Webber: I’ll have a very strong 2012 season

Mark Webber during previews to the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 24, 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Mark Webber looking ahead to a strong season in 2012

Dec.5 (Reuters) Only a week has passed since Formula One packed up for the year in Brazil, and while Red Bull’s Mark Webber is “putting his feet up” after an arduous season the Australian’s thoughts have already turned to the 2012 season-opener in Melbourne.

Mark Webber during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 27, 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Mark ended the long 2011 season on the top step of the podium in Brazil

Webber, whose thrilling and occasionally acrimonious tussle with Sebastian Vettel was a highlight of the 2010 championship, was completely eclipsed by his Red Bull team mate in 2011 as the German successfully defended his title with four races to spare.

Despite a creditable season, finishing third in the driver standings, Webber managed just one win, taking the chequered flag at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix after his team mate’s car suffered a reliability problem.

Some of the gloss was taken off that win when Red Bull moved to deny suspicions Vettel’s gearbox problem had been concocted to gift the Australian a morale-boosting victory at the end of a barren season.

The win was, nonetheless, “just the tonic” to re-ignite the competitive fires, Webber told Reuters, even if it had been aided by his team mate’s misfortune.

“I think that (the victory) was brewing off the back of a few events where, on the surface it might not have looked that I might have been challenging, but there were certain things coming that I was getting more confident about,” the 35-year-old said in a telephone interview from Australia’s island state of Tasmania.

“Yes, Seb (Vettel) had to manage an issue but irrespective of that, you still need to pounce and capitalise on other people’s misfortunes. That’s motor sport at the end of the day.

“It’s good to have our feet up a little bit, it’s a long, long season as we all know. But to be honest I probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mark webber  leads Sebastian Vettel during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 27, 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Mark Webber leads Sebastian Vettel at Interlagos

“I still absolutely love my racing and I’m really looking forward to, it’s 100 days apparently before we get back to Melbourne, so looking forward to getting back in the car and racing.”

The Australian was speaking as he prepared for his annual Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge, a five-day cross-country event which starts on Wednesday and helps raise funds for disadvantaged youth and endangered local wildlife.

Webber’s idea of having his “feet up” has included a 6.5 km fun run through a hilly course around the picture-postcard port of Hobart on Sunday, then having a photo-shoot while abseiling on a sheer rock face at a national park on Monday.

Elite and rookie athletes will compete in teams of two in kayaking, mountain biking and trekking as part of the challenge, but it is not clear whether Webber will participate in the mountain bike part after two serious accidents.

The first crash at the end of 2008 broke his leg and shoulder, hampering the start of his next F1 season, while the second in 2010 left him driving with a fractured shoulder for the last four races of the season as his title hopes gradually slipped away.

Mark Webber (AUS) in action during the Mountain Bike section of the Cradle Mountain Stage Mark Webber Challenge, Tasmania, Australia, 22 November 2007

Mark enjoys his biking

Despite the mishaps, Webber said he was thrilled to see others push themselves and survive to tell the tale.

“It’s a very important thing for people to go through in life, to have respect for something you’re about to do and get the most out of it and lift the bar for themselves a little bit,” he said of the event.

“Obviously there’s some adrenalin involved and that’s what people get out of bed for to enjoy that sort of stuff and do things they haven’t done before.

“I’m obviously the same, not just when I’m driving the car, I like to take some risks but (also) making the right decisions for myself knowing that my proper career is racing cars!”

Plain-spoken and ultra-competitive, Webber, who will turn 36 next August, remains contracted with Red Bull until the end of 2012, but bridles at suggestions he might content himself with scratching out the odd race win in his career’s sunset.

Mark Webber in Melbourne

Mark during the drivers parade lap in Melbourne

A question about 2012 likely being his last chance for a world title extracted the most reluctant of agreements.

“The next most important race is Melbourne and next year will be different to this year, because that’s just the way I’m sure things will go,” he said.

“I’m very, very optimistic and positive that I’ll have a very, very strong season and that’s what I’m going to look forward to. I’m still driving very, very well.

“It’s an extremely fine line before you start to unlock a few other things that can make your season go from good, which was this year, to great, and that’s what I need to be able to try and do.”

  • Butterfly

    He’s one race in what is by far the fastest car on the grid and he’s getting a bigger head than Button’s.

