Mark Webber has admitted that the scrutiny surrounding Jaguar team-mate Antonio Pizzonia caused an awkward atmosphere within the team, but believes the troubles are now in the past. Jaguar came in for criticism after making it public that...
Mark Webber has admitted that the scrutiny surrounding Jaguar team-mate Antonio Pizzonia caused an awkward atmosphere within the team, but believes the troubles are now in the past. Jaguar came in for criticism after making it public that Pizzonia's position was under review and the media attention put more pressure on the situation.McLaren test driver Alex Wurz was in the frame to replace Pizzonia after the Spanish Grand Pix but Jaguar back-tracked and decided Antonio would stay on, at least until the end of this season.
"It's been a little bit of a burden on the team if you like," said Webber. "You don't like to have atmosphere within your own camp and we had a bit of an atmosphere there which was not a healthy thing."
"But now we're out the other side of that and I feel there will be no other scenarios throughout the year which will cause any problems off the track. It gets a bit frustrating. It would be the same for me if Antonio was third or fourth on the grid and I was 12th or 13th. I'd be looking at myself as well."
Pizzonia has had a problematic start to the season and in the last two races was let down both times by faulty launch control. Webber believes his team-mate will soon begin to find his feet: "They're really very fragile cars to get right," the Australian said. "So he is still learning that and he won't be too far away from where he can get the most out of himself and the car."
Webber himself recently extended his contract with Jaguar until 2005. It's early in the season for drivers and teams to be committing themselves but Webber wants to reap the future benefits of his present hard work.
"There are options to go further than 2005 but that's where we have settled at the moment," he commented. "I saw no reason to put in the hard work now and not be there in 2005 when I think we will be at our strongest."