Why Mark Webber’s next move may be from Casey Stoner’s playbook

2013 F1 season

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Any armchair psychologist could read the state of Mark Webber’s mind as he turned his back on the F1 paddock and headed for the Australian surf after the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend.

He and Sebastian Vettel have had disputes before, but Vettel openly defying an order from the team to pass Webber and win the race marked a new low in their relationship.

“It’s three weeks to the next race, we’re fortunate we have three weeks,” said Webber afterwards. “I’ll catch some waves in Australia on my board and I think this will be good medicine for me.

“I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind in the last 15 laps of the Grand Prix so whether the medicine is enough, we’ll see.”

Of course the events of the race have soured his relationship with Red Bull. But there’s more than that on his mind at the moment.

“No drivers are really on the limit today”

Webber has been one of the more outspoken critics of the current generation of “designed to degrade” tyres. He struggled with them when they were introduced in 2011, and though he has adjusted his style to suit he does not believe they are right for Formula One.

I spoke to Webber several times during pre-season testing as he sampled the 2013-specification Pirelli, which degrade even faster previous versions, for the first time. In every interview he gave a dig at the Italian company’s product, however slight, was seldom far from his lips.

And in the press conference after the Malaysian Grand Prix, when his invective would naturally have been targetted at his team mate, Webber’s criticism was directed at least as much at the tyres:

“The thing is I think it’s quite good for the neutral, good for the fans and good for probably new people that are following Formula One, but the old – let’s say people who have more of a grasp of the sport and more education of where the sport was – it’s still a little bit hit and miss.

“With what we had, probably not much of an idea that’s how the race would go for us today. I was surprised that other people were not with us, completely, people won’t believe that but that’s the case, and also I think, for the junior categories they need to get the tyres and things better for young drivers to learn how to push the cars to the limit and drive absolutely on the edge.

“You watch Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer play each other and it’s playing with the lines, it’s playing with precision for a five set match and we all enjoy watching that but at the moment we’re driving at eight and a half tenths, eight tenths, conserving our pace and some more situations like this will probably happen in the future because there’s a lot of ambiguity in who’s (on the) pace and who’s quick.

“Seb feels he’s strong only in the middle of the race then I could respond. The racing is completely around nursing and trying to make the tyres survive and they’re not conducive to driving a car on the limit. You don’t see us really pushing on the limit. Obviously Seb and I had a push in the middle in our last stint but generally no drivers are really on the limit today.”

Webber and Stoner

Webber’s words reminded me of what his fellow Australian Casey Stoner said when he announced his retirement from Moto GP last year. Aged 26 at the time and already a two-times champion on two wheels, Stoner’s retirement was motivated by a litany of grievances including changes in the sport’s regulations which introduced a slower class of bikes:

“After so many years of doing this sport which I love, and which myself and my family made so many sacrifices for, after so many years of trying to get to where we have gotten to at this point, this sport has changed a lot and it has changed to the point where I am not enjoying it.

“I don’t have the passion for it and so at this time it’s better if I retire now.

“There are a lot of things that have disappointed me, and also a lot of things I have loved about this sport, but unfortunately the balance has gone in the wrong direction.”

These were Stoner’s words as he announced his retirement last year. After the humiliation of Malaysia, and with the current generation of tyres sapping his passion for the sport, it’s not hard to imagine Webber saying something similar in the near future.

2013 F1 season

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Images © Red Bull/Getty

Author information

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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123 comments on “Why Mark Webber’s next move may be from Casey Stoner’s playbook”

  1. Bit of a long shot to draw any similarities. Webber has never shown any interest in V8 supercars although it wouldn’t surprise me with a certain German car manufacturer entering the WEC next year if he jumps ship to race for them.

    1. @infi24r

      Webber has never shown any interest in V8 supercars

      And I never said he would go there.

      1. @keithcollantine
        To be fair, he never suggested that you said that Keith. Wasn’t that merely his won view?? i.e Up to now Webber hasn’t shown interest in V8s, but now that a cer……

        Keith, kudos to you on this site, it’s literally the first I visit for F1 news, but it doesn’t look very professional if you get very easily drawn into retaliating to posts that you think are attacking you. You shouldn’t have to defend or explain your work all the time…just let it be.

        1. crap….*his OWN view*

        2. Uh, yeah, I’m pretty sure @infi24r did imply that Keith said that, in that the only objection he articulates is about how Webber has never shown interest in V8 Supercars. Also, I’d call Keith’s response a “clarification,” not a “retaliation.”

          1. This is how I read it also.

          2. Maybe Webber would consider cricket.

        3. I concur, tis your response that should be considered a retaliation. The V8 reference came from nowhere.

          1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            28th March 2013, 23:05

            I believe the V8 supercar reference came from the fact that Stoner is racing there now and the article said Webber’s next move could come from Stoners playbook, I believe the inference that @infi24r got mistakenly was that Keith was suggesting Webber would go there as well.

        4. @esquilax

          You shouldn’t have to defend or explain your work all the time…just let it be.

          Actually I disagree. It is good that Keith responds to as many comments as possible, and it is largely why his site draws lot of members. It allows people to debate on issues and share ideas. The day he stops doing that will = just another boring news site in which the author thinks “its my way and I don’t care what you think”.

          But to the subject, I think Keith has made a clear and excellent comparison between Stoner and Webber, and that is: something significant has changed in the sport the are no longer enjoying it. And the cause is similar.

    2. I think you just made the similarities long there, why bring a point into the conversation Keith didn’t even bring up? I don’t even.

      Where he goes afterwards is far from the point to be honest, it’s how he feels now. He has been rumoured to retire for some time and on top of what happened on sunday it’s kind of making that rumour seem a bit clearer. So him being majorly concerned with what he’s going to do after F1 is probably not really an issue, what is an issue to him is his and the sports current situation and just like Casey there only seems like one way of solving it for himself: Leaving the sport and making a rather big point about it.

      And what makes me feel rubbish about it if he does decide to retire/leave based on his issues with the sport/team is that it won’t make a difference, they won’t care cause it’s just Webber.

