F1 Winter Break
Webber wants investigation into start issues
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Jul 2013   |  3:46 pm GMT  |  139 comments

Red Bull’s Mark Webber says the team need to launch an investigation into why he struggled to get away cleanly at the start of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The Australian, who is leaving the sport at the end of the season, has had good form at Silverstone, winning in 2010 and 2012. But his hopes of a third win in four years were hit when he bogged down at the start – something which has happened to him on numerous occasions over the last few years.

As he fell back down the field, he had contact with Lotus’ Romain Grosjean at the first corner, which broke part of his front wing and compromised his first stint. The 36-year-old managed to recover to finish second, just 0.7 seconds behind Rosberg.

“I didn’t have a clue what happened off the line,” said Webber. “We’ve had two or three good starts in the last few races and then the lights went out and we were back to our normal form. We need to have a look at why those pop up from time to time.

“Then I had Grosjean take my front wing out at the first corner. The boys did a fantastic job to replace the wing at the first stop and then my race could start from there.”

Last month, JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan talked about making a clean start: “When the driver is ready to make the start, he releases one of his two clutch paddles on the steering wheel, holds the engine at 13,000rpm or the exact level he is instructed by the control engineer and then when the lights go out he releases the second paddle.

“The aim is to match the torque demands and not have too much wheelspin, and conversely not bog the engine down either, to have the perfect getaway.

“Getting the driver used to doing that under pressure in a repeatable way is very difficult, as we see from the inconsistency of starts of many F1 drivers. Ferrari has the control systems optimised and the drivers are able to perform consistently.”

While Webber recovered to finish second, his team-mate and championship leader Sebastian Vettel had a more disappointing outcome.

The German inherited the lead when Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton suffered a tyre failure before a gearbox issue with 11 laps to go saw him retire for the first time this season.

“We just lost the race by a couple of laps but there’s nothing I could have done better,” said Vettel. “So it’s always frustrating but I’m not blaming the guys or the team; these things always happen, you never want them to happen but fortunately we’ve got the next race coming up next week so we can try and do it again.”

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This investigation is about 3 years late


I gave my thoughts on this before on these pages and wrote about it elsewhere - follow link in my user name.

I might be well wide of the mark (no pun intended) but I can't see how this is a car issue.


Take any manual car, you balance the accelerator whilst trying to find the optimal engagement point in the clutch to get a clean or smooth getaway. However it's not that easy when trying to race against someone or a clock i.e. when under pressure.

I imagine its the same in F1, it's not as simple as pulling a lever, you have to manage revs (1,000 rpm either way will throw it into too much wheel spin or bog it down), whilst also balancing the friction point with the lever. Webber has never been known to be a fast starter in any previous team.

I expect more trash talk from Webber between now and the end of the year. Perhaps Mr Webber is looking as he had a car capable of winning championships for 4 years, and has 9 wins to show for it...

Most drivers dream of being in a top team like red bull...


With all of the telemetry, the team will absolutely know if and how Mark is botching the starts.


trash talk from webber?


Yes trash talk including his undermining actions:

-said he will ignore team orders like Silverstone 2011, when he disregarded team orders and tried to overtake Vettel, unsuccessfully

-disrespectfully called Vettel "Michael" at drivers briefing in Silverstone 2013

-did not help Vettel in last race of 2012 when championship was on the line.

-cried foul in Malaysia 2013 when Vettel broke team orders and overtook Webber for the win, conveniently forgetting that he tried the same thing in Silverstone 2011.

-cant take responsibility for constant bad starts, and now wants an investigation after 4 years???

Webbers problem is he can't admit that Vettel is a better, younger, faster and more successful driver...


Looking for excuses


I agree Ahmed. Webber has sat in at worst the 2nd best car this last couple of years and has completely under performed compared to his teammate.

What he hasn't under performed in is manipulating the media into thinking he has had a hard deal these years at Red Bull. If he has had such a raw deal why didn't he leave?


Yes, it is late, but probably for a reason. It is however not a coincidence that this "request for investigation" have only been put knowing he will NOT be driving for that team next year.

