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AUGUST 26, 2010

Mark Webber: Hard work ahead

Mark Webber, German GP 2010
© The Cahier Archive

Mark Webber is 34 years old tomorrow. Red Bull Racing team mate Sebastian Vettel has not brought him a present. "Who knows, maybe I can get him some of those free soaps and shampoos you get in the hotel..." he joked. With F1 back on parade at Spa after the summer break, Webber took time to offer his thoughts on Sunday's race and the state of the championship

Q: Do you feel refreshed after the break?

I spent it in France. I didn't need a break but it will be needed for the last part of the championship with all the travelling, flying and hotels - Korea, Brazil, that's when the break will be beneficial. It was nice to be away from the attention for a while. There's been some great memories so far this year and hopefully we'll have a few more.

Q: Have you been analysing the championship situation and the races left?

Not massively, I'm just mindful that I've got to keep doing what I've been doing. I don't want to repeat the Valencia weekend.

Q: Spa is medium downforce and the last medium downforce track was Montreal, which is where Red Bull has been least competitive, so are you concerned about this weekend?

Always when you run medium downforce on these cars it's for a reason, and that reason is long straights. We know it's not a strength of the car and we know why, but we've worked incredibly hard to make the car strong in other areas and we can still keep up at venues which are not best suited to us. We weren't mega uncompetitive in Montreal but we weren't the pace setters like we have been at other venues. If we had to have 17 races in the championship we wouldn't choose Spa and Monza but they're on the calendar.

Q: So is it about damage limitation at Spa and Monza?

Well, we were shitting ourselves about Valencia and Sebastian won the race. That was good. Last year we got blown away and this year we were quick there, so let's see how the top speeds pan out tomorrow in sector one and sector three. At Monza there's nothing really that you can do, it's the worst track of the year for cars that are strong in corners and not particularly strong on straights. But there are a few things you can do here.

Q: Are you hoping for a wet race?

We're ready for anything but a dry race is always less stressful. If you're not in with a chance of getting a top result you might want a mixed afternoon but it's stressful. This place has always been like that - when I raced here in Formula Ford it was like that, so you have to be ready for it.

Q: With only one Aussie champion in the last 30 years, how do you stop yourself thinking about the championship?

It's easy, it's so far off. I could finish sixth in this championship yet. We can ask those questions with two races to go.

Q: But you must appreciate that it's your golden opportunity?

Yeah. But I'm driving next year as well! Consistency is important - you don't want to win races and then have non finishes under this scoring system. It comes down to reliability and then making the right decisions on Sunday. A midfield team might take a gamble but Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari can't really do that.

Q: Is Alonso in a stronger position because Ferrari is focusing on him?

It's a nice position for him to have, yeah. If there's a chance when he is following his team mate that he might get some relief from that, then yeah, but if there is a car between them they can't do anything about that. Most of the time though, there's not a huge amount of support he can get even if we saw evidence of it at Hockenheim. Whether it's enough for him to go on and win the championship is hard to say.

Q: Do you think luck could play it's part?

It could. But I don't really believe in luck. The harder you work the luckier you get. But I still think I'm due a few credits!