Q&A with Red Bulls Mark Webber 10 Jun 2010
There's an old Hollywood saying that it doesnt matter what they write about you, as long as they write something - and spell your name correctly. Red Bull will understand. They've been all over the back pages since Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel clashed in Turkey, and though it might not have been the story they wanted, the marketing value must have been immense. Whether the drivers see it that way is hard to say, though according to Webber at least, there are no bad feelings
Q: Mark, youve had some days to reflect on what happened in Turkey. What do you say about it now?
Mark Webber: The same that I said on Sunday night in Istanbul, to be honest.
Nothing really changed. It was a tough day for the team. Now its time to move on.
Q: But since then youve signed a new contract
MW: Wed been close to signing a new contract - on the Friday in Barcelona we were already close to getting things done - so the signature was just a technicality. Look, Im feeling very comfortable in the team. Obviously since I arrived Ive just tried to keep my head down and tried to do my job and it went pretty well this year. And to be honest, the team is grateful for the both of us. Weve got a good package, were pushing each other - its been really good.
Q: What do you make of the comments from Helmut (Marko) on Sunday night?
MW: Well, Helmut obviously was not fully up to speed with all the facts at that time and was pretty quick with his comments. Hes fine now, and fact is that a lot of things that have happened with this team are due to his support - and I benefit from that as well. There are a lot of teams in the pit lane who would give their right arm to be in the position we were in in Turkey. There has probably been a little screw up, but fact is that you never want to touch anyone on the track, or have a potential retirement, let alone with your team mate. It's not easy fighting with your team mate for the lead of the race and the world championship, but that's what happened on the day.
Q: There has been a little confusion over whether you were told to turn your engine down
MW: Wait, there is no confusion at all. It is straightforward. I turned my engine down because I had to save a bit more fuel. I asked what position Seb was in with his fuel. I didn't need much clarification because I knew he was all over me. He had saved a bit of fuel in the slipstream, so he had a few more laps of better fuel mixture, if you like. We raced each other and we know what happened. It all happened in 70 seconds. Everything was fine, then in 70 seconds it was where is he, bang, and that was it. It happened fast. You guys have ten days to get your stuff together - we had only 60 seconds. Then it was all over.
Q: So there is no lingering bad feeling?
MW: Absolutely not. I'm cool and absolutely fine. I'm totally over it and ready to go this weekend. I'm looking forward to getting back on the track.
Q: What was Dietrichs (Mateschitz) take? Was he cool about it?
MW: I dont know if he was cool. But I certainly had a very positive phone call with him very quickly on Monday morning when I landed, and he was as he has always been with me, whether its been with my injury or with the team performance - very, very good, fair and loyal. So that was another reason why I have good belief in the team. Dietrich obviously had his opinion, which was fine for me.
Q: With the experience of Turkey, did you seek or have you been given assurances regarding equality?
MW: Nothing has changed in any of the contracts since I've been here, ever.
It's always been straight up. At this stage in my career I would never hang around for another season if I didn't think I was going to get a fair crack, so it's all good.
Q: But in the future will it be possible to attack each other at all?
MW: We need to race each other still.
Q: But do you have to be even more careful in the future?
MW: Well, you know sometimes when you are even more careful, different things happen. It was such a fine line what happened. The result wasn't great, one car didn't finish, and in the future there is a big chance we will race each other again. But we need to have judgment as all Formula One drivers need to have, whether Im lapping Chandhok or fighting with Seb for the lead of the race. We should be doing what we can to make the right calls from the cockpit, as I have done for most of my career. When you are racing at the front week in and week out sometimes you are going to have some action.
Q: Did you have a chat with Sebastian back in the factory?
MW: Yes, but we didnt talk too much about the incident.
Q: Did you expect him to say that he was sorry?
MW: It happened so bl**dy quick. I was a little surprised when it happened and felt disappointed with the consequences. Moving on from there, we can talk as much as we want about it, but it doesn't change anything.
Q: For the future will you give him more room when he attacks?
MW: Ha! Or vice versa. We will see. Every situation is different. We've had
Malaysia, China, stuff like this last year.
Q: But is it possible to set up certain rules?
MW: Well, I think also the fans want to see drivers racing each other. The team has done its best keeping us racing at the front. If you are spending every fortnight on the same row if the grid, potentially racing each other all the time, you are going to be close to each other. We are trying to get the balance right for us, also as individuals. Milton Keynes is working for both of us and Renault as well. Everyone is working hard together and they want the best results out of whatever car that is.
Q: Does your experience - youve been involved in the sport for quite some time - give you the edge over Sebastian in coping with situations like that?
MW: Seb hasn't been 33 yet. I have been 21 and I am 33. For sure, all of us, we gain different experiences along the way and what he has achieved for his age is incredible - we know that. He has come along and he has been a real talent for F1 - and very exciting. I have certainly had tougher days than Turkey in my life, that is for sure. But, I woke up Monday morning not feeling for myself, but feeling for the team. That is who I really felt for on that day. Once we had our chats we were over it and we move on.
Q: Did you feel for the team because McLaren were a bit closer in Turkey?
MW: Of course they were there to capitalize. That wasn't ideal. We expected them to be pretty strong in the race and they were. I think it was still going to be pretty difficult for McLaren to beat us in the race. They were quick, but for us to be sitting there saying we will just have weekends like Barcelona and Monaco and blowing everyone away was also unrealistic. We have to work for victories and McLaren were handed their first normal Grand Prix weekend if you like. They did a good job. After the effort that goes into getting cars prepared for a Grand Prix weekend off the back of back-to-backs in Barcelona and Monaco, and then getting the cars to Turkey, it was tough for the team to miss an opportunity - irrespective of who gets those points. In this case it was McLaren.
Q: Looking back, would you say that seven pole positions should have translated into more points than the team has?
MW: Yeah, absolutely. But it is the strength of our car - it is a very good one that we have worked on and understood. We have worked hard on that and it is a strength. Getting Sunday afternoons executed, particularly in Melbourne and Shanghai, if they had been dry, normal Grands Prix then maybe we would have had different results there. But that is the way it goes. Malaysia was strong. Its still a long way to the constructors title. We are one point shy of the lead in the constructors right now, but I would say that there are also other teams in the pit lane who have underperformed more than we have.
Q: How will you approach this weekend, knowing that very likely you will race your team mate again? And would you say that McLaren are in the same boat?
MW: Of course they are. As far as I can see, McLaren are doing what they can. They obviously got themselves in a bit of a pickle in the last part of the (Turkey) race with a bit of a breakdown in communications, so it can happen when you've got two guys who are on the track around each other. And it is a bit of a nightmare for the team to be honest because the management certainly gets some grey hairs over it. And it is not without added stress, probably also for the drivers, because an error of judgment has more consequences than maybe perhaps clipping someone else. I think strategy-wise its another car youre racing. You have to look into that as just another car there and try and deal with it as normally as you can. If I get second on the grid I am disappointed I didn't get pole. Who is on pole? Seb? Well thats fine. But it might be Seb, it might be Hamilton. It is another car - and you could say it is fine because it is him, but it is not. Every car has the same value, if you know what I mean, in terms of trying to get ahead of them.