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Webber: “2010 was my last chance to be champion”
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Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Oct 2011   |  11:50 pm GMT  |  105 comments

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

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1

Well, he’s surely got no chance of winning the title so long as he’s got Vettel as a team mate????? If a driver can’t beat his team mate, then barring weird luck and circumstances, he cannot win the title. And this year he’s been absolutely trounced.

2

Articles on ITV & Fox Sports have Mark denying that he said that in the interview. So the question remains. What did Mark actually say? And why would he make such comments to what appears to be an unknown interviewer? It does seem rather strange.

As Mark would say, you don’t know what will happen next year (or at the next race). Bring on Suzuka.

3

Read AUTOSPORT story today

4

Indeed. Then the title of this piece should be, Webber: “Maybe there is a good chance [2010] might have been my last chance [to be World Champion]”

Not really headline material unless you get rid of the maybe’s and might’s.

Regardless, Mark will have to step it up a couple notches to compete against Seb. He has to get the team around him, like Button has at McLaren: with results on the track.

5

Mark is one of those good guys who since joining Red Bull has really grown in both ability and personal stature. I suspect very few would have viewed him as other than grid packing material a few years back, never mind the serious title contender he became last year. I can fully understand his disinterest in having anything to do with F1 after he quits driving because of the politics but what I hope is that he will take his fondness for 2 wheels and become a force on the motorcycle racing scene when he hangs up his helmet. How fantastic that would be!

6

Last chance? like in 2008 for Massa? Massa did not say nothing like this, though I believe as opposed to Felipe (sadly), MW has got more resource to prove he was wrong!

7

I expect a fierce last season from Mark next year.

He has nothing to lose.

Im quite dissapointed that you are riding this obviously tainted and mis-quoted interview.

Check Marks twitter James.

8

My respect for Webber grows and grows with another honest quote. He is having a disapointing season no doubt about compared to last year and has struggled at times to match Vettel but I still wish him all the best. A quote like this reminds of events of last year where he seemed to need to be the underdog describing how his being in the championship hunt was an unwelcome surspise for the team. He seems to need to fire himself up.

As with the issue of team orders as Brundle and DC have often spoke about teams are making decisions that affect team orders and drivers right from the start of the year ie who gets first seat fitting and first time in the new car. It is I believe impossible to be totally fair to both driver. Red Bull clearly want Vettel to win more as he respresents everything that they respresent ie fun, young brand and it gives them a return for their investment of supporting him for many years. I have to say I believe of the would be champions there is more change of Webber winning the title than Massa in their current state.

9
Adrian Newey Jnr

Even if RBR were favouring Vettel, Mark should still be coming 2nd each race. Due to various incidents (poor starts, etc) he hasn’t been able to do so. Therefore its difficult to blame the team for this.

10

“It should come as no surprise therefore to see these comments, but they may not be quite what they seem…”

What exactly are you implying here James?

Me thinks somethings fishy here…

11

James, so glad you followed up on this with more telling info. I’m a little amazed, but not that much. It seems to me that RB really do back one driver more in subtle ways, and when two talented drivers are in a team, the subtle ways matter. I’ve had my doubts with the propaganda they spew about equality and team orders when castigating Ferrari, but in my opinion they are even more guilty of doing so in secret. I’m basing this on last year, not this year.

That said a driver has to earn his spot. Mark has had so many car troubles this year that go unmentioned, but his level hasn’t been on par, and I doubt he’ll ever get on par now that he’s openly admitted he will not be given 100% backing at any point in time. It’s telling that Red Bull still signed him on again despite the fact that he clearly believes he will never beat his team mate. Mclaren seem to be the only team featuring equality, at least on the outside..

12

I wonder whether sometimes he’s just too honest for F1.

Even if he was misquoted, he should never put himself in a position where a slight change in the wording can project such a downcast expectation for himself.

13

Webber is one of the nicest drivers on the grid. He is very open an honest. I am sure he is going to be strong next year as I have a feeling that once they remove the hot air blower, the car will suit him more. But again we have to wait and see as Adrian Newey has said the new car will ‘surprise’ everyone on the paddock.

