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Webber faces up to Benetton challenge

NEW Benetton test driver Mark Webber is under no illusions of the task ahead as he bids to become the first Australian on a Formula One grid since Alan Jones in 1986.

Webber, who tested twice for Benetton last season, will test full-time for the Enstone-based team in 2001 as he sets his sights on the seats of Benetton drivers Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella.

"It is a full-time job because the program is going to be immense," said Webber. "I will also be racing in Formula 3000 next year for Benetton in their junior team and it's going to be full-on for me to try to juggle both these programs.

"It is going to be very, very hard. I try to tell my mates what it is like. To try to put into words when you hit the brake pedal in a Formula One car when you are at the end of the straight, our heads weigh about 45 kilos and the stress on the body is immense.

"It is like sitting on the end of a bullet. It is just so quick and such a buzz to be in control of the whole car and the power and the performance of a car like that is just phenomenal, and to be in it is awesome."

Webber stressed that he has worked hard to earn the test drive with Benetton and he has no intentions of wasting the chance he has been given.

He added: "It is never handed to you on a plate, you have got to get out there and work for it, and you have to be realistic with yourself and come to terms with the fact that you have got to go through the pain barrier and train hard.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be huge."

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