I think he knows it is not "normal", especially considering it more or less NEVER happens to his team mate, who will always pull off perfectly normal off the line.

Let's see what he tells us in his coming book, "My (dark) years at RedBull".


He will continue to be involved with Red Bull when he retires so the conspiracy theory falls flat.


exactly true. webber has always been a sore loser. Maybe he got overcome by emotion at the start, for this was going to be his last British GP.


That's not the title his publishers have put out.

They've got: "I Got Mad Lots, But I Never Got Even".


Just like one of his starts


No need to investigate Mark knows exactly why this is happening.


If that where the case why did he not move to another team long ago?




better the devil you know than the devil you don't know...


As soon as he starts putting pressure on Vettel... his starts start going wrong... It has to be hell trying to win a championship not only against the field but also against your own team.


yeh lol, if the golden boy Vettel lost every now and then from his teamate how could Bernie ever market him as the 2nd coming of.. i dunno..senna...!?!



If it's not all down to Webber, I don't know why he hasn't been more vocal about it?

It's a great mystery why Webber didn't take the golden opportunity of a fast starting Ferrari. As ever in F1, what if...


He seemed to have good starts at Minardi, Jaguar, Williams, or even several years at Red Bull before the last few years. He also probably didn't want to vocalize it in the media when it's something he can discuss with the team.

Also, Webber isn't the most adaptive driver. He struggled with the exhaust blown diffusers. I think he knows that Ferrari typically puts together cars that are twitchy to drive, and he would risk pulling a Fisichella and move from a front-running team to under-performing in a Ferrari and ending his career with his tail between his legs.


did both cars blow the same? you adapt your style to trusting the blowing and some geek determines whether you go around the corner or not. maybe he wasn't trusting enough in the system? or maybe he was just too trusting?


Because it's his own fault most likely. Do you really think if Red Bull where tinkering with his starts he would have stayed so long with them and continue to do events under the brand when he leaves this year?


Yes. This will be the first time the team have looked into Mark's starts....

According to Mark Gillan's explanation it doesn't sound too hard. Set the engine at x RPM, release one paddle, wait till lights go out, release second paddle. DFE. You dont see too many guys having consistent trouble with starts.

I dont think Mark should retire until he sorts this out 😉 Quite the legacy...

roberto marquez

James is it posible for a team to interfere with the car controls via radio ,lets say at the start of a race to delay that car in particular ? I know it seems like a strange question ,but the air is so rarified in todays formula 1 racing that I would appreciate your answer.


stop and think about what you just asked...

I think many Webber fans cannot come to grips with just how fast Vettel is and they want to believe Red Bull is out to ruin Webber's races. Mark is a very good driver, but he is no Veteel. Mark had his chances, Korea 2010 comes to mind, as well as a ton of bad starts...


Webber nearly went without a win in 2011, when RB7 was supreme among all. How come Seb won half of the races, with Mark always complaining that the car didnt suit him. Its a plain fact that Mark is not a real racer at all.


" Its a plain fact that Mark is not a real racer at all." you're a moron and that's a retarded thing to say. you're plainly not a real F1 fan at all. pffft!


With bets on Mark having a bad start better than having a good start, you have to wonder if it is all down to Mark. The telemetry will tell the team and Mark exactly where he went wrong. A capable driver such as Mark would be able to correct any issues.


Answer, yes it is possible.


Really, they can adjust things from the pits?

I thought that was not allowed under the rules and the reason the drivers have all the buttons on the wheel and why we have all the radio message from the pits telling the drivers what to set them at.


I did not say it was legal, but more than possible. And I will bet my bottom dollar that all the top teams do it.


It doesn't make any sense for a team to deliberately sabotage one driver... I would eat my hat if that ever turned out to be true

Scuderia McLaren

I agree. It's sour grapes from Webber.

Expect many a comment to slip out "accidentally" from Webber about small little conspiracies.

