Webber casts himself as underdog again as pressure mounts
Webber casts himself as underdog again as pressure mounts
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Nov 2010   |  8:26 pm GMT  |  190 comments

The cramped and chaotic paddock at Interlagos always creates a feverish atmosphere and this weekend is no different.

Teams are cheek by jowl with each other, journalists have to climb over tables and squeeze into corners to hear what’s being said at briefings and today we have seen a very calm Fernando Alonso and a Mark Webber who has chosen to cast himself as an underdog again.

Alonso spoke about his team mate Felipe Massa and how he’d like him to win the last two races. This is his way of saying that he’d like Massa to be really fast and get in the game. If Massa wins here, it takes away points from the Red Bull drivers and makes their task very hard.

Despite his cool facade, Alonso has some concerns, not least his engine. There have been suggestions that he may be able to use an engine that was replaced during the Bahrain weekend and according to the rules can only be reused at the final round. If useable this would be a very low mileage engine. But it’s a risk.

The team would not have been able to do any remedial work on the area they were concerned about. They will have been able to test it on the dynomometer in Maranello and they may well have run it in Friday practice somewhere and evaluated it carefully. One of the problems with the engine use plans is that you never know which engine is being used on Fridays. It’s quite possible that this Bahrain engine will be in the car tomorrow.

Alonso won Korea with an engine which had done Spa and Suzuka already, so they know they can still be competitive on the third race. Which is the lesser of the two risks?

Webber meanwhile had a rather strange press briefing this afternoon in which he allowed himself to be drawn by the media into talking about how the team has treated him,

“I wasn’t supposed to be in the hunt and it’s been inconvenient. I’ve enjoyed every second of it,” he said at one point. At another, speaking about support from the team he said, “Technically everything has been very good, but emotionally….” he left that hanging and no-one was in any doubt about what he meant.

Webber had a poor race in Korea and looking back at how he turned the wing swap incident in Silverstone round to a powerful motivating force I think he’s trying to do the same again. He’s psyching himself up for a critical weekend. Let’s see if it works.

He also said that he was surprised by the comments made by Gerhard Berger on Servus TV, a Red Bull owned TV channel, broadcasting out of Red Bull’s Hanger 7 in Salzburg. Berger accused Webber of trying to wipe Alonso when he came back across the track in Korea after hitting a wall. Instead he clouted Rosberg.

Webber said he would have “no problem” if Alonso were to win the championship by the seven points he gained from team orders in Germany, saying that it only happened because Massa wasn’t fast enough. “If he’d been ten seconds up the road it wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

Both drivers feel that they have a good car here. The Ferrari will be more of a match for the Red Bull here than Suzuka because of the absence of fast corners.

The great unknowns are Massa – will he be motivated to win in front of his home crowd and do a job for his team? And also the McLarens. They have some new parts on the car this weekend and Friday will be crucial to see whether they will get involved in the podium battle.

The atmosphere here is great and we are in for a very intense weekend, I sense. Try not to miss a moment of it, if you can.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

Does anyone else feel that Webbers partner is just wearing a poppy in that picture to wind up the German/Austrian contingent in Red Bull?


Webber has got to stop complaining. Korea was 100% his fault or he would be golden right now. Not one other top driver hit a wall all day but he hit one only a few laps into green flag racing. He seems to be looking for excuses not to win the title rather than putting his head down and getting it done. There is no reason he cannot beat Alonso the next two races.

I think this is the difference in a “winner” like Alonso and a good driver like Webber


Berger is an idiot..Webber was a passenger as the car slid back across the track…but good of you James to point out who was paying the bills for his “expert” commentary.


I do have to agree with Mark that it has been ‘inconvenient’ for him to have performed so well when compared to Seb over the course of the year. However, I cannot fathom why a racing team would choose to be so blatant in its preferences, especially when it has yet to win one title! If RBR loses both titles this year, I think more questions will need to be asked of Dr Marko than Christian Horner.


First choice: MARK WEBBER takes 2010 WDC.

Second choice: FERNANDO ALONSO takes 2010 WDC by only 1 point and look forward to all the negative postings of unworthiness.

And who could blame Mark for his comments. RBR has displayed the true meaning of prejudice face on!


