F1 ‘needs best drivers and strong midfield’ – Webber

2013 Indian Grand Prix

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Mark Webber is concerned that the coming change in technical regulations will make it harder for F1’s midfield teams to compete next year.

Asked about the effect of the new engine regulations during today’s press conference for the Indian Grand Prix, Webber stressed it was important that “the smaller teams can have a chance”.

“I think that whenever you make a big regulation change like we are going to do next year the midfield and the smaller teas are really going to be stretched,” he said. “So I think that the gap between Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari – and McLaren, maybe – it’s going to be probably bigger.”

With the new engines putting a squeeze on budgets, some teams are increasingly preferring drivers who can bring sponsorship money with them.

“The main thing that Formula One needs are the drivers,” said Webber. “The drivers are the important thing – you can have what cars you want but you’ve still got the best drivers out there then that’s the most important thing.”

Webber is moving to the World Endurance Championship next year but believes F1 needed to embrace a new engine formula.

“I think Formula One F1 needed a bit of a facelift in terms of technology which they’re going to get next year,” he said.

“Maybe it’s not what we all want in terms of maybe all the electric stuff and those kind of things but that’s the way all the manufacturing and all those type of things are going in terms of car production. So Formula One should be the benchmark in terms of rolling that stuff out.

“How it’s going to go in terms of the spectacle I think time will tell but for sure it’s still going to be good.”

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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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15 comments on “F1 ‘needs best drivers and strong midfield’ – Webber”

  1. F1 does need nothing. For more than 60 years the formula has changed many times but it remained the best formula :)

  2. I understand the move to eco-friendly power units but some rules have the potential to hurt the sport in terms of spectacle. F1 is also entertainment and that’s what most fans are looking for, if that fuel limit leads us to extreme fuel saving in the same way we see tyre saving more fans will walk away because we want to see the best drivers in the world racing, not nursing tyres and saving fuel.

    1. If this new engines were to be much more fuel efficient than the V8s we have now, then that objective would be fulfilled automatically and there wouldn’t be the necessity for a fuel limit on the cars because they would complete the distance in the same way and with much less fuel, and the fear of races being dominated by fuel saving would never have existed.

  3. “The main thing that Formula One needs are the drivers,” said Webber. “The drivers are the important thing – you can have what cars you want but you’ve still got the best drivers out there then that’s the most important thing.”

    I would carve this on marble. A couple of days ago I saw a picture of Hamilton and Timo Glock after Glock won a race somewhere, and I wrote here that it makes me feel very sad to see GREAT drivers everywhere while at F1 maybe one third of the camp or more is made of mediocre ones.
    Mark’s diagnosis (of teams in increasing need of drivers who bring the cash) is, IMHO, spot on. And that is what makes me think if F1 is *really* the top racing level anymore.

    1. It certainly is in terms of technology, and will be even more from next year with the new engines. But regarding drivers, it can be said that the quality of the grid is diminished by having some drivers with strong sponsorships. But it’s becoming ever more common that those drivers are talented as well, just like Maldonado and Perez, apart from one or two. So in terms of drivers I think F1 still is on top.

  4. I’m not sure I agree with Mark here – regulation changes seem to narrow the field (aside from one constructor getting a march on with something like a double diffuser). Take a look at 2009…every constructor scored points.

  5. Quite ironic that he’s moving to LMP1 next year, where if you’re not driving for a car manufacturer you might as well not bother turning up…

    1. F1 was like that about 10 years ago.
      But there’s a separate podium for the private LMP1 teams – which is a bit ridiculous, like having a podium for Caterham & Marussia. And only one car at the moment which is even sillier.
      Hopefully other teams will appear next year to compete with Rebellion, but I’d prefer a tweak to the rules (fuel flow, air restrictors or whatever) so they can all get in among the Toyotas and Porsches, at least if the works cars have a problem.

  6. Webber is quit right. Just look at Toro Rosso and the russian teen boy they hired. Is this the best formula in motoracing? I think not. Even the term SPORT is quite arguable, since the in football, basket or other examples, if you’re the best one, you’ll be on top. In F1, if that’s the case, there’s no guarantee.

    Missing Senna, Prost, Lauda, Piquet, Mansell and others. Honor to Alonso or Kimi, they still got it.

    1. Even the term SPORT is quite arguable

      As a matter of fact, race organizers in India are arguing that F1 is entertainment, not a sport. If you ask me they’re spot-on. In 2013, if F1 is to be considered a sport then so is american wrestling.

      1. F1 once was a sport though. Of course nowadays, with the full fuel load and tire degradation, they go so “slow” that they barely break a sweat.

  7. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    24th October 2013, 16:11

    F1 ‘needs best drivers

    … and that’s why you are leaving, a driver in a Red Bull that couldn’t win a single one this year, and that usually loses many places at the start.

    1. @omarr-pepper, you are right, if Webber in a car that is vastly superior to all the other teams cars can’t beat a talentless driver like Vettel then he definitely deserves to go, and of course the Red Bull being the best car on the grid by miles it must be the best starting car and only Webbers incopetence can account for their poor starts.

      1. Haha. Just called a soon to be quadruple world champion talentless.

        Im not a Vettel fan, but I would never humiliate my credibility by saying something so terribly ludicrous.

  8. I am not sure I can agree with Webber here. I think that drivers, riders, pilots etc. are limited by the machine they are given, they develop their skills according to the equipment they have in hand. So that makes the equipment more important than the human controlling it. I think it is the engineering part more important. If some engineer didn’t come out with the internal combustion engines, the drivers would be racing carts.
    I am an avid rider myself, and pretty good at it. But when I started there was great problem with spare parts and repairs, so I developed a very cautionary ride, which is very different nowadays.
    What I mean is that we have very good drivers because we have very good cars at disposal.

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