Mark Webber Q&A: Retirement is overrated 07 Oct 2011
Having removed any speculation of retirement by re-signing with Red Bull for next season, Mark Webber is focussed on raising his game and making his 2012 a much stronger year than 2011. And he could just lay the foundations for that plan this weekend in Japan. While team mate Sebastian Vettel wants to bag his second title at Suzuka on Sunday, Webber is chasing his first race win of the year. So perhaps we will see another Red Bull one-two, just in reverse order?
Q: Mark, is this the kind of track where you would like to beat your team mate?
Mark Webber: Ha, its nice to do this at any track, but yes, Suzuka is a rewarding track for all the drivers. There are not many tracks around where you can feel a Formula One car breath. Here you feel that the car really loves to be driven, hoping that the guys put them on the limit. (laughs) It is a real challenge.
Q: How do you feel about using DRS on the first straight?
MW: Well, it will work. My guess is if you then want to overtake, the guy who defends would move to the inside and you need to have a full car length to pass through the outside. It will be spectacular into Turn One, thats for sure. I promise you it will be great for the spectators to see the cars side by side on the straight.
Q: Many predict that everything will boil down to the tyres here. Whats your guess?
MW: Well, the Bridgestones were very tolerant here. Now it is different. The Pirellis are a bit harder to control off the line. The tyres are definitely not all of it, but for sure a huge part of it this weekend. It is definitely an area we have to keep working on the whole weekend. My Sundays have been good of late, but when you are out of position on the first lap then it makes it difficult. The team has been great with me and of course weve been working hard.
Q: Speaking of lap one of the race, youve lost positions at the start at six consecutive races. At some you said that you could have done better, at others the car. Can you explain that?
MW: I think it is the coordination of getting things right together - clutch, throttle, DRS, you name it - to get an optimal start from whichever side of the grid youre on. I would say that its been 50:50, me and the car. I have been speaking with my guys and they know that Im pretty relaxed on the line and that it is not down to nerves, as I had very good starts last year. As I just said, it is about getting everything together and probably at the moment its not quite consistent enough for me to get the starts that I need.
Q: You have eight podium finishes this season, but no win. Can Suzuka - which you love - change that?
MW: It could, yes. It is a flowing track and I definitely love to race here. Lets wait and see. Seb (Sebastian Vettel) wants to win the championship here and I want to win the race, so we have to wait until Sunday to see whose wish gets going.
Q: There has been a lot of talk about a radio message to Felipe Massa from his Ferrari race engineer telling him to destroy Lewis Hamiltons race. Would you say that these things happen quite often and that we just never get to hear these messages?
MW: No, I mean I am not sure if you guys hear all the messages between the pit wall and the drivers, but from what Ive heard about this particular message it was strategy-wise. And of course you want to make it as hard as possible for your opponents without losing too much time yourself by doing so.
Q: You have a contract for next season with Red Bull, but is it your plan to stay in Formula One for many more years?
MW: Yes, if I can keep up the racing Im doing now. I think that retirement is overrated. I think the first few weeks its nice, but then I enjoy my driving and I like the challenge on this level - and if you have the possibility to do this then why walk away?
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