Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Red Bull Gives You Wings...Mark Webber's Actually

We've seen it happen before; Driver 'X' knows their contract is up at the end of the season so they'll put in a couple dazzling displays to showcase their talent so teams will want to snap them up before someone else does. Well, Mark Webber already did that...a couple months ago in fact when he blitzed the field in Spain and Monaco. He and Red Bull did the easy thing and inked an extension that will see the Aussie drive for them until the end of 2011.

Probably not beyond it though, not with the current dynamics in the team anyway.

Sebastian Vettel is a superstar already, he proved that with his surprise victory at Monza in 2008. He consolidated that by finishing runner-up is the 2009 Championship. And he landed a dent in Mark Webber's title chase a couple weeks ago at Valencia as he thumped the opposition, leaving Webber flying over a Lotus in his wake, leapfrogging his teammate in the points. Meanwhile, Mark Webber seems to be more of a journeyman, a driver who can produce the odd great result, but not able to maintain a season long challenge for the title (after Hungary last year, he was ahead of Vettel but then had four straight races where he didn't score a point).

And so, when Vettel had a front wing failure in Saturday practice at Silverstone, the team decided to give him the one Webber was using. Mark's response to this was a storming start on Sunday from second on the grid, leaving Seb no choice but to yield going into turn one lest he run wide and risk getting a puncture (which he duly did...dang near ruined my trifecta too!), leading every lap (like he did in Spain, like he did in Monaco) to become the only driver this season to rack up three wins. In the process, he now sits third in the standings behind the McLaren duo...so back in front of Vettel in other words.

Was this the turning point for Webber's season; sculpting the anger from Saturday into a win on Sunday?

However, it was a unique situation Saturday. Red Bull brought a new front wing and only had two of them. So, when the one on Vettel's went snap, they figured that, as he was ahead in the points, they'd take the one from Mark...it's nothing personal, just business. Webber acknowledged that in the post race interview, not that it stopped him from saying a classic "not bad for a number two driver," over the radio as he took the chequer, but he does want to sit down with the team to discuss what happened this week.

He has a point I reckon. The easiest way to have resolved the front wing deal would have been to do the old coin toss, rock-paper-scissors or some other option where both sides of the garage had a chance to put their case to why they should have the upgraded part, not just nick it from one to give it to the other...ahh well, hindsight and all that.

Webber and Vettel have already clashed this season with their infamous coming together at Turkey while running 1-2. Is it time for team orders or do you want your drivers to be pushing each other? McLaren don't seem to be having any issues with Jenson and Lewis, but then again, it's a slightly different situation there given that both guys have won the title before while the 'Bulls' want to both be the first to land the big prize.

So the question is this; will Mark Webber channel the anger he felt into a year long charge for the title, or was it just used up at Silverstone?

I think the scariest thing we learnt from Silverstone was that the Red Bull is still the class of the field...even without the trick new front wing.


  1. Sounds like your Mr. Webber better keep his mad on for the rest of the season there tez.

    We see professional athletes in all the team venues that crank up their performance when that contract is about to end. Kind of seems like an indictment to me. If they can turn it up a notch, then why aren't they consistently performing at that level?

    We've got an Aussie pitcher on the Tampa Bay Rays that I think is really a good one. Anyone with a name like Balfour that makes it as a pitcher in the Major Leagues certainly gets my attention! LOL

    Thanks tez!

  2. The issue with Webber is his ability in traffic. While he's fine up front, he's never seemed to be able to make those crucial moves stick like a Hamilton can when he's further back...he can't rely on being out front every race, lol

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  4. Sorry bout that...


    That's where being upset ought to come into play (doing well while driving in traffic). That "get out of MY way, damn it!" attitude might serve him well...

  5. Webber & Vettel, Vebber & Wettel...
    These guys, like their equipment, are interchangable, and FAST! I'll continue to root for number two on the team. But if Vettle comes out on top, that's ok as well.

  6. I like both drivers too, CR :)