Whyte says:

    I don’t always agree with his driving style. But there is no getting away from the fact that Mark Webber is a top quality chap.
    My support is with Mclaren but should they fail to win the championship I support Webber all the way.

  17. JSK says:

    The example of Webber isn’t something extraordinary in F1. Giancarlo Fisichella has started his own drivers academy and was involved in GP2 with FMS Team. There is Double R Team in British F3 that is being run by Raikkonen management. Robert Kubica created RK Team in cooperation with Birel. I believe there is also a line of karts with Alonso name on them… Most of the drivers know that it is a privilege to be F1 driver and acknowledge how hard it is to get to the top.

    1. Paul Kirk says:

      And, JSK, there’s Trulli Karts as well, plus other kart manufacturers who put famous names on certain models, and certain tracks but the difference is they are businness investments from which they recieve income, as opposed to a “helping hand”. Here in NZ there are a few people who have helped turther young drivers’ careers— Collin Gilltrap and Ken Smith, come quickly to mind!
      PK.

    2. Joao says:

      Mass has created a single-seaters racing championship in Brazil, with support from FIAT.
      http://www.sportiva-italia.nl/viewtopic.php?p=1365

  18. Alex says:

    This is why Webber deserves to be world champion- he’s a great role model and personifies the fact that in order to succeed one needs to work hard and take certain risks. Everybody has dreams and goals but not everybody has massive funding and exploitative parents.

  19. momo says:

    It’s true that the most interesting events in F1 are always somehow related to chance and magic.

  20. Xman says:

    Sport, business and life is full of the old line, ‘what goes around comes around’. Mind you it doesn’t matter is the deed is either good or bad. I just watched the 2006 Japanese F1 round when Michaels Ferrari came to a halt after Renault and Alonso where handed some awful decisions on and off the track, that was definitely karma paying back her dues. I’m sure you all have examples in your own life to point this out and there is no doubt Mark is cashing in in 2010. Mark you’ve developed into a Champion, go get it son!!!

    1. schupologist says:

      I know that nowadays the principle of
      karma is loosly applied(as James is doing) but since you’ve
      ingorantly misused it in order to throw a
      jibe at Michael,I would like to remind you
      that karma is said to ONLY be of consequence in
      one’s next life and NOT at some future date
      in someone’s life, so that wasn’t karma
      “definately” paying back her dues.

      That 2006 scrap in japan was a great
      battle where the two drivers were
      maxing their cars and REAL motor racing
      fans were saddened by its abrubt end, but
      clearly you were and still not amongst them.
      I sadly presume that if Webber is in an intense
      and exciting battle for th WDC in Abu Dhabi against Vettel and with 10 laps
      to go Vettel suffers a retirement,you would
      enjoy it. A TRUE Webber would like to see him win
      outright in a straight fight and judging by
      your comment, I would say Webber’s fanbase
      can do with one less “fan”

      1. Sharkie says:

        And so could Schumi’s, by the sound of it….

        Actually, wasn’t it Schumacher who pointed Willi Weber in the direction of Nico Hulkenberg? It may not be cash, but I’m sure it’s as good.

        Good on Mark Webber. He does deserve to be WDC this year, but based more on the fact that so far he’s won the most races and leads the table.

  21. Brett Sinclair says:

    Karma: “the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something.”

    The Karmic wheel has always been present in Formula One. You just need to tune into it, to see it.

    Does anyone remember Gerhard Berger’s win with Benneton just after his Father passed away, and just as his relationship with the then team manager was at a low? How about Max and the News of the World? That happened just after the passing of the previous FIA President? And there are plenty more examples.

    As you give so shall you receive…

  22. Nadeem says:

    James thanks for the article, the biggest shame
    here (please any other Aussie correct me here) is that this has not been picked by Australian media.

    1. Josh says:

      I didnt even know Will Power was doing so well in IndyCar based on the Australian media..

      Hardly ever hear about Webber or Power.. Webber more so at the moment obviously but never Will Power

  23. opsin says:

    Yes, let’s compare Webber giving potentially up to half a million to further some guy’s career to Alonso, who if rumours (from many sources now) are to be believed actively stopped his best friend in the F1 paddock from getting a seat at Ferrari. I’d love to see Webber pick up a title before he retires for precisely this kind of reason!