Webber has a PR agenda and he will attempt to begin to lay reasonable doubt, without saying much, so as to have the perception that perhaps he was much better than he was.

It's sad really. But it's obvious too.


you're even more of a conspiracy theorist nut than you accuse Webber of being! pffft!


Haven't you seen what has been going on at Red Bull these past 3 years? They know Mark is something of a Silverstone specialist and they didn't want him interferring with their boy Vettel. So what better way than to send him to the back of the pack at the start? Only it backfired when Vettel's gearbox broke whilst leading. In the end it cost them the top step of the podium but they have shown they really don't care about where Webber finishes so long as a) Vettel is leading the WDC and the team are leading the constructor's title race.


Renault, Briatore & Nelson Piquet Jr.

Not quite the same thing I know, but I'd still have the sauce handy 😉


Do you like it with mayonnaise ?


I agree, however Mark has been saying this for a few years.

It's more interesting that with all the stories on the race and tyres James has put this out as a story. It is not a slow time for news stories. It makes me think there is more to this than just another bad start????


you are onto something here, and as someone mentioned above about interfering, well it could be possible to delay his start thru some smart programing (red bull did this with hot blowig cold blowing remember)so I'm really interested to see how this pans out, more dirty laundry exposed by Mark?


Only if you could make it appear like a Subway interference.


with the level of sophistication in engineering solutions it appears to be more than coincidental that webber suffers these anomalies.

as madmax says, why wasn't this done years ago? i find it almost beyond belief that webber cannot master the technique and apparently so does he?


He has done this no less than 20 times through the years. Mark has never been a good starter. If this was a one off I would agree with him. However, he seems to do it 4 or 5 times per year.

Jake Pattison

You have missed the point. It is precisely why it keeps happening that he is asking questions.


Me thinks your estimate is over kind to "the lights out blunder from down under"

Jeez, i've been bugging Mr Allen here for over two years to explain Mark's inability to finish his tea before lights out...


Accelerator Pedal:-




Clutch paddle coordination probably important too.


I tried this and demolished my garage door 🙁


Next time remember the appendix:

Back car out of Garage

Take car out of reverse!!!!

Honk horn to clear out the kids

Engage 1st gear



LOL. But seriously people, I've read a few comments calling Webber a sore loser etc. He has to be one of the most 'sporting' drivers we've seen over the last few years. He talks up his own team and acknowledges other teams/drivers for great performances where they beat him. Except for Malaysia 'Multi21' he doesn't really speak out when he's frustrated beyond stating that he & the team need to get better. I can't wait to read the biography.


Don't feel too bad, everybody has to start somewhere... 🙂


He had fliers off the line in his last 2 races also so it's even more confusing. But I heard marks comments about Fernando in the bbc podcast from yesterday. Pretty clear to me mark considers Fernando the best driver about. So does Lewis. That's good enough for me.


What on earth has this got to do with alonso ?

He is friends with him, so not exactly a great surprise to hear him big him up.

Lewis is being nice, he beat alonso when he was a rookie, we all know he is faster. Only desperate alonso fans keep on repeating the mantra about how incredibly great he is, other people can see the truth, he is the only driver to have a support driver working for him and people do know he deliberately put his fellow competitors lives in danger with the Singapore Crashgate charade.

Webber is a second rate driver in terms of F1 these days, at times competitive, but frequently he fails due to his own weaknesses. Blaming the clutch setup for his own failings, all the while knowing it is his own fault, not some team conspiracy to aid Seb, says it all. He knows his fans will seize on this to try and explain his poor performances, whilst damaging his employers.


In addition, Alonso has a full-scale Ferrari simulator install in his home, yes, in his home.

No other driver in the current lineup probably has this.


But did you know, he doesn't use it for "racing" around circuits?

He uses it for reflex tests, playing card and reaction games using the controls on the wheel etc.

I was told this by one of the simulator operators at the Shell Nitro + day that I won back in April


I would respectfully suggest that if the F1 team managers rate Fernando as the best driver on the grid then maybe just maybe they might have a better idea than you.....


