Tag Archives: Mark

Is Webber a True Title Contender?

After a sensational win in Monaco, Mark Webber heads to the Canadian Grand Prix just three points off of driver’s championship leader Fernando Alonso, tied for second with his team mate Sebastian Vettel. Vettel dominated the championship last year, overshadowing his team mate in nearly every session of the season. Many thought that Webber would be permanently relegated to number 2 within the Red Bull team, and would not be able to recover from such a difficult season.

Can Webber shed his Number 2 status in 2012?

In 2010, Mark Webber was an extremely competitive driver, winning four races, and just barely lost out on the driver’s championship in the last race of the season. The 2011 Red Bull RB7 seemed to suit Sebastian Vettel’s driving style, while leaving Webber straggling. To be honest, I thought 2011 would be the end of a competitive Mark Webber in F1.

Webber’s 2011 season was far less successful than his 2010 campaign

So far, 2012 has proven my hypothesis incorrect. The numbers themselves give an indication that Webber has bounced back to a level where he can compete with his team mate. Webber has out-qualified Vettel 4-2 in the first six races of the season. Both drivers have one victory to their name, and are currently tied in the standings. Where the figures tell part of the story, observation can fill in the rest. Webber looks more confident in the car. He looks more willing to take the car to the edge. In 2011, his performances seemed consistently lackluster. In 2012, it looks as if Webber has regained some of the shine he had in 2009 and 2010.

Webber claimed his first victory of 2012 in Monaco, his second victory at the track

Whether this strong start to the season is an indication of whether Webber is back in his 2010 form or not, one can be sure that Webber is more comfortable in the car than he was in 2011. We will have to wait a few more races before we can see whether or not Webber is a true title contender, but the first quarter of the season looks promising for the Australian. Whether Red Bull will allow him to challenge Vettel for the title could be the limiting factor for Webber throughout the season.

 

 

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Webber’s Chances at Red Bull?

Mark Webber has signed up for another year at Red Bull Racing in 2012, and claims that he has no intentions of retiring after this season. The question stands, is this the right decision for Webber? Many people suspect that Webber is knowingly signing up to race as a number two driver to reigning champion Sebastian Vettel. However, Dietrich Mateschitz, the owner of the Red Bull squad, promised that Webber will be treated with equality.

Will Webber get an even shot at the championship as Vettel?

Mark Webber has had a huge amount of success at Red Bull Racing relative to his stints in other teams. He claimed two victories in 2009, four in 2010, and one more in 2011. However, after narrowly losing the championship to his team mate Vettel in 2010, Webber seemed mentally unconfident. In 2011, he never had the same precision, consistency, and blinding starts that he enjoyed in the 2010 season. In 2010, he dominated his team mate in numerous occasions; Monaco and Barcelona come to mind. The 2011 season saw a dramatic change, in which Vettel was at all times more in sync than Webber. Surely Vettel stepped up his game for the 2011 season, but was Webber seriously discouraged by his defeat in 2010?

Vettel simply dominated Webber in 2011, along with the rest of the field

 

Webber claimed to have issues adopting his driving style to the new Pirelli tires at the start of the 2011 season, and many suspected that the downforce provided by the blown diffusers suited Vettel’s driving style over Webber’s. However, it truly seemed that Webber lacked the sparkle that he held in 2010. By most standards, Webber had an excellent season in 2011; he won a race, two pole positions, and several podium spots. The problem is, Vettel won 11 races and 15 pole positions in the same car.

 

The question may not be if Webber is given a fair chance in 2012. The question may in fact be, is Webber even capable of challenging Vettel in 2012? If the blown diffuser really gave Vettel an advantage, maybe Webber will be able to gain back some lost ground. However, Webber faced a crushing defeat in 2010, followed by a season completely under the shadow of his team mate. Unfortunately, I feel that Webber has passed his prime, and will not be able to overcome his team mate again.

Unfortunately, Webber is unlikely to dethrone Vettel

Red Bull Racing maintains that they are happy with Webber’s performance. He has done a great job in the past three seasons in Red Bull, and retired only once in the 2011 season. However, if Webber wants to be treated as a first driver, he may have to look elsewhere. If Vettel keeps his performance at the level it was in 2011, he would be a challenge for any driver on the grid to keep up with.

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