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Mark Webber Q&A

Fernando Alonso

Italian GP in 90 seconds

Red Bull Formula 1 driver Mark Webber answers your questions as part of a series for the website this year.

Thank you for your e-mails, a selection of which the Australian answers below.

Three of the five drivers still in the hunt for the championship have won it before. Do you think you and Sebastian Vettel are at an advantage as perhaps you are hungrier to win it, or a disadvantage as Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton don't have as much pressure on them?
Gary Slegg,

"Motivation is not a question for any of us at this level. All I would say is it's natural and rewarding when you're going for championships that you are going to be racing against people who have won them before. So it's nice to be able to beat people who had achieved good things in the past."

Do you think Hamilton's first-lap accident in Italy will ultimately cost him the championship?
Joel Slaff,

"Well, it was certainly something he wouldn't have desired to happen but if he'd pulled it off he'd have got another couple of points, and he got the ultimate punishment which is a non-finish. Whether the points he lost will be the difference, time will tell."

Why are Red Bull deemed favourites for Singapore this weekend? Last year, it was categorised as a tight 'point-n-squirt' track that suited the McLarens, and Hamilton duly won. How have the respective car characteristics changed this year to make Red Bull the favourites?

If we had converted all our grid positions, yes, the championships would look a lot different - but we're not exactly struggling - we're leading both championships, so let's keep things in perspective

"Quite a bit. Hamilton destroyed us in Monaco and Budapest last year and this year we gave them a touch-up at both those races. We should be closer to the front than we were in Singapore last year.

"The car has changed a lot since last year and we're very confident we'll go there and go well."

What do you think the problem has been on Sundays for you and especially Red Bull? Even though you guys are so dominant on Saturday the championship is still wide open. Why do you feel this is?
Jack Alhadeff,

"There were a few tracks where we weren't quick enough on Sundays but also you can say we have won a lot of races. It's not as if we're getting destroyed on Sundays.

Red Bull's Mark Webber

Webber frustrated with Red Bull 'underperformance'

"If we had converted all our grid positions, yes, the championship would look a bit different, but I don't think anyone has done that. When you have two-hour grand prix races, things like that can happen.

"It's a mixture of a few things, but having said that we're not exactly struggling in either championship - we're leading both. So let's keep it in perspective."

Do you think the team will get behind you as the main title hope if you out-score Vettel in the next couple of races?

"It would be a nice problem for me to have and then it's up to the team as to what's the best way for them to win the championships. It's definitely not for me to answer that one."

Do you spend any time with your team-mate between races?Ben,


Do you feel Ferrari have been let off after the team orders affair and been given an unfair advantage in the championships?
United Kingdom

"Not really, no. I think we need clarification on where the rule is going to go in the future, but what happened in Germany has happened hundreds of times before.

Team orders have been going on forever and I don't think you'll ever stop them

"You can't say Fernando won't deserve the championship if he wins it by less than the seven points he gained by Felipe Massa moving over in Germany. If you're going to look at that, there are all sorts of ifs, buts and whens.

"It wasn't as if Felipe was 50 seconds down the road and had to back off and let him through. It was unlikely, maybe, but Fernando still had a chance to win that race by overtaking him. He might have ended up taking them both out and Ferrari would have got killed for that as well.

"Yes, those seven points could be crucial, but that's the position Ferrari decided to take, and in 10 years' time, if Fernando wins, people will remember that, not Ferrari's decision.

"There have always been team orders in F1 to a degree, teams influencing how the results will be between their drivers. It may happen rarely in some teams, or a lot with some others.

"We have seen many occasions - with Renault with Fernando and Giancarlo Fisichella, Ferrari with Kimi Raikkonen and Massa, McLaren with Kimi and Juan Pablo Montoya.

"Where I think we can't allow it is where you had Eddie Irvine backing people up and getting Michael Schumacher a free pit stop [in the 1990s]. But if someone needs to move over to get you a better position in the championship, that's been going on forever and I don't think you'll ever stop that.

"But we shouldn't have formation team orders from the first few races, I don't think the fans would be happy with that."

What's the story behind the Red Bull slow starts? You seem to get off the line OK but then get bogged down. Heading into Singapore, will this be addressed?

"It turns out, certainly at Spa, it was a combination of quite a few things.

"When everything goes right with an F1 car, they're easy to get away, but when it doesn't it looks very much exaggerated that you've made a shocking start.

"The last few starts haven't been like they were at the start of the year, when we were making good starts. The team are working on it and we're confident we can address it in the future."

How do you feel the new points system has impacted on the championship race this season? Are you a fan?
Graeme Malcolm,

"Last year the difference between first and second was pretty small. Now they have a bigger separation, trying to reward winning, but consistency is also very important.

I've got the cleverest guys and the best car to finish the season - I wouldn't want to be with any other team

"Fernando has had a bit of an up-and-down campaign but he's still in the hunt. It shows that you can hang in there but it's hard to get those points back if people are consistent.

"There are more points on the table, but I think if the points system was the same as last year you'd still have had the swings we've seen this year because there are a few guys in the hunt for the championship. I don't think you can put that down to the points system."

Hypothetically speaking, if you could continue your 2010 championship assault in another car, which car would it be and why?
Kris Andrews,
Great Britain

"I've got the cleverest guys and the best car to finish the season. I wouldn't want to be with any other team."

It's the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with 10 laps to go and you are in second place. To win the world championship you need to come first. Would you rather be up against Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Schumacher, Alonso or Massa? In other words who is the easiest for you to overtake?
Matthew Smith,

"Well, they're all going to be pretty resilient if it gets down to that part of the season with a victory making the difference. I don't think at that stage it would matter who it was because you're just going to do what you need to do to win the race."

You always seem so calm and composed before, during and after races, is this normally the way you are or it is just a front when really you are stressed on the inside?

"There are some natural nerves, which is normal, but I am generally pretty relaxed. [Team principal] Christian [Horner] gets very nervous because I get to the garage late and get into the car late.

"Generally, I'm pretty chilled out getting ready for the race and qualifying. I think keeping your highs and lows in check is important because sometimes in this sport you have some tough days and it's important not to get too carried away with the ups and downs."

What do you think the score will be in this winter's Ashes series?
Richard Watts,

"(Long exhale). I think the English will get a Test match or two off us - hopefully no more than two.

"I really believe we can do it down there with a young side, but it's going to be a very good series and we're going to have to be on top of our game to beat the English. I'll take anything as long as we do it."

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see also
McLaren upbeat on Singapore hopes
17 Sep 10 |  Formula 1

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