Webber: ‘I thought about Kubica during test’

2011 F1 testing

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Jerez, 2011

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Jerez, 2011

Mark Webber gave his view on whether F1 drivers should race in other disciplines, following Robert Kubica’s crash last weekend.

Webber said he thinks drivers need challenges outside of F1:

“We need to feel alive away from the track, clearly. Obviously there are some disciplines which are more risky than others. If you look at the particular sport that Robert loves away from Formula 1 obviously we know that there is a risk added to that.

“I remember having dinner with him at Monza last year and we spent 90 minutes talking about pace notes. You could see him just light up talking about his pace notes and how he studies the sport that he loves.

“Clearly he was incredibly lucky to survive. At the end of the day when you are an adult, you make the decisions.

“I also accept that you have a big team of people around you and behind you, as a professional you represent them as well which he does at Enstone. It’s never easy to have the balance right.

“I’ve done a lot of mountain biking since my accident. I’ve never missed a Grand Prix. You have to do things away from the track. It’s been happening for 50 years and it will happen for the future 50 years.”

Webber has suffered a broken leg and injured shoulder in the past two years while training outside of F1. But he played down comparisons with Kubica saying, “I scratched my fingernail compared to what Robert did.”

He added: “I thought about him a lot in the car today. Particularly when you see the Renault or Enstone or Lotus car, whatever it’s called. You think of him.”

Webber cautioned that Kubica faces a long recovery period:

“The rehabilitation is the hardest part because it gets incredibly frustrating. The constant, boring stuff which is the challenge for any sportsman or woman who is coming back, because normally we’re so active.

“He knows this completely. He knows exactly what’s ahead and mentally he’s completely strong enough to get over this.

“Sometimes the hurdle is thrown at the toughest guys. He is one of these guys.”

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33 comments on Webber: ‘I thought about Kubica during test’

  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 10th February 2011, 18:43

    Totally agree with Mark. Kubica certainly loves rallying. Not allowing him to participate could also backfire a bit. Kimi is the clear example. He simply got bored of all the F1 stuff.

    BTW: this Lotus/Renault name thing is getting complicated! No one knows how to call them!

  2. verstappen said on 10th February 2011, 18:57

    This only confirms Robert’s passion for it and therefore how right “Renault or Enstone or Lotus… whatever they’re called” are to let him do it.

    Happy people do things better, whether that’s car racing or whatever.

    • verstappen said on 10th February 2011, 18:57

      I forgot the quote I meant:

      remember having dinner with him at Monza last year and we spent 90 minutes talking about pace notes. You could see him just light up talking about his pace notes and how he studies the sport that he loves.

  3. I wonder if Robert could imagine a simple barrier can massacre the interior that easy.
    Anyway, I stay shocked, such accident could easily be unrelated to rallying. Perhaps this accident shows one of major safety gap overlooked in street cars.

    • It shows a major safety gap in Italian barrier construction. At least in the US, they *never* have that kind of barrier with the end just sticking out – it’s absurd; you might as well plant big spikes along side the road. There are always big curls or barrels on any barrier end facing traffic.

      • Palle said on 12th February 2011, 9:27

        The end wasn’t sticking out until the front of the car put pressure on the section before – at least according to the simulation of it. The type of car rail fails probably only if the mounting isn’t made correctly. Quality control is decisive as with all technical systems. No link is stronger than the weakest joint. So those who arrange Rallies must up their game at checking the installations along the route…
        Webber shows great care for Robert here – I like that a lot.

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 10th February 2011, 19:08

    No one I work with would expect me to cut down on high-risk activities and similarly so you can’t expect that in F1. It’s a job, a job they love, but a job nonetheless and everyone needs time away from the office.

  5. Can you imagine basketball or football players, or any other for that matter, having the occasion to practice with the ball only during actual games?
    Of course not, it’d be absurd. The skill in the sports would drop ridiculously.

    I can’t imagine why it could be different in motorsporst. If you compete at the highest level, you have to have to the most practice you can get.

    Is a driver who gets to drive a racing car every 2 or 3 weeks is as good as if he drove it 5 times per week?
    Obviously not.