      1. I’m not sure I understand the sentence…”Of course the events of the race have soured his relationship with Red Bull.”

        Red Bull had given a team order that favoured MW for a win, so I don’t see why SV stealing the win would sour MW’s relationship with the team…with SV for sure, but as I say the team had sided with MW while the race was on. I don’t know how the team can take the win away from SV in order to punish him, and give the win to MW…their hands are tied in that regard. I don’t know what they can do about SV to appease MW…probably only ask him to not do it again and hope that the embarassment and regret SV might be feeling for going against the team is enough of a deterent to prevent him from doing it again.

        But sure I completely would understand MW getting disgruntled about the tires. I don’t like them either. I consider them a gadget and I’m not a fan of gadgets in F1. And I don’t even have to drive on them.

        So I think that water finds it’s own level. If events of last weekend (team orders taking away from the racing), combined with gadgety tires that we might only hear more and more persistant complaints about from the drivers, start to take away from the entity of F1, then they may have to change things and MW might be wise to just hang in there and it will get better. I know there is probably a majority of people if polled that would prefer not to have DRS, and I’d like to think the reaction to ‘designed to degrade’ tires might be similar.

        Stable tires, far less dependancy on aero, no DRS, and just go racing.

  2. Indeed @keithcollantine, its not hard to imagine Webber doing just that. On the other hand, Stoner was really successfull already, where Webber will ultimately be seen as the guy who got “only” a couple of wins next to Vettels 3 (or 4) world Championships.
    Maybe it will strike Webber that he will not have the opportunity in his team to really fight for the wins and the championship, because that team is not going to keep his teammate to the same rules as they agreed. And that could be the moment to say its been good, but its over. Sure enough there is no other team that he can go to right now and do it (Ferrari would love to have him probably, but surely not to challenge for WDC)

    1. Maybe it will strike Webber that he will not have the opportunity in his team to really fight for the wins and the championship

      Webber has been given a fair shot. In 2009 he was treated equally with Vettel, and what was the result? He lost fair and square. So Vettel earned the right to be prioritised. In a sport that’s so competitive, where every point counts, and where the margins are so close that a wrong move can result in the loss of lives, wasting points is not an option.

      1. @hellotraverse But RBR (supposedly) don’t have a number 1 and number 2 driver policy, do they? So, Vettel earning the right is a moot point. Everyone starts the season on equal points. Also, on Sunday the team weren’t prioritising Vettel, but Vettel took matters in to his own hands…

        I think the point @bascb was making is that RBR have effectively lost control of Vettel and cannot guarantee Mark a shot at the title regardless of whether they prioritise him or not. He never said Webber hadn’t had a fair shot in the past, but it’s likely he will not have a fair shot in the future, because Vettel is seemingly bigger than the team.

        It’s entirely plausible that Mark could be a world champion by now, if he had not a) fractured his shoulder in 2010 and b) lost out on strategy in Abu Dhabi 2010. But, as you say, every point counts and things didn’t quite work out for him. But, he’s not an average driver like you seem to want to make out.

        1. But RBR (supposedly) don’t have a number 1 and number 2 driver policy, do they?

          The 2010 British GP proves otherwise. RBR say they haven’t got a No.1 driver policy, but their actions paint a different picture. I just wish they would stop denying it, admit it and move on because as we all know, the best team structure for success is to have a lead driver (The Vet) and a support driver ( AussieWimp AussieGrit).

          1. @hellotraverse

            In the last GP Red Bull prioritized Mark. At this stage this year from that information, you can either say that they are assisting Webber, or that they are treating them equally.

            Although digging up another years race helps make your point, it’s irrelevant without discussing the situation around that race as well. Which is different than how it is now. It is also largely irrelevant because it is not this year,

          2. @mike

            It is also largely irrelevant because it is not this year

            Of course it’s relevant. We’re analysing and debating the relationship between two drivers that have been team mates for 4 years. So obviously, prior events that have happened during the last 4 years are relevant to any future events that occur between them. Unless you want me to judge their relationship based only on two races worth of data. :-)

          3. @mike
            Besides, I’m not the only one that has cited previous events between Vet and Web. Many have used the 2011 British GP as an example of Webber disobeying team orders. So are all of the posts that mentions that event irrelevant?

          4. Calling straw man here,

            What I said, was taking examples from races in other years is largely irrelevant. I say this because the situation surrounding any two races is so very different, I don’t think they can be fairly compared.

            I never said anything about their relationship. Only that you can’t cherry pick two rather dissimilar race events and try to fit them together. Yes, team orders was a factor in both cases. No that does not make them instantly comparable.

      2. @hellotraverse, the key point here is looking towards what is still to come this year, not the past.

        Sure enough Webber did get his chances, in 2009 they started out about equal and in 2010 Webber did get a lot of chances, even if it was clear early on that the team focus lies with Vettel. But after last weekend, Webber knows that even if the team is in favour of giving him equal equipment, and does not ask him to be a number 2 like Massa is to Alonso at Ferrari, there is nothing to stop Vettel from taking what he wants, either with or without support from the team for that.

    2. Maybe it will strike Webber that he will not have the opportunity in his team to really fight for the wins and the championship, because that team is not going to keep his teammate to the same rules as they agreed.

      I’m not picking on you personally, because a lot of people are saying stuff like this. The trouble is that all of them – including you – are just skipping past the fact that Webber has never been “held to the same rules agreed” either. At a certain point people need to stop repeating a claim which keeps being refuted.

      1. are just skipping past the fact that Webber has never been “held to the same rules agreed” either.

        @jonsan, I do not think that is the case.

        I think that par of the key to where the difference lies can be found in what Button says in that interview in the roundup. Or in what supporters of team orders like Joe Saward write. And that is that while drivers do often go against the exact order to make their point, (Webber not slowing down and keeping a distance but instead trying to get past, or Button passing Hamilton, but being then repassed) its highly unusual, and frowned upon inside the paddock, to actually keep a place gained like that (a bit like we saw with Rosberg making a point, but not definitely passing Hamilton with his DRS in Malaysia, or Button relenting when Hamilton got by again).
        We can never be sure, but when you think about it, it does make sense if that is actually the case. Where you are perfectly right, and what makes the Red Bull case so strange, is that neither driver has been publicly reprimanded for showing they were not bowing to team orders before. Webber in the several cases where he did push Vettel, or was not easily passed. And Vettel in Turkey 2010 but also almost weekly in 2011 when he kept doing fastest laps despite his team ordering him not to do so.
        To me that means this is largely a management problem that will now likely get out of hand until they change the management and/or the driver line-up

  3. Webber, remember to shut the door on your way out…Thanks :-)

  4. The comparison here is the lack of passion these guys would probably have if they would stay in the sport. Not about their eventual change of motorracing. You’re missing the point. ;)

  5. A bit tabloid and sensationalist Keith. Emotions were high and while MWs comments re the race and tyres were relatively measured and calm, any comments re his emotions and future should be viewed in that context. Therefore it’s unlikely he’s going anywhere. The guy goes by @aussiegrit and that is a true reflection of his attitude and actions. He’s as hungry as ever (as has become obvious), and is driving superbly in the two races so far, and 14 days to clarify that in his own mind will have him back ready to go.