Mark Webber must have some real doubt’s that he can win this one. RBR marketing and media department in conjunction with upper management have done a fantastic job at building on Webber’s psychological demise.

(1) Pre Korea. Horner said again that RBR are building the team around Sebastian Vettel.

(2) Korea. Marko hugging Vettel in pit lane with the tv camera poised for action. And action! Hug. Longing look. Cut!

(3) Post Race. Vettel comments to confirm his retirement was not his fault. Webber’s however!

(4) Post Korea. Servus TV (Red Bull}Gerhard Berger. Mark Webber deliberately took out Nico Rosberg.

Deserving or not, I just can’t be put these media incidents down to cases of simple coincidence.

Webber’s comment’s, strange or otherwise were a direct reaction to the media exposure over the last month and the residual memories of the 2010 season’s incidences.

Having the technical hardware for the job is paramount to your championship aspirations. Having a supportive transparent team is essential. circumventing internal issues (bias) through the media via your team principals is really cloak and daggers stuff.

This is fuel for the fire that is Red Bull Racing’s inability to balance it’s championship desires with Red Bull’s marketing aspirations.

Instead of Red Bull Racing winning at all costs (as long as it is a Red Bull Driver) Red Bull

have projected to win the WDC with a preferred driver(from the Red Bull Driver’s program). Foregoing WDC this season is a acceptable loss for Red Bull, although I am certain that this is not shared by everyone at Red Bull racing

That is a lot to carry with you every time you hop into the car to go racing when you are the no.2 driver out performing the no.1 in championship point for the majority of the season.


I am a small concern…

How can one suspect Ferrari of having engine issues when since GP5 (Spain) where they KNEW they only had 6 engines left for the 15 last GPs I cannot see ANY limitation in the milage wether it’s in FP1+2 (friday engine) or FP3 (race engine) ?

Ferrari : 9 253.8 km / RedBull : 8 837.5 km / McLaren : 8 232.5 km

Repartition Alonso (4 598.1 km) Massa (4 655.7 km)

Got my figures from Autosport public data after each FP multiplying the number of laps by the circuit length…. Data available on request indeed….


This is the era of ‘The Cry Babies’ Gone and is gravely missed arethe eras of Real Men like Ascari, Fangio, Clark, Ayrton Senna, Giles Villeneuve and every man who took on the old Nurburgring. The only saving grace this year has been Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.. They drive more and complain less.. We need more of those then drivers who whine on over everything.


Mark so willfully airing the teams dirty laundry to the press can’t be good for his prospects of continuing his drive for RB… or any other team in the future. It may make his championship personally sweeter if he does win though, if he loses I wouldn’t be surprised if RB sack him at the end of the year. In a team situation a loudmouth like Mark is cancerous.


I think Helmut Marko is the real cancer at Red Bull.


Hi James. In light of the engine that gave up in FP1, what is the situation with Alonso? Any indication on whether Fernando will have to take a penalty in Interlagos?

Could this be the driver for his comments about Massa? Wanting Felipe to win, so as to reduce the points haul by the other contenders, as he isn’t sure what kind of finish he’s going to have…?

Better to take a penalty now, than to go in to Abu Dhabi with question marks, right?


Friday engines are different from Sat and Sun. Not a concern for the engine he’ll use for qualifying and race


I personally feel that Alonso will take home the crown because in order for Redbull to secure the Title, they must back Webber. Clearly, that will not be happening, therefore the only chance they have is if Alonso finishes off the podium. Then Vettel and Webber can race freely.

I would think that Horner has already thought of this and might have a contigency plan in place…Let’s hope!


I’m surprised by the amount of people that are ‘disappointed’ with Webber’s remarks. He was clearly drilled about the issue by the media, and only showed his characteristic honesty and candor when pressed. No one is really questioning the validity of his answers, just his reluctance to lie or play politics as enthusiastically as his peers.


Well said. And we don’t see Marko offering himself to the media every race, do we. Good on Mark, hope he takes it all and says another choice remark as he takes the last checker.


On second thought, just hope he wins, period.


Webber’s luck finally turned around this year, and he’s still unhappy. What a shame. He needs to move on. Or go shopping and buy a really cute outfit. It really works for me when I get like that.

Retail therapist

Classic. Love it.