In the last 5yrs Vettel has won it 3 times and Alonso 2 times.

Also this just became a way of measuring drivers ability last yr.


No, no... armchair experts always know best!




If he thinks that way he's more stupid than I thought you have been beaten comprehensively by the same person for 5yrs so I dont get it people make it seem like Vettel joined redbull in 2010 but in 2009 it was Webbers team Vettel joined and has beaten him comprehensively since then.


Actually, Vettel beat Webber in 2008 as well, SV's first full season. STR must had remote control to slow down Webber, DC, and Bourdais so that Vettel could gain more points than all three combined? RBR must had intentionally lost to its junior team so that they could promot Vettel to its team?

Tornillo Amarillo

Mark had decided to try a Ferrari this year instead. Too late now.


Here's a solution for you Mark. Don't get to close to Sebastian in qualifying and your start will be just fine.


I think he would have to stay way too far back, to be sure. So end result/position would be the same at the end of lap 1 anyway.


Check! We have a winner. Webber's reaction time was right in line. It looks like the car just layed down 20 or so feet on ..

It's quite possible that Webber is far better than people think and maybe Vettel is not so good. I'm not at all sure I would want to share a garage with Seb. Watch out Kimi!


Maybe it was an inside conspiracy! If Mark had got away well he would most definately been pushing Vettle mid race and you can bet your last £ that any intervention by the team to get him to "hold station" would have fallen on deaf ears and possibly ended with a tangled mess of the 2 Red Bull cars in the barrier of a gravel trap and that would be the end of that, so to avoid that, Mark got a "bad start" and so reduced the risk of the 2drivers being close on track.

Just a thort, but we all know who really runs RedBull and it ain't Christian Horner or Mark Webber lol


My money is on Professor Moriarty!


So in other words you don't see MW as a fair racer why would it end in a tangled mess? Vettel is miles quicker than Webber


Not at Silverstone! And if it was the case of being in 2nd and told to hold station behind Vettel...well, some old scores to settle there don't you think? And Vettel wouldn't give way so there is only one likely outcome.


Vettel has always had brilliant starts compared to any other driver on the grid. Mark has proved it time and again that he cant get away cleanly and you cant just rely on him even if he is starting on pole. Remember Spanish GP 2011,he was beaten by Alonso and Vettel before first corner.


Wow. Pretty interesting request from Mark. Even more interesting to read about it here. Do you think there is a possibility of someone deliberately controlling the outcome of Mark's starts, James?

I mean this is, essentially, what he's asking, right?


Im a huge fan of the Aussie Grit but he does seem to have bad starts.

Either he is mis-reading/understanding what the engineers are asking of him on the warm up lap or he is just doing the start wrong.

I doubt Red Bull are doing something to make his starts poor so Sebgets away well.

It is something, if you look back over the stats on this site, that Mark does seem to go backwards more than forwards at the start.

James - how much of the start is purely driver controlled and how much controlled by the car/computer etc?


Mark should also ask for an explanation of his many mechanical problems. Vettel's car usually performs flawlessly while Mark's has numerous breakdowns to Kers, etc., all the while the "experts" claim they drive identical cars.

It will be interesting to read mark's memoirs.


Same people will also ignore the numerous mechanical issues Schumacher used to have and blindly say Rosberg is better than Schumacher.


Vettel's car was so flawless that he retired due to gear box failure while leading with 12 laps to go.


The team have already apologised to Seb for that snafu. They simply mixed up the gearboxes and Seb accidently ended up with Marks." It could happen to anyone" a RB spokesperson was quoted as saying. When asked why Marks KERS units were stenciled with a skull & crossbones, the spokesperson had no comment.

Can't recall where I read it....


Vettel has had more, and more serious, mechanical problems than Webber during their time together. You could look it up.


so smart conspiration theories, lol. but 1 thing is no clear, why Mark decided now to investigate? perhaps there was the most huge slip back in his cases?


He was doing bad starts at Jaguar and Williams too, so maybe the problem isn't the car or a conspiracy involving aliens, 'mate'?