    On top of that, he’ll know the balance and approach of the team may well change slightly in lieu of Malaysia so he’ll be keen to get to it and capitalise.

    What happens next year is another story. He may have had enough, he may not have but not be prepared to go anywhere less competitive, or the decision may be made for him if RBR decline to resign him and there’s no offer at Ferrari or Lotus.

    1. A bit tabloid and sensationalist

      It’s nothing of the sort. A tabloid and sensationalist article would have a headline of the type “Webber set for shock F1 exit after Vettel’s dirty double-cross”.

      1. Somebody get Rupert Murdoch in here to offer this man a contract!

      2. Careful Keith, You’ll have the Daily mail at your door.

        1. or some lawyers.

      3. @keithcollantine I’ll be keeping an eye on the red tops tomorrow morning for that headline now ;)

    2. A bit tabloid and sensationalist Keith. Emotions were high and while MWs comments re the race and tyres were relatively measured and calm, any comments re his emotions and future should be viewed in that context.

      I don’t agree at all, just there are a lot of similarities in the two situations, I think many people have to come to the conclusion this could be his last season.

      And to say that because his Twitter account is Aussiegrit that somehow pertains to the man himself is just silly.

      Also you post starts with how you are sure you know whats going to happen and then at the end says you think something else might happen.

    3. Degrad tyres are killing his passion for the sport.
      He’s is in a team that doesn’t fully appreciate him.
      He’s 37 years old.
      It’s not sensationalist to say he could consider leaving F1.

  6. This is proper journalism is it? Take a long hard look at yourself. This is shoddy speculation, the kind you would find in a pub. Maybe you’ve spent too much time on twitter. This whole article is based on tenuous – if not spurious – links. Stoner disliked the trend in Moto GP, so he retired. Webber dislikes the trend in F1 (along with the rest of the grid). Because he’s Australian, he’ll do a Stoner?! Come on!

    They’re not the same age, not in the same sport, don’t have the same family circumstances (Stoner has kids, Webber and his older wife don’t), the list could go on.

    This is a really bad case of concocting speculating. I thought this website was better than that.

    1. I personally found the summary of Webber’s thoughts to be very interesting. And the similarities with Moto GP in terms of changing regulations is quite valid. Add to the speculation that Webber will retire from F1 after this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he used his exit to say it how it is.

    2. Because he’s Australian, he’ll do a Stoner?

      I never said that either.

      Yes there is an element of speculation in this but I don’t agree that automatically makes it “shoddy”. My point is there is more than one thing Webber is unhappy about in F1 at the moment and he made it abundantly clear last week he’s thinking some serious thoughts.

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        28th March 2013, 14:22

        I completely agree. If anything it just highlights that disparaging conditions in the sport can produce situations the participants find particularly unfavourable. That they have a impetus on both a continuing inovlement in the sport and carreer direction is entirely understandable. In fact I would go further and say this doesn’t just affect the sportsmen and possibly teams, but the fans as well. I for one, though passionate about F1 for the last 30 have felt my interest wane because of the constant meddling with rules and requaltions in an attempt to make the sport palatable and interesiting for the general masses, and the need to prevent certain teams from becoming too dominant. This tyre situation is just another instance where uncertain elements are introduced to provide random occurances and outcomes. I hate this ‘Mario Kart’ approach to the sport where the techical abilities of the designers and the skill of the driver can still be thwarted by the random performance of tyre, something that seems to be understood only but the likes of John Edwards and Mystic Meg.

    3. I don’t know where you got the idea that there’s something inherently wrong with speculative pieces. Keith never says these things are definitely going to happen — only that the situation reminds him of the one with Casey Stoner, and he provides numerous direct quotes to illustrate why. Where’s the problem with that?

    4. Calm down son. Its nothing of the sort you’re making it out to be. A little speculation is nothing wrong so long as its not presented as a fact (tabloids/cheapshot journalism). I don’t find anything wrong or shoddy in this article. There’s no hint in the article about both being Australian and hence the likelihood of a similar decision, that’s just coincidence. The larger picture is the dissatisfaction and eroding passion in the sport resulting from regulation changes and the current tyre management driving that’s going on.

    5. Drop Valencia!
      28th March 2013, 13:10

      Keith’s blog, he can post what he likes, it’s not a news forum.

      I do hope Webber stays to try the Turbo era, it may or may not be the 1%er he needs for WDC glory!

    6. You do realise this is a blog, not your personal news service? This is an opinion piece, and there is nothing wrong or unusual about speculation in one of those, particularly if it is backed up with evidence of Webber’s dissatisfaction.

      1. @matt90 I think it would be helpful though if @keithcollantine clearly marked articles like this as opinion pieces. He had them before (I think those were categorized as Comment), so people can clearly mark the difference.

        1. I actually like the idea of marking it clearly, but only so that it is easy to search for all opinion/comment articles. I don’t think these people deserve to be pandered to though. I think if they can’t work out that it is an opinion piece from the general content and particularly the title, then perhaps they should accept that reading is beyond their skill-set.

        2. @matt90 @journeyer This isn’t a comment piece just because a few people have taken umbrage at the premise. It doesn’t express an opinion.

          1. @keithcollantine But isn’t this your opinion on what Webber could do? We can choose to agree or disagree. It’s not a news report on what Webber will do. Those are two different things.

          2. @journeyer I said he may, not that he will. Even the headline makes that much clear.

            For avoidance of doubt I don’t go along with the ‘this isn’t a news site so Keith is allowed to have an opinion’ thing either.