    1. Steve W says:

      Where have you read this? I believe if Ferrari want another driver they decide not someone who has just joined the team.

    2. Amritraj says:

      Is Alonso’s impedance mentioned anywhere on the net?

      1. Ted the Mechanic says:

        Was Massa’s contract confirmation for 2011 made only after Alonso was sure he had the measure of Massa?

      2. Amritraj says:

        Speculation Ted. Massa is having trouble with the new hard compound tyres. He is as quick as Alonso on the softer compound.

        I don’t think Ferrari took Alonso’s opinion before they decided to renew Massa’s contract.

      3. Marybeth says:

        Santander money is the force behind Alonso. Alonso wanted Massa, not Kimi, has his teammate, and Kimi, with a year on his contract, was out. I would still like to see Ferrari honor that year of Kimi’s contract as thier first driver. It would restore my faith in Ferrari.

    3. Brace says:

      That comment is not really down to earth and factual, you know…

  24. Matt says:

    There’s alot more to Mark Webber than supporting one up and coming driver.
    Have you heard about the Mark Webber Challenge ? He is a true role model.

    http://markwebberchallenge.com/

  25. Nice piece James … have you considered a biography on Webber? It would be an fascinating read, in particular the events of the last few months. Webber’s a great guy and clearly a credit to the sport.

    1. Alistair says:

      Hopefully James will get the chance to do this.

      Would be extremely interesting read and also written very well.

      Just wish the media here in AUS would give him the credit he deserves. Because that middle stint in Hungry was amazing, he was given a chance to win. Was a gamble but Mark took it and showed the determination he has to win.

      Keep up the brilliant work James.

  26. build says:

    James,
    Will is only one of *many*. I’m struggling to recall the names but Barton Mawer was one and there are a lot more (it’s really annoying me I can’t recall a few). Everything from a bed to advice, an introduction and other things you mention. I’ll email a few when I’m not so tired.

    build

  27. Banjo says:

    A nice feel good story, Webber is a very likeable person and the more you hear about him the more you can’t help but wish him on to win the championship. And i’m a McLaren fan!

    1. Andy C says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

      He comes across as a decent bloke and pretty honest when he’s had a bad day.

      As a mclaren fan I think we have too much to do to overtake the redbulls now. Pending suddenly getting the diffuser switched on.

      I enjoyed jenson winning last year and I would love to see mark win this year.

      Stories like this just prove what a top lad he is. Even for an f1 driver that is a big amount of money to back a fellow driver.

      Come on mark!

  28. Luke Potter says:

    I too am a big Mark Webber fan. Unlike many on the grid who appear from the outside so Uebermensch-like, living lives in the company of American rappers and popstars that most of us can barely comprehend (yes, Lewis, I mean you), he’s just an ordinary bloke who happens to be a Grand Prix driver.

    Indeed, he’s the sort of bloke you’d expect to meet in the pub. Which you may well, of course, as he also owns one.

    1. Ted the Mechanic says:

      And an Italian restaurant.

    2. Femi Akinz says:

      Luke,

      Lets celebrate Mark and not try to knock ‘Lewis’.

      How do you know Lewis doesn’t help others?

      I don’t get bitter people. The lad is probably somewhere resting and you are busy acting like ‘STAN’.

      Mark Webber, I wish you the best.

      Femi

    3. Tom Johnson says:

      You know absolutely nothing about how Lewis Hamilton lives his life.

      Praise Webber by all means but don’t make assumptions about Hamilton based on tabloid gossip if you really want your missives to be taken seriously.

  29. Graeme Walker says:

    Nice article James, the circle of life, what comes around goes around.

  30. Trev says:

    If Lewis does not win the world drivers championship, then I hope that Mark Webber does. He seems like a decent chap. I know that deep down they are ruthless, it’s what gives their driving an edge that we cannot imagine.

    1. Tom Johnson says:

      ‘I know that deep down they are ruthless’

      You don’t know any such thing, you’re spouting received wisdom that’s all.

      1. Trev says:

        Tom, thanks for your reply. Do you know otherwise, are these drivers unambitious?

        Also, another thing to ponder, do you think that you become the best in the world at anything by being nice and courteous. I don’t think so..

