Mark Webber Q&A: Red Bull yet to show true pace 11 Feb 2011
The general paddock opinion is that Red Bulls new car is a worthy successor to the teams championship-winning machine of 2010. From the very first laps in Valencia to Mark Webbers two days of running in Jerez, the RB7 has been almost flawless. Of course at the current stage of preparation nobody wants to give anything away, but this much Webber is willing to reveal: the car feels good and he expects the usual suspects from last season to be Red Bulls strongest competition again this year
Q: Mark, after two days of running how would you sum up your Jerez test? Was it what you expected?
Mark Webber: Well, it went pretty good. Actually on day one we saw many red flags, but that was the same for everybody. And in the end yes we would have wanted to run more mileage, but you always do. Weve been able to go through our programme and that was the most important thing. The car is running really well even if we had a small problem with the floor on day one. On the performance side we are doing pretty well, even though its hard to say as you never know what the others are doing.
Q: There have been a lot of changes in lap times, some quite surprising. Is that something you follow?
MW: First of all we are focusing on ourselves and looking that we are going into the right direction. Regarding the lap times, it is a question of how the Pirelli tyres work for everyone under different conditions and the different programmes everybody is running. I would not read too much into that. Probably you could say that Valencia and Jerez are all about checking that all the systems work as they should do. The importance of pace will probably come into the picture in Barcelona.
Q: Its the second test, with two more to come. Will that be enough to get the car that you want?
MW: Actually we still have a long way to go - not in terms of time, but in getting to the performance we are aiming at.
Q: Was there a chance to use the moveable rear wing?
MW: Yes, weve used it a bit and obviously it works.
Q: From what you know so far, with all the rule changes - KERS, moveable rear wing, Pirelli tyres - what will be the biggest challenge to get right?
MW: I would clearly say the tyres. Ive been through so many different tyre rules, so I would say this is really challenging.
Q: Is it still enjoyable to drive the car?
MW: Ah, the car feels still very good, but it is always surprising how lap times can change because of the tyres. One time I can control Michael (Schumacher) very easily, the next thing that happens is that I see his lap time at 1:20.3. But my guess is that this significant oscillation between good and not so good lap times also depends on the fuel load in connection with the tyres life. In general I would say that the normally fast cars are all quick - the Ferraris, the McLarens and the Red Bulls. They are all doing well.
Q: In the past youve come back from a serious injury from an activity outside of Formula One. Now we will be missing Robert Kubica for quite a while. What are your feelings?
MW: It is the first time that I can express my wishes to Robert. I hope his recovery continues to make such good progress as it obviously has so far. We will miss him because we are supposed to race against the best on the F1 grid and Robert definitely is one of the best. I hope he will return soon - but when he is ready and not when others tell him that he is. This is very important.
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