I have never seen a driver backstab his team as much as Webber. And the British media, consisting of his diner buddies, always run with it.

Wins for RBR: Webber 9, for Vettel 28.

Poles for RBR: Webber 10 (?), Vettel 38.

Driver Championship Titles: Webber 0, Vettel 3.

Maybe, just maybe, Vettel is the better driver?


There is no doubt Vettel is the better driver. But do you have all of the data to back up his bad starts at Williams and Jaguar? Were they to the extent of those at Red Bull?


could not have said it any better


No! Think it through, one more time.

Truth or Lies

He should just ask Felipe how to make good starts, as he's pretty handy !

Seriously Mark should let his driving do the talking, its when he opens his mouth it all goes wrong.

Investigation, seriously what planet is he living on...


This is a comment he will live to regret, unfortunately. There is no way that RB intentionally ruin their #2 driver's car in order to keep SV in front - they need the constructor's championship, the driver's is a nice-to-have, I would think.

Sometimes, you just need to shut up and practice.


Can you tell me that Mark said that the team "is" handicapping him or he just ask for "An investigation" or he just said were going to have to look and see what happened to our starts?

Before the blown defusers and the change of balance it gave the cars he was all over Vettel, he led the championship for more than half the year, broke his collar bone with about 4 races to go and still went within a few points.

He is the oldest driver in the paddock and 12 yrs older than Vettel there are no what ifs in life but i think in a sport of supremely fit athletes that alone says a lot. If they were the same age yeah fair enough but the fact of the matter is that if he'd had a top car in his prime than things would be different. Hadn't been beaten by a teammate until he was 32 "Nico included"

He has had 12 years at the pinnacle of motor sport. Which is better than all you armchair experts!

Bravo Mark Bravo


Above comment was supposed to be elsewhere was not intended as reply to these posts.




To Rob and Truth or Lies.

If there is a conspiracy.....I believe this is it.

They (RB) KNOW Mark is a great driver and will always do his utmost to get his results in to the meat of the points. What they dont want is him anywhere near SV contending for the lead.

Easiest way to do that is to hamper his starts. SV gets away while Mark is left fighting for position.

I believe RB have chosen this strategy and would take a consistant win or top 3 (SV) and then top 5-7 points from MW over 2 drivers fighting for the lead (and all the variables that adds, in team rivalry, loss of points, and/or being forced to state "Mark, Seb is quicker than you....DO you understand...? (!!) etc) any day.

I strongly believe RB run a program the same as Ferrari but due to the nature of the "brand" can't/dont want to appear unsportsman like (as Ferrari do).

IF they wanted too, this is the absolutely perfect way to achieve this.....

I find it hard to believe that a driver as proficient as MW simply cant get the technique right....(something) just does not add up.

Matthew Cheshire

Didn't Webber got a better start than Vettel in Brazil last year? The one race that really counted. Did Marko's thumb slip off his little black box?

Did they believe Webber was going to assist Vettel and let him start (Marko did seem pissed later that he didn't help 100%)?

Or does Vettel have some extra toys to help starts - and they were too risky to keep for that deciding race?


Then why has he had 2 amazing starts in Monaco and Canada.

There is no conspiracy. And the answer to his starts is not clear cut!! Hence the investigation


Well in Monaco no front running driver's team can afford a bad start due to the "follow the leader" nature of the race and the very tight turn 1. And BTW Mark has won there twice.

As for Montreal, it's again a similar situation and RB, as a team does not want to be responsible for another turn 1 pileup.

I don't have stats in front of me but off the top of my head when Webber is not row 1 or 2, his starts are fine. Granted that's not very often but something HAS to be going on with this .. perhaps a history of position gain/loss at lap 1 would show a pattern?


I completely agree! It makes sense from every angle.


