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Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Webber back to test Red Bull car

Mark Webber drives the new Red Bull
Webber had not driven an F1 car since the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix

Mark Webber got back behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time since breaking his leg last November by testing the new Red Bull on Wednesday.

Red Bull launched its 2009 challenger in Jerez on Monday in preparation for the new F1 season, which begins in Australia on 29 March.

"There were a lot of questions going into today and I answered them," said Webber, who completed 83 laps.

"From my point of view, it all went better than expected," he added.

"To do over a race distance on my first day back in the cockpit, with several weeks to go to Melbourne is a good thing."

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Webber broke his right leg in November when he collided head-on with a car while riding a bike at his own charity event in Tasmania.

The Australian said last week he was confident his recovery was "ahead of schedule" after undergoing an intensive recuperation programme.

Webber, 32, has been working to get strength back in his leg and as well as improving his fitness in the pool and on a static bike, he has been using a cryogenic chamber to help knit the broken bones together.

"I've been doing it for three weeks now," Webber, who is also a BBC Sport columnist, told the Red Bull website.

Mark Webber is treated in the cryogenic chamber
Webber has been spending some time in a cryogenic chamber to aid recovery

"You go from a normal, ambient room temperature into a chamber of -50 C for about 30 seconds and then for another three minutes into -130 C.

"It's very good for your general well-being, your immune system and apparently it's good for cellulite. Not much of a worry for me but it's very good for the whole body."

With Webber sidelined, the team have been relying on new recruit Sebastian Vettel to guide them in developing the car.

However, the Australian, who missed the team's winter test in Spain last December, got back in the cockpit and comfortably completed 83 laps in Jerez, clocking a best time of one minute, 21.321 seconds.

For the second day running, Sebastien Buemi was fastest in Toro Rosso's 2008 car with a best lap of 1:17.591 at Jerez.

In Bahrain, Felipe Massa went quickest for Ferrari before a sandstorm forced the rest of the day's testing at the Bahrain International Circuit to be cancelled.

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see also
Red Bull expect wins from new car
09 Feb 09 |  Formula One
F1 testing photos
11 Feb 09 |  Formula One
Webber targets return in February
27 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Webber breaks leg in bike crash
22 Nov 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
13 Jan 09 |  Formula One


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