Alan Jones & Mark Webber
In some ways, Webber’s F1 career mirrors that of fellow Australian Alan Jones (pictured) who struggled with uncompetitive teams before getting his break with Williams in 1978. “Jonesy” had won a grand prix in a Shadow in 1977, but at Williams he racked up 11 more victories and was champion in 1980.
“I must admit that when Mark was with Jaguar and Williams I probably could be guilty of saying he was a bit of a journeyman,” Jones told Australian Auto Action magazine. “The same could be said about me when I was in the Surtees and then in the Hesketh, that I was a reasonably good midfield runner.”
“Once you get into a car that you know can do the job for you, it lifts your spirits, it lifts your competitiveness. You think, ‘hang on minute,
I can do things with this.’ It just lifts you to another level. Mark is now in a car that is competitive and he’s utilizing it.”
Webber will tell you that he is driving no differently now than when he was fighting for midfield positions. Yet you can sense a new confidence and determination in him.
Rival teams have pointed fingers at Red Bull’s cars, saying that the reason they are so fast is because they are illegal. Red Bull’s design team has figured out a way for the front wing endplates to droop close to the ground, which in turn creates more aerodynamic downforce, but the wing has passed every type of flex test that the FIA has thrown at it.
Mark Webber also says that other teams are doing a lot of whining.
“Our guys have broken their balls to design a car in the spirit of the regulations, and every time we are tested by the FIA, we pass. The car has always been passed by the FIA, so when people don’t like [what they see on] the stopwatch, they have to justify their own positions in some other teams sometimes, and when there’s pressure on people to perform and they’re getting destroyed, that’s how it is.”
After spending years with underfunded teams and inferior equipment, Webber has finally enjoyed the benefits of racing with top-notch equipment over the past two seasons.