Webber starts have always been poor, even before he was at Red Bull

It's hard to recall a bad start from Vettel, in fact they are almost always brilliant, and since they both drive the same car, one can see who's clearly at fault

After the incident with Vettel in Turkey, I stayed on his side, but he had his chance, and blew it

Red Bull, aside from Helmut Marko, have always been more than supportive, so conspiracy theories are nonsense


So, what is Webber actually suggesting? The team is purposely doing this to him? Please ...


How many practice starts would a driver do over a weekend, I think it would become pretty natural after a while, even for a rookie. How many rookies have bad starts?


I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who can access the true stat's of Mark's good starts as opposed to his bad stars when out qualifying or starting next to or behind Vettel? I'm not a Vettel fan and yes he is obviously a very fast and skilled driver, BUT with the history of what has gone on at RB I really wouldn't be surprised to find that when Mark is in front of or near Vettel at the start of a race his car gets off to a bad start?? Just to let RB's golden boy have a stress free start to the race. Some here have commented that Webber should keep his mouth closed.. But its always Vettel I hear on the team radio having a sook when things aren't all smooth sailing for him..


Well the conspiracy theorists might be right after all.

It one things for fans to say Webber has been held back but it's another now when the driver questions his own team publicly.

Guaranteed we have not heard the last of this from Mark.


I'm interested in Vettel's comments reported at the end. When he says they lost by a couple of laps, is he referring to Webber or his own race. If the latter, is he suggesting he would have overtaken Rosberg for the win if he had been in Webber's place?


I think you are reading too much into Vettel's words. He would have been talking about his own race.


There is a line of code in Mark's software ...

if (diff($mark_qual_pos,$seb_qual_pos) == 1)

$bog_start = TRUE;

Only the variables have been changed to protect the blonde.

Removes tongue from cheek.


I honestly think Webber's bad starts are a deliberate remote or preplanned sabotage from his own team, specifically coming from Helmut Marko, Vettel and Vettel's engineeers. Webber has absolutely terrible starts whenever he is next to or in front of his team mate and on a circuit which suits his driving style. The reason for this back stabbing is simple: They see Vettel as a marketing gold mine.

When Webber retires I think we will hear the truth confirmed for the first time: it's sabotage.


Geez, do we really need an "investigation"? We all know what is going on, anyone with half a wit knows what Mark is trying to get across here.

Congrats to Mark 🙂 Must be liberating now that he owes RB nothing. I can't wait to read his books/articles in the future.

Matthew Cheshire

Its strange. Webber was renowned for qualifying and starting earlier in his career. And Red Bull has had plenty of time to tailor the car to him.

We've seen Vettel get the wing and Kers that works first. But what about components we can't see?

Does Vettel have some launch control and they haven't risked it for Webber? Echo of Schuey's Benetton?

RB has complained about the power from the Renault in the past and their aero advantage is nothing at the start. A little help on the starts would be hard to resist?

Does Mark struggle because the car is set up for launch control and not full manual starts?

Has anyone asked Webber's old engineer Pilbeam? what he thinks?


The system they have in place happens to be better suited to Vettel and has been optimised for him. Webber obviously struggles with it; sometimes mastering it, most of the time not. I don't think RB is actively sabotaging Webber in this regard. However, they certainly have not made it easy for him, all the while tailoring it to Vettel.

Just my opinion.

Craig in Manila

Seriously, all he said was that "We need to have a look at why those pop up from time to time" and this gets blown-up into conspiracies and a whole article about (essentially) one or two sentences made by Webber on the podium immediately after the race.

If he had've said "I did everything perfectly but seems that the car is being sabotaged" then THAT would be a story.

He didn't.

Didn't even come close.

No story here.


+1, I don't know what the fuss is all about, sounded very standard to me.

Adrian Newey Jnr

James - have you ever asked Christian or one of the other senior RB staff why they have never done a "start test" with Mark? This could be done in line with the straight line testing. Practice makes perfect! Seriously though, Mark is a professional. I doubt the issue is consistently his fault.


do people really think that webber has not gone as deep as possible into the analysis of his starting techniques? c'mon

as i said earlier, webber is asking for an investigation.....why? he is leaving the team and the clock cannot be turned back. obviously he wants to achieve the max result that he can over the remaining races as when the flag drops in brazil that is effectively it for mark webber.

if there is more to it than poor motor skills it should be exposed. if it is solely down to mark webber then he is, by request, more than willing to carry the can.


