Exclusive Q&A with Red Bulls Mark Webber 06 Jun 2008
Red Bulls Mark Webber is widely regarded as one of the best qualifiers on the grid, but in the past, his success on Saturday has seldom translated into results on race day. This season, however, everything looks different for Webber.
Not only has he scored at five out of the six rounds already run, but his tally of 15 points equals that of McLarens Heikki Kovalainen. Finally good fortune seems to be on the Australians side
Q: Mark, fourth position and five points in Monaco. Whats next - a podium finish in Montreal? Last year you started from sixth on the grid, so the track obviously suits you
Mark Webber: Montreal is a good circuit and I hope that we can continue our point-scoring finishes - thats the most important thing for us. Podiums are still incredibly hard to come by because you need crazy races, like we had in Monaco, where we got fourth. But we also need to continue to qualify well, continue to race well and hopefully we end up in the points. At the moment the car and the team feels just right and we have to continue with that development.
Q: In Monaco you were lucky but you also stayed cool and made no mistakes
MW: In a race like that its best not to take too many risks and that is exactly what I did. A lot of other people made mistakes - but thats part of a Grand Prix. I am happy to have a bit of luck now because I have had more than my fair share of misfortunes. So Im not bothered to see Kimi (Raikkonen) crashing into Sutil because Ive been in that situation before. So for me to get more points because of someone elses misfortune, never bothers me whatsoever.
Q: The 15 points on Red Bulls balance sheet were solely delivered by you. Has this surprised you?
MW: Yes, it has. But there have been quite a few races that have not turned out so well for David (Coulthard) but I am sure it will turn around quite shortly. Hopefully this weekend it will already turn around for him - and the team - and he will be able to challenge for points. The only reason why it is a surprise is that we all know that David can do it and I hope that we can both capitalise on Nelson (Piquet) having a bit of a hard time, and also Glock. Nakajima is doing an excellent job for Williams so we need two cars operating to capitalise against Fernando (Alonso) and Nico (Rosberg).
Q: Your 15 points mean that you are tied with Heikki Kovalainen. Does this mean youre the best of the rest outside the big three teams of Ferrari, McLaren and BMW Sauber?
MW: Yeah, thats right. I am very satisfied with that and I hope that I can continue to stay that way. That would be really, really rewarding to achieve that - to have a tight fight with Fernando, and also Williams can be very quick at times as well. We have a long season ahead and to be equal with Heikki after six races is rewarding, as is being five points behind Nick Heidfeld. Its been a pretty good start for me and I hope that we can continue - thats all I hope for. We are not going to score points at every race - thats not going to happen - but I hope that we can continue to score points whenever they are available.
Q: The RB4 has suffered only three retirements so far this season. The reliability issues that plagued you last year seem to have been solved
MW: To solve the reliability is a big thing. It gives you momentum in testing and on race weekends. Unfortunately I lost a bit of track time in Barcelona and David lost a bit of track time in Monaco. I dont exactly know what those three retirements were caused by, but I dont think that we had any technical problems - they were caused by driver errors from David and myself.
Q: At the recent Paul Ricard test, Sebastien Buemi carried out driving duties when the track was set-up to simulate Montreal. Did he deliver enough feedback?
MW: Probably not. We would like to have more data of course but everybody got washed out on the last day by the rain so its the same for everyone. We have a pretty good idea what challenges we face here in Montreal. Everybody knows its hard on brakes, you need to use the kerbs and the safety car can also play a role here. So hopefully we are lucky, dont have any problems with the safety car and have a good race - and score some points.
Q: It seems that the RB4 has been much better than many anticipated
MW: The key to what we did was over the winter. They made some good technical decisions on how to design the car and placed a strong focus on reliability. And these results are the fruits of everybodys efforts - from Christian (Horner) down. Its good to see that we are getting some rewards from those efforts and those decisions but what we need to do is to develop the car - to put performance on the car as soon as possible. But thats a problem that all the teams are facing now. The car has a good base and we need to continue to develop it.
Q: You mentioned that negotiations are underway for contract renewal. Are you confident about a positive outcome?
MW: I am keen to continue here as I see a good progression here. I love driving for Red Bull and I have a massive respect of how Dietrich (Mateschitz ) runs the whole operation. And naturally it helps when you get results so its a good feeling at the factory. Id like to be part of that in the future. So hopefully we can do something together.