    Disallowing Kubica to do rallying between F1 races would be like disallowing a football player to touch the ball between his teams’ footbal matches.
    And rallying is awesome for keeping your reflexes sharp and improving car control.
    It’s surprising that most F1 drivers don’t do anything else besides F1.

    • Rosberg and Button do triathlons. Kovvy seems to enjoy running by -20°C. Schumacher loves his motorbike… Every one of them has side habits which are probably not the healthiests.

    • Robert McKay said on 10th February 2011, 22:17

      Disallowing Kubica to do rallying between F1 races would be like disallowing a football player to touch the ball between his teams’ footbal matches.
      And rallying is awesome for keeping your reflexes sharp and improving car control.

      Not that I want to nitpick but I think disallowing Kubica to do rallying between F1 races would be like disallowing a football player to touch a rugby ball between his teams matches.

      Rallying’s a different beast to F1. In this case Kubica’s accident wasn’t due to a lack of Formula 1 practice. I take the point rallying is good for car control/reflexes but its still a different ball game (pardon the pun). In the same way playing with a rugby ball will give some additional skills practice but it’s not a football.

    • SeattleChris (@seattlechris) said on 11th February 2011, 7:02

      I do have to say that many of the top AMA/FIM Motocross and Supercross riders have written into their contracts that they will not participate in Snowboarding/skiing/water-skiing/jetskiing etcetera… some for the entire year and others just during the season.

      In this case I do expect that new contracts will state that drivers not participate in potentially dangerous sports from the end of the previous season (or around the time signings begin) through the last test session.

      The reason I believe this is that losing Kubica for the season was bad enough for them as he is top quality, but it is compounded in this case, as we have heard, due to the fact that they no longer have an experienced top talent to develop a 100+million dollar program; this is a very very expensive loss.

      I believe that drivers should be allowed to compete in other activities, but if I were say, Ferrari, paying top dollar for my drivers, I expect that they would treat this time with the same commitment, professionalism and devotion as the rest of the team who put the car, team, logistics, finances and so forth together so they can do what they love.

      Still, I actually think about Kubica daily and hope he is able to get back to doing what he loves quicker than doctors think possible. Just maybe no more pre-season jaunts on devilish cliffs and poor piping!

  6. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 10th February 2011, 20:16

    Remember Clark has lost his life during an entirely unimportant Formula 2 race.

    Racing and competing is the very essence of these drivers and it’s fine. I think the trouble would be not to try and do that all the time because that would probably mean they aren’t totally devoted to it which is essential if you want to be the best.

    As the Enzo Ferrarish-figure said in ‘Grand Prix':
    ‘everyone wants to be a champion, there’s no distinction in that.’

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 10th February 2011, 20:21

      I mean I totally accept Kubica’s decision to take part in a rally event. He took the risks which go hand in hand with this enthusiasm.

      That last words by Mark are exceptionally… good: ‘sometimes the hurdle is thrown at the toughest guys. He is one of these guys.’

      He really is. One of the best five or six drivers currently in Formula 1. (Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Kubica, Sutil and Kobayashi maybe.) And maybe an even more likeable personality.

    • Great movie!!!

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 10th February 2011, 20:34

      Graham Hill lost his life as a team owner, not even in the car. These guys love what they do just as much as we love watching them do it.

  7. 2Morrow said on 10th February 2011, 20:22

    He will return and he will become champion one day.
    These are some of the toughest athletes on the planet

  8. Trust Mark Webber to come up with the best way of putting it into words. A very thought provoking and heartfelt series of quotes here.

  9. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 11th February 2011, 2:33

    It’s true even in the past many F1 drivers used to race in other form of racing,touring car, F2, F3 etc that had happened as racing is in their blood & as the testing have been limited they won’t just sit home ideal & eat vegetable they want to go out there to race.

  10. sumedh said on 11th February 2011, 6:26

    when you see the Renault or Enstone or Lotus car, whatever it’s called. You think of him.”

    Genius!! I hope Bahar and Fernandes read this and realise what stupidity they are indulging in.

  11. U2F1 (@u2f1) said on 11th February 2011, 7:22

    Great set of comments Mark .. just goes to show the kind of respect these guys have for each other and their abilities as a racing driver and above all a human being

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