Why Mark Webber’s next move may be from Casey Stoner’s playbook

2013 F1 season

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Any armchair psychologist could read the state of Mark Webber’s mind as he turned his back on the F1 paddock and headed for the Australian surf after the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend.

He and Sebastian Vettel have had disputes before, but Vettel openly defying an order from the team to pass Webber and win the race marked a new low in their relationship.

“It’s three weeks to the next race, we?re fortunate we have three weeks,” said Webber afterwards. “I?ll catch some waves in Australia on my board and I think this will be good medicine for me.

“I had a lot of thoughts going through my mind in the last 15 laps of the Grand Prix so whether the medicine is enough, we?ll see.”

Of course the events of the race have soured his relationship with Red Bull. But there’s more than that on his mind at the moment.

“No drivers are really on the limit today”

Webber has been one of the more outspoken critics of the current generation of “designed to degrade” tyres. He struggled with them when they were introduced in 2011, and though he has adjusted his style to suit he does not believe they are right for Formula One.

I spoke to Webber several times during pre-season testing as he sampled the 2013-specification Pirelli, which degrade even faster previous versions, for the first time. In every interview he gave a dig at the Italian company’s product, however slight, was seldom far from his lips.

And in the press conference after the Malaysian Grand Prix, when his invective would naturally have been targetted at his team mate, Webber’s criticism was directed at least as much at the tyres:

“The thing is I think it?s quite good for the neutral, good for the fans and good for probably new people that are following Formula One, but the old ?ǣ let?s say people who have more of a grasp of the sport and more education of where the sport was ?ǣ it?s still a little bit hit and miss.

“With what we had, probably not much of an idea that?s how the race would go for us today. I was surprised that other people were not with us, completely, people won?t believe that but that?s the case, and also I think, for the junior categories they need to get the tyres and things better for young drivers to learn how to push the cars to the limit and drive absolutely on the edge.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013“You watch Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer play each other and it?s playing with the lines, it?s playing with precision for a five set match and we all enjoy watching that but at the moment we?re driving at eight and a half tenths, eight tenths, conserving our pace and some more situations like this will probably happen in the future because there?s a lot of ambiguity in who?s (on the) pace and who?s quick.

“Seb feels he?s strong only in the middle of the race then I could respond. The racing is completely around nursing and trying to make the tyres survive and they?re not conducive to driving a car on the limit. You don?t see us really pushing on the limit. Obviously Seb and I had a push in the middle in our last stint but generally no drivers are really on the limit today.”

Webber and Stoner

Webber’s words reminded me of what his fellow Australian Casey Stoner said when he announced his retirement from Moto GP last year. Aged 26 at the time and already a two-times champion on two wheels, Stoner’s retirement was motivated by a litany of grievances including changes in the sport’s regulations which introduced a slower class of bikes:

“After so many years of doing this sport which I love, and which myself and my family made so many sacrifices for, after so many years of trying to get to where we have gotten to at this point, this sport has changed a lot and it has changed to the point where I am not enjoying it.

“I don’t have the passion for it and so at this time it’s better if I retire now.

“There are a lot of things that have disappointed me, and also a lot of things I have loved about this sport, but unfortunately the balance has gone in the wrong direction.”

These were Stoner’s words as he announced his retirement last year. After the humiliation of Malaysia, and with the current generation of tyres sapping his passion for the sport, it’s not hard to imagine Webber saying something similar in the near future.

2013 F1 season


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123 comments on Why Mark Webber’s next move may be from Casey Stoner’s playbook

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  1. Thomas (@infi24r) said on 28th March 2013, 11:18

    Bit of a long shot to draw any similarities. Webber has never shown any interest in V8 supercars although it wouldn’t surprise me with a certain German car manufacturer entering the WEC next year if he jumps ship to race for them.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th March 2013, 11:32

      @infi24r

      Webber has never shown any interest in V8 supercars

      And I never said he would go there.

      • Dan (@esquilax) said on 28th March 2013, 12:53

        @keithcollantine
        To be fair, he never suggested that you said that Keith. Wasn’t that merely his won view?? i.e Up to now Webber hasn’t shown interest in V8s, but now that a cer……

        Keith, kudos to you on this site, it’s literally the first I visit for F1 news, but it doesn’t look very professional if you get very easily drawn into retaliating to posts that you think are attacking you. You shouldn’t have to defend or explain your work all the time…just let it be.

        • Dan (@esquilax) said on 28th March 2013, 12:56

          crap….*his OWN view*

        • Uh, yeah, I’m pretty sure @infi24r did imply that Keith said that, in that the only objection he articulates is about how Webber has never shown interest in V8 Supercars. Also, I’d call Keith’s response a “clarification,” not a “retaliation.”