It seems everyone forgot that at the end of the 2009 season, Webber (who was out of the championship race) said literally he would help Button more than Vettel (his teammate) to win the championship.

And now he demands Vettel to help him? While he is still in contention too?

There is a word for a person like that.

If Vettel now said he would help Alonso win the title more than Webber (he would then be saying the same as Webber last year), how would the British, or rather English speaking media (filled with Webber close friends) react to that?

But Webber gets a cart blanche all the time and it got very tiring and boring now. He should just drive faster than Vettel, instead of whining, kicking around and moaning and now asking for an appointement with Dr. Phil.

I am totally not for Alonso, cannot stand him, but I hope he wins it instead of Webber, if Vettel can’t. So I said the same as Webber last year did 😉


who’s demanding what??????

If Webber ever “demanded” Vettel assist his title shot i’ll eat my hat.

I think you’ll find Webber reassures a journalist that what has not happenned to this point will continue not happening.

I have written elsewhere and I am happy to repeat it: Webber neither expects nor asks for help, let alone demands help.


Webber multiple times asked the team to make him 1st driver if they want the championship. He started way back in Spa.

He demands it behind closed doors reporters have claimed and he is not getting it, is why he is sour droopy faced the last 3 races.

And the way he talks in public, sad, depressed, angry, disappointed, it looks like he wants everyone to demand for him that RBR forces Vettel to help him. He plays the media very well, especially because his media is filled with his buddies.

He should stop whining and embarrassing the team with his backstabbing, drive like a champ, beat Vettel on the track. And he will get what he wants.


Mate, he only ever “demands” a fair go.

“”He demands it behind closed doors reporters have claimed and he is not getting it, “”

??? “Reporters have claimed” does not make it so.

“He plays the media very well, especially because his media is filled with his buddies.”

His media??? Hey James, you Webber’s buddy?

And yes mate, I do think he should win a race or two before the end of the season.


Is that you, Flavio?


James i think you put a wrong order with my reply above, it supposed to be on post No. 27 🙂


I really find Vettel a nice and cool guy and it’s his supporters in the Austrian side of the RedBull that damage his image. The biggest blow came from Dr Marko when he accused Webber for the Turkey incident.

Now, it’s Berger’s turn with his claims of taking out opponents. Webber though did a big mistake if he hadn’t hit the brakes after his off in Korea and I don’t understand why ?

Parllel Webber/Vettel and Alonso/Hamilton


There’s a parallel we can draw between the Webber/Vettel and the Alonso/Hamilton situations. Both older drivers felt that the team treated them fairly technically but badly emotionally. I still remember the McLaren mechanics going nuts when Hamilton managed a pole and much less when Alonso did. It’s understandable because both youngsters have been developed by their respective team. If you develop a driver and see him growing and rising and living up to your expectations, the bond between you and him is much stronger and you love him almost as a son so there’s absolutely nothing vicious or unhealthy there. Besides, Vettel brought to RedBull their 1st pole and victory in F1 first with the little team ToroRosso and then with the bigger RedBull. For Dr Marko particularly, Vettel not only is close emotionally but justifies all the investment in RedBull’s driver program.

Add to that that Hamilton is British in a British team and Vettel is German in an almost German team (Austrian) and you have all the right circumstances for them being the beloved sons.

Now if you put it from Webber (or Alonso’s perspective before that), it’s very hard emotionally to handle. They might easily get paranoid and think that the emotional unfairness extend to technical unfairness. Luckily for Webber, Vettel had much more technical issues so he won’t have 2nd thoughts about it. But imagine the opposite situations where all reliability issues have hit Webber and none Vettel. What would Webber have thought and what would we have said ? For Alonso it’s even worse because he is the double world champion, the one who stopped Schumi’s dictatorship and the team must be under his feet. They hired him to bring them world championships back and he must felt (wrongly I think) betrayed because they didn’t care enough about him. I think 99,9% of human beings would have felt the same Alonso did.

These situations are simply unsolvable in my view. After all, even parents don’t love their childs equally. How can we ask of Formula 1 teams to do so with their drivers.

The only fair team manager is Enzo Ferrari, he didn’t love his drivers, he only loved his cars (the exception is maybe Gilles Villeneuve).

