Focus - Webber reaps holiday rewards 23 Aug 2003
Unlike last year, Mark Webber didn't fly back to Australia during the three-week summer break in the Formula One calendar. He said that he didn't want the jetlag, so instead he and girlfriend Ann Neal decamped to the south of France for a holiday.
He was in need of a break, having worked on each of the preceding six weekends, either at races or at sponsor functions. It was time for him to recharge the batteries, so he and Ann thought it best to move away from their Buckinghamshire home - away from the office - and indulge in some R+R.
They travelled to a chateau in the hills near to the Mediterranean coast, but there the break ended. Webber, being the fitness freak that he is, quickly got bored of doing nothing, and indulged in an intensive health programme. He cycled every morning, hiked in the afternoons and the result was that he arrived in Hungary hungry for success - and hungry for food, having lost two kilos in weight.
He hit the Hungarian ground running and, to date has been awesome all weekend. He has improved the set-up of his Jaguar R3 in every session and the upshot was his third position in this afternoon's qualifying session. It was an excellent lap (some 1.3s faster than his team-mate Justin Wilson) and, importantly, he starts tomorrow's race on the clean side of the track.
"I'm feeling pretty good at the moment, " said Mark. "I had a really good break, even knocking up 100 miles on the bike on one day. Here at the Hungaroring the car feels good and I am hopeful of a good result in tomorrow's race."
Whatever happens tomorrow, he is certain to become increasingly hot property on the future driver market. He is committed to Jaguar until 2005, and any more performances like this weekend and who knows how far up the grid he could go? Watch this space.