  • Butterfly

    *that’s ‘won’ not ‘one’ :-)

  • Infallible

    come on webber u say this at the end of every season :p
    and be thankful to vettel for gifting that win to u..

  • visz963

    He will no doubt have a strong season, provided that Vettel is asked by the team in each race to let him pass due to ‘gearbox problems’.

  • Sennauno

    Seeing that Vettel and Webber fell over eachother last year, nearly gifting the title to Alonso and Ferrari, Red Bull management stepped in and assigned 2011 to Vettel, and 2012 to Webber ;)

  • Butterfly

    Next season will indeed be different if Ferrari produce a fast car. Alonso could win all the races. Think about that.

  • visz963

    No way. For that he needed to be regularly on pole and Ferrari would need to improve by 1-2s / lap.

    Only schumacher was able to win a championship with a bad car (Benetton), but those times are gone.

  • Sennauno

    @visz963

    bad bennetton???? LOLOLOLOL was that the Illegal Bennetton or the one that had the world champion Renault V10 put in the back of it? Those times may be gone but the times of foolish comments are here haha

  • F1 Follower 1991

    what about in 2000 or 2003? Schumacher never had the best car during those two years however he won the titles then!

    He never had the best car in 2006 either but came ridiculously close to winning the title and same in 1998 with Mika in that Newey designed McLaren.

    Lets be honest when did Senna or Prost ever win the title in an inferior car to anyone else?

    Sour grapes towards Schumacher are still so strong after all this time!

  • Sennauno

    @F1 Follower 1991

    I dont know if you really have been following F1 since 1991….your comments indicated that you missed 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006…or that you have a bias problem. wow Schumacher has seemingly had a a lot inferior machinery under him…amazing

    how do you come to the conclusion that the Renault in 2006 was superior to schumi’s Ferrari? how did you come to the conclusion that schumi’s Ferrari was inferior to Hakkinen’s McLaren? etc etc Schumacher was a master at making up for a car’s deficiencies but i think your wholly regarding of Schumacher as having an inferior car in the years that you stated as quite a travesty…and a massive exageration.

    By 1998, buddy, Schumacher (and the whole ‘Schumacher’ support team he brought from Bennetton) were well installed at Ferrari and had the team singing….the 98/99 Ferrari was a match for the McLaren
    as seen by Eddie Irvine’s performances. Schumacher SHOULD HAVE won the 1998 title and SHOULD HAVE won it in 99 as well….but Mika was too good…like Hakkininen was too good for Schumacher in the lower Formulae…;) Schumi broke his leg at silverstone trying to keep pace with Hakkinen…great moment

    and dont get me even started on 2006 mate….yeah sure, Ferrari/Schumacher win friggen 5 titles in a row then someone comes in and beats them and it was because the all-conquering Ferrari was suddenly an inferior car….If Schumi had won, he is great…he lost…well, he had the inferior car. You can believe that

    That should put a bit of perspective to those sour grapes

    btw Prost beat the superior Williams in 1987. You need to do a bit more study my friend before you embarass yourself again ;)

  • visz963

    @Sennauno – your an ignorant journalist-type midget.
    It was the consensus in 1995 that the benetton car was inferior to Williams. Please learn some facts before you comment.
    Schumacher did beat Hill twice with an inferior car. Get used to it.

  • Sennauno

    @visz963

    I wouldnt argue of the consensus that the Williams was the car of the year…neither am i argueing that Schumacher beat Hill twice as Hill is not even in the same league as Schumacher as a driver. What Im saying is the Bennetton was only slightly inferior…a difference that a driver of the caliber of Schumacher could easily make up. Heck, even Johnny Herbert in the sister Bennetton won a couple races…this tells me…and would tell anyone with a little understanding of the sport…that the Bennetton was a strong package

    Overall yes you dont have to be a rocket scientist to declare Williams car of the year but way too much emphasis is given to the ínferiority’ of the Bennetton…when the Bennetton was the stronger on a lot of circuits that year

    whats with the midget jokes man? thats so like 2008….was retardedness present on both sides of your family or something? I dunno…

  • F1 Follower 1991

    @Sennauno

    I fail to see any validation in your points? Before the Adrian Newey years at Mclaren where was Mika with McLaren? 1994-1997 saw Mika nowhere with the McLaren before Newey came on to the scene in 1998 (yes he was appointed in 1997 but didnt join in time to influence the car). Whereas Micheal in a inferior Ferrari was challenging with Hill and Villenueve in the Dominant Williams cars.

