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Mark Webber drove final four races with broken shoulder

Mark Webber

Webber's championship diagnosis

By Andrew Benson

Red Bull's Mark Webber was driving with a broken shoulder for the final four races of the season, it has emerged.

The period coincides with a dip in form in which Webber lost his championship lead and then the title, which went to his team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

The Australian has revealed the injury, sustained in a mountain bike accident, in his new book, which has just been published in Australia.

Webber is refusing to blame the injury for his failure to win the title.

He also kept it secret from his team boss Christian Horner, only telling his physio Roger Cleary and F1's chief medical officer Gary Hartstein.

Horner has responded to the news in The Daily Telegraph, saying: "I didn't even know about the book, let alone the shoulder.

Suzuka is a brutal track... but in the end, we got through the weekend all right

Mark Webber

"It is obviously disappointing that Mark said nothing. It was an injury that did not appear to have any effect on his performance but all the same it would have been nice to know about it.

"Our drivers have an obligation to make sure they are fit. It seems bikes don't agree with Mark so maybe it would be better if he stayed away from them."

Webber sustained the injury after the Singapore Grand Prix.

The fracture was quite fine and could not be treated. Webber had cortisone injections before the races in Japan and Korea to dull the pain.

It is the second time in a little less than two years that Webber has suffered an injury while out training on a mountain bike.

In November 2008 he was hit by a car while taking part in his own adventure challenge in Tasmania and suffered a major fracture of his right leg as well as a broken shoulder.

On that occasion, he also kept the shoulder injury from his team and the public.

Webber pledges immediate future to Red Bull

Webber says in his book, 'Up Front - 2010, A Season To Remember': "On the Sunday morning before (the Japanese Grand Prix at) Suzuka, I got on a mountain bike for the first time since my accident in Tasmania at the end of 2008.

"I was riding with a great friend of mine. Suddenly, he crashed right in front of me and I had nowhere to go but straight through the ears of the horse!

"I suffered what they call a skier's fracture to my right shoulder.

"Suzuka is a brutal track so it was a blessing that the Japanese weather gave me an enforced rest day on the Saturday (when qualifying was rained off), and a pre-race injection helped, too.

"In the end, we got through the weekend all right."

At the time of his latest accident, Webber was leading the world championship by 11 points from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and was 21 ahead of Vettel.

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

He finished second to Vettel in Japan, where the German was only 0.07 seconds faster in qualifying.

But Webber's title hopes took a major hit at the subsequent race in Korea, when he crashed on the second racing lap. Alonso won the race, which leapfrogged him over Webber in the championship and into an 11-point lead.

Webber then finished second to Vettel in Brazil before losing any hope of regaining the lead with an uncompetitive performance at the final race in Abu Dhabi.



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see also
Webber breaks leg in bike crash
22 Nov 08 |  Formula 1
Webber back to test Red Bull car
11 Feb 09 |  Formula 1
Mark Webber column
25 Mar 09 |  Formula 1


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