Exclusive - Mark Webber interview 20 Aug 2005
For Williams number-one driver Mark Webber the re-privatisation of the team for 2006 may have a significant impact on his career. We caught up with him in Turkey to find out how he sees the situation - and how he feels about the latest arrival on the Formula One calendar - the brand new Istanbul Park circuit.
Q: Istanbul is an impressive city. Does this go for the track as well?
MW: Yes, they have done a fantastic job. The undulations are a challenge to the driver. No faults - they have done their homework. Tilke has done a good job under difficult circumstances and safety considerations have been right up front.
Q: The new Cosworth engine will be the paramount issue at Williams next year - what will this mean to you?
MW: I see it very positive. Sometimes a small organization can be more flexible and responsive than a large one. I am looking forward to working with Cosworth and they are certainly no strangers to building an engine that can win races. We are trying something new which is very positive.
Q: Five races still to go after Turkey and you are tenth in the driver standings. Has the season been a disappointment for you so far?
MW: It has been frustrating - a bit like riding the roller coaster but the future looks strong. It's a whole new game.
Q: Williams is in effect going to become a privateer team - do you see any negatives in that?
MW: It's true that manufacturers have financial assets, but small is good and manufacturers sometimes get it wrong as well. We will be making our own decisions, directly. And we'll be controlling our own fate. Perhaps this will be a closer team effort. If we get it right, it's down to us and the reverse is true too. Overall, I see that the Williams development will have big advantage for the sport as a whole. It could become a role model.
Q: Speculation is continuing over a new qualifying format - do you have anything to say about the drivers proposal (two single flying laps)?
MW: I'm 100% behind it. I was most in favour of the four-lap system. No driver wants to be penalized for previous performance - that's history. The race is the main event - it's the crowd pleaser. Qualifying is a support event - sort of a side show. We need to put our major focus on the race and creating an event people want to see.