    How you can come to the conclusion that the 1998-2000 Ferrari was better than the Adrain Newey designed McLaren’s is beyond me! If you cared to have a look at the 1999 season for example the only time Irvine won a race was when Mika failed to finish bar one exception at Malaysia? How do you explain that? You ask anyone the 1998 Ferrari was considered inferior in every way? You must be a huge Hakkinen fan boy to think otherwise? Also it is a fact that MSC had a brake failure at Silverstone he simply wasnt just “trying too hard” where the hell did you pluck that from?

    In 2003 i dont know how you think the Ferrari was the best car in the grid? The F2003-GA had a big tendency to be hard on its tyres over long stints whereas Williams and McLaren were much easier! The fact Raikonnen was leading the chamipionship was up until the final 2 races only really losing out to a worse reliablilty rate to the Ferrari as per usual.

    And as for the last point, jeeeeeez if you thnk the R25 and R26 were inferior cars to the Ferraris of those 2 years you seriously need your head testing! It is well known that the Mp4-21 of 2005 was the quickest car of 2005 followed by Renault and in 2006 the R26 stepped it up again.

    F Alonso finished either 1st or 2nd in each of the first 8 races, that is ridiculously similar to the 2009 season with Jenson and everyone knew that car was the Best that season due to the double diffuser. It wasnt until the US Grand Prix that Ferrari caught up with renault around 11 races in! If the Ferrari car was so good they wouldnt need 11 races to catch up to the pace of the R26??? But hey what do i know!

    Now that should be as bit of perspective for you ;)… It seems your knowledge of F1 for someone that seemed of been watching it for so long seems to be very bad so chin up son!

    OHHHH come on! To take you seriously please get your facts straight first! The 1987 Season Nelson Piquet won the Title you fool – Mansell came 2nd and Prost came in ……… 4th?? And you say im the one embarrsing myself? Jeeeeez!

  • F1 Follower 1991

    @Sennauno

    Nelson Piquet – 1981, 1983 and 1987 – 3 WDC

    I think what you meant was 1986, When Prost pipped Mansell to the title at Adelaide, Yes Prost’s Tag powered McLaren was more thirsty than the Williams and was inferior overall, however McLaren had the most advanced carbon brake systems in F1 at the time and the fact Prost only had 2 retirements compared to Mansell’s and Piquets 4 each definately worked in his favour.

    Im not taking anything away from Prost but the only reason he won the 1986 title was due to Mansell’s puncture – nothing else!

    Mansell was comfortably in the lead cruising to the win that would of won him the title only for the car to let him down. Prost’s consistency and the unreliabilty of the Williams-Hondas ias what won him the title – the same could be said about 2005 where Alonso only won the title due to the Mclaren being the fastest but most unreliable car ever seen!

    So Please next time when you try to insult my intelligence do it properly. You made a joke out of yourself trying to correct me on things that you yourself were wrong with ;)

  • Sennauno

    did you google all that? you google real well man lol

  • F1 Follower 1991

    Nope didnt Google it, just thought id prove a point because you clearly thought i didnt know what i was talking about.

    Next time you try to prove someone wrong make sure you know what your talking about first.

    The fact that all you comment back on is the thorough nature of my comments it shows you clearly agree with my points.

    No one likes a smart alec ;)

  • Sennauno

    why would you correct me just on details? you were wrong about senna/prost not winning a championship in an ‘inferior’ car…so i said 1987 and it was really 1986…big deal? grow up dude

    on the rest of it, we’ll agree to disagree…my take on it in a nutshell, Schumacher took 5 seasons to win in a Ferrari when he had a championship contender in AT LEAST 3 …..Prost nearly did it in 1, if Senna hadnt passed away, it would of been Senna to ferrari in 1996..

  • Sennauno

    and Prost only won that season becuase of Mansells blow out? history is full of because of’s….schumacher won in 1994 because of he’s crashing into damon hill at adelaide, Prost won in 1989 because of his crashing into Senna, Senna won 1990 becuase of his crashing into Prost, Piquet won 1987 because of the superior Williams…open your mind