    7. I for one think this site is improved by having comment articles like this to supplement the strictly-factual reporting of race results etc.

      As your point about speculation, I remember reading a number of pieces in the newspapers last year speculating that Lewis Hamilton may leave McLaren and going through various quotes from Hamilton and other sources that suggested that he was not happy at Woking and would be looking for a new team. I wouldn’t call that “shoddy speculation” – it’s taking the evidence that’s available and using it to write about what may happen. Journalism doesn’t have to be backwards-looking.

      1. Yeah just to jump in here and support Keith as well, I would say that this is nothing but another well worded and thought provoking article that sums up what is probably pretty close to what MW might be thinking, using a solid example from Moto GP as a case in point. MW’s got to be thinking, among many things, ‘what am I doing here again?’ Can’t get a win even when the team wants it. Can’t push the car in the supposed ‘pinnacle of racing’.

        I just happen to think things will change for the better before they change for the worse. I don’t see Seb doing this again. And if there are enough complaints about the tires and fans pull away, those will easily be changed too. Ultimately, given the massive number of responses to the issues of last weekend, the fans have a say and will be vocal, and have concerns that the racing not be taken out of the pinnacle of racing.

    8. David not Coulthard (@)
      28th March 2013, 15:31

      Because he’s Australian, he’ll do a Stoner?

      No, but because he’s Australian, the coinsedence of him doing a Stoner would be much more interesting.

  7. formulaonerob
    28th March 2013, 11:59

    Mark Webber does not call his website AUSSIE GRIT for no reason it is because he will carry on to be the best he can that’s the Australian way no matter how many times he is vetteled { new Aussie word meaning shafted} now go Mark and show everyone you can do it all Aussie F1 fans support you.
    Nice guys always finish last time to get tough !!!!!!!!

  8. glad Mark mentioned it. I could live with DRS because you can adjust the length of DRS zones and give teams an almost equal advantage / disadvantage and scale the size of it.
    The tires however are just a show element and have little to do with racing – engineering definitely but also with a completely wrong objective.
    When Pirelli announced their specs last year I was thinking they will go towards different warm-up characteristics but what they delivered is way too extreme. 2011 was ok – 2012 border line but 2013 is unacceptable and I’m pretty sure that after China (if it stays dry) and Bahrain, more people will share my view.

    1. The tires however are just a show element and have little to do with racing

      Tyre management is and always has been a part of Formula 1, so please stop trying to pretend like it doesn’t matter. The Pirelli tyres simply put a little more weight on this skill than before. Once upon a time, we had Bridgestone tyres that were ultra-durable and could probably do twice the race length without needing to be changed, because Bridgestone didn’t want to make tyres that would make them look bad. Anyone could (and did) win with them.

      But now, tyre management is an actual skill that a driver needs. It’s no different to when traction control was banned from Formula 1. Before the ban, drivers simply had to stamp on the throttle and let the on-board electronics mete out the power in a way to cut out wheelspin. After the ban, the drivers found themselves having to balance the power themselves to prevent wheelspin. It’s a skill, and ultimately that’s what eaveryone wants to see: drivers winning races because they can get the most out of their car, not because they can only have to worry about one or two parts of the whole and let somebody else do the rest.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys

        I find it interesting that people pretend tyre concerns weren’t a consideration before.
        We used to have the problem that if a driver on the bridgestones locked up, it was pretty much race over. *waves my arms in the air* But that means the drivers can’t push for fearing a lock up!

        … So we can see, nothing has really changed :D

        1. @mike

          I find it interesting that people pretend tyre concerns weren’t a consideration before.

          I’d say that’s because people are trying to find facts to fit a foregone conclusion. They’ve decided that they don’t like the tyres, so they construct the situation to fit that scenario.

        2. I have avoided this tyre war as much as I can and while I appreciate @mike and @prisoner-monkeys opinions and partially agree with them, you cannot disregard the word of the drivers themselves. As it has been recognized above, the tyre’s have been made less durable, therefore making tyre management more critical, but there needs to be a medium. As Webber has pointed out, we do not want to see drivers running at eights and a half tenths on tyre’s the cannot push to the edge. Nobody wants to see tyre’s lasting the whole race and we all want to see the driver better at managing his tyre’s have the advantage, but more so we want to see the ultimate that can be taken out of the ultimate machinery. I think the a more durable product needs to be provided to enable this.

          1. @funkyf1 – That’s as may be, but I don’t think you can necessarily take the drivers’ word for it.

            We’ve seen it before with wet races. When the cars are behind the safety car, you’ll get some drivers claiming that it is too wet for racing to resume and others claiming that it’s perfectly safe. The drivers will say whatever they think will give them the biggest advantage over everyone else.

            The same thing applies here. There are some drivers who will say that the tyres are terrible, and others who say that they are perfect. Which option they choose depends on where they think the most gains lie.

      2. I think to say the Pirelli’s ‘simply put a little more weight’ on the skill of tire management is way understating it to fit a specific opinion. I think to suddenly not believe the drivers regarding today’s tires just because once in a while drivers disagree with each other on how wet is too wet to race, is shading the truth to fit a specific scenario.

        The drivers, going back to MS last year, have stated that they are limited from pushing the car due to the fragile, temperamental, cliffy, hard to figure out nature of the tires. It’s just a fact, and to deny these tires are more degrady than they have been in a long time, by design, is to deny the words of Hembrey himself, who, going back to last year, has left it up to the teams to figure the tires out, he himself just doing as asked by F1. If they are something to figure out, surely they are more than just a ‘little’ more challenging to manage than usual in most racing series.

        Sure for some stretches, during some stints, under some conditions, and with the right setup these days, some drivers might call their tires perfect, but it seems to be a rarity, and for fleeting times, that a drivers tires are ‘perfect’ and overall, taking all things into account, the drivers feel limited by the tires. Of course we all know, as do they, tire management is always a factor in car racing of all series. Reminding us of what we all already have known all along, does not make today’s Pirelli’s acceptable with everybody. It doesn’t mean that any degree of influence tires have on the racing is acceptable by default. And I wish folks would shy away from always stating an extreme opposite tire, such as tough enough tires that they could last a whole race and barely change character, and therefore processions, as being the only alternative to what we have today.