        Also, you are really not seeing the point of the post.

  31. Spyros says:

    That’s very nice of Webber, but it worries me a bit…

    I’d quite like to see him win this year’s championship, but nice guys generally don’t!

    1. Ted the Mechanic says:

      The Nice Guys Roll of Honour:-

      Farina, Ascari, Fangio, Hawthorn, Brabham, Hill Sr & Jr, Clark, Surtees, Hulme, Stewart, Rindt, Fittipaldi, Hunt, Andretti, Scheckter, Rosberg, Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Button…

      This is just my subjective list and I’m not really sure about the first two, I may be wide of the mark with some and with apologies to Alan Jones, Niki Lauda and Nigel Mansell just a few question marks about team mates and whinging, but in terms of respect as relentless, inspiring, hard-charging drivers – that’s another list. It’s actually a tough call leaving these 3 off this impromptu list, perhaps I should include them after all?

      At the end of the day I’m sure they’re all perfectly nice blokes away from the track…

      I’m digging a hole here aren’t I?

      My main point is actually – Mark Webber would be in good “nice” company if he wins the WDC this year. And all ‘Power’ to him – I really hope he does achieve this most elusive goal.

      1. Tom Johnson says:

        You forgot to include Lewis Hamilton on you’re list – unless you know something that I don’t?

      2. Ted the Mechanic says:

        I hear you Tom. I don’t claim to be an expert on human behaviour but when we talk about a racing driver being a nice guy. What we’re really saying is someone who respects their fellow competitors and will race them fairly and squarely to the full extent of their mental and physical ability without resorting to dirty, underhanded or unnecessarily dangerous tactics either on or off the track.
        A nice guy racer would not abuse their No.1 celebrity status and sponsor-pulling power to demand preferential treatment and a submissive team mate. Instead they would rely on their self-belief and inherent ability to obtain the results they know they are capable of.
        Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost took each other out of the nice guy reckoning with their bitter feud in the late 80′s early 90′s.
        Nelson Piquet could probably be disqualified for his comments about Roseanne Mansell alone, forget about Eliseo Salazar…
        Michael Schumacher, need I say more! (and I still can’t bring myself to dislike the guy).
        I guess Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton will always have 2007 to reminisce on…
        Saying that it does seem that Lewis is more relaxed these days and in general any aggression he has seems to be superbly channelled directly through his MP4-25 and into the points table – save for the odd outburst towards his engineer when told to conserve his car…
        I guess that just leaves Jacques Villeneuve. I never did like those grungy overalls.

      3. John Pugh says:

        I’d agree with your list Ted save for Dr Guiseppe Farina. He seems to have been an extraordinarily brave man and an intelligent driver but also a very aggressive driver with an autocratic personality and a reputation for ruthlessness. Apart from the literature on the subject I heard Stirling Moss, who raced against him, saying as much in an interview he gave a while ago.

        Maybe we had the same old cross section of humanity in F1 in the fifties as we have had in virtually every decade since including this one?

        Your essential point that there are many world champions who are and were very decent men and that that negates the often put forward ‘nice guys don’t win’ perception, holds true in my view. Natural talent, mental toughness and bravery can be found in both in the ‘nice’ and the ‘not so nice’,

        Coming back to the thread Mark Webber would be very much in place on your Roll though I have a sneaking feeling that Fernando Alonso may just squeeze him out this year. Nothing to do with good guy/ bad guy or good karma/bad karma. Just Ferrari/Alonso looking like a more focussed package right now than Red Bull/Webber/Vettel.

      4. Ted the Mechanic says:

        I agree, you can never write of Alonso or Ferrari. And what if McLaren get back on track? It’s all to play for…
        It ought to be a cracker season finale!

  32. Legend2 says:

    Hats off to Mark Webber. He is a sharp contrast to the “manufactured drivers” that Nigel Mansell referred to.

    There will be no more deserving winner of this year’s WDC than Mark Webber.

  33. Webberfan says:

    I agree with your good article,telling us one of many episodes which describe Mark’s wonderful personality with integrity, passion and compassion for fellow motor sportmen.
    In general, media in OZ tends to favor non-elite sports such as NRL unfortunately.
    But I know already that they will admire him as a national hero once he becomes a world champion(remember the case of an actor Russel Crowe),lol.
    Most of all, he is very wise enough to know what he really wants, in spite of unfairness & cold treatment in RBR.
    Hope his long time dream come true this year.
    You deserve writing his biography then.