I've pondered this quite often during Mark's career, but I always put down to the fact that he weighs 75kg and is a 6 footer, compared to Vettel who is 58kg and needs a yellow pages to see over the wheel. I'm no scientist, and I'm assuming that there is no other weight equalization performed - but to launch an extra 17kg from a standing start would seem more problematic. Once the car is underway that extra weight would probably assist in cornering traction? Which explains why he is such a good racer? I googled their weights, but made the rest of this up...is anyone with me?


Ever wonder why the drivers get weighed after each race and the cars carry ballast?

There are technical reasons why larger drivers may be slightly disadvantaged but this is related to center of gravity during cornering and nothing to do with starts.


If anything a taller CG will result in more fore aft weight transfer and thus better traction in a pure straight line situation .. IE starts.


You forgetting that both cars will weigh roughly the same because Sebastian's car will be ballasted up to reach 642kg.


I think they add weight to Seb's car to balance out the weight difference between the drivers. But they have more flexibility where they can distribute that weight in Seb's car.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.


One important thing people are forgetting here is that all of Vettels WDC were behind Webber so it was a perfect chance for Vettel to wipe out hos competitors if mark bogged them all down at the start. Do you think if anyone knows what is going on then would it not be Webber? He was probably worried before to make any issue of this since he still was thinking of his future. Now he has nothing to lose. RBR know that too and they don't want him tangling with Vettel as they know he will not listen to team orders.


One important thing people are forgetting here is that all of Vettel's WDC rivals were behind Webber so it was a perfect chance for Vettel to wipe out his competitors if mark bogged them all down at the start. Do you think if anyone knows what is going on then would it not be Webber? He was probably worried before to make any issue of this since he still was thinking of his future. Now he has nothing to lose. RBR know that too and they don't want him tangling with Vettel as they know he will not listen to team orders.

Scuderia McLaren

Engineer to Mark:

So Mark, should the investigation begin from your Minardi days, through to your Jaguar and Williams days and then to present? Your starts have been bad the whole time, in all teams, in all years.

Mark to Engineer:

Nah mate, just the RBR years specifically the 2009-2013 period against Sebastian. I want some data to help me suggest without saying much that I was dogged by the team and subsequently lead people to think I should be the 3 time WDC.

Engineer to Mark:

I don't think people are that stupid

Mark to Engineer:

Leave it with me mate. People love a conspiracy. If some not even think we've landed on the moon, then many will read into the data and draw the conclusions we want.

Engineer to Mark:

yeah but what about sportsmanship. Don't you want to go out as it is, not cause anymore issues for Red Bull.

Mark to Engineer:

Yeah, the trick is though to pretend I know something critical, that I cant say, but provide some irrelevant data to suggest that what I know is really really terrible. There no way I could face actually being just plain bad at starts.


This sounds like a 'reverse' conspiracy theory. It is no more valid than any of the 'sabotage' theories that have been raised. In fact, it's mere suggestion is far more underhanded and low as it attacks the character and integrity of an individual.

Scuderia McLaren

Prefer to think of it as "exposes" the character and integrity of an individual.


Just like Vettel's own actions at Malaysia show the true colors of his character. Far more so than your fictional and slanderous conversation between Mark Webber and his engineer.


Brilliant! I so hate Webber! The least sporting F1 driver along with Alonso


Couldnt agree any better. Just look at this years qualifying analysis, Vettel to Mark 8-0, this speaks all. Goodness knows what he will do at endurance racing.


Mark's car probably has a unique proximity launch control fitted, the closer to the number 1 car the worse his start will be.

Just something to add to all the conspiracy theories out there on Mark at RBR.


Mark never had bad starts before redbull he often got in first Conner crashes but his starts were fine. Ask your self this if it was vettle not getting away do you think redbull would not have fixed it by now.