        For me, in the pinnacle of racing, when a driver has a high chance of killing his tires in an effort to set himself up for a pass for a few laps and then execute said pass, that’s too limiting to the drivers. What’s the point of passing if it causes you pit for tires?

  9. I remember Damon Hill saying that one of the reasons he fell out of love with F1 was that he couldn’t get acquainted with the change from slick to grooved tyres. Webber’s a similar age now to Damon in 1998 when that change happened. Sometimes the rules change and the older drivers find it difficult to adapt – some suggested that Michael Schumacher’s struggles on his F1 return were because he found it hard to get used to the way the cars had changed between 2006 and 2010 – but I don’t think that’s a reason to go back to the old way of doing things.

  10. I’m starting to wonder about Webber’s “grasp of the sport and education of where the sport was”. The era of indestructible tyres is a recent one. Until the 1990s tyre management was every bit as important as it is today. Tyre degradation was part and parcel of grand prix racing and was a crucial factor in many of the all-time classic races.

    1. Of course “tyre management was every bit as important as it is today” — so was brake, engine, clutch and gearbox management. But it wasn’t artificial. There was a choice of tyre manufacturers, teams could work with their suppliers on carcass design and compound choices. I was racing in the 50s and 60s when radial ply was tried by Michelin to replace cross ply, a huge technological challenge that gave some very interesting results and developments. But Webber’s comments, with which I agree 100%, are based on today’s situation of a single-source, designed-to-degrade tyre, rather than for driver performance.

      1. Have you ever thought that there has to be an element of artificial because technology’s gone too far?

        You can’t unlearn what you’ve learnt.

        Pirelli needed to throw a spanner in the works for teams to actually have to work hard again, and not just throw as much money at aero as possible.

        1. @ecwdanselby Spot on. People constantly whining about the regulations added to the sport every year to curtail the front runners are completely missing that point. If regulations didn’t constantly reign the teams in, the drivers would be wearing G-suits, driving cars like the Red Bull X2010, for which none of the racing circuits have adequate run off. If we want to see the drivers continue to race on the classic European tracks rather than purpose built Tilkedromes with increasingly monstrous Tarmac runoff, then we have to accept that technology has passed F1 by, and that many of the technologies used in the sort must be ever more strictly regulated. The other point that’s often glossed over is that year after year, regardless of new stricter regulations on whatever the latest silver bullet technology is (DDD, F-duct, EBD, etc.) the designers always find a way to eventually claw back that speed elsewhere. They’d be doing this anyhow though even if they hadn’t lost speed from the technologies that have since been banned, which again to drive home the point, would just mean the cars get faster and faster and faster every year, arguably adding nothing to the spectacle of the sport, and greatly endangering the drivers in the process.

        2. The aero argument is governed by the rules. It would be un-realistic to ask teams to reduce aero as the loss of grip would outway the gain on tyre’s as it is mandatory to use 2 compounds per race.

    2. As you mention @jonathan189, the tyres most focussed on top performance came on in the 1990s, and refueling made the races even more going full out in short spurts. Both of those came around mid 90s and stayed until 2010. Now remember when Webber got into the sport, and there you have your answer to what

      the old – let’s say people who have more of a grasp of the sport and more education of where the sport was

      refers to.
      I do not think that Webber is talking about the 70s, the 80s or even earlier (they had to nurse cars home all to often too, or keep on a very tight limit of fuel with the Turbo cars), but about most of his own experience where in fact they did have tyres you could push all race and often races positions were decided by those magical superfast “qualifying” laps before diving into the pits for new tyres and fuel.

      1. @bascb

        you could push all race

        magical superfast “qualifying” laps

        One or the other. They can’t both be correct.

        1. They still had different settings for the engine, these cars were never made to run qualifying speed all race @mike

  11. I doubt it. I got “I had a lot of thoughts on my mind in those last 15 laps” as “Red Bull is job done for me”.

    If he has the chance to continue in a competitive car, I’m sure he’ll take it. He’s very capable of winning races and maybe fighting championships even this year, and I think that motivates him to keep going.

    1. Who would offer him a drive? McLaren are likely to maintain their drivers for at least another year barring any major disappointments. Mercedes have 2 drivers locked in (or does Rosberg not have a contract for next year?). Ferrari… who knows. If Massa stays on form then they might actually be justified in extending his contract for the first time in years. Otherwise, they could chose between Webber, who is a proven number 2, Raikkonen, or a younger driver like Hulkenberg who they an further develop. Otherwise, the only competitive team is Lotus.

      1. I think anyone who wanted to find out about how Red Bull are so successful would be interested – I suspect Red Bull actually offer him a pretty good package every year to stop him leaving with the know-how he has picked up.

        1. And after all…the team order in Malaysia was to favour MW for the win. Red Bull favoured MW for the win. Not SV. MW’s issue should be with SV, not Red Bull.

          1. Webbers issue is with SV, but the question is, what will RBR do about it?

      2. Maybe his best chance would be with Ferrari if Massa really keeps his form and rattles Alonso’s cage @matt90 :-P

        1. @bascb Maybe rattling Alonso’s cage won’t even matter. As Ferrari have been defying logic every year since 2010 in resigning Massa they might just not do it the one year it’s actually justified!

          1. Good point!

      3. grosjeans seat

        1. I think MW is too much of a rooster, if not in Ferrari’s opinion, then at least in his own. He’s already got heavy duty issues surrounding status on a team that has been claiming they let their drivers race. Why would he feel more comfortable at Ferrari?

          I’m with Jono (@me262) MW should go after Grosjeans seat beside KR at Lotus for a wicked pairing. Lotus should be talking to MW…should have thought to have a word with him the minute they saw his expression up on the podium and heard his words. As should any team that could use MW. No better time to offer the lad an out next year, than after that last race.

  12. MB (@muralibhats)
    28th March 2013, 12:44

    Make them play with the tennis racket of a same brand, and having a rather unsteady chord… and you have the modern F1 in Tennis!

