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Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Saturday, 19 April 2008 13:51 UK

Mark Webber column

Mark Webber
By Mark Webber
Red Bull F1 driver

There have not been any Grands Prix for a couple of weeks, but I have been busy preparing for the start of the European season in Spain next weekend.

The races at Barcelona are traditionally quite boring but in terms of the competitiveness of the field this one should be very interesting.

Mark Webber's Red Bull leads Jarno Trulli's Toyota at Bahrain
Webber hopes the latest Red Bull new parts will make the car more competitive
All the teams have been working hard on improving their cars, and Spain should set a trend on how the teams will perform at many circuits this year.

The circuits for the next two races at Barcelona and in Turkey aren't too dissimilar. And although we then have two one-off tracks in Monaco and Canada, we drop back down after that on to the standard sort of circuits.

So the next two races will establish how teams will perform at Silverstone, Magny-Cours, Hockenheim, and circuits like that.

We had new developments sprinkled on to the Red Bull at last week's Barcelona test, and we have improved the car.

Of course, you always want more and we are still very nervous about how tight that midfield group is because they've made improvements as well.

Lewis is having a bit of a rough patch - but he'll come out of it

At the end of the day, you are trying to move closer to the teams who are winning Grands Prix and that will have a wash-on effect for your performance in your battle in the midfield.

It's very difficult to out-develop the bigger teams, but if we have then hopefully we will shackle ourselves into a more comfortable position where it's a bit easier to get into the final qualifying session and there are slightly less intense races than the ones where you have someone a second ahead of you and a second behind you.

I have been really happy with my form this season. I was seventh in both the last two races, and because it is so easy to drop off the back of the points - which will happen this season - it's very rewarding when you get the best you can out of the car.

We have a very good list of personnel in our design office - cars created by teams working with Adrian Newey, our chief technical officer, and technical director Geoff Willis, have won a lot of races in the past. But before we see those sorts of results come out of Red Bull we need a bit more time.

Mark Webber in his Red Bull
Webber and Red Bull have been busy testing new parts between races
With the stable regulations in F1 over the last few years, it's very difficult to find that advantage - BMW are really the only team who have managed to chip away at McLaren and Ferrari.

It's a very difficult business to find performance in. Our car has improved, but it's all relative to your opposition.

Hopefully we can get a bit more performance out of the car before the year is out but I'm really hoping those guys can come into their own with the total revamp of regulations we have for 2009.

I'm not contracted to the team for next year, but I hope I can stay on to benefit from that - we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

BMW's performance has created a lot of attention so far this season - they have beaten McLaren in the last two races and they're leading the constructors' championship, albeit because the two drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, have been consistent and done a good job.

I worked with BMW when I was at Williams and they were the engine supplier, and they are a very passionate, organised team.

The Mosley scandal has brought the sport into disrepute - whether we like it or not, all of us in F1 are role models, and F1 simply cannot have scandals of this type

They have worked out what a Formula One car should be and where to shift their emphasis and focus. They have got their priorities sorted out over the winter, done a good job with the car and delivered in races.

Nick was my team-mate at Williams before he joined BMW. Because we were very close in the races, people ask me how I feel about how I might go in a BMW, but you just have to concentrate on doing the best you can in your situation. As long as you do that, you can be satisfied.

The guys at the front have got themselves into a good position and hopefully I can do that before my career's out and have a run close to the front.

You don't try any differently; it's just that the number on the pit board changes, and every now and again you go on the podium, which is great. And that's what I'm looking for in the future.

In the championship battle, the last two races have been good for Ferrari and not so good for McLaren and in particular, Lewis Hamilton.

Mark Webber's Red Bull on the way to seventh place at the Bahrain Grand Prix
Webber says he got the best out of his car in the last two races
Malaysia did not go well for McLaren, and they had not tested in Bahrain pre-season while Ferrari had - so getting 18 points in Bahrain was an absolute must for Ferrari.

Don't underestimate Heikki Kovalainen, Hamilton's new team-mate, who has beaten Lewis in the last two races.

Heikki's in there chipping away and he and Lewis are both competitive guys.

606: DEBATE
Inevitably, you are compared against your team-mate. Lewis had a phenomenal first season and a brilliant first race this year, and a phenomenal last stint in Malaysia. It's all there still, it's just he's having a bit of rough patch at the moment.

That tests people's character, but he will be fine - he'll come out the other side of it. But whether the team can give him and Heikki a car to take Ferrari on is a totally different question.

Mark Webber was talking to Andrew Benson


see also
Mosley scandal 'has disgraced F1'
19 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton confident ahead of Spain
17 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mosley skips Spanish GP for rally
16 Apr 08 |  Motorsport
Massa wins as Hamilton stumbles
06 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
25 Mar 08 |  Formula One
Raikkonen eases to Malaysia win
23 Mar 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
12 Mar 08 |  Formula One


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