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Mark Webber Q&A: KERS is vital - we need it to work 14 Apr 2011

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 14 April 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7 with Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber C30 at the start of the race.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 14 April 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 9 April 2011

After a KERS failure bogged his Red Bull down at the start, last weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix became an exercise in damage limitation for Mark Webber. Although the RB7's inherent pace, some canny strategy choices and Webber's own determined driving eventually saw him just miss out on a podium place with a strong fourth-place finish, the Australian is targeting much more from this weekend’s Chinese race - if his KERS works...

Q: Mark, you obviously had some KERS problems last weekend. Are they all solved now?
Mark Webber:
I hope so. We are still learning a lot about it. The engineers have carried out a huge amount of work over the last few days to prepare for this event to give it the maximum chance, just as we did in Malaysia. Obviously I didn’t get the maximum out of it, but every time we run it we learn more.

Q: What was the problem?
MW:
Basically it didn’t work. I haven’t got a complete explanation yet but that doesn’t make a huge difference to me - I just want it to work really. There have been a lot of guys working on it and hopefully we will get it right this weekend.

Q: You stopped one more time than the leading three at Sepang. To keep up, you will have to be on the same strategy as them…
MW:
Well, yes. If I had been running at the front, we probably would have opted for a three-stop strategy. But smashing away at the traffic overshadowed my first stint. So when you are two or three laps short in the first stint, you are probably compromised, so you have to stop four times.

Q: Two races down, what is you opinion of the 2011 rule changes?
MW:
You don’t see KERS and I think that it will only really make a difference for a few cars. My guess is that all teams are still looking to get it totally right - it’s not just us. We have seen a number of people worrying about it in garages. You could see the rear wing operating very well in Malaysia - certainly within the top three. It also helped me to get away from Felipe (Massa). With the tyres, we are still learning. It’s a completely different category. The race pace is much slower and people obviously have to do more pit stops. That’s how it is and it is the same for everybody. Malaysia was an odd race, but I don’t think that every race will be like that one.

Q: Isn’t Formula One racing supposed to be about drivers going as fast as they can from start to finish?
MW:
I think that Formula One is a great test for man and machine. It’s about being cutting edge and pushing to the limit. And we clearly get that balance right. Sure we have a different kind of race from what we had in the past. Is that good or bad? I wouldn’t know and everybody has his own opinion on it.

Q: Looking back at your Malaysian race, how much were you racing and how much were you thinking about strategy?
MW:
I was always pushing very hard and in some senses it was a pretty enjoyable race for me. Of course I don’t want another race like that with such a start, but then again I enjoyed it for other reasons.

Q: Did you have nightmares about your poor start in Malaysia?
MW:
Not at all. When it is over, it is over. Malaysia is over and I can say that I did the best I could. After the first two laps - when you really realise what just happened - you pull yourself together and keep on going, because there is no other way out. You can’t come into the pits and say, ‘okay, fix it’. They gave me the information and that was it. So I carried on with the race as well as I could do. I hope I’ll have a Grand Prix with it (KERS) working soon.

Q: How important will KERS be here in China?
MW:
You need it everywhere you go. It is essential everywhere there is a long straight - like here. And if you don’t have it, then for sure that is not a positive thing for you. So we are really pushing very hard to have it on the car.

Q: So what are your hopes for this weekend?
MW:
Trying to get some bubbles on the podium if I can.

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