Webber: Not taking anything for granted
27 May, 2010
May.27 (Grand Prix 247) Mark Webber is joint Formula 1 Championship leader going into the Turkish Grand Prix weekend. The Red Bull Racing driver spoke at the Thursday FIA press conference in Istanbul. Here are highlights.
A great drive for you and the ultimate reward with a win in Monaco. How was post race celebrations?
Mark Webber: Post race was very good. The team had a bit of a party that night and enjoyed (themselves after) their hard work from the whole week. It is an extended week in Monaco with the running on Thursday and then back-to-back with Barcelona, so a pretty tight turn-around and we managed to have a clean weekend and got a good result. The guys and girls enjoyed their result. I did as well. It was a very rewarding weekend, no question about it. It is a special race to win. It is a pretty challenging circuit and now looking forward to this one.
How has the reaction been worldwide as winning Monaco, as you say, is the one to win?
Mark: I suppose quite a few more people might watch Monte Carlo as a sporting event, so the general interest is probably a little bit higher than maybe some other races. What helped I suppose were the celebrations after the race. Red Bull always do things pretty cool and it made for a nice wrap-up of the weekend I suppose. That was a nice way for the media to tell the story.
You basically getting wet?
Mark: We had some fun.
Tell us a little bit about the Red Bull as the car itself seems to be quite a complicated car. How complicated is it for a driver to set it up and get the car performing to its limit?
Mark: I don’t think it is that complicated. A lot of Formula One cars are complicated, the McLaren and there are a few cars out there with some pretty good ideas on them. I wouldn’t say it is a great deal more complicated than last year’s car. We have good data from last year in terms of the tyres. There have been a few changes, obviously the fuel load and things like that but there has been some stuff we can carry over in terms of set-up and stuff which is good for us to have the knowledge going forward in terms of setting the car up for this year as well. No real big surprises for us. We understand the car well and it is down to a lot of years of hard work and guys interpreting how to get the most out of it. It is going well at the moment but we know from last year that cars that are flying at the start of the year can be exposed at the end of the year. We are very conscious of the fact that we are going pretty good at the moment but we know it is a long season.
Bernie Ecclestone has announced that there will be a US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. I’m looking at your T-shirts and caps and I see names like Mercedes Benz, Red Bull, AT&T. How important is it for your team sponsors to have a race in the US?
Mark: It’s a huge market, we know that. A lot of people live in North America and they’re very passionate about their sport. There’s naturally a lot of people involved in our business that do business in North America. If it’s of benefit for all of us to go there and hold a Grand Prix under their noses and for them to embrace Formula One racing as best they can – because obviously it’s a different kind of sport for them, let’s say – so we’ve seen in the past that it has worked OK at Indy, and it can be exciting in Texas, so let’s see how it goes. For Red Bull, we sell a lot of cans over there and it will be good if we can sell some more.
Since you started your career in Melbourne 2002, this is the first time that you’re leading the championship. Can you just tell us how it has felt for the last ten days, having that experience after such a long time in Formula One?
Mark: I’m not that interested in the points at the moment. It’s nice to have quite a few but the results in the last few races have been what it’s all about, so that’s been very rewarding. We know that there’s been some missed opportunities in the past and we need to keep those to a minimum, so we’re looking forward, keep trying to do what we’ve been executing the last few events and that can be good for us in the future, but I don’t feel any different really, when I get out of bed, because all of us are pretty much on the same points anyway, so I’m not doing anything that different.
During your leaner years in Formula One, did you always maintain the belief that you would eventually get a car as good as you have now? And when did you realise it was such a good car, as well?
Mark: Coming into Formula One, obviously with a small team like Minardi, moved to Jaguar and that were some exciting times there in terms of getting your first few points and starting to race towards the front which is a nice thing when you can start to do that in Formula One. Obviously we know I had some tough years after Jaguar and then a fresh opportunity at Red Bull and the clear attraction at Red Bull was Adrian (Newey). His ability to be able to produce good cars is well known, so I think that when we got the regulation change, that was something that was very attractive for our team, in our group of guys and it’s turned out that the last few years we’ve certainly been towards the front. It’s nice to be in the team after all the work we put in during those tough years, even when I first arrived at Red Bull. So you are always hopeful that you get an opportunity to drive a car which is very competitive. We know that it’s an important part of the job but also as a driver you don’t hang around this business that long if you’re not performing either. So I obviously needed to keep performing, doing my best and hopefully something one day would have come around and at that moment, for sure I’ve had the most competitive cars in the last few years, there’s no question about that.
Are you going to use the F-duct at this (Turkish) Grand Prix and what advantage can that give you?
Mark: Yes, we give the F-duct a go tomorrow, we’re going to give it a chance. To answer your second question: Barcelona, clearly we were pretty competitive there, particularly in qualifying. I think it’s going to be very, very hard to do that again so, as we saw in Monaco, we know it’s a very, very different circuit completely but things tightened up there a lot, so venue to venue, things can move around and even within the race, we saw in Barcelona that things were a little bit different. Lewis was our closest competitor in that Grand Prix, so you can argue that if we had a Turkish Grand Prix after Barcelona, you might say that the McLaren might be the guys that might be our challengers here but we’re also mindful of the fact that Ferrari – and also if Mercedes have a clean weekend – there’s lots of guys that can come towards us, so we’re definitely not taking anything for granted, we know we’re working incredibly hard to get the results we have and it’s not easy to get them.
How big is the competition between you and Sebastian?
Mark: Oh, every competitor is on the grid (is competition) for all of us. We know that towards the front we have different levels of car performance, so it’s obvious that I’m not racing Jarno this weekend but there’s guys that you have more fights with throughout the season and clearly Sebastian is in a good car, he’s quick and there’s going to be a healthy competition there as always. There’s no secret that we like to beat each other and that’s how it should be. It’s healthy, very good balance within the team and Sebastian’s had his days in the past where he’s been virtually untouchable and I’m sure I hope that they don’t happen too much in the future but he’s very quick, we know that, and I’ve got to try and keep those to a minimum. So it’s a good battle.
I’m wondering when the last time was that you won three races in a row. This is your chance this weekend but has it happened before in your career that you’ve done that?
Mark: I think I won a couple in F3000 but maybe not three in a row. I don’t know, probably Formula Ford.
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