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Page last updated at 08:10 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Mark Webber column

By Mark Webber
Red Bull F1 driver


Mark Webber trains on his rowing machine as he prepares for the new Formula One season
Mark is now able to train quite hard as his leg recovers

It is seven weeks since I broke my right leg in a mountain bike accident but, as the start of pre-season testing looms, the recovery is going well.

The leg is starting to get a bit more strength back in it. Hopefully I will be walking quite soon and once that happens the whole curve accelerates quite quickly.

The intensity of my rehab will start to increase as I get more confident with my leg.

I have been doing a lot of pool work, static bike and a lot of specific exercises to keep the leg firing through when I could not put weight on it. That has all gone to plan, no complications, which is always nice.

I have lost a sizeable chunk of my aerobic fitness but I am very confident that come the last few tests I will be in very good shape again.

Overall, I have coped reasonably well. The accident happened during my endurance challenge in Tasmania. I could not fly for a while because of the wounds so I had to spend part of the time back in Australia before coming back to England before Christmas.

So I have had a mixed recovery, which has been good in terms of the variety of scenery and people around me.

I don't think I will be disadvantaged as a result of breaking my leg

Mark Webber

It is not very good being dependent on other people, so just driving a car for the first time on Sunday was a nice, small step, for example.

I have got another four weeks before my first test in the new car at Jerez in February and then my new team-mate Sebastian Vettel and I are sharing the testing load at the three further tests before the season starts in Melbourne at the end of March.

I'm going to learn a lot when I drive the car for the first time. I am extremely confident things will be right but if I have to adjust a few things if I get any soreness in the leg, then I will.

I do not think I will be disadvantaged as a result of breaking my leg and I can tell you now that I will not be using it as an excuse in Melbourne. I will be there ready to go.

We are the last of the major teams to launch our car - on 9 February. That probably helps me in the sense that I will be in better shape by the time we run it for the first time but it might not be the best solution overall.

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel
If Sebastian Vettel and I end up pushing each other hard, well, that is how it always has been and how it always will be

Come the third or fourth race would we have preferred to have that extra 600-800km on the car? Some would argue yes.

But there is a lot of stuff you can do now to make sure the cars are reliable - and we had very good mechanical reliability last year. We only had one failure - on my car in Singapore. The other one, in Germany, was a holed radiator from a stone.

If we can keep that sort of reliability up with this car, then our chief technical officer Adrian Newey's decision to delay the launch to give him more development time to get a bit more performance out of the car could be a good one.

I'm looking forward to having Sebastian as a team-mate. On paper, you would have to agree with those pundits who are saying he will be my toughest so far.

He had a very good season last year. He had some very good weekends, particularly in the second half of the year - even if the first half was not so good for him.

At this level you want to be comparing yourself against good guys and he is one of the bright young guys in F1 and it's good that Red Bull have got him. Hopefully we can get an absolute truck-load of points for the team.

Mark Webber, Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey and technical director Geoff Willis
Webber believes Red Bull's designers will have interpreted the new rules well

If we end up pushing each other hard, well, that is how it always has been and how it always will be.

I am not worried about the time Sebastian has spent with the team over the winter while I have been recovering. I know that the momentum you build up starts from Melbourne onwards.

In the teams in the middle there is no space now for people not to give their best for both cars, even if there might be an emotional attachment to one guy because he is doing a little bit better.

There are going to be weekends where one of us is having a slightly better time than the other but if we are close and both very fast then we are doing the best for the team - and that is what we need to do.

One thing that is going to be very interesting this year is the introduction of Kers (kinetic energy recovery system), which stores energy that would have been wasted during braking and reapplies it while you are accelerating.

With such big rule changes, though, I do expect the field to be mixed up

The good thing about Kers is that we should all have a bit more horsepower to make overtaking a bit more straightforward.

There should be more lining people up going on - you will be more of a sitting duck in the braking areas if someone has arrived with a bit more power.

That is good in some ways - although it will be disappointing if we have cars just blasting by others on the straight.

As it happens, though, I do not think we have had that much trouble with the racing in recent years. We have had some really good fights and I think it is going to be hard to beat that.

With such big rule changes, though, I do expect the field to be mixed up. I expect a few more reliability issues and I think BMW could do something.

Robert Kubica testing BMW Sauber's interim test car
Webber believes BMW could be in good shape for the new season

They have put a lot of energy into getting on to the start line earlier than some people. That has got to benefit them and we could end up looking back and saying that was a smart decision.

Such big rule changes mean F1 is effectively a new category this year and people are going to be absolutely tested as to how clever they are in interpreting the regulations.

We are very excited about who we have doing our car and other people are obviously equally excited.

606: DEBATE
Basil Brushzenberger

Ferrari and McLaren are not going to be far away, that is for sure, and you can never underestimate Renault and Fernando Alonso but I think the points will be spread out.

We had a lot of different winners last year and hopefully it's going to be the same this year. It is very open.

Mark Webber was talking to Andrew Benson

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see also
Webber targets return in February
27 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Webber breaks leg in bike crash
22 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber Q&A
07 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
21 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
02 Oct 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber's 'office' wear
04 Sep 08 |  Motorsport
Mark Webber column
02 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
26 May 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
22 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
22 May 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
28 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
19 Apr 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
25 Mar 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
12 Mar 08 |  Formula One


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