  34. Cecilia says:

    Such a giving kind of guy eh? He’s been giving it to his team mate all year. Seb should send him flowers. Oh wait, I think he thanked him already by staying within 10 points despite all the head games and trauma inducing press comments. I am sure Webber is happy about that. Between the reliability issues and his jealous/petty team mate, Seb has proved what a champion he is by staying in it as he has – he’s amazing. And if you really want to know what generous is, check out the everyday little kindnesses, not the big buck give aways. Kindness from Vettel in 2007 endeared him to our family for life. You can’t beat it when it is straight from the heart.

    1. david says:

      Is that you Seb??

    2. John says:

      He gave him his front wing….. But then seb gave him his whole chassis in return, so I guess you are absolutely right. I’ve never met Seb but from what I’ve heard and read (your story included) he’s a good guy, but in the end they are all racers and have only one objective.
      I’ve never met you or given you anything. Does this make me any less of a person? If so, I apologise.

  35. Cecilia says:

    I should add, I speak of kindness to strangers – my family hasn’t any race car stars in it, lol. Anyway, I would like to see Webber being more generous with his team mate and co-drivers. The nasty comments he’s made over the years, and this season included, about others is enough to warrant a day in court for defamation. I will never forget his parroting “My race was ruined by a drunk” – what a total jerk.

    1. Leonidas says:

      Seems like you are a blind Vettel fan and also have hatred towards Webber, but your percentage speaks for itself. You are The ONLY NEGATIVE COMMENT here.
      Cheers.

      P.S. His exact words then were different. He has said: “I don’t know what he was doing, maybe sleeping or drinking Votka or something.” If you remember, he has deliberately destroyed his flying laps and Mark was furious about that.

  36. Mike Misgerett says:

    Good stuff!!!
    And I hadn’t realised how much rugby has contributed to F1… :-)

  37. AP says:

    Thanks for this really inspiring article James!

  38. theRoswellite says:

    At a time when the press is full of drivers willing to run their compatriots off the road to score even a single point, here is a driver working behind the scenes to keep a fellow Aussie on the track.

    The public always needs heroes, and I submit Mark qualifies…on and off the track.

  39. Mike S says:

    Karma is defined as “action”. Mark Webber has put a lot of things into action over this life and it shapes the man. It is my belief that we are on this planet to define our nature on a continuum from “self serving” to “service to others” behaviour. I have no doubt as to which end of that continuum Mark gravitates. It is why I support him as I do the Tibetan monks. They both set a wonderful example of “service to others” for their fellow human beings.

    For those of us who have followed Mark’s career Jame’s story comes as no surprise. One of the things about these anecdotes concerning Mark’s generosity is that you never hear it from his lips. Having lived just South of Queanbeyan for many years I am pleased to say that this is not an unknown quality from people that live in this region. I’m also told that as an ambassador for his new adopted home that he is doing a fantastic job there too. Now that it is my good fortune to be in Oxford for the rest of this year I’m loving the greater access to the F1 that you get in the UK. It sure beats those late nights watching the living timing and trying to find a live stream for the various sessions.

    On a side note, after the race in Hungary the BBC team quickly interviewed Mark’s father. He was pleased for his son but was also quick to acknowledge Seb’s misfortune. It was done with a very gracious sincerity that clearly showed to me that how you “play the game” is very important in their family. It reminded me of my first cricket practice session being in a classroom and it was all on etiquette and playing the game the right way. I doubt they teach that anymore but the Webber family do by their behaviour.

  40. Jeremy says:

    James, excellent article. Do I remember correctly that you used to present IndyCART racing on ITV back in 90s when Mansell was in the series? If so do you still keep in touch with the series over there?

    1. James Allen says:

      I did, it was 1994, Mansell’s second season over there and one truncated by his part time F1 role after Senna’s death. Strange year, but very very interesting. I kept in close touch until the CART/Indycar split but less so since.