        • I concur, tis your response that should be considered a retaliation. The V8 reference came from nowhere.

          • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 28th March 2013, 23:05

            I believe the V8 supercar reference came from the fact that Stoner is racing there now and the article said Webber’s next move could come from Stoners playbook, I believe the inference that @infi24r got mistakenly was that Keith was suggesting Webber would go there as well.

        • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 28th March 2013, 22:36

          @esquilax

          You shouldn’t have to defend or explain your work all the time…just let it be.

          Actually I disagree. It is good that Keith responds to as many comments as possible, and it is largely why his site draws lot of members. It allows people to debate on issues and share ideas. The day he stops doing that will = just another boring news site in which the author thinks “its my way and I don’t care what you think”.

          But to the subject, I think Keith has made a clear and excellent comparison between Stoner and Webber, and that is: something significant has changed in the sport the are no longer enjoying it. And the cause is similar.

    • Jimbo Hull (@kartingjimbo) said on 28th March 2013, 12:53

      I think you just made the similarities long there, why bring a point into the conversation Keith didn’t even bring up? I don’t even.

      Where he goes afterwards is far from the point to be honest, it’s how he feels now. He has been rumoured to retire for some time and on top of what happened on sunday it’s kind of making that rumour seem a bit clearer. So him being majorly concerned with what he’s going to do after F1 is probably not really an issue, what is an issue to him is his and the sports current situation and just like Casey there only seems like one way of solving it for himself: Leaving the sport and making a rather big point about it.

      And what makes me feel rubbish about it if he does decide to retire/leave based on his issues with the sport/team is that it won’t make a difference, they won’t care cause it’s just Webber.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 28th March 2013, 17:17

        I’m not sure I understand the sentence…”Of course the events of the race have soured his relationship with Red Bull.”

        Red Bull had given a team order that favoured MW for a win, so I don’t see why SV stealing the win would sour MW’s relationship with the team…with SV for sure, but as I say the team had sided with MW while the race was on. I don’t know how the team can take the win away from SV in order to punish him, and give the win to MW…their hands are tied in that regard. I don’t know what they can do about SV to appease MW…probably only ask him to not do it again and hope that the embarassment and regret SV might be feeling for going against the team is enough of a deterent to prevent him from doing it again.

        But sure I completely would understand MW getting disgruntled about the tires. I don’t like them either. I consider them a gadget and I’m not a fan of gadgets in F1. And I don’t even have to drive on them.

        So I think that water finds it’s own level. If events of last weekend (team orders taking away from the racing), combined with gadgety tires that we might only hear more and more persistant complaints about from the drivers, start to take away from the entity of F1, then they may have to change things and MW might be wise to just hang in there and it will get better. I know there is probably a majority of people if polled that would prefer not to have DRS, and I’d like to think the reaction to ‘designed to degrade’ tires might be similar.

        Stable tires, far less dependancy on aero, no DRS, and just go racing.

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th March 2013, 11:40

    Indeed @keithcollantine, its not hard to imagine Webber doing just that. On the other hand, Stoner was really successfull already, where Webber will ultimately be seen as the guy who got “only” a couple of wins next to Vettels 3 (or 4) world Championships.
    Maybe it will strike Webber that he will not have the opportunity in his team to really fight for the wins and the championship, because that team is not going to keep his teammate to the same rules as they agreed. And that could be the moment to say its been good, but its over. Sure enough there is no other team that he can go to right now and do it (Ferrari would love to have him probably, but surely not to challenge for WDC)

    • Traverse (@) said on 28th March 2013, 12:15

      Maybe it will strike Webber that he will not have the opportunity in his team to really fight for the wins and the championship

      Webber has been given a fair shot. In 2009 he was treated equally with Vettel, and what was the result? He lost fair and square. So Vettel earned the right to be prioritised. In a sport that’s so competitive, where every point counts, and where the margins are so close that a wrong move can result in the loss of lives, wasting points is not an option.

      • James (@iamjamm) said on 28th March 2013, 12:46

        @hellotraverse But RBR (supposedly) don’t have a number 1 and number 2 driver policy, do they? So, Vettel earning the right is a moot point. Everyone starts the season on equal points. Also, on Sunday the team weren’t prioritising Vettel, but Vettel took matters in to his own hands…

        I think the point @bascb was making is that RBR have effectively lost control of Vettel and cannot guarantee Mark a shot at the title regardless of whether they prioritise him or not. He never said Webber hadn’t had a fair shot in the past, but it’s likely he will not have a fair shot in the future, because Vettel is seemingly bigger than the team.

