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Exclusive - Mark Webber interview 20 Aug 2005

(L to R): Mark Webber (AUS) Williams and Patrick Head (GBR) Williams Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, 20 August 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?
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?
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?
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?
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)?
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.