Exclusive - Mark Webber on the Fuji safety car incident 05 Oct 2007
Mark Webbers encouraging sixth place in Friday practice in Shanghai was scant consolation for what might have been in Japan - had Sebastian Vettels Toro Rosso not run into the back of his Red Bull. But Webber is too professional to cry over spilt milk, and with the possibility of another wet race on Sunday, the Australian's focus is now firmly on the Chinese Grand Prix
Q: After Fuji do you think there should there be a regulation change to allow for a wider gap between the safety car and the field?
Mark Webber: Well, we sure would look differently at the situation if there hadnt been some sort of clumsiness involved in the crash, as it should be pretty easy to follow the safety car. You have to be as attentive as in the tunnel at Monaco, because the visibility there is also somewhat difficult and you always have someone ahead of you.
Q: What was your first impulse after Sebastian hit you from behind?
MW: I could not believe what happened here. This was not just about some dents but about two destroyed cars. If I had been fortunate he would have hit Lewis - but he hit me! Unbelievable.
Q: But you did talk afterwards?
MW: Yes, sure. But it was very, very clumsy. He said he was looking at Lewis - and hit me. It was one of those stranger races.
Q: What could have been in it for you, whats your guess?
MW: We had a hell of a weekend. The car was doing fantastic so I was very confident at least to end up on the podium - probably a second or third. And the Toro Rosso also seemed to be tuned in for that track and these conditions! It could have been the weekend for the Bull.
Q: As the incident involved members of both the senior and junior Red Bull teams, was there a sit down of both managements with the drivers?
MW: Well, Gerhard (Berger) has spoken to me, Franz Tost has spoken and Christian (Horner) has spoken to me as I was - as I believe - quite innocent. And that was what they believed. And after such an incident there was not much more they could have done. Because what option would I have had except driving past Lewis and doing my own thing - which is not really legal? If David (Coulthard) would have been behind me it wouldnt have happened and I felt more comfortable with Anthony (Davidson) behind me than Sebastian, but he was un-lapping himself so he let him go. Then Sebastian was behind me and I tried to get away from him. And then it happened
Q: Did the long safety car phase at the start of the race change your approach?
MW: I had guessed that they would leave the safety car out for about five laps. But with such conditions it is very difficult to find the right window to call the safety car in. I really felt for Charlie (Whiting) to make the right decision because nobody could predict how the conditions would develop. And it did not change my attitude. I was just very, very wet. I guess I have never been so wet in all my career.
Q: Do you feel the incident somehow summed up your whole season so far?
MW: Well, we had some reliability issues but other than that I have driven well this year. I have shown a very consistent season and personally I am quite happy with it.
Q: From what we heard you had been feeling pretty sick during the race
MW: I was very weak and tired and I had to breath very deeply to get on with the race. I told them that I would come in and they said well, ok, but then I felt that I was better off fighting with Lewis.
Q: The RB3 was doing exceptionally well in Fuji. To what do you attribute that? Weather conditions? Perfect set-up? Finally understanding the tyres?
MW: I felt very comfortable in those conditions. We had changed a little bit with the wings and the car behaved great. A lot of other people made poor decisions - we did not. We did not make any mistakes until that unfortunate moment.
Q: So everything looked perfect until that second of human error?
Q: We could be looking at another wet race here in Shanghai. Could you go for that?
MW: Yes, for us I guess it would be better than racing in the dry even though it means that we have a two-hour race which is very demanding.
Q: So what will it be on Sunday?
MW: Lets wait and see what the weather gods have in the wings for us.