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


Which is?


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


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.’




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.


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. 🙂


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!


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.




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


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.


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!


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.


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


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.


“Well that’s great”


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


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


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.


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.


You obviously don’t read the site very often. Take a read of this and then take your prejudices elsewhere


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.


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!


Thanks for appreciating what we are about


here here!


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.


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..


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.


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


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.

CJ the 2cnd, probably...

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.


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.

CJ the 2cnd, probably...

Fair enough, my cynicism was misplaced on this occasion.


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!


“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….'” 6/3/10 🙂

‘Selfish’ folks are not usually grateful and/or say ‘thanks’. 🙂


How can you not love Mark


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.


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!



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!


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.


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.


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?


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.

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