Exclusive Q&A with Red Bull's Mark Webber 18 Apr 2007
With the two RBR cars and both Toro Rossos failing to finish, the Bahrain Grand Prix was not the greatest for the Red Bull stable. Nevertheless, its not all doom and gloom for the Austrian company. At Red Bull Racing, Mark Webber has been enjoying some positive qualifying results and has made it through to Q3 at every race so far in 2007
Q: To an outsider your switch from Williams to Red Bull might seem a like a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. Would you agree?
Mark Webber: You always think that it is greener on the other side but its not always the case. I would have been quite naive to think by changing the situation it would immediately bring me to the front - so I was not thinking that way. People keep saying to me what a shame that you didnt go to Renault - but look at Renault this year! I know that we have a great deal of work to do at Red Bull, no question, but there is no team in the pit lane that is not under pressure to deliver. And I wouldnt have made this change if I was not confident that it was better. And maybe in the long run it will be. This can happen!
Q: Your team mate David Coulthard previously said he wasnt sure whether to give the RB3 a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Are you equally undecided?
MW: My thumb is in neutral position with a slight tendency to go north. Adrian (Newey) has absolutely proven his knowledge of Formula One cars, to get all the pace and performance into one car. You could say that the RB3 is a car which is in the middle of the field - and that is where it is at the moment - but there is a very good launching pad from this situation. Everybody has huge expectations for this year, and there is no question that we will finish the year much stronger than we started, but for next year - in relation to other teams - I feel much better.
Q: You started the race in Melbourne from seventh on the grid but finished just 13th. In Malaysia you started 10th and finished10th, while in Bahrain you started eighth and retired. Whats going wrong between the start of the race and the finish line?
MW: In Melbourne we had a problem with the fuel cap situation, so we lost a good 20 seconds to this problem - otherwise I obviously could have finished much better. In Malaysia, I kept my grid position at the end - I sure had hoped for more but the result was acceptable. In Bahrain the gearbox took me out. Not a dashing balance - but well improve.
Q: And how disappointing was it to finish in 13th at your home Grand Prix? Im sure you wanted to show more in front of your native audience.
MW: Yes, sure it was. But in the end Im looking at the bigger picture.
Q: Red Bull showed some progress at the recent Sepang test, with the RB3 obviously improving over the four days. In Malaysia and Bahrain, however, there werent any real tangible advancements
MW: Well, obviously we have some problems with the gearbox. But I would say that fortnight by fortnight we will get more confidence in the performance of the gearbox, and we have to constantly work on the Bridgestones to understand the tyres. Then lets wait and see what the next two European races will bring.
Q: If you had to bet on your best race finish this year, what position would you risk your money on?
MW: Ah, if you finish and have no serious problems, I think we are able to grab a point or two. But that must be a perfect weekend - obviously Bahrain was not
Q: There was very little opportunity to make many changes during the flyaway races. Will there be a bigger re-vamp for the Spanish Grand Prix?
MW: I dont think so. We are not bringing a B-car like anyone else.
Q: The Australian Grand Prix has been tipped to become one of the venues for a potential night race. What do you think about the possibility of night races?
MW: It has never been done before, so how do we know? I have raced a sports car in Le Mans so I have driven at night - even in wet conditions - and that was fine. But what we dont know is a situation where a massive amount of lighting is being beamed onto the circuit through rain and spray. So the lights are above the spray- we are under the spray - how does that work for us? We think that this creates a difficult situation - we think, but we dont know. A Grand Prix held in dry, perfect conditions and if the track is lit up like daytime, maybe the event could run well. But there is the million dollar question that we dont know - what happens if it rains?