He still thinks Vettel is favoured more at RBR than him. It is not 100% correct. However, given the current situation, their priority will be to wrap up the drivers title in Japan. Can’t complain about that. The way Vettel has won pole positions and races this year has had a negative effect on Webber (and some other drivers).

But Vettel and Webber both have the same car. This year Webber had more problems but in 2010 it was Vettel who had most of the problems but Vettel didn’t give up and went on to win the championship.

Webber has now denied some of the items published in Yahoo Singapore. Apparently he has said “I’m hearing about a misquote about my plans to fight for the title next year, always possible to miss or add a few words for a good story …”

14

I am utterly amazed how many of you act try to convince yourslef it is RB holiding Mark back. He has beat Vettel a single time all year, we are at race 16! He has horrible starts race after race his qualy pace is nowhere near Vettel. I would give real consideration to webber if he was anywhere closr to Vettel. I have nothing against Webber but I hate when he infers the team has somehow caused his horrible pace this year. Last year was his to win and he could not do it. he was never asked to mov for Vettel one time, it was Mark who crashed at Korea, and started to qualy poorly down the stretch…. too many excuses for this guy.

15

One of my biggest disappointments in F-1 was Webber not winning the title in 2010. It would have been the perfect ending to that year. A good bloke who is a joy to have in the sport. Good luck to you Mark.

16

I think you will find the wording of the reporters question was changed when it went to print. I suspect the word “best” chance…was used in the interview, but when it goes to print they replace best with last to change the essence of the response.

17

He just tweeted:

“I’m hearing about a misquote about my plans to fight for the title next year,always possible to miss/add a few words for a good story..”

I thought it was a bit strange, don’t call him Aussie Grit for nothing!!

Go Mark for 2012!!

18

Confirmed as a misquote by Mark himself on Twitter

19

Webber doesn’t usually refer to media via twitter but did this time “I’m hearing about a misquote about my plans to fight for the title next year,always possible to miss/add a few words for a good story..”

20

Mark you are our champion! A champion for the fans!

21

Hi James,

Don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but I remember it being reported last year that SV was less comfortable in the Red Bull during the early stages of ’10 until they started exploiting the off-throttle blowing…it’s interesting to note Mark’s speed at Silverstone this year where he seemed to have the measure of SV, and this was the one race this year where they banned off-throttle blowing (to a degree). With it being completely banned next year, do you think Mark may very well be in a better position than he’s giving himself credit for?

22

Mark needs to limit his media as much as possible.

Its just not him, and the distortions it creates to his views seem unhelpful to his performance.

Glad to see him race another year though.

He reminds me very much of Denny Hulme, impatient and uneasy with the overt elements of F1.

23

In addition to my comments at Post #39, having now read the full Yahoo article, it certainly has an edgy “Silverstone 2010/11” feel to it – he is pumped up, certainly not throwing in the towel, there is fire in the belly and most importantly he wants CHANGE!

The only issue is that 2011 is now a race for second for him and not first.

Best regards,

Iain

24

I was right, it was taken out of context! MW doesn’t rule out a championship bid in 2012, however he concedes that his best chance was in 2010. And he’s quite right as usual.

25

He is a typical Aussie bloke.

26

Great guy and i always enjoy listening to his interviews. No BS or ego. I still think he’s got a win in him this season if he can sort out his starts.

27

Hi James,

Sorry for slightly off topic.

Out of boredom, I just developed an iPhone app which allows me to visualize the race lap times and compare the lap times of the drivers.

http://f1formula.net/blog/?p=25

Its free by the way.

As you can see there, I don’t quite understand why Mark’s pace wasn’t better than Seb’s at the final stages of the Singapore race as Jenson was able to close the gap to Mark.

As for his current situation, James, in your opinion, how much of that has to do with the motivation and how much of that was down to the equipment.

I think we are seeing a pattern here.

When Massa was driving along side Michael, yes he was no 2 but he had Michael support which meant the entire team’s support. He went on and almost won the title in 2008. Now the entire team’s focus is on Alonso, understandably, and his performance gap to Alonso is huge just like Mark’s.

To me its becoming harder and harder to compare the teammates. It’s almost as if its more fair to compare the No 1 drivers of the top teams.

Ps. please feel free to use the images as you wish.

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