Mark Webber Q&A: Consistency now critical to title race 27 Aug 2010
It was a rainy day for a birthday, but that is what you sometimes get in Belgium. A huge cake from his Red Bull team compensated at least partially for the monsoon-like conditions. Regardless, Mark Webber leads the championship and is in relaxed frame of mind going into this weekends Grand Prix. The RB6 may not have featured highly on the Friday timesheets, but Sundays a different matter and Webber would love to add a prestigious Spa win to his trophy cabinet - even if he admits he now has the championships long game in mind
Q: How was your summer break?
Mark Webber: I think this is what we needed for the last part of the championship, with all the travel and different time zones, like Japan, Singapore and Korea. Like Rubens (Barrichello), I also missed the driving part after a week, but not really all the other things around it.
Q: Spa was not so good for Red Bull Racing last year, and the only other medium-downforce circuit that weve had this year was Montreal, and this was the least competitive race for the team. Does this concern you in any way?
MW: When you dont need a lot of downforce there is a reason, and this reason is that there are long straights. We know that this is not the strength of the car, and this hasn't been for quite a few years, and we also do know why. But we worked incredibly hard and made the car stronger in other areas, and when we go to these venues obviously we are strong. We can still keep up at these tracks, but whether we have an advantage remains to be seen. We still weren't too uncompetitive in Montreal, but we weren't the pacesetters as we were in some other venues. I think if we had to have 17 races in a championship, we wouldn't choose Spa and Monza to have races at, but it's part of the calendar and we have to make the car quick everywhere. We were also quite sceptical about Valencia, as the year before we had been anything but competitive, and this year Sebastian (Vettel) won the race. We will see how the top speeds are on Friday in sector one and sector three and see where people are pitched. It is going to be interesting for the next two events, and it is not just here that we have to think about damage limitation, as at Monza there's a lot less that you can do. And it is probably the worst track of the year for cars that are strong in corners but not particularly strong on straights.
Q: So how was it going for you today, despite the fact that this track is probably not a favourite one for the Red Bull?
MW: Well, to be honest it was a pretty good day for us today. We tried pretty good stuff and so I am looking forward to tomorrow. We will still go through data this evening with the engineers and tomorrow we will see if they work.
Q: Youve won Monaco; youve won Silverstone - two race tracks with tradition. Spa would fit perfectly into this mould. How important would it be for you to win this race on Sunday?
MW: It is a beautiful track and very special. Every driver would lie when saying that he wouldnt want to win here. Its a bit like Monaco from the prestige (angle). Its a real signature event. So lets see how the weekend develops. In fact, yes, it would be a great birthday present to walk away with the trophy on Sunday.
Q: Are you rather hoping for a dry or a wet race on Sunday?
MW: I would say that we are prepared for both. Of course a dry race is less stressful, and I would say that there are not many drivers who would prefer a wet to a dry race. It is a lot more stress on the pit wall and in the cockpit. But still you have to be ready for it, as there is always a big chance of a wet race, and we are ready. It is business as usual in the end.
Q: Do you have a clear strategy of what you need to do for the coming races to remain in the lead and possibly win the championship?
MW: Finishing is certainly something that you think of, as with this points system you need to finish, so consistency is very important. That is something you sign up for straight away, because you don't want to win races but also have non-finishes. You have to capitalize on the days when you are not potentially going to win by getting the next best thing, whatever that may be. That comes down to reliability and the decisions that are being made for Sunday. For us, McLaren and Ferrari there are obviously bigger things at stake, as you have to be mindful of the fact that you might not get anything out of it. So you need to realize that four points is better than none and gambling, whereas when you roll the dice as a midfield team you take might a gamble.
Q: Do you think that from a drivers point of view Fernando Alonso is in the best position, as obviously he has the full backing of his team, whereas at McLaren and also Red Bull both drivers are so close that the team cannot run the risk of favouring the wrong driver?
MW: I think it is a nicer position to have for Fernando, but still I would say that there is not a huge amount of support that he can get as there are some cars ahead of him. But of course we saw that particular teams favour (one driver) in Hockenheim, and this is some advantage, but I don't think that this will make him win the championship.