An interesting point here is for those of you who are fanatic British fans (I know most of you aren’t) who supported Lewis against Alonso and now Webber against Vettel.

For me, if you’re rational about it, you can either support Webber and Alonso or Vettel and Hamilton because of what I explained before but we all know patriotism is a great but stupid feeling.


So is attraction, it blinds peoples ability to see others for whom they really are. Did Marko make the “Crazy” gestures immediately after the Turkey collision, or was that Vettel…


I always find it interesting, the different ways certain statements are reported on different news sites. Motorsport.com has this:

“. . . Mark Webber admitting it is “f***ing obvious” that team bosses are more emotionally supportive of his teammate Sebastian Vettel.”


I hadn’t seen that particular modifier attached to “obvious” in the quote as reported on other sites. Not an earth-shattering difference, but I think it gives it a slightly different tone…! Is that how you heard it?


wow , Thanks for letting us know , didn’t expect him to be this clear on an interview.

but it’s bad that almost all news sites didn’t mention it , They should have.


Yes he did say that


Is it just me, or is the fact that engines could decide this championship pretty pathetic? To have had a driver of the calibre of Alonso (of whom I’m no fan) drag himself into contention for the title, only to have to worry about having used up an allocation of 8 engines per season is just absurd. This is meant to be a sport – sure the costs are higher than other sports, but to have a tennis player face a Wimbledon final having to re-use a raquet he’d slightly cracked in Round One would be nonsense, and so is this.

Let the guys race dammit. No one wants to see a potentially wonderful season finale ruined by an old engine giving up the ghost, and no one wants to see a great driver having to do battle hobbled by some stupid rule that only foists artificiality on the contest…


Engines don’t decide championships.

Hell, drivers don’t decide championships.

Team politics decide championships.

And if your RBR your politics decide championships for

other teams as we will all see.


Wrong. Consistency decides championships


Vettel was pretty consistent in the first races but his car wasn’t…


Yes I agree and Webber has been the most consistent, apart from the very unusual slippery new Korean track he has had a very consistent year. I think Brazil will suit him. He even put a Jaguar on the front row here once when it was not a quick car. I would not be surprised to see him wack it on pole here and maybe win again. He is due for a good weekend.


I think one has to give respect to Mark Webber for holding his head up high even in difficult times. I am sure it is not easy working for a team that favours your team-mate over you so openly. Much respect for the performance he has shown this year , with all that was happening around him. I wonder though, what his motive is exactly, if there is one that is, unless he’s just decided to speak his mind on the subject . I think he is being very brave to do this, looking at him you get a sense of “me against them”, from the outside at least that’s how it looks.


There’s a great article http://www.422race.com/2010/lanalisi-la-salute-dei-motori-a-due-gp-dal-termine in italian which describes engine use.

Very interesting. The point is that the only guy pretty tight is Alonso. Everybody else is very healthy.


I find the suggestion that mw’s position at redbull being untenable to be laughable. He knows he’s got a good seat, redbull know what they have. Anything else is more trouble than it’s worth. I think his comfort with discussing this to be a reflection of the fact that it is pretty good.
These days pragmatism is king, as I suspect it usually has been.


I would like Webber to win the WDC title – and it would also be amusing if it’s the one and only time Red Bull win the drivers championship (I think Mclaren and Ferrari will be stronger next year) however my head tells me that Alonso will win the WDC and Vettel will be strong in the last 2 races to take second. I can’t see Mclaren having the car although I’d like to see the duo doing well. Webber will be third 🙁


Looking at the current points score his best bet would be to go to Mercedes to replace Schumachers dismal 66 point position….


What I don’t understand is what on earth is so wrong with Mark’s comments?

I believe in everything he said. He was treated like a No2 even if he managed to put himself in a position where he has the higher chance of winning the title.

It is plain obvious. If Vettle is in Mark position, surely Mark has to play the support role.

And let’s not forget the front wing that was given to Vettle due to “championship position” according to Horner.

And the fact that Red Bull repeatedly said they will build the team around Vettle.


“They will have been able to test it on the dynomometer in Maranello” – is that correct? According to the rulebook, the FIA apply blanking plates and seals to used engines to ensure that they can’t be run between meetings.

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