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Webber hit with five place Spa grid penalty
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Aug 2012   |  9:37 pm GMT  |  39 comments

Mark Webber has once again hit bad luck with a forced gearbox change ahead of Saturday’s free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Australian has had a problem with this before, as recently as the German Grand Prix. It meant that he qualified behind his team mate and other rivals and ended up taking just 4 points from the weekend.

As Webber is Alonso’s closest challenger for the world championship lead, 40 points behind the Spaniard, he needs to keep the pressure on with regular big points scores. This is a serious set back and he will have to work hard to recoup his chance of a podium, against what looks a very competitive field this weekend in Belgium.

McLaren and Lotus are expected to be right there on pace once the track dries out, as it is expected to do on Saturday.

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39 Comments
  1. joshua says:

    Gutted for Mark, he appears never to get any luck other than bad.

    All this continues to play into Alonso’s hands, who conversely gets all the luck there is, taking nothing away from his fantastic performance this year! Apart from maldonardo, taking him out in the next few races, I think this year is in the bag!

    1. Paul says:

      The Mark Webber bad luck pity party really winds me up! Vettel has lost more points this year due to mechanical failure than Mark. Same in 2010; Vettel lost 63 points in Bahrain, Australia and Korea that year due to mechanical failure. Webber lost none – both of his DNFs that year were due to driver error. He was extremely fortunate that he didn’t have to retire in Singapore that year too after Hamilton clouted him.

    2. Wayne says:

      Agreed, of all the drivers, this guy really does seem to have more than his share of bad luck.

      Alonso may be lucky with the weather this week, the rain being a great equaliser of cars. However, I don’t think he generally gets more good luck than anyone else. He just always makes sure he is there or thereabouts to capitalise and maximise his chances.

    3. Pedro says:

      What has it got to do with alonso ? Nobody outside australia reallly takes him seriously as a challenger this year, no matter what a topsy turvy season it has been, it would truly show what a skewed lottery Pirelli had cooked up if he won.

    4. db4tim says:

      He makes his luck….it is called opportunity

    5. arshadhusain says:

      lovely

  2. JohnH says:

    Look up lucky in the dictionary and you will not see a picture of Mark Webber.

  3. David Selway-Hoskins says:

    As a fan of real racing, I am tired of ‘gearbox penalties’ affecting the racing experience.
    I understand the need to reduce costs in F1 and the desire to design gearboxes which will last 5 races but mechanical failures are part and parcel of Formula 1 and it is a shame that they incur a further grid place penalty.
    I want to see the two leading drivers in the championship go head to head down into La Source again and not miss out because some designer in Milton Keynes undersized a bearing!!

    Go Mark

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      Well said! +1

  4. Marcus says:

    Sorry, I don’t believe luck of any sort had anything to do with it.

  5. Nigel says:

    If you’re going to get a grid penalty, Spa’s probably the place to choose.

    Relatively easy overtaking of slower cars, and a lot of flexibility in race strategy mean that it should hurt less than just about anywhere else.
    A first stop anywhere between lap 5 and 20 on a two stopper (and up to lap 29 on a one stopper) look quite possible according to you r strategy calculator. Traffic really should not be a problem if the team are smart.

  6. fer says:

    This is just too fishy, nothing else to say

  7. Rudy says:

    James,
    A little off topic. Could you inform us about the engine and gearbox allocations? I’ve tried the FIA site but I can’t find any info on that. Would be interesting to know how many new engines Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen have on the bank. Thanks and thanks again for the excellent work!
    Rudy

  8. Davexxx says:

    Hmmm I’m never normally a Conspiracy Theorist, but now something’s starting to smell…

  9. Michael S says:

    Not good for Webber….

    However, I remember back in ’05 Raikkonen got 40 grid penalties that year for engine changes…. and lost the title due to it in my mind…

    1. Mitchel says:

      +40, Loving the maths, or was it a typo ?

      Though it must be said Seb has probably had the worse luck when it comes to car issues in the races…

    2. Peter C says:

      Four-Oh? Forty? I missed that.

  10. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Lucky Alonso again … and lucky Vettel, Hamilton and Kimi.

    Button, Grosjean should be ahead of Alonso in Spa!

  11. why do i see dr. marko hovering inn the shadows ?

    1. Peter C says:

      With a handful of sand.

  12. Craig Baker says:

    I thought the gearboxs were supposed to last for five races not two?
    Ever since Webber signed a 2013 contract with Red Bull the wheels have fallen off.
    Expect Vettel to do well on Sunday.

  13. Dufus says:

    Seriously, c’mon this must be a joke ?
    He just had a gearbox change.
    Did they give Mark Sebs gearbox over the break ?