    1. Yep, this would make tennis unpredictable and enjoyable :D

  13. Webber, as a person, is a great chap and noble sportsman, but as a racing driver in current times I’m not so sure. Here’s why:

    – car racing (and motor racing) is or has become a very individualistic sport from a driver’s point of view. Of course, the driver has to find or create a good relationship with the team. This is to extract the maximum out of the car that’s been given to him, to extract the maximum to make sure that his name will be on top of the drivers championship at the end of the season. In the end, it is the driver that is steering the wheel, push the throttle and hitting the brakes and apices. The race engineer (the team) can give instructions to the driver about how to manage his car better (e.g. save fuel, where they cut lap times on the track etc.) but the driver is the chief executor because he’s in charge of the car during the race. So he decides what to do that’s necessary to get the best result in the end, c.q. to win the championship. That is what Vettel did. In my opinion, Webber should have acted in the same way to get the best out of the race and in the end the WDC for himself.
    Now I know that team orders are allowed, at least so one says, but despite the fact that it’s called an ‘order’, is the driver obliged to obey? Is it written in the FIA rules?
    I think that Webber was a bit naive concerning the order to hold station in the last third or quarter of the race. He expected Vettel to do so. It’s probably like Istanbul 2010 only this time it worked: they drove fairly. Maybe Webber is thinking too much about the racing in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s when the racing was more romantic so to say. Back then it was very much more likely to arrange a ‘gentlemen’s’ agreement (probably the reason why Rindt won the championship??).

    – It’s good that Webber vents his opinion (or emotions?) about the tires. So he doesn’t like the fact that current drivers have to ‘manage’ their cars more instead of going flat out. I share his opinion! Concerning this argument I do wish we could go back to 2005 when tires that had to last the whole race weekend, or the sixties and seventies when it wasn’t even necessary/obligatory to change tyres! However for the moment things are as they stand and the current drivers just have to deal with the tires as they are right now. So it is good to say what you think, because it might bring about changes in the future, but for now the drivers have to ‘manage’ their cars to get the best result in the end/the championship. I’m sorry Webber, but you’ll just have to adapt for now.

    As I said, Webber is a great sports person, but I think he needs to be a bit more selfish, he needs to stand up for his own cause more if he wants to win more, if he wants that championship trophy. Now he doesn’t have that much more time left in F1 I think and I would be a bit disappointed to not see Webber win the drivers championship at least once… So go get it AussieGrit!

    1. Now I know that team orders are allowed, at least so one says, but despite the fact that it’s called an ‘order’, is the driver obliged to obey?

      If your boss tells you to do something, are you allowed to disobey them and do the exact opposite? I reckon not.

      1. You reckon not. I wouldn’t either in the clear example you gave me, but in the case of F1 we’re assuming too many things and as you might now: assumption is the mother of all **** up. So there needs to be more clarity about ‘team orders’.

      2. One would say a boss is not God.

        No man actualy has the power to obligate someone to do something(military being special case, or law enforcement).

        If you live a life where you are a literal slave of your boss, I’d recommend a change of profession/self employment btw.

      3. There seems to be an abundance of company fanatics around, and by that I mean people who seem to watch the sport only to see the company they like parade two cars around a racetrack and cash in on sponsorship. Ha! Suddenly everyone forgets that this is F1 and not an typical office job. “Team orders are wrong! This is racing and I really wish drivers would disregard them as real racing drivers should”–>”Ooh RB imposing team orders to favor the guy we like instead the one we don’t? We like team orders!”. –> “Guy who we don’t like disregarded team orders? Boo! what a disgusting little prat thinking he can disregard team orders!!”

  14. Going against the general opinion but I thought this was a good article. Keith hasn’t said anything like “this will definitely happen” but, as he has actually spent some time speaking to Webber, I’d suggest he’s better placed to make a suggestion on what he may or may not do, than the rest of us are.

  15. No 2 driver at RBR or No 1 driver at a less competative team?

    I think Webber needs to address his abilities and reflect on what he really has on offer.
    Unfortunately Webber will only be able to be a No 2 driver at any of the top / competative teams.

    Sit back, take his pay cheque, support the team and mop up with Vettel has a mistake.

    1. *when Vettel has a mistake.

      1. @torort – To be fair, Webber himself isn’t saying he’s going to leave the team at the end of the year, let alone quit right now. He more than anyone probably knows what his relative worth/value is on the grid and is aware that if he quits RBR, he’s not going to find a seat in a comparable car! That’s why he keeps bending over each time Vettel – with the sponsor’s tacit support – sticks it to him! The only way to salvage this situation from the perspective of Webber’s self-respect, however, would either be for the team to sanction Vettel and sit him out for a race, or for Webber to massively pay-back Vettel himself during a race by taking him off into the wall or otherwise smashing him up and showing the little German turd not to mess w/ true Aussie grit! But I doubt that will happen – and so Webber will just keep bending over and trying to relax.

  16. Schumacher said the same thing last year, didn’t he, about F1 no longer being about driving on the edge? It does remind me that last year through the first half of the season Pirelli seemed to have got it spot on: the tyres were degrading quickly, but not ridiculously so. Now, maybe someone can clarify my memory, but I seem to remember at some point, maybe late summer, Ecclestone held a meeting with Pirelli and Red Bull and after that the tyres became more predictable. Now I don’t want to be inventing things out of thin air – anyone else remember things happening that way last year?

    1. Schumacher said the same thing last year, didn’t he, about F1 no longer being about driving on the edge

      Schumi’s right. A driver wins a GP by driving on the edge, taking risks and entertaining the fans, and as a result will probably be penalised for it. The world’s gone mad!

      It’s not just F1. If a footballer as much shoulder checks another it’s a straight red card. It won’t be long before boxers are penalised for punching each other.

  17. Wow people are getting really tetchy over this article. Anyway I thought Gobmut Mouthko said they had shaken hands and sorted it out?

    1. I don’t know about shake hands. What they did probably resembled your avatar!

  18. “Webber Red Bull” moaning about tires, personally all i see is they are having to change tires early and this brings them out behind slower cars on a different strategy which they dont seam to be able to pass which in turn makes them vulnerable.
    yes the diehard F1 think its wrong but the new watchers are seeing and experiencing lead changes/midfield fights with top drivers jostling with less experienced drivers and some teams that haven’t had the chance to prove there worth, but the tires have changed this.
    give it chance and lets see how it pans out we could end up 10 drivers winning a race before the championship is decided.

