Guest Author - Christine Blachford
This weekend, Mark Webber was taking part in the charity challenge he set up - the Mark Webber Challenge in Tasmania. The event takes place over five days and involves athletes, celebrities, and anyone with the desire to do so, teaming up to run, cycle, climb and kayak their way across the Tasmanian landscape to reach the finish line first. The money raised along the way goes towards two charities - one for Leukaemia and the other to protect the Tasmanian devil. More information can be found on the website.
During the cycling part of this weekend's event, Webber was involved in a head-on collision with an SUV. He was airlifted to hospital and it was confirmed he had broken his leg. He then had surgery to fit a rod in the leg, and came through okay. Red Bull issued a statement saying he was well and in good spirits after the accident.
It's likely Webber will be released from hospital this week, and will return to the UK as soon as he is able to. In the Red Bull statement, they believe that he will be back in action in time for the Australian Grand Prix, however he is going to miss a big chunk of winter testing.
With the 2009 regulations making things so different to this year, this could be quite a costly accident for Webber. The majority of testing duties will now fall to teammate Sebastian Vettel, which immediately gives the youngster a head-start in the new car. The return of slicks, and the severe changes in downforce due to the new wings will make the cars something completely different to drive, and getting as much time in the car as possible is vital.
Last year, the Red Bull team did a lot of miles, and both drivers arrived in Melbourne feeling tired from their exhaustive winter testing schedule. Perhaps an upside to Mark’s predicament is that he will be well rested before the season begins.
However, as long as Webber is well, rested and recovering, that is all that matters. I wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he can find ways to occupy his mind during the long off-season out of the car.