        It’s entirely plausible that Mark could be a world champion by now, if he had not a) fractured his shoulder in 2010 and b) lost out on strategy in Abu Dhabi 2010. But, as you say, every point counts and things didn’t quite work out for him. But, he’s not an average driver like you seem to want to make out.

        • Traverse (@) said on 28th March 2013, 13:06

          But RBR (supposedly) don’t have a number 1 and number 2 driver policy, do they?

          The 2010 British GP proves otherwise. RBR say they haven’t got a No.1 driver policy, but their actions paint a different picture. I just wish they would stop denying it, admit it and move on because as we all know, the best team structure for success is to have a lead driver (The Vet) and a support driver ( AussieWimp AussieGrit).

          • Mike (@mike) said on 28th March 2013, 13:27

            @hellotraverse

            In the last GP Red Bull prioritized Mark. At this stage this year from that information, you can either say that they are assisting Webber, or that they are treating them equally.

            Although digging up another years race helps make your point, it’s irrelevant without discussing the situation around that race as well. Which is different than how it is now. It is also largely irrelevant because it is not this year,

          • Traverse (@) said on 28th March 2013, 16:58

            @mike

            It is also largely irrelevant because it is not this year

            Of course it’s relevant. We’re analysing and debating the relationship between two drivers that have been team mates for 4 years. So obviously, prior events that have happened during the last 4 years are relevant to any future events that occur between them. Unless you want me to judge their relationship based only on two races worth of data. :-)

          • Traverse (@) said on 28th March 2013, 17:13

            @mike
            Besides, I’m not the only one that has cited previous events between Vet and Web. Many have used the 2011 British GP as an example of Webber disobeying team orders. So are all of the posts that mentions that event irrelevant?

          • Mike (@mike) said on 29th March 2013, 1:57

            Calling straw man here,

            What I said, was taking examples from races in other years is largely irrelevant. I say this because the situation surrounding any two races is so very different, I don’t think they can be fairly compared.

            I never said anything about their relationship. Only that you can’t cherry pick two rather dissimilar race events and try to fit them together. Yes, team orders was a factor in both cases. No that does not make them instantly comparable.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th March 2013, 19:56

        @hellotraverse, the key point here is looking towards what is still to come this year, not the past.

        Sure enough Webber did get his chances, in 2009 they started out about equal and in 2010 Webber did get a lot of chances, even if it was clear early on that the team focus lies with Vettel. But after last weekend, Webber knows that even if the team is in favour of giving him equal equipment, and does not ask him to be a number 2 like Massa is to Alonso at Ferrari, there is nothing to stop Vettel from taking what he wants, either with or without support from the team for that.

    • Maybe it will strike Webber that he will not have the opportunity in his team to really fight for the wins and the championship, because that team is not going to keep his teammate to the same rules as they agreed.

      I’m not picking on you personally, because a lot of people are saying stuff like this. The trouble is that all of them – including you – are just skipping past the fact that Webber has never been “held to the same rules agreed” either. At a certain point people need to stop repeating a claim which keeps being refuted.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th March 2013, 20:06

        are just skipping past the fact that Webber has never been “held to the same rules agreed” either.

        @jonsan, I do not think that is the case.

        I think that par of the key to where the difference lies can be found in what Button says in that interview in the roundup. Or in what supporters of team orders like Joe Saward write. And that is that while drivers do often go against the exact order to make their point, (Webber not slowing down and keeping a distance but instead trying to get past, or Button passing Hamilton, but being then repassed) its highly unusual, and frowned upon inside the paddock, to actually keep a place gained like that (a bit like we saw with Rosberg making a point, but not definitely passing Hamilton with his DRS in Malaysia, or Button relenting when Hamilton got by again).
        We can never be sure, but when you think about it, it does make sense if that is actually the case. Where you are perfectly right, and what makes the Red Bull case so strange, is that neither driver has been publicly reprimanded for showing they were not bowing to team orders before. Webber in the several cases where he did push Vettel, or was not easily passed. And Vettel in Turkey 2010 but also almost weekly in 2011 when he kept doing fastest laps despite his team ordering him not to do so.
        To me that means this is largely a management problem that will now likely get out of hand until they change the management and/or the driver line-up

  3. Traverse (@) said on 28th March 2013, 11:41

    Webber, remember to shut the door on your way out…Thanks :-)

  4. Puzano (@puzano) said on 28th March 2013, 11:41

    The comparison here is the lack of passion these guys would probably have if they would stay in the sport. Not about their eventual change of motorracing. You’re missing the point. ;)

  5. Trippinjim said on 28th March 2013, 11:42

    A bit tabloid and sensationalist Keith. Emotions were high and while MWs comments re the race and tyres were relatively measured and calm, any comments re his emotions and future should be viewed in that context. Therefore it’s unlikely he’s going anywhere. The guy goes by @aussiegrit and that is a true reflection of his attitude and actions. He’s as hungry as ever (as has become obvious), and is driving superbly in the two races so far, and 14 days to clarify that in his own mind will have him back ready to go.

