Mark Webber Q&A: Bahrain promising for Red Bull 19 Apr 2012
Nothing ever lasts forever. In the case of success, 2012 has proved that for Red Bull. But for now at least, it seems to be Mark Webber rather than world champion team mate Sebastian Vettel that is making the best of a bad situation. The Australian may not be completely happy with the RB8, but he is focusing on the positives and is confident the team will soon unlock more of its potential, as he explained exclusively to Formula1.com
Q: Mark, are you surprised by fast dominance can disappear? Last season it didnt matter what track, what conditions, what tyres, the Red Bull was winning. And now it is struggling at every race
Mark Webber: First of all, Im not very surprised, as Formula One is a very competitive sport. We had some exceptional seasons just gone and we still have the chance of one this year. We have a lot of points, in both constructors and drivers championships. Lewis (Hamilton) is leading the world championship and I followed him over the line in the last three races, so still a lot of positives for us, although maybe some see it from a different angle.
Q: What is the talk inside Red Bull Racing? Any plans for how you will bounce back to your normal position?
MW: The team is very driven and extremely well organized. We have very good departments that work as best as they can. We constantly improve the car, and also understand what we need to move forward. There is no one single feature of a car that does the trick - everything needs to work well together. Last year we had the good fortune that we achieved exactly this at many race weekends.
Q: In the case of you and Sebastian this year, rarely has it been clearer as to how much a car can support one driving style and not another. What is it that makes the RB8 lean your way? Can you explain?
MW: I personally dont think that there is a huge difference. I still have to get on top of the car and work with the car that I have. It has its challenges, like every other car on the grid. At the end of the day we have a very competitive car this year, and a very fast one. In particular our car is very strong on Sundays, and this is why we have a very good position in both championships at this point and we are looking to build from that.
Q: So far the qualifying statistics between you and Sebastian are three-nil in your favour. What do you make of that?
MW: I was very happy with both the Australian and Malaysian qualifying and what I got out of the car. In China I was not too happy with the Q3 lap, but very happy with the Q2 lap. A little bit frustrating that we have not been able to get on to the front row, although it was quite close in Malaysia. The reason for this was that we simply have not been fast enough.
Q: And where has the pace gone? On long straights some of your competitors clearly seem to have the upper hand
MW: If you want to compare a car with other teams cars, there are many factors that you have to take into consideration, e.g. the DRS situation, then the non-DRS situation, the way teams might use their KERS, the engine packages, and all of this might let your top speed look better or worse in comparison with others.
Q: From China last weekend to this weekends race here in Bahrain there has been no chance to make significant changes to the car. The only difference will be the hot conditions. Will that work in your favour?
MW: It could be very promising, as at two out of three Grands Prix it was cold and at the one that was hot we looked very good.
Q: Can you explain the tyre issue? One lap they work, the next it seems like you have no real way of knowing
MW: It is challenging from the cockpit-perspective. I didnt really have a big issue with all of this - although everyone was talking about it - up until I got to Shanghai and then I was struggling along with everybody else in terms of grip and balance. I guess this is something that the team still has a lot to learn about, and I hope that once we come to Brazil we will have solved all of these issues.
Q: The race in China in particular was a bonanza for F1 fans, with so many cars fighting so closely for position for so long. But how is that for drivers? It must make for a pretty intense working environment
MW: It was incredibly unique to have seven or even eight drivers fighting for a position on the podium, and this I think was a great advert as also the driving standard was very high. We had a lot of guys racing very hard, but still fair. I think Michael (Schumacher) was the only car that had to retire through a pit-stop mistake. The rest was a very good and clean battle for positions. A race like this will remain in peoples memory for a while, and it was great fun to have a race like this - havent seen it in a long time.
Q: How will it look this Sunday afternoon? Weve had two races won by drivers and teams that nobody would have predicted only weeks ago
MW: It is very hard to predict. I think that McLaren will be strong alongside us, but also Mercedes and Lotus. These are the four teams that seem to be the most competitive at the moment. Then you have a lot of teams that are also doing a very good job, like Sauber and Ferrari, not forgetting that Williams are doing their best in a long time.
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