Mark Webber on Formula One

Minardi's Mark Webber recently took part in a webchat with ITV-F1 to answer fans' questions on F1, Australian racing drivers and his ambitions. Q: How does the workload of an F1 driver compare to that of a test driver? Last year I was doing ...

Minardi's Mark Webber recently took part in a webchat with ITV-F1 to answer fans' questions on F1, Australian racing drivers and his ambitions.

Q: How does the workload of an F1 driver compare to that of a test driver?

Last year I was doing Formula 1 and 3000 testing. So, that was actually quite a busy schedule. Especially in the second-half of the year testing for Renault. This year's not been as busy as last year but I'm driving for a smaller team this year so we don't have as much testing ability.

Q: Your best moment in formula 1 so far was obviously coming fifth in Australia. But was it the best moment of your whole career so far?

No question about that! To score 2 points in my home Grand Prix in my home debut was the perfect cocktail for a fairytales.

Q: What are your options for 2003?

There's several opportunities for next season, though I'm not in a position at the moment to say which team it's favoured towards.

Q: How important was F3000 in getting to F1? Or was having Flavio as your manager more important?

3000 was important. But, I think what was more important was the testing role that I had with Renault. As we know, in this game you need to have a good team of people behind you and I'm fortunate to have that.

Q: Who is your greatest Formula One idol?

Mmmm, strangely enough it's probably the guy I'm racing against, it's Michael. What's he's done has been amazing. I was also a big Alan Prost fan as well. I can also relate to what Michael's doing at the moment with F1 and his team, it's pretty special.

Q: What memories do you have of Alan Jones's championship year, were you a fan?

I was four years old when AJ won the World Championship. I've heard a lot of good things about him since I've come to Europe and honestly, it's impossible for me to follow what he did in Formula 1 as I was too young. But, to win Grands Prix is one thing but to be a World Champion is very special. And he could've won another one as well!

Q: Why have you been the first Australian to make it in to F1 in recent years, where do you think you are different from other talented drivers like Russell Ingall and Craig Lowndes who failed to manage it?

Very good question. It's also probably a little bit to do with making your own luck in this game as well. I believe that Craig wasn't anywhere near as hungry as Russell was. Of course I'm biased but to leave the best country in the world is a big commitment. I've had some good advice along the way, I think that's helped.

Q: What does a typical non-race day consist of for you?

Normally, I'd probably do some training before breakfast, like run or something like that. Have a massive brekky, I like my breakfast! Then, catch up with some friends or talk to the team on the phone or things like that, during the middle of the day, then maybe another fitness session during the afternoon. Generally, just try and relax. people think that we have a lot of free time but when we're working it is quite draining so it's good to have some time off to recoup.

Q: What do you think of Alex Yoong?

I've said in the past that I think Alex is a little bit out of his depth in Formula 1. If he has a weekend where everything goes right for him, starting from the first practice session, he normally should qualify and race okay. But, he's had a few problems with some circuits and it can also prove frustrating for the team. But at some tracks he's done not a bad job! He's learning as much as he can at this stage.

Q: Do you get on with Paul Stoddart and the rest of the team?

Paul and I get on very well together. We have a lot of respect for each other which helps our professional relationship. The rest of the team is a great bunch of guys, 80% Italian throughout but it's a good team.

Q: How did the Jaguar compare to your Minardi?

As with all Formula 1 cars, the way they go about designing and setting the car up can be totally different from team to team. The Jaguar has a seven speed gear box compared to the Minardi's, six. There was weaknesses and strong points compared to the Minardi and having driven the Renault eight or nine months before Suzuka last year, that also had pros and cons.

Q: What are your longer term ambitions in F1? Which team would you ultimately like to drive for?

I would love to win races in Formula 1 and have a chance to prove that I might be able to do things better than some other drivers. But of course you need a very good package to do that and as time goes on, have a chance at collecting more points than anybody else, but that's a long way away yet. As for the team it would have to be Ferrari or Williams...

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Alex Yoong , Alan Jones , Paul Stoddart , Russell Ingall , Craig Lowndes
Teams Ferrari , Williams , Minardi