  14. KRB says:

    Yeah, 5 spots is too much. I think it should be converse to the number of races run. So in this case it would still be a large penalty, but a 4-place drop, not 5 (new gearbox had run 1 event; 5 events req’d – 1 = 4). Or have it come off the constructors points totals.

    As for Vettel, since joining Red Bull, he had never been off the podium for 3 consecutive races, until this season (Esp, Mon, Can, Eur). He had also never gone seven races without winning, ’til this year (Esp, Mon, Can, Eur, GBr, Ger, Hun).

  15. AuraF1 says:

    And just to be safe Vettel will take a gearbox change as well right? What’s that? Vettel won’t at this crucial stage where his contract negotiations might be unbalanced by being behind webber? Strange that…

    I normally HATE conspiracy theories but Red Bull don’t even seem to try with a new pattern that always impinges on their second driver around this time.

    Cmon RBR fans – someone disabuse me of this notion and remind me of the occasions where seb took a gearbox penalty to marks benefit?

  16. Glennb says:

    So Mark starts from 6th. He can make that work ;)

    1. Peter C says:

      12th isn’t it?

      1. Glennb says:

        I made the comment pre-quali.
        Call it wishful thinking :)

  17. Rich in Norway says:

    Shocking. Not a conspiracy theorist but this stinks to put it mildly. I wish they would have have a fair playing field at Red Bull.

  18. madmax says:

    These gearbox penalties aren’t great. It’s a pity something less of a penalty couldn’t be sorted out although I suppose it’s not so bad at Spa.

    James, Schumacher is a 6 time winner of Spa and not a 5 time winner as you keep saying in commentary.

  19. Quattro_T says:

    As I told before, Webber was out of championship the minute he signed. He will continue having bad luck until Vettel is at safe distance and RB “legitimatly” can support only one driver for championship.

  20. db4tim says:

    Weber knows he is not the golden boy…

  21. Elie says:

    Yeah absolute BS..Mechanical Breaches should come off the constructors points not drivers.These kind of mechanical failures cost Raikkonen at least one maybe two WDC with Mclaren!! (2003/5)
    I was thinking that maybe Webber drives differently etc.. but agree that 2 gearbox changes in such a short time doesn’t sound right !!and it’s not the first time that lead teams have thrown their support where the money comes from.. I’m starting to see the red team all over again – heaven help us if that is the case..Really hate it when a team is so smug with one driver that he “can do no wrong”

    1. Quattro_T says:

      These are the qualy positions and amount of seconds/tenth the fastest Ferrari (I was kind enough to omit the times of the other Ferrari here) have been behind pole setter in 9/12 races in 2012: AUS 12th 1,5s – MAL 8th 1,3s – CHI 9th 1,5s – BAH 9th – MON 5th 0,6s – CAN 3rd 0,4s – EUR 11th 0,7s – HUN 6th 0.9s – BEL 6th 0,8s. Still that driver is nr1 in the standings 40 clear of the nearest rival. Money no, its called race kraft. The “red team” should build a statue of that driver at their headquarters so F1 lovers could go and admire…

      1. Elie says:

        Both Sauber drivers , Lotus have come from worse grid positions to be challenging for win. Ok they did not win but they are on 1/4-1/2 the budget Ferrari. The point is Ferrari have clung to one driver and not bothered with 2 good drivers.. So you can go down and worship one statue outside Ferrari. Whilst I will go down to Lotus or Mclaren with a grin on my face knowing that despite the brilliant effort of one driver- the constructors…btw I won’t be counting my chickens either cause with both Mclarens firing and both Lotus – both titles are very much possible

  22. Jeremiah says:

    When Webber is not sleeping he is changing gerboxes.

  23. Robwal says:

    This is , in my opinion, rather a blatant admission by redbullracing management, that they believe Vettel cannot beat Webber in a fair fight and will do anything to put their goldenboy (top energy drink salesman) back in front.

    Two consecutive five place grid penalties for something totally out of Mark’s control, give me a break.

  24. Robwal says:

    When was the last time Vettel took a penalty for replacing a gearbox

    Nuff said

  25. SH says:

    Well, you have to admit a string of gearbox penalties is kinder on Mark than ordering him to move over for Vettel during the race. (Which he’d ignore anyway.)

  26. Questions says:

    In 2012 there have been diff problems, kers issues, drs not opening, team not sending him out in time in Barcelona qualy, odd pit strategies, gearbox changes….not huge, dramatic problems, but enough to make getting on the podium difficult.

    Makes ya think doesn’t it? Red bull must either be pretty incompetent on webbers side of the garage, or something is going on.

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