  41. Steve W says:

    A lovely story and shows a “human” side to F1 drivers,i,m sure however many of them help less fortunate people in may different ways outside of F1,but prefer to keep it private.

  42. Nathan Smith says:

    Great article as always.

    I really want another win for a Brit but if not I’d be delighted if Webber won it. After the past few years of it being about the youngsters, it’s great to see Button and Webber mixing it with them.

  43. Artorwar says:

    Good on you mark. Another thing on the list of reasons why I passionatly want Webber to do the biz this season. Vettel has got another WDC comn g to him, Lewis too. Mark has worked so hard over his career and always been a gent throughout. Come on Mark, do it to it big man!

  44. JC says:

    Mark deserves the title because of his hard work and racing talent!

    God has blessed that guy with a gift and Mr Weber is doing a good job with it!

    John3:16

  45. Relativity says:

    Great story. I hope more F1 drivers are doing good deeds like this and putting something in the “karma bank”. Mark Webber is a great ambassador for the sport and the more I know about him, the more I like him.

    Mark, now go get the 2010 drivers championship mate.

  46. Parthi says:

    How can you not love Mark

  47. Marybeth says:

    “F1 drivers are pretty selfish individuals more likely to stamp on the fingers of another driver climbing the ladder, than help them.”
    Mark impressed me after the Turkey debacle when it was reported: “Webber wrote on his Twitter on Wednesday: ‘Bloody hell guys, thank you for your support….’” Motorsport.com 6/3/10 :)
    ‘Selfish’ folks are not usually grateful and/or say ‘thanks’. :)

  48. CJ the 2cnd, probably... says:

    I’ve been accused of cynicism before and I have a sneaking feeling that it may happen again (quite soon), but I ask the question ‘why now?’. If Mark Webber does win the championship it will be because he wins all the games, on and off the track, not because of Karma or because he’s obviously a ‘good bloke’. Because he wins races. To do that he has to have the equipment. He has demonstrated his ability so now he has to win the PR battle within Red Bull. This huge dollop of positive PR will make it very difficult for the smooth talking CH or Dr M to treat him like a ‘No.2′ again. I applaud him, I think his timing is spot on.
    I would like to see him win the championship, he strikes me as refreshingly straightforward and honest, with a raw talent when required. But, as an earlier contributer observed , being a good bloke doesn’t win championships, and in my view nor does mystical nonsense. Making all the right moves does.

    1. Jeff Pappone says:

      There is a simple answer to the question “why now?” Nothing to do with PR motives by Mark Webber of his media relations crew.

      I heard about Webber doing this earlier this season at the F1 race in Montreal and only spoke to Will Power about it following the IndyCar race in Toronto. Then I got Mark Webber to answer some questions following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

      So, the timimg of the story had to do completely with my schedule and not Webber’s.

      Simply put, it’s just a good story about a guy who did something worth praise.

      1. InnocentBystander says:

        Nice one Jeff!

        Thanks for your article, and thanks James for bringing it to our attention.

        I enjoy reading about the human side of motor racing. With the huge amount of money and pressure involved in F1 James is right about it being easy to assume the drivers would be keen to step on each others fingers on the ladder to the top. It’s great to see Mark giving a helping hand to younger drivers just as he was helped himself.

        Webber 2010 WDC!!! We’re behind you mate!

        On another note I reckon Mr Mateschitz should fire Marko and hire Campo to head their young driver program :) He’s obviously got a good eye for talent!

      2. CJ the 2cnd, probably... says:

        Fair enough, my cynicism was misplaced on this occasion.

  49. Liam @ Sydney says:

    Having followed F1 for decades from my living room, you see good people and rotten people come in and out of the sport over that time. Some people are there simply for the money, the power, and the entitlement that is generated for them later in life. There are also the ego manics and power brokers who always want a leg up over someone else, drivers included.

    It is so good to see one of the ‘good’ people getting the success they deserve, like Mark is getting this season, in repayment for all those smaller things that he has done for other people – that no one ever sees.

    Well done Mark, good to see you helping out a fellow Aussie when he needed it. No one more than Mark knows how hard it is to get where he is right now.

    Thanks for the story James. As ‘they’ say, sometimes its the little things that count.