    On top of that, he’ll know the balance and approach of the team may well change slightly in lieu of Malaysia so he’ll be keen to get to it and capitalise.

    What happens next year is another story. He may have had enough, he may not have but not be prepared to go anywhere less competitive, or the decision may be made for him if RBR decline to resign him and there’s no offer at Ferrari or Lotus.

  6. uctq said on 28th March 2013, 11:51

    This is proper journalism is it? Take a long hard look at yourself. This is shoddy speculation, the kind you would find in a pub. Maybe you’ve spent too much time on twitter. This whole article is based on tenuous – if not spurious – links. Stoner disliked the trend in Moto GP, so he retired. Webber dislikes the trend in F1 (along with the rest of the grid). Because he’s Australian, he’ll do a Stoner?! Come on!

    They’re not the same age, not in the same sport, don’t have the same family circumstances (Stoner has kids, Webber and his older wife don’t), the list could go on.

    This is a really bad case of concocting speculating. I thought this website was better than that.

    • apsiloritis (@apsiloritis) said on 28th March 2013, 11:59

      I personally found the summary of Webber’s thoughts to be very interesting. And the similarities with Moto GP in terms of changing regulations is quite valid. Add to the speculation that Webber will retire from F1 after this year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he used his exit to say it how it is.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th March 2013, 12:01

      Because he’s Australian, he’ll do a Stoner?

      I never said that either.

      Yes there is an element of speculation in this but I don’t agree that automatically makes it “shoddy”. My point is there is more than one thing Webber is unhappy about in F1 at the moment and he made it abundantly clear last week he’s thinking some serious thoughts.

      • jimscreechy (@) said on 28th March 2013, 14:22

        I completely agree. If anything it just highlights that disparaging conditions in the sport can produce situations the participants find particularly unfavourable. That they have a impetus on both a continuing inovlement in the sport and carreer direction is entirely understandable. In fact I would go further and say this doesn’t just affect the sportsmen and possibly teams, but the fans as well. I for one, though passionate about F1 for the last 30 have felt my interest wane because of the constant meddling with rules and requaltions in an attempt to make the sport palatable and interesiting for the general masses, and the need to prevent certain teams from becoming too dominant. This tyre situation is just another instance where uncertain elements are introduced to provide random occurances and outcomes. I hate this ‘Mario Kart’ approach to the sport where the techical abilities of the designers and the skill of the driver can still be thwarted by the random performance of tyre, something that seems to be understood only but the likes of John Edwards and Mystic Meg.

    • I don’t know where you got the idea that there’s something inherently wrong with speculative pieces. Keith never says these things are definitely going to happen — only that the situation reminds him of the one with Casey Stoner, and he provides numerous direct quotes to illustrate why. Where’s the problem with that?

    • Ritesh (@rits) said on 28th March 2013, 12:51

      Calm down son. Its nothing of the sort you’re making it out to be. A little speculation is nothing wrong so long as its not presented as a fact (tabloids/cheapshot journalism). I don’t find anything wrong or shoddy in this article. There’s no hint in the article about both being Australian and hence the likelihood of a similar decision, that’s just coincidence. The larger picture is the dissatisfaction and eroding passion in the sport resulting from regulation changes and the current tyre management driving that’s going on.

    • Drop Valencia! said on 28th March 2013, 13:10

      Keith’s blog, he can post what he likes, it’s not a news forum.

      I do hope Webber stays to try the Turbo era, it may or may not be the 1%er he needs for WDC glory!

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 28th March 2013, 13:51

      You do realise this is a blog, not your personal news service? This is an opinion piece, and there is nothing wrong or unusual about speculation in one of those, particularly if it is backed up with evidence of Webber’s dissatisfaction.

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 29th March 2013, 2:10

        @matt90 I think it would be helpful though if @keithcollantine clearly marked articles like this as opinion pieces. He had them before (I think those were categorized as Comment), so people can clearly mark the difference.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th March 2013, 3:11

          I actually like the idea of marking it clearly, but only so that it is easy to search for all opinion/comment articles. I don’t think these people deserve to be pandered to though. I think if they can’t work out that it is an opinion piece from the general content and particularly the title, then perhaps they should accept that reading is beyond their skill-set.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd April 2013, 13:46

          @matt90 @journeyer This isn’t a comment piece just because a few people have taken umbrage at the premise. It doesn’t express an opinion.

          • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 3rd April 2013, 14:31

            @keithcollantine But isn’t this your opinion on what Webber could do? We can choose to agree or disagree. It’s not a news report on what Webber will do. Those are two different things.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd April 2013, 14:34

            @journeyer I said he may, not that he will. Even the headline makes that much clear.

            For avoidance of doubt I don’t go along with the ‘this isn’t a news site so Keith is allowed to have an opinion’ thing either.

    • bpacman (@bpacman) said on 28th March 2013, 13:53

      I for one think this site is improved by having comment articles like this to supplement the strictly-factual reporting of race results etc.

      As your point about speculation, I remember reading a number of pieces in the newspapers last year speculating that Lewis Hamilton may leave McLaren and going through various quotes from Hamilton and other sources that suggested that he was not happy at Woking and would be looking for a new team. I wouldn’t call that “shoddy speculation” – it’s taking the evidence that’s available and using it to write about what may happen. Journalism doesn’t have to be backwards-looking.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 28th March 2013, 17:30

        Yeah just to jump in here and support Keith as well, I would say that this is nothing but another well worded and thought provoking article that sums up what is probably pretty close to what MW might be thinking, using a solid example from Moto GP as a case in point. MW’s got to be thinking, among many things, ‘what am I doing here again?’ Can’t get a win even when the team wants it. Can’t push the car in the supposed ‘pinnacle of racing’.

        I just happen to think things will change for the better before they change for the worse. I don’t see Seb doing this again. And if there are enough complaints about the tires and fans pull away, those will easily be changed too. Ultimately, given the massive number of responses to the issues of last weekend, the fans have a say and will be vocal, and have concerns that the racing not be taken out of the pinnacle of racing.

    • David not Coulthard (@) said on 28th March 2013, 15:31

      Because he’s Australian, he’ll do a Stoner?

      No, but because he’s Australian, the coinsedence of him doing a Stoner would be much more interesting.

  7. formulaonerob said on 28th March 2013, 11:59

    Mark Webber does not call his website AUSSIE GRIT for no reason it is because he will carry on to be the best he can that’s the Australian way no matter how many times he is vetteled { new Aussie word meaning shafted} now go Mark and show everyone you can do it all Aussie F1 fans support you.
    Nice guys always finish last time to get tough !!!!!!!!

  8. TMF (@tmf42) said on 28th March 2013, 12:01

    glad Mark mentioned it. I could live with DRS because you can adjust the length of DRS zones and give teams an almost equal advantage / disadvantage and scale the size of it.
    The tires however are just a show element and have little to do with racing – engineering definitely but also with a completely wrong objective.
    When Pirelli announced their specs last year I was thinking they will go towards different warm-up characteristics but what they delivered is way too extreme. 2011 was ok – 2012 border line but 2013 is unacceptable and I’m pretty sure that after China (if it stays dry) and Bahrain, more people will share my view.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th March 2013, 12:14

      The tires however are just a show element and have little to do with racing

      Tyre management is and always has been a part of Formula 1, so please stop trying to pretend like it doesn’t matter. The Pirelli tyres simply put a little more weight on this skill than before. Once upon a time, we had Bridgestone tyres that were ultra-durable and could probably do twice the race length without needing to be changed, because Bridgestone didn’t want to make tyres that would make them look bad. Anyone could (and did) win with them.

      But now, tyre management is an actual skill that a driver needs. It’s no different to when traction control was banned from Formula 1. Before the ban, drivers simply had to stamp on the throttle and let the on-board electronics mete out the power in a way to cut out wheelspin. After the ban, the drivers found themselves having to balance the power themselves to prevent wheelspin. It’s a skill, and ultimately that’s what eaveryone wants to see: drivers winning races because they can get the most out of their car, not because they can only have to worry about one or two parts of the whole and let somebody else do the rest.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 29th March 2013, 2:03

        @prisoner-monkeys

        I find it interesting that people pretend tyre concerns weren’t a consideration before.
        We used to have the problem that if a driver on the bridgestones locked up, it was pretty much race over. *waves my arms in the air* But that means the drivers can’t push for fearing a lock up!

        … So we can see, nothing has really changed :D

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th March 2013, 2:28

          @mike

          I find it interesting that people pretend tyre concerns weren’t a consideration before.

          I’d say that’s because people are trying to find facts to fit a foregone conclusion. They’ve decided that they don’t like the tyres, so they construct the situation to fit that scenario.

        • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 29th March 2013, 6:28

          I have avoided this tyre war as much as I can and while I appreciate @mike and @prisoner-monkeys opinions and partially agree with them, you cannot disregard the word of the drivers themselves. As it has been recognized above, the tyre’s have been made less durable, therefore making tyre management more critical, but there needs to be a medium. As Webber has pointed out, we do not want to see drivers running at eights and a half tenths on tyre’s the cannot push to the edge. Nobody wants to see tyre’s lasting the whole race and we all want to see the driver better at managing his tyre’s have the advantage, but more so we want to see the ultimate that can be taken out of the ultimate machinery. I think the a more durable product needs to be provided to enable this.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th March 2013, 6:52

            @funkyf1 – That’s as may be, but I don’t think you can necessarily take the drivers’ word for it.

            We’ve seen it before with wet races. When the cars are behind the safety car, you’ll get some drivers claiming that it is too wet for racing to resume and others claiming that it’s perfectly safe. The drivers will say whatever they think will give them the biggest advantage over everyone else.

            The same thing applies here. There are some drivers who will say that the tyres are terrible, and others who say that they are perfect. Which option they choose depends on where they think the most gains lie.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 30th March 2013, 5:08

        I think to say the Pirelli’s ‘simply put a little more weight’ on the skill of tire management is way understating it to fit a specific opinion. I think to suddenly not believe the drivers regarding today’s tires just because once in a while drivers disagree with each other on how wet is too wet to race, is shading the truth to fit a specific scenario.

        The drivers, going back to MS last year, have stated that they are limited from pushing the car due to the fragile, temperamental, cliffy, hard to figure out nature of the tires. It’s just a fact, and to deny these tires are more degrady than they have been in a long time, by design, is to deny the words of Hembrey himself, who, going back to last year, has left it up to the teams to figure the tires out, he himself just doing as asked by F1. If they are something to figure out, surely they are more than just a ‘little’ more challenging to manage than usual in most racing series.

        Sure for some stretches, during some stints, under some conditions, and with the right setup these days, some drivers might call their tires perfect, but it seems to be a rarity, and for fleeting times, that a drivers tires are ‘perfect’ and overall, taking all things into account, the drivers feel limited by the tires. Of course we all know, as do they, tire management is always a factor in car racing of all series. Reminding us of what we all already have known all along, does not make today’s Pirelli’s acceptable with everybody. It doesn’t mean that any degree of influence tires have on the racing is acceptable by default. And I wish folks would shy away from always stating an extreme opposite tire, such as tough enough tires that they could last a whole race and barely change character, and therefore processions, as being the only alternative to what we have today.

        For me, in the pinnacle of racing, when a driver has a high chance of killing his tires in an effort to set himself up for a pass for a few laps and then execute said pass, that’s too limiting to the drivers. What’s the point of passing if it causes you pit for tires?

  9. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 28th March 2013, 12:11

    I remember Damon Hill saying that one of the reasons he fell out of love with F1 was that he couldn’t get acquainted with the change from slick to grooved tyres. Webber’s a similar age now to Damon in 1998 when that change happened. Sometimes the rules change and the older drivers find it difficult to adapt – some suggested that Michael Schumacher’s struggles on his F1 return were because he found it hard to get used to the way the cars had changed between 2006 and 2010 – but I don’t think that’s a reason to go back to the old way of doing things.

  10. Jonathan189 (@jonathan189) said on 28th March 2013, 12:29

    I’m starting to wonder about Webber’s “grasp of the sport and education of where the sport was”. The era of indestructible tyres is a recent one. Until the 1990s tyre management was every bit as important as it is today. Tyre degradation was part and parcel of grand prix racing and was a crucial factor in many of the all-time classic races.

    • Paul A (@paul-a) said on 28th March 2013, 13:46

      Of course “tyre management was every bit as important as it is today” — so was brake, engine, clutch and gearbox management. But it wasn’t artificial. There was a choice of tyre manufacturers, teams could work with their suppliers on carcass design and compound choices. I was racing in the 50s and 60s when radial ply was tried by Michelin to replace cross ply, a huge technological challenge that gave some very interesting results and developments. But Webber’s comments, with which I agree 100%, are based on today’s situation of a single-source, designed-to-degrade tyre, rather than for driver performance.

      • ECWDanSelby (@ecwdanselby) said on 28th March 2013, 14:04

        Have you ever thought that there has to be an element of artificial because technology’s gone too far?

        You can’t unlearn what you’ve learnt.

        Pirelli needed to throw a spanner in the works for teams to actually have to work hard again, and not just throw as much money at aero as possible.

