Webber wary of McLaren and Ferrari’s potential

2013 F1 season

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Mark Webber says it’s still too early to judge how competitive Red Bull will be at the start of the year.

But he said the team’s pre-season preparation was “better than last year”.

“The start of last year was probably one of our weakest for a while and that translated into results as well,” he told media in Barcelona.

Sebastian [Vettel] and I were scratching for the podiums for the first five or six races, that was evident from our winter testing that we were probably a little bit off. I think we’re probably a bit better than that.

“Whether that’s enough to go out and win at different venues remains to be seen. You need to have a very good car to win at different venues and we only find out that when we go to those venues.

“We could have a car here, a red one or silver one or whatever, that could have phenomenal performance and we can’t match that early doors. That’s what Formula One is like.

“We need to be ready for any scenarios and the good thing with this team is there’s no resting on laurels, we go in with our eyes wide open with respect to the opposition.”

Webber said he would be in a better position to judge how competitive Red Bull will be in Australia after the end of testing: “Let’s see what we have at the end of the week”.

“I need to do a deal with Jenson [Button] because I usually win his race and he usually wins mine,” he joked. “I’m sure he’s happy to do a deal.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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31 comments on “Webber wary of McLaren and Ferrari’s potential”

  1. He sounds happy with things, a good sign.

    1. This could very well be his last season. :(

      Here’s to the best one so far and that bloody title Mark, you can do it mate!!

  2. I am absolutely loving the purple color, looks even better in the rain! I think it will look even better at Singapore!

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      1st March 2013, 2:54

      I think it looks absolutely brilliant!

    2. Hope the color reflects in the sectors too…

  3. “I need to do a deal with Jenson [Button] because I usually win his race and he usually wins mine,” he joked. “I’m sure he’s happy to do a deal.”

    Funny but true

    1. I would love to see Mark win the Australian Grand Prix…. On that note, has any Aussie driver ever won at Albert Park???

      1. Doug Whiteford. 1953 Australian GP. On a slightly different configuration of the Albert Park circuit. But this was a non-championship race! However, I believe Mark Webber is the only Australian to compete in F1 since Albert Park has been on the calendar as a championship event.

        1. and Daniel ricciardo also

  4. I love Mark Webber’s spirit and sense of sportsmanship. It would be great to see him win Melbourne. The celebration might be more exciting than the race! ;-)

    1. INDEED!!!!!!

  5. Webber’s answer about the competitiveness of RB made me think this:
    99% of the times that a question raises about how competitive a driver feels with the new car in testing the answer is : we have to wait for Melbourne to see in race conditions.
    When the same question is set in Melbourne again 99% of the drivers would answer we have to wait a couple of races until we race in a more representative track (…..like Barcelona???).
    After 5 races nobody ask’s them the same question cause its obvious which teams are more or less competitive.
    This pattern is repeated every year.

    1. Exactly! “We have to wait and see” :)

    2. firstLapNutcaseGrosjean (@)
      28th February 2013, 23:58

      Because is hard to say, and for this reason I don’t understand why some are optimistics. Like Lotus last week. Now Grosjean is concerned.

    3. @cosmas well, no one’s gonna say: “we defo have the best car”. So it’s reasonable they talk like this.

      1. @cosmas and @fer-no65
        Problem is, that it’s a lose-lose situation for the drivers. They aren’t taken seriously if they downtalk the car like Alonso, nor are they taken seriously when they up-talk the car like Rosberg. So why bother?

        1. @kingshark yeah, people won’t belive them anyway. So Mark really is telling the truth then: we have to wait till Melbourne. And even then, we’ll have to wait a couple of races. And even then, we’ll have to wait until the end of the championship. :P

    4. The reason mite be that the car evolves throughout most of the year… No one car is final at Melbourne… Remember updates???

  6. And he is not wary by Lotus’s potential?!?! Do RBR has some kind of secret deal with Renault?

  7. “Sebastian [Vettel] and I were scratching for the podiums for the first five or six races,

    I don’t think it was that bad last year, where did they end up in Australia and in Bahrain?

    1. It’s pretty accurate. They were 2nd and 4th in Australia, and 11th and 4th in Bahrain.

      Only three podiums for the team in first eight races (two wins and a 3rd). They did have seven 4ths in the first eight races, and the number of podiums increased thereafter. If my count is right, eleven more through the end of the season.

      1. Eleven more podiums, that is.. only two more 4ths.

      2. And that should have been Australia and Malaysia. Bahrain was the fourth race.

        Wish I could edit..