  50. BMG says:

    Great story, it’s the Aussie way “Mate”

  51. Mr Squiggle says:

    I have been following Webber’s career for about 10 years now, (pretty much since his Le Mans accident). Although I had heard about the support from Campese, I had not heard about the Power connection. This is news for me.

    James, I also appreciate the point you are making in relation to Hamilton and others, but for me, the essence of any charity, or of the type of support MW has provided to Power, is that it is purely voluntary. I didn’t expect MW to help out anyone else, but I’m delighted to hear that he has.

    If these sorts of acts become required or expected of successful sportsment, then the act of supporting other competitors becomes somewhat diminished.

  52. John harlow says:

    Hi James
    I have followed Marks career even from the early FF days when he was sponsored by Telstra Aust. On his return from o/s he often was a guest on our Ch 9 F1 show with AJ and always aquitted himself with great honesty and support of those who supported his endeavours. I was also fortunate to have several laps in an XKR at Eastern Creek raceway in OZ with him when he was a Jaguar driver. He is a very honest young bloke who has done his penance with a lot of crap equipment and when he does make a balls up he has the guts to stand up and be counted,whatever happens he is a champion in the real sense. good luck Mark..

  53. F1 Novice says:

    Instead of going into the FIA’s coffers the fines dished out to drivers/teams over a GP weekend should go into a fund to to support up and coming drivers at grass roots level. Just think how many young drivers in Karting or Formula Ford the $100,000,000 fine McLaren got a few years back could have helped – those that get it and go onto the the highest echelons of the sport could then pay it back so it can help others again.

  54. Late says:

    This site has become a propaganda site for Webber, it cannot be ignored.

    Almost all drivers have done, let’s say ‘charity’. Some even actually helping people dying of cancer, they didn’t have the means to pay for the treatment and he (I won’t tell who because he is German and most people are now against him, he is driving in a Red Bull BTW..!) paid for her, a total stranger’s, treatment out of his own pocket and she is now cured, alive and well with her husband and kids.

    So not just about saving someone’s career, but someone’s life.

    Media never reported, never interested. If Webber had done that it would be all over BBC F! and this site, guaranteed.

    1. James Allen says:

      You obviously don’t read the site very often. Take a read of this http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2010/06/the-human-side-of-formula-1/ and then take your prejudices elsewhere

      1. Raoul says:

        here here!

      2. Cliff says:

        Hi James,

        No need to respond to such posts. The beauty of this site is that it remains objective. Unlike many other F1 sites you site allow others to form their own opinions and pass comment. I suspect that the driver he refers to wanted no publicity, and this was respected, until now that is! Keep up the good work!

      3. James Allen says:

        Thanks for appreciating what we are about

      4. David Stalker says:

        Spot on James.

        As a long time Webber fan (from the Formula Ford days!)I am often stunned by people’s negativity. Down here in Aus we speak of the “Aussie Battler” overcoming obstacles to win. Love or hate MW – that is everyone’s perogative.

        However, Mark can look at himself in the mirror at night and know that he has given everything of himself. As the late, great Peter Brock said – “You only get out of life what you put in…Have a go, not just a go, but a red-hot go”.

        Mark can honestly say he has done this constantly and wants to “pay it forward” to other Aussie drivers.

  55. Dave Roberts says:

    He has come a long way since he was running and jumping up and down for coming fifth in a Minardi on his debut. I really hope he wins the WDC this year.

  56. paddy says:

    Awesome, I think we are all about to learn a lot from Mark Webber.

  57. drchroy says:

    Why not a article about Michael Schumacher also James? He gave around 10million dollars during tsunami, also when the recent earthquake happened in Haiti, along with Jean Todt has bulid ICM (which is a Brain and Spine Institute, is to support the development of research on the brain and spinal cord, Parkinson disease & etc.)

    He also is a special ambassador for UNESCO and has donated 1.5 million Euros to the organization. He paid for the construction of a school for poor children and for area improvements in Dakar, Senegal.

    He supports a hospital for child victims of war in Sarajevo, which specialises in caring for amputees.

    In Lima, Peru he funded the “Palace for the Poor”, a centre for helping homeless street children obtain an education, clothing, food, medical attention, and shelter.

    The F1 media speaks less about the good work M.S does! Probably you guys want his image to be of an eternal villain, who is really bad on & of the track!

