Mark Webber Q&A: Red Bull targeting big points on Sunday 26 Sep 2009
The drivers championship is moving into its crucial period, with four races left and -mathematically, at least - four drivers still in the running for the crown. Trailing by 28.5 points, Sundays Singapore Grand Prix will be critical to the title hopes of Red Bulls Mark Webber. And with championship leader Jenson Button facing a difficult race, and Rubens Barrichello ending his qualifying in the barriers, Sunday afternoon could just turn into a battle between Webber and team mate Sebastian Vettel
Q: What is your feeling on the track in general? P4 on the grid is not too bad, given the fact that Jenson Button missed Q3 and has to start from the sixth row
Mark Webber: As it is a street circuit, the track is quite bumpy. But its not worse than last year. Obviously our car was doing pretty good with Sebastian on P2 and me on P4. The team did a fantastic job and my understanding is that we will see a very good race tomorrow - one that is very important for the championship.
Q: Are you still working on European time? How is it affecting your time schedule, knowing that next weekends Japanese Grand Prix will be on regular time?
MW: I tried to stay on European time, but I woke up too early this morning. I was at the track until 2.30am last night. Concerning Japan, that is not a real problem. From Sunday night onwards, I will adjust to Japanese time, and try to wake up earlier.
Q: Why do you think the title contenders this year are different to those last year? MW: Most of it is because of the aerodynamic changes and the new rules for this year. This changed the order of the winning teams quite a lot at the beginning. McLaren and Ferrari for example interpreted the rules differently at the beginning of the season. At some of the low-downforce tracks we saw some strange results - especially with the low wings that we saw in Spa and in Monza - with Force India getting in the hunt. With the high-downforce tracks I think it will get back to the usual pecking order again.
Q: How do you think the situation with Nelson Piquets crash at last years Singapore Grand Prix will affect the Formula One drivers?
MW: Well, in the first place I think that Piquet was in a very vulnerable situation to be able to do that. He had a poor year and a half, with a lot of crashing anyway, so one more would not have been very difficult. Probably they did not expect to win the race. Actually two weeks later they won the race on their own. But still, I think that was a unique situation, and it went from bad to worse. Most of the drivers are performing at a very high level, and respect for their team and the other drivers will not bring these kinds of things into their mind.
Q: What have you learned about yourself, after your pre-season accident?
MW: I have never been in this kind of a situation, being injured like this before. And from what I know no other F1 driver has had this before. It was not very easy to get information on how to recover from this injury. The injury itself, we knew what to do, but to get me back into the car, to deal with the vibrations and loadings, that was new. I realised how lucky I was, as it could have been much worse. At the beginning you just think about recovering, but later you want to get back into the racing car again. I was quite naive with my process of recovery, and sometimes being naive is good in these situations. I also had very good people around me. If you compare my accident to the ones from Michael Schumacher or Olivier Panis, this is different. They got injured in the race car, and I didnt. So that by itself makes a big difference to your mind.
Q: What are thoughts on Felipe Massas recovery?
MW: With Massa, for example, it is something different. He has had a head injury. But in general the body helps a lot when dealing with these kinds of situations. Felipe said that he couldnt remember anything from the accident, which is good, as his body has shut down on those memories. From what I have heard Felipe will be fully recovered. Maybe not as good looking as before!
Q: What do you think is missing from Red Bull in their fight to get closer to Brawn GP in the championship?
MW: We have been quite sensitive to some of the circuits. In Valencia we were struggling a bit, and also in Monza. It looks like we are pretty competitive here. We have had some incredibly strong circuits, but also some quite weak circuits. Brawn GP had some tough weekends too, but they did manage to score some points out of those ones. Also they had a very good start to the championship, with Jenson in particular dominating the first four races. There were a lot of points scored there. We can be massively encouraged by the year so far, with being able to fight for both championships and still be in the game. I must give a lot of credit to the team. Tomorrow will show a lot - but it is a long race.
Q: How do you think your car will perform in Suzuka?
MW: We have been extremely surprised by our car here. And I think we will have a strong car in Suzuka as well. But Suzuka is next weekend so lets focus on this race. The team have done a very good job here, and we are hoping for some big points - for Sebastian and myself.