There is an interview with Mark Webber posted on Yahoo News Singapore today, which a JA on F1 reader flagged up to me.
There are some interesting comments in it which are worth highlighting, although it appears that Webber belives he has been misquoted on the main one. Webber is quoted as saying that last season, where he lost the title at the final round, was his “last chance” to be world champion, a rare admission for an active racing driver, especially one who is sitting in the fastest car on the grid. He goes on to explain that a team has to line up behind one of its drivers fairly early on in a season and accepts that Red Bull needed to back Sebastian Vettel this year. Although he says he will perform better next year, the implication is that he expects more of the same in 2012, with Vettel having the edge.
He also spells out that when it comes time to retire he will leave F1 altogether and will not look to play any role in team management or the media. The reason he gives is his intense dislike of the politics in F1, ” Why? Because of the politics — I really don’t like it,” he says. This will be a disappointment to one or two media organisations who might have considered him an ideal pundit, given his record and his characteristic of speaking his mind.
Asked by the Yahoo reporter, do you think (last year) was your last shot at the World Championship, he replies, “Yes of course, I do think that last year was my last chance at being World Champion. But I’ve pushed very very hard and done many many things that other people could not have achieved so I’m very proud of what I did.
“To win the championship you need 100% from the team. I think it’s difficult for the team to give 100% to both drivers as we are both demanding. Looking at the start we actually got (in 2011), it’s clear where the support needs to go and I respect that in some way. The team has given me a great opportunity to do well. I ask for a reliable and strong car every weekend and I will give my best. The team knows I always give my best.”
Speaking in Suzuka, however, Webber says that he did not mean to say that he has had his last chance to be champion, “I remember doing the interview, but I know I didn’t say 2010 was my last chance ever. That’s not what I said. Maybe I said there was a chance it was my last opportunity, in the same way that Jenson doesn’t know whether 09 was his one and only chance. You never know if it’s
your last chance.” Webber has yet to win a race in 2011, despite his team mate Vettel winning nine races from 14 starts. He has three pole positions to his name and has started from the front row in four of the last seven races.
He is very refreshing and very unusual as a racing driver because his capacity to kid himself is almost non-existant. He is his own harshest critic and is always the first to put his hand up and admit he underperformed, rather than seek excuses. It should come as no surprise therefore to see these comments, but they may not be quite what they seem. You will be waiting a while to see a driver make comments of this kind again.
To read the full Yahoo story click HERE