    1. James Allen says:

      I wrote about a lesser known act of charity by MS in June, during Canadian GP weekend.

    2. BMG says:

      I agree, But were talking about F1 and giving something back to the spot.

      1. drchroy says:

        Michael Schumacher has also certainly given back something to F1.

        You know people in Germany were immersed into sports car till Michael Schumacher came along! After his success people started to take interest in following F1.

        And after that slowly big companies started to sponsor kids so that they could move up the ladder & enter F1.

        As a result today we have six German F1 drivers on the grid.

        So in a way Michael Schumacher helped the sport “Formula One” grow in Germany.

      2. BMG says:

        “Well that’s great”

    3. Legend2 says:

      That’s the great thing about Michael Schumacher – he never really talks about his charity work. That is a reward in itself.

      Just the same with Mark Webber. Seeing Will do well, is reward enough for Mark. Mark simply says he helped give Will a push; he doesn’t take credit for Will’s achievements.

      That’s what makes people like Schu and Webbo great. The people who make a donation to charity and do a song and dance about it just for good PR are the people who you have to wonder about their real motives.

  58. Paul says:

    Interesting article.

    James – Do you know what the form is in investing in a driver? Are these normally gifts, loans or investments (with some kind of return)?

    Great site btw.

      1. Paul says:

        What I mean to ask is, do drivers whom invest in others normally get any return on that investment?

      2. Alex W says:

        anyone that gives money to a race car driver does not expect to get a cent back! The quickest way to make a small fortune in racing is to start with a big one.

  59. Mark says:

    I recall reading an article at the start of the 09 season. It was before the first wheel was turned in anger and it had several main points;
    - this is webbers last chance, its now or never.
    - Mark is desperately unlucky, there was a specific quote from the author about how Mark must walk down the street and pick up every empty chip packet he can find in order to try to get Karma on his side. Sure it was said in jest but at the same time was so pointed that it hit a chord.

    When the reporter asked Mark about these things he basically said nah mate, im lucky, i could have been killed by the SUV in Tassie, nah mate im lucky Iv got to drive f1 cars, and then he went on to basically say you make your own luck.

    The second point about this is Marks last shot at it, its now or never (start of 09) and how he has to perform. Once agiain 09 was a break through year but Seb did better him. BUt Mark bucked the trend, he proved that nah iv got another chance at it.

    All in all its just great to be able to have a font row view of a person who has battled for a long time, but who has kept the dream alive, his talent has always been there but circumstance prevented him reaching his true potential. Now he is in a position to show his potential and he is doing a superb job.

    Whilst im not a belier in Karma per se, i do subscribe to do unto others. So whatever the reasoning there is for it all it seems Marks hard work is paying him back in spades.

    And yes James, an autobiography of Marks would be brilliant!

  60. Marybeth says:

    Just heard that Mark Webber will be interviewed by Leigh Diffey a fellow Ausie, on Windtunnel on Speed tv next Sunday, Aug. 15th, at 9ET. That should be good. :)

  61. Noahracer says:

    Good for Weber and his recipients.
    Most of the US guys would rather be left alone and not bothered with helping a young racer.
    Newly found respect for the guy.

  62. TJ says:

    James and F1 fans,

    Congrats Mark Webber on being a good guy. He is not the only F1 star (or other sportsperson for that matter) that plays their part in charity work and helping others. I think this is just a good story, reminding us that there is plenty of positives to be found in our sporting heroes. MW is getting the headlines now as he is a genuine contender for the WDC and therefore good press.

    JA on F1 is a great place to find these types of stories and the sooner a lot of readers (especially those with a comment to make) take off the “prejudice” glasses and remind themselves of this fact, the better.

    In Australia MW did cop a lot for many years for his deemed underachievement and only recently has the press turned his way. Aus likes a winner, what can you say?

    So thanks again James, good luck to Mark and if he wins the WDC this year it will be with his skill, drive and determination. The fact he’s a good guy is just a bonus to all of us.’

    Cheers,

    TJ

  63. Rolando says:

    Even as a devoted Ferrari fan, I am rooting for Webber for the championship!

  64. Kenny Carwash says:

    Damn, I don’t like to read anything that might cause me to reassess my opinion of David Campese!

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