      3. Ehm, yes @hobo, but isn’t getting on the podium in the first race, winning the 4th race and getting there in others as well pretty far from teh notion that they were “scratching for the podium” in the first 5-6 races?
        Sure, it was by no means the standard they are used to lately, but they were in contention for podiums and wins in most of those races and got there too

        1. @bascb, it obviously depends on how you want to define, “scratching,” but I still think it’s pretty accurate. Here’s why.

          Webber specifically notes that getting the car to work on different tracks is a concern and unknowable until you put it out there on different tracks. So, one podium in the first race followed by two races without a podium is sort of the point.

          Also, 3 podiums in the first 8 races (24 available slots) is not a lot considering there were only 3 or 4 teams that regularly got podiums. Even taking the 4 more odd podiums that occurred in the first 8 races (2 Merc, 1 Saub, 1 Will), RBR should have had 5 or more depending on how you rate competition.

          If we were talking about Williams or Toro Rosso, 3 podiums would be outstanding, but this has to be taken in context of the team’s recent performance. And as he did compare last season to the prior ones it is worth noting that team podiums in first 8 races* :
          2012: 3 team podiums
          2011: 12
          2010: 7

          * – (used 8 arbitrarily based on last season being the so called “lottery” for the first 7 or 8 races.)

          1. I fully agree with you @hobo, that it was sub par performance for Red Bull. But being in contention for the win on several occasions, winning one and getting on the podium as well does not fit Webbers description of having trouble even getting in reach of a podium.

            And to make it easier to compare, please stick with the 5-6 first races Webber mentions, not only the first 3 or the first 8, that obscures the whole argument.

  8. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    1st March 2013, 11:01

    As an F1 fan sometimes you just get feelings, faint inclinations, and based on what I’ve seen so far, Webber seems much happier than Vettel. I think Webber has found a chassis balance that he likes, which has resulted in the subtle confidence observable during his interviews. When I talk about “chassis balance” I refer to the nature inclination instilled in the car from the results of the fundamental design, dictating that the car prefers to understeer or oversteer. The RB9 seems to be a more rear limited car than the previous Red Bull cars, which gave Vettel that rear stability that he is so dependent on. Webber had an awful 2011, and that was because the RB7 generated a huge amount of rear downforce, giving Webber the understeer he seems unable to cope with. Equally, Button had a rather poor 2012 in the rear-limited MP4-27, a car which suited Hamilton perfectly. Red Bull and McLaren have had drivers that prefer different balances for some years now, and this is not a trend broken by the departure of Hamilton, as Perez equally seems content with a loose rear end. This is all speculation, but from I’ve seen the RB9 responds better to the sharp nose and loose rear setups adopted by Webber, than the heavy rear setups used by Vettel, who’ll probably make me look like an idiot by going and winning the championship.

    1. Jack Flash (Aust)
      2nd March 2013, 0:34

      Vettel probably will do very well in 2013, because despite the starting point for the RB9 “chassis balance” being ‘pointy’ (just like in previous years), the RedBull Team will continually develop the package purposefully to suit Vettels wants for a planted ****-end – erstwhile Mark is left with a car that suits his style ‘less and less’ as the year progresses. So, by mid season onwards – Mark is driving a car Vettel is revelling in – but he is suffering in.

      The RB7 2011 was the odd year when the car started out ‘rear planted’ with the EBDD, and got steadily even more ‘on ass-rails’ over the course of the year. Vettel was in his lement and streaked away with every trophy in sight – while Webber had a car from the get-go which was just horrible for his driving style and natural skill-prefs.

      You watch. RedBull will do the same this year too. Webber better make hay while the ‘sun shines for him’ with a point chassis in the first half of the season, because if RB can find a new path to ass-end downforce – they will put it there post-haste for the benefit of the Wunderkind. (You know I’m right…) Jack Flash

      1. they will put it there post-haste for the benefit of the Wunderkind

        They’ll put it there because it makes the car faster. If one driver copes better with the handling that produces and hence is quicker, more power to him.

        1. Jack Flash (Aust)
          2nd March 2013, 8:59

          And where did I say that RBR doing so was wrong? (ie. chasing speed)
          Sheesh! Sensitive much?…

          It is just that way things are. RebBull finds (chase) its speed in a manner which fundamentally suits one driver’s style better than the other.
          The Wunderkind remark is just about RBR’s corporate of SV. I’m not casting any silly dispersions on how great an F1 driver Sebastian is: RB6-8 rockets not withstanding. Vettel is a gun driver.

          But my analysis still stands: Webber needs to make hay with the RB9 in the first half of the season, whilst it has the ‘lively rear end’ that Vettel dislikes. Tell me I’m wrong on that. JF

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