Webber is back but RB8 not a winning car yet

Mark Webber during practice for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on March 23, 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Mark Webber in Malaysia

Mar.25 (GMM) After a demoralising 2011, Mark Webber appears to be back. Unfortunately for the Australian, however, the new Red Bull RB8 is not yet a McLaren-beater.

Teammate Sebastian Vettel scored back to back titles in the RB8′s two predecessors but in Australia and in Malaysia was out-qualified by Webber.

German commentator Christian Danner said Webber’s boost in form is “significant”.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda added on German television RTL that the 35-year-old Australian seems to be dealing better with the new generation of Pirelli than Vettel.

And while behind the McLarens and a Mercedes, and identical in pace to Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus on Saturday, the Adrian Newey-penned car in Webber’s hands in Malaysia is not sluggish.

“Mark is just two tenths from pole position, so we are not hopeless,” Dr Helmut Marko is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

But they’re not winning yet, either.

“I think the race can go a little better for us here,” said Vettel after qualifying sixth on Saturday, “but I think you can see that we don’t have an easy car to drive.

“We are aware of it and we are working hard,” he is quoted by Spain’s Marca newspaper.

Subbed by AJN.