Conspiracy or not. THIS is the perfect answer!


Lotus apologised to Kimi several times this year for 'not optimising his start procedure' which left him bogged down on launch...

There is obviously a lot more team input than is obvious. I'm sure Mark must shoulder some of the blame and its clear Vettel and Massa just have a knack at fast getaways but the team should be doing something to investigate the launch problems for Webber - even if they conclude publicly that its all his own fault! At least then they could have their own PR swing.

The fact that they don't even look into it seems to arouse suspicion more than Webber asking about it.


I'm one of Webber's biggest fans, but can't help but think it's just his Achilles Heel, or, rather the Red Bull is much more sensitive/unforgiving with it's clutch etc. than other cars on the grid.

James published an article about this a few years ago:



Here's some stats I found, year to year - each number represents how many races Webber either gained, lost, or held a position during the first lap of a race. Note the definite increase in races where he loses a place on the first lap in 2010/2011 particularly.


6 gained

8 lost

6 held



2 gained

11 lost

6 held



3 gained

9 lost

7 held



4 gained

3 lost

9 held



5 gained

8 lost

4 held



7 gained

4 lost

6 held



10 gained

4 lost

2 held



4 gained

10 lost

3 held



8 gained

7 lost

2 held



4 gained

6 lost

6 held



12 gained

0 lost

4 held


Mark was responsible for the 3 WCC Red Bull bagged and yet he gets treated in this manner.

Need I mention the name of that old man? Nah.

'Not bad for a number two eh'.

Always liked him and respected Mark for his frankness, will miss him next year. A very good racer too. Would have been memorable if he won his 3rd Silverstone, IF only there was one more lap it was his.


Come on Gary Anderson. James is not going to do the research and answer the questions.? Someone please explain why Webber's starts are poor when he is in a position to threaten the Golden Boy.!!




Just had an idea why don't you do Marks autobiography. None of the boring years just the bits with Seb. Throw in a bit of Rubens vs Schumacher. It would sell like hot cakes


No time!

He'd get Tom Clarkson to do that anyway.


It's clear that Red Bull favour Vettle and in the past have even taken a new front wing off Webber's car to put on Vettle"s, in public view. Now this year, they even let Vettle overtake Webber, by tweaking pit strategy , allowing Vettle to win the race. So , is it a fair question or not to ask about the starts? RB don't care if Webber wins races, but they need a way to keep him away from Vettle. Do you really think he is leaving F1 just for the tyres ?


Perhaps he should put some tin foil in his helmet and over the steering wheel!



Perhaps you can run an article with Webber's pole position and then his start performance dating back to his Williams years. Also, it would be interesting to show where Vettel qualified in each of those races.

I may start some digging...


If you test for a fault by swapping parts about, then re-testing to see where the fault has gone, the fault ALWAYS follows the bad component.

The bad starts have never affected Vettel.


Being a Webber fan I'd love to believe Marks bad starts were part of a RB conspiracy against him, but that is not the case. Sebastian, is (and I hate to say it) a more complete driver than Mark. Plus Seb is a great qualifier and thats the reason why he wins so many races. P1 offers drivers a HUGE advantage. Hamilton and Alonso are the two best racers on the track, Seb is a close third with Nico not far behind. Marks an aussie battler, what he lacks in pure talent he makes up for in determination and a never say die attitude. He has done well in F1, its made him a millionaire and he has loads of fans that respect and admire him, as I do. Seb is the better driver and thats OK, there is always going to be a better driver. The aussie to watch now is Ricciardo, I predict that he will take over Marks seat and do just as well, if not better than Seb in 2014.


+1 for the honesty James and I hope you end up being right about Ricciardo - I'm gunning for him too 🙂


James, where did you get the following quote from: "We’ve had two or three good starts in the last few races and then the lights went out and we were back to our normal form."

Most other transcripts if read make it this: "...and then the lights went out and we’re back to our normal tactics..."

The words "form" and "tactics" have vastly different connotations. The FIA website uses the word "tactics".

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