Mark Webber’s Dilemma

Let’s start with the undeniable truth. Red Bull Racing offers Mark Webber the best chance at continued success in F1, by far. By really really far. Consider his options: Let’s say Ferrari calls (unlikely) and offers a ride. Will he have equal opportunities as Fernando Alonso? Sure, and Jim and I will likely get a call from the BBC to replace Brundle and Coulthard and oh, by the way Robin, Perez feels terrible about his early thievery and secedes his Sauber seat. Webber clearly laments number two status, and would no doubt suffer as full Ferrari support heads in Alonso’s direction. Not to mention that the Scuderia insists Massa will stay for 2012.

What about McLaren? Two English world champions that get along famously as teammates and deliver excellent results from two opposite ends of the driving style-o-sphere make up the line up now. Where does Webber fit there? Besides, Button isn’t going anywhere as long as he races in F1 and Hamilton will stay until at least 2013.

And just like that we ruled out the current race winning cars.

The next set of contenders, Mercedes and Renault, are possible but are equally a solid step down in performance, without much promise to rise to championship contender status in the next 12 months. Realistically, both teams require huge gains in performance to compete for race wins, let alone championships. Additionally, Renault places all its hopes on Bobby K (assuming he can return for 2012) and seems pleased with Vitaly’s improvements. As for Mercedes, Nico Rosberg continues to perform and continues to be German, both assets that the Factory Merc team appreciates. Moreover, regardless of anything else, Michael Schumacher remains an icon still in control of his own fate. So I truly doubt either team will look in Webber’s direction.

After that we’re looking at Sauber and STR.

Again, Red Bull Racing remains Mark Webber’s best option for F1 racing. So what can Mark Webber do? His situation would frustrate any driver. To sit in the fastest car on the grid, only to endure subtle yet persistent favoritism of your teammate, must suck! I feel for Mark, very much so. Furthermore, at 34, Mark knows his F1 career is finite. While he now still drives at his peak, that won’t last forever. So he cannot fuss about “maintaining the gap” with what time remains to chase the dream of being World Champion, right?


Mark Webber’s place at Red Bull is akin to Mother Nature, it’s not for him, it’s not against him, it just is. As painful as it is for Webber, he must appreciate the opportunity Red Bull provides: a race winning car and a team that will let him win a championship if he can beat his teammate on their terms. Admittedly that is a very tall order considering that Vettel is monstrously quick. But Webber, when he’s at his best, is capable. His best chance for success is to take a Zen approach when favoritism rears its ugly head; shrug it off and try again. His occasional anger at the team may be justified, but it doesn’t help him towards his goal of winning. It isn’t far. But it is Mark Webber’s best chance to win the Formula 1 World Championship and I, for one, think he can do it.

-Robin Warner

8 thoughts on “Mark Webber’s Dilemma”

  1. Another great article Robin.

    I don’t really have anything to add, I fully agree that it is terribly frustrating, but he really doesn’t have a sensible alternative. It’s a shame, as I’d love to see him tell them where to stick that single new front wing.

    A minor addition: I believe that Nico Rosberg must continue to be German until 2012, at which time he has the option to select a different nationality. Rumours are that the UAE have made a generous offer.

  2. Agree that Aussie_Grit’s best option is to stay at Red Bull, keep his head focussed on the job and ‘just do it’.

    But I disagree with your very last assertion. Over a few tracks, ‘at his best, is capable’, as you say Robin, of beating Vettel. But not over a season – to land the World Championship.

    Let’s take the analogous situation over at McLaren. As with Sebastian, Lewis is a similarly precociously talented young tyro who consistently beats the pants off his older teammate in Quali. But over a season the racecraft and experience of ol’ Biggles Button keeps him right up there on a par points-wise – in the same car – with the young ‘un.

    Webbo does not have that same cool race-craft to keep up the points tally to challenge his teammate. He sees ‘red’ too often in race conditions and as often as not throws away great grid positions and opportunities. Yes, he notoriously has ‘bad luck’ – but in this game – ‘luck’ usually comes to those who work hardest not just during the race weekend, but week in week out. Vettel, apart from being one of the most naturally gifted racers ever, is known to be a ‘workaholic’ to the point of obsession. As was Schumacher.

    I really hope Mark can take the challenge to Seb, but without the cool and nouse of a Button, I doubt if he can.

  3. Peter, while I must agree that, on current form, it looks unlikely that Mark will surpass Seb, I think we do need to consider that it was only last season that Mark was scoring more points for the majority of the duration. Sure he lost out when it mattered, but I think Seb’s current supremacy is partly down to Mark’s issues with the set-up of the car, and that these could be resolved by 2012.

    I admit that I wouldn’t put any money on it, but I don’t think last season should be so easily forgotten. Maybe if Mark did get his Zen on he would be in a happier place and be able to start realising his proper potential.

  4. Great. I’m Aussie so think Webber is awesome but can also see that at the moment there is actually only a very small chance of stopping Vettel. I hope that webber stays at RB for at least one more season. The points gap at the moment i don’t think is too much but it is getting very close. Next year will be the perfect opportunity for him to really take the next step and consistently beat Vettel. I think that the major problem We err has is his starts. He is horrendous. Every race, every track, his whole career he has been horrible and at the moment I think it is costing him more than ever

  5. Webber is on Pole, so I guess that means Nicole Scherzingers boyfriend will be leading into the first corner.

    Vettel for the win, even though the commentators say that he’s only one once in his career when not starting from the front row.

  6. I completely agree that Webber’s best (and most sensible) option is RBR. It’s become blatantly obvious that Vettel will receive subtle favouritism and that isn’t going to change. In my opinion, Webber needs to channel his frustration into the sort of “killer instinct” that has seen him dominate previous GP weekends (e.g. Silverstone 2010). Some of his best performances have come at times of great adversity. He definitely has it in him to challenge for a WDC. I seriously doubt he’s got much chance this year, but I expect to see him back up there next year. Let’s not forget that he’s still sitting in 2nd place in this year’s Championship.

  7. I don’t see Webber the championship with any team if he can’t win it with Redbull. Therefore, he is now established in the ‘development’ guy role. This was the role played by Coulthard for Redbull, Damon Hill did something similar with Arrows, Rubens Barrichello is currently doing the same with Williams, Trulli with HRT and the list goes on. Away from Rebbull the other decent option will be Ferrari, but with Alonso there, he will be the desognated #2 again! So stay put Webber.

Comments are closed.