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 28th March 2013, 17:42

          @ecwdanselby Spot on. People constantly whining about the regulations added to the sport every year to curtail the front runners are completely missing that point. If regulations didn’t constantly reign the teams in, the drivers would be wearing G-suits, driving cars like the Red Bull X2010, for which none of the racing circuits have adequate run off. If we want to see the drivers continue to race on the classic European tracks rather than purpose built Tilkedromes with increasingly monstrous Tarmac runoff, then we have to accept that technology has passed F1 by, and that many of the technologies used in the sort must be ever more strictly regulated. The other point that’s often glossed over is that year after year, regardless of new stricter regulations on whatever the latest silver bullet technology is (DDD, F-duct, EBD, etc.) the designers always find a way to eventually claw back that speed elsewhere. They’d be doing this anyhow though even if they hadn’t lost speed from the technologies that have since been banned, which again to drive home the point, would just mean the cars get faster and faster and faster every year, arguably adding nothing to the spectacle of the sport, and greatly endangering the drivers in the process.

        • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 29th March 2013, 6:34

          The aero argument is governed by the rules. It would be un-realistic to ask teams to reduce aero as the loss of grip would outway the gain on tyre’s as it is mandatory to use 2 compounds per race.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th March 2013, 20:19

      As you mention @jonathan189, the tyres most focussed on top performance came on in the 1990s, and refueling made the races even more going full out in short spurts. Both of those came around mid 90s and stayed until 2010. Now remember when Webber got into the sport, and there you have your answer to what

      the old – let’s say people who have more of a grasp of the sport and more education of where the sport was

      refers to.
      I do not think that Webber is talking about the 70s, the 80s or even earlier (they had to nurse cars home all to often too, or keep on a very tight limit of fuel with the Turbo cars), but about most of his own experience where in fact they did have tyres you could push all race and often races positions were decided by those magical superfast “qualifying” laps before diving into the pits for new tyres and fuel.

  11. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 28th March 2013, 12:36

    I doubt it. I got “I had a lot of thoughts on my mind in those last 15 laps” as “Red Bull is job done for me”.

    If he has the chance to continue in a competitive car, I’m sure he’ll take it. He’s very capable of winning races and maybe fighting championships even this year, and I think that motivates him to keep going.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 28th March 2013, 13:57

      Who would offer him a drive? McLaren are likely to maintain their drivers for at least another year barring any major disappointments. Mercedes have 2 drivers locked in (or does Rosberg not have a contract for next year?). Ferrari… who knows. If Massa stays on form then they might actually be justified in extending his contract for the first time in years. Otherwise, they could chose between Webber, who is a proven number 2, Raikkonen, or a younger driver like Hulkenberg who they an further develop. Otherwise, the only competitive team is Lotus.

      • GR (@gr) said on 28th March 2013, 14:55

        I think anyone who wanted to find out about how Red Bull are so successful would be interested – I suspect Red Bull actually offer him a pretty good package every year to stop him leaving with the know-how he has picked up.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th March 2013, 20:21

        Maybe his best chance would be with Ferrari if Massa really keeps his form and rattles Alonso’s cage @matt90 :-P

      • Jono (@me262) said on 29th March 2013, 2:14

        grosjeans seat

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 30th March 2013, 5:21

          I think MW is too much of a rooster, if not in Ferrari’s opinion, then at least in his own. He’s already got heavy duty issues surrounding status on a team that has been claiming they let their drivers race. Why would he feel more comfortable at Ferrari?

          I’m with Jono (@me262) MW should go after Grosjeans seat beside KR at Lotus for a wicked pairing. Lotus should be talking to MW…should have thought to have a word with him the minute they saw his expression up on the podium and heard his words. As should any team that could use MW. No better time to offer the lad an out next year, than after that last race.

  12. MB (@muralibhats) said on 28th March 2013, 12:44

    Make them play with the tennis racket of a same brand, and having a rather unsteady chord… and you have the modern F1 in Tennis!