  19. All this talk about tyres is getting too much, isn’t it? But is it partly our fault? Isn’t it because of the fans complaints of boring races that these tyres and DRS etc. have come into the sport? Anyway….

    Bernie always talks about “the show”, so they are aware that they should entertain the fans, but I say give them proper racing tyres, let them race and the drivers will provide the show.

    One of my favourite seasons was the first full one I watched: 1999. But looking back on it now, there were many, many races where little happened after the first lap. Not that that’s a good thing, but if a season like that were repeated now internet forums would crash with people logging on to vent their frustrations about what they had to endure. People nowadays demand action every race, even a good scrap for the lead isn’t enough for some. As a young lad back then I was content to watch anyway, knowing that as the season went on the tension at each race would build and the season finales were always good. Actually, maybe the problem is that I’m getting old and I’m just harder to please now….

    I hope they can find tyre rules that will find a balance, but I had few complaints about last season, this year it’s become a bit of a joke. Or maybe the teams will figure the tyres out soon and that will help, but I feel that will be more difficult this season…

  20. Here’s one for you:

    What about Lotus for Mark if he decided to switch teams and not retire?

    1. (@ecwdanselby) A Kimi/Webber driver lineup would literally be my dream team, in easily the coolest looking car on the grid. Nice thinking!

  21. I have to agree with Webber and its not because I am old like him and spend my time drinking warm milk and watching 80s GPs from my VHS collection. It’s one thing to slow down the cars by making harder tires, smaller wings, whatever. It’s another to make it so that the pace becomse so far removed from the actual capabilty of car (and driver) that its a bit of a farce. Its exactly as if the cars had a very strict fuel limitation. I want a “show” too but I also one day want to see a real straight fight among Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, OK, webber, at the end of a race for the win. I don’t care if it doesnt result in passing. The Hamiton Vettel battle at Austin last year was a real throw-back, a proper straight fight, but it was quite the exception last year. The new tires seem bent on eradicating that kind of event in favor of more random melee.

  22. Good point raised by Mark about the tyres, The pirellis are tyres with so much longitudinal grip and less lateral grip so with drivers like Mark that doesn’t brake later but tend to have much more speed at the exit of the corners, this can be a disadvantage for them because they have to adapt their driving styles to extract the maximum of the tyres which is the case of top drivers but i think it is a bit unfair because it is not the case of all the drivers

  23. “The thing is I think it’s quite good for the neutral, good for the fans and good for probably new people that are following Formula One, but the old – let’s say people who have more of a grasp of the sport and more education of where the sport was – it’s still a little bit hit and miss.”

    I think Webber’s behavior in this whole team orders kerfuffle has been embarrassingly hypocritical and childish, but I’m on the same page with respect to the farcical tyres of F1 at present.

    Keith, if you had a chance to talk to Mark, I wish you’d asked him about Brazil last year. It continues to amaze me that – to the best of my knowledge – nobody has ever asked him what he was doing there.

  24. yes the diehard F1 think its wrong but the new watchers are seeing and experiencing lead changes/midfield fights with top drivers jostling with less experienced drivers and some teams that haven’t had the chance to prove there worth, but the tires have changed this.

    If Voldemort had not broken team orders on Sunday, the latter half of the Sepang GP would have consisted of the front four drivers cruising around in circles with no attempt whatsoever at even pretending to race or get past one another. The same was true to an extent in Melbourne, where the lions share of the passing occurred via pit stops, not drivers passing one another on the track. The net effect of this years tyres seems to have been to reduce overtaking, not promote it.

    Some of the on-track overtaking which has taken place has been an embarrassment to the sport, such as Sutil bolting on a fresh set of boots in Australia – and then being helpless as other drivers passed him. I think people are cutting off their nose to spite their face in defending these tyres just because Red Bull have criticized them.

    Perhaps that’s clever reverse psychology on RB’s part? They probably know that if they praised the tyres everyone else would clamor to get rid of them.

  25. Where is the problem if he leaves? RedBull have the best driver of the last decade. ANTÓNIO FÉLIX DA COSTA.

    1. @vzx7qf A bold statement, considering he’s driven 0 F1 GP’s. Webber is a proven race winner, the other isn’t even a rookie.

    2. You are wrong, they have the best package in Beitske Visser now :-) I am sure Bernie would approve!

      1. @BasCB has Beitske Visser joined the red bull young driver programme? That would be a pity because she is actually a real talent and I would hate to see her vanish in that snake pit.

    3. @andrewtanner You are right, but I would say Webber is a proven 2nd driver, simply like that. Felix da costa is a winner with a lot of talent and charism, the one that spectators want to see. I’m not sure if You know but he has been elected the driver of the year (uk) in front of drivers like Alonso, Vettel, Raikkonen, Maldonado….and, surprise, with more than 50% of the votes. He is the men that we (spectators) want to see Racing in F1, for sure he wasn’t crying at the end of the races, he simply fight for victory that is what i want to see in any race! Next Year F1 will gain if he is in webber’s car. I’m a Racing fan and i would appreciate it a lot.

      1. @vzx7qf That’s all well and good but you don’t get to F1 without showing promise, which most drivers have to do. Until he’s in an F1 seat, previous records and accolades aren’t good enough. It’s a different beast altogether.

  26. I find it hard to sympathise with Webber, he seems to be in a minority. I appreciate it may not be to his liking but we’re having good races.

  27. In F1, the limiting factor is either the car, or the tyres. If you make tyres that can go race distance while being pushed to the limit for the full distance, then we’d just end up seeing the most aerodynamically efficient cars winning. Its a lose-lose situation really.

    But even if drivers could push to the limit for full race distance, we’d still get situations where the team would tell the drivers to back off to save gearboxes/engines, etc. We’ll never see a situation were drivers push to their and the cars limits from lights to flag.

    Also, found it a bit odd that Mark brought up tennis, a single person sport, where the limiting factor is the human body, and how far it can bed pushed at the limit for. In F1, the place we see drivers giving their all, is in Qualifying, this is were we see who can ring every thousenth out of it, regardless of how good or bad the tyres have been. The race then is where we typically, and historically, see where drivers can use their brains in finding out when and where to push and back off. A mixture of both a marathon, and moments of sprinting.

