Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Mark Webber has never been shy about expressing his opinion, which is actually a refreshing change in the corporate climate of Formula 1 nowadays. As a director of the GPDA (Grand Prix Driver's Association) for 2008, Webber does hold some weight in his words, however, there are some things that can't be changed.
Regarding the introduction of KERS for 2009, Webber has voiced concerns that the technology adds such a weight to the car that it will penalise heavier drivers more than it will the lighter ones. At the moment, with teams having a minimum weight regulation, they can distribute the weight around the car where it needs to be. When KERS is introduced, it will add between 25kg and 60kg, all in one particular place. Webber believes this will make it harder for a heavier driver. Of course, being a heavy driver doesn't mean you can instantly go on a diet. Webber is one of the taller drivers on the grid and that instantly adds to his weight, compared to a smaller driver like Nakajima.
The Australian has also brought to light that he thinks Red Bull will be feeling the pressure when youngester Sebastian Vettel joins the team in 2009. Vettel is moving up from sister team Toro Rosso, having won his maiden race this season. Toro Rosso consistently outpaced Red Bull towards the end of the season, and Webber is concerned that they don't make Vettel's move a step backwards rather than upwards.
The main difference between the teams appeared to be the fact that Red Bull have a customer engine from Renault, whilst Toro Rosso enjoy a partnership with Ferrari. However, Webber says that it wasn't all about the power behind the car, and he's hoping that the pressure on the team will see vast improvements, rather than any rash decisions.
Webber also said he doesn't think he's got anything to fear from Vettel, despite the German being tipped as the next Michael Schumacher. Webber says he has been paired with many drivers who have been heralded as the next big thing, and it doesn't always work out. He said it's much more important to focus on himself and the job he is doing.