Driver Profile - Mark Webber
Date of Birth: 27th August 1976
Place of Birth: Queanbeyan, Australia
F1 Debut: Australia 2002
Most drivers start out karting when they are very young, and progress through the lower formulae before entering F1. Mark Webber took a slightly different approach, not starting until he was 14 years old. He had a go at motorbikes, then switched to karting, and from there, he followed the traditional route. He had a go at the Australian Formula Ford championship, and moved to the British version, then up to Formula Three. After a short time in the FIA GT series, plus a go at Le Mans 24 Hours in 1999, he was snapped up by Paul Stoddart for Formula 3000.
With Stoddart's connections, Webber found himself as test driver for Benetton, and then he moved on to a race seat at Minardi, when Stoddart took over business there. He finished fifth on his debut in Australia, and continued to improve over the season. He moved on to Jaguar in 2003, and that's when it became obvious that we had another qualifying specialist on our hands. Although the car couldn't hold it's own come race day, Webber was usually fighting for positions in qualifying that shouldn't be possible.
Unfortunately, a mistimed move to Williams meant the Australian was stuck in an underperforming car for two more years. When Red Bull arrived in 2007, they snapped Webber up. Although the pace was good, reliability was not, and that is how it continues to be to this day. Webber secured the team's first second grid slot at Silverstone last year, and this year the car looks to be good to score a lot of points. We're just waiting for that first win.
Webber is recovering from a broken leg this year, and whilst he can be seen limping down the pitlane quite often, when he's in the car it doesn't seem to be making any difference. The two races we have seen so far haven't gone Webber's way, and he will have his work cut out not to be shown up by Vettel. However, the car certainly has improved pace this year, and anything could happen.
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