  13. Krizz (@krizz) said on 28th March 2013, 12:46

    Webber, as a person, is a great chap and noble sportsman, but as a racing driver in current times I’m not so sure. Here’s why:

    – car racing (and motor racing) is or has become a very individualistic sport from a driver’s point of view. Of course, the driver has to find or create a good relationship with the team. This is to extract the maximum out of the car that’s been given to him, to extract the maximum to make sure that his name will be on top of the drivers championship at the end of the season. In the end, it is the driver that is steering the wheel, push the throttle and hitting the brakes and apices. The race engineer (the team) can give instructions to the driver about how to manage his car better (e.g. save fuel, where they cut lap times on the track etc.) but the driver is the chief executor because he’s in charge of the car during the race. So he decides what to do that’s necessary to get the best result in the end, c.q. to win the championship. That is what Vettel did. In my opinion, Webber should have acted in the same way to get the best out of the race and in the end the WDC for himself.
    Now I know that team orders are allowed, at least so one says, but despite the fact that it’s called an ‘order’, is the driver obliged to obey? Is it written in the FIA rules?
    I think that Webber was a bit naive concerning the order to hold station in the last third or quarter of the race. He expected Vettel to do so. It’s probably like Istanbul 2010 only this time it worked: they drove fairly. Maybe Webber is thinking too much about the racing in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s when the racing was more romantic so to say. Back then it was very much more likely to arrange a ‘gentlemen’s’ agreement (probably the reason why Rindt won the championship??).

    – It’s good that Webber vents his opinion (or emotions?) about the tires. So he doesn’t like the fact that current drivers have to ‘manage’ their cars more instead of going flat out. I share his opinion! Concerning this argument I do wish we could go back to 2005 when tires that had to last the whole race weekend, or the sixties and seventies when it wasn’t even necessary/obligatory to change tyres! However for the moment things are as they stand and the current drivers just have to deal with the tires as they are right now. So it is good to say what you think, because it might bring about changes in the future, but for now the drivers have to ‘manage’ their cars to get the best result in the end/the championship. I’m sorry Webber, but you’ll just have to adapt for now.

    As I said, Webber is a great sports person, but I think he needs to be a bit more selfish, he needs to stand up for his own cause more if he wants to win more, if he wants that championship trophy. Now he doesn’t have that much more time left in F1 I think and I would be a bit disappointed to not see Webber win the drivers championship at least once… So go get it AussieGrit!

    • James (@iamjamm) said on 28th March 2013, 12:51

      Now I know that team orders are allowed, at least so one says, but despite the fact that it’s called an ‘order’, is the driver obliged to obey?

      If your boss tells you to do something, are you allowed to disobey them and do the exact opposite? I reckon not.

      • Krizz (@krizz) said on 28th March 2013, 13:27

        You reckon not. I wouldn’t either in the clear example you gave me, but in the case of F1 we’re assuming too many things and as you might now: assumption is the mother of all **** up. So there needs to be more clarity about ‘team orders’.

      • Churaragi (@churaragi) said on 28th March 2013, 14:28

        One would say a boss is not God.

        No man actualy has the power to obligate someone to do something(military being special case, or law enforcement).

        If you live a life where you are a literal slave of your boss, I’d recommend a change of profession/self employment btw.

      • brny666 said on 28th March 2013, 14:52

        There seems to be an abundance of company fanatics around, and by that I mean people who seem to watch the sport only to see the company they like parade two cars around a racetrack and cash in on sponsorship. Ha! Suddenly everyone forgets that this is F1 and not an typical office job. “Team orders are wrong! This is racing and I really wish drivers would disregard them as real racing drivers should”–>”Ooh RB imposing team orders to favor the guy we like instead the one we don’t? We like team orders!”. –> “Guy who we don’t like disregarded team orders? Boo! what a disgusting little prat thinking he can disregard team orders!!”

  14. James (@iamjamm) said on 28th March 2013, 12:49

    Going against the general opinion but I thought this was a good article. Keith hasn’t said anything like “this will definitely happen” but, as he has actually spent some time speaking to Webber, I’d suggest he’s better placed to make a suggestion on what he may or may not do, than the rest of us are.

  15. No 2 driver at RBR or No 1 driver at a less competative team?

    I think Webber needs to address his abilities and reflect on what he really has on offer.
    Unfortunately Webber will only be able to be a No 2 driver at any of the top / competative teams.

    Sit back, take his pay cheque, support the team and mop up with Vettel has a mistake.

    • *when Vettel has a mistake.

      • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 28th March 2013, 18:22

        @torort – To be fair, Webber himself isn’t saying he’s going to leave the team at the end of the year, let alone quit right now. He more than anyone probably knows what his relative worth/value is on the grid and is aware that if he quits RBR, he’s not going to find a seat in a comparable car! That’s why he keeps bending over each time Vettel – with the sponsor’s tacit support – sticks it to him! The only way to salvage this situation from the perspective of Webber’s self-respect, however, would either be for the team to sanction Vettel and sit him out for a race, or for Webber to massively pay-back Vettel himself during a race by taking him off into the wall or otherwise smashing him up and showing the little German turd not to mess w/ true Aussie grit! But I doubt that will happen – and so Webber will just keep bending over and trying to relax.

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