  28. As much as I respect Mark as a driver and completely understand his views I have to say, I would love to see a headline of “Webber announces his retirement with immediate effect.”Not only would it be a MASSIVE story for F1, but for sport in general it would put red bull in a situation of absolute despair! They would have to find an immediate replacement – Buemi? Maybe they would look to the toro Rosso boys for an early promotion? All I know is it would be really exciting!

    Having said all that there is another part of me that wants Mark to continue, more determined than ever and starts to beat Sebastian not only on the track but psychologically as well, would be awesome.

    Of course the more likely scenario to come from all of this is the least gripping – The announcement that Webber will retire at the end of the season, something which he might have done anyway, all this calamity aside.

  29. I am with you Mark ,but surely you weren’t at 8/10ths when Vettel passed you ,that sort of pace is reserved for the competitive part of the event. I must admit that I turned it off before the heinous act of betrayal but was able to view it every half hour on BBC 24 along with the Lewis /Nico love in .WHEN IS THIS GOING TO END PIRELLI ?

  30. I think there are two issues here:

    1. Lack of Leadership – Horner can’t manage those two drivers. He lets them flout the orders, Seb was tupid enough to pass when ordered/asked not to, and Horner did not have the strength of leadership to demand he give the place back, due to 4 years of being lead by Vettel and not vice versa.
    Mark is not innocent here either, his attempts to push Seb when asked to back off have shown a similar level of disregard for Horner’s control. Only difference is Mark pushed to a point, Seb went over the line.
    2. Lack of trust – How long will it take Mark to trust Seb and in extension Horner to do the right thing by him? What if the same situation rears its head in China or soon after, will Mark trust what is being told to him will happen.

    Personally I see the current type of cars suiting Seb’s driving style over Mark, as many have stated. The longer 2010 wore on and the more planted the RB6 was, Seb became better late in the season. 2011 and 2012 were cars suited to Seb.
    People seem to forget Mark used to qualify a Jaguar in the top 5 regularly in the one lap shoot out in a car that was not very good.

  31. I have to say that I completely agree with Webber on the tires….sorry, tyres :-) I became interested in F1 because it was the best drivers in the world with the best tech/cars in the world pushing them to the limit. Watching them play guessing games about when the tires will go off and driving like a bunch of scared old ladies afraid their cars may break is disconcerting.

    DRS may have some artificial aspects to it, but at least it doesn’t make the drivers go around the course at a jog. vs. pushing the limits.

  32. Too much disrespect for the founder of this site lads in some previous posts lads- pull your head in!!’

    Mark has always said there some aspects of the sport he does not like- and they are becoming more evident!!
    I would have LOVED him join Alonso at the Prancing Horse this year, but now Massa has remembered how to drive (Win this year Phillpe!!!!!!) that will not happen.

    I have met Mark 3 x in the past 12 months- Melbourne, Japan, Melbourne- always a gent, but young Dan Riccardio STOKED to talk to an Aussie in Suzuka, “where have you been, how is Kyoto…………??” Had to tell him I was in Japan for F1 LOL!!!

    Point being Mark HAS become like Stoner- there are too many aspects of the sport he does not like- a driver needs to be able to push 100% until the end and the tyers NEED to allow that!! He also has a team-mate that while the talent of a generation NO-ONE can trust!! (POOR effort last week- Horner needs to show he is the boss!!!!!)

    I want to see Webber a WDC but have no delusions of grandger- but I would also like him leave the sport that made him happy (and a MUTLTI- millionaire) happy rather than ****** off!!

  33. I have to agree with Keith. This article is balanced and provides evidence for Keith’s viewpoint. Of course, the reader has a right to disagree with Keith’s viewpoint. The comparison of WEB’s career stage with that of Casey Stoner’s, using technical regulations as a bases is brilliant.

    Regardless of one’s perspective wrt this post by Keith, it has to be said that WEB’s F1 career is closer to the finish than it is to the beginning. When WEB does call time on his career, he might have options in Le Mans and even the Media. Just to drive an F1 car is the dream of so many children racing toy cars and Karts …. WEB has lived this dream and lived it well despite being short on luck. WEB’s very existence as an F1 driver for 10+ seasons is ample proof of his talent and motivation. Let us not belittle his achievements – he won rookie and man of the year award, and a few other F1 awards. He was the Director of the Grand Prix Drivers group …. an elected position. Participation counts … not everyone can be WDC……..

    What happened this past weekend has left the F1 community deeply divided. Peace.

  34. mark from toronto
    29th March 2013, 4:32

    Watching cars lap the track at 10/10ths lap after lap with no change or drama etc also gets pretty boring fast. The ONLY driver who was exciting to watch at the limit was Mansell. Somehow the car looked like it was going at 11/10ths when he was on a charge. DAMN I miss his driving. It was spectacular visually.

  35. Stoner actually won something, Webber hasn’t.

  36. @Sebsfinger – ??…….. At least we know what you were doing last weekend fella!!

    Yes Webber has not won the WDC………. but has won a few things in his career……….. but I hope not a finger from Seb (actually I think vice versa in Malaysia!).

    I am not ignorant or stupid enough to sit here and argue that Mark is an all -n-all out better driver than Seb. Buts he is a better racer, has more personality and 10 times the MAN Seb is!! We all cant race F1, but we can all be a real man….some dont.

    Seb for the first time last week saw the “bites the hand that feeds” argument- but didnt realise he was the PAID SALARY DRIVER BEING FEED!!. He thought he was the boss……Brabham, Ron Dennis, Sir Frank, Horner……..Seb……. thats how he thinks!

    The shock on his face when he realised Newey was havina’ go was great, when like a scared little boy when Mark walked in………. priceless!!

    Seb fans will jump on this post quick with a ” will be 6 time champ… blah blah…” ………..and he will. But I will take the character of the old bull in my corner in a pub fight any day of the week, and in a month of Sunday’s!! If I had Seb in my corner I suspect he would run out like a little school boy (BUT FAST!!) and ask for Marko!!

    Takin’ the p**s a bit of course, but point posted!

  37. i agree with webber re tyres what is a race that stops and starts,sounds and looks like the old hare and the tourtice,surely tyres could be designed,to last a race,the fuel to last a race was the correct decission now lets get the tyres fixed and get back to proper racing where the ownus is on drivers not race engineers.moto gp is much more intertaining to watch with a non stop setup

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