April 06, 2012

Horse 1315 - Mark Webber: Future Champion?

Mark Webber is yet to secure his place at Red Bull for the 2013 season.
Team boss Christian Horner said the Australian has a "spring in his step" after a strong winter following Sebastian Vettel's dominance last year.
But as for the future, he said that will only be discussed "in the summer".

"We've extended his contract on a year by year basis, I think that's something that Mark and the team agreed was the right way forward," Horner told Sky Sports.
"His motivation is high at the moment, he's still delivering and undoubtedly will sit down later in the summer to discuss the future."

The biggest threats to 35-year-old Webber's place are rookie team Toro Rosso's new signings, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
- Autoblog, 8th March 2012

Firstly I'd like to say that I don't think that Mark Webber is a terrible driver. Obviously someone who has won seven Grands Prix is far far far better than I and to consistently retain a seat in Formula One for 10 years means that he is easily one of the world's 20 best drivers. The problem is that whilst he is certainly in the top 20 and possibly in the top ten, to be World Champion you need to be somewhere in the top three and then be in a car good enough to carry you and I just don't think that Webber is that good.
Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jensen Button, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen dare I suggest Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg and even Sébastien Loeb, Tom Kristensen and Frank Biela are probably all better than Mark Webber.

So then, given that Webber probably isn't likely to win a Formula One World Championship and that Red Bull in F1 are being incredibly cagey about Webber's future, I think that Webber possibly sits on a chance to do something special.

Nissan Motor Co. and Red Bull have entered into some sort of alliance. The Red Bull F1 cars use Renault engines but Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti features more heavily on the livery than Renault does. There were also announcements made earlier this year that Kelly Racing in the V8Supercars championship would be running Nissans in the 2013 season.
I've had a fiddle with some pictures I've found on the web and have come up with this:

If you were Nissan and wanted to expose your new team with as much hype as you possibly could, it would make perfect sense to hire the driver with the greatest ability who would be available at the time.

Couple Mark Webber and Greg Murphy in the same car at Bathurst for the 1000k race and to be totally honest, I'd expect that even if the car wasn't quite up to top-line status in the V8Supercar series, that Webber would be able to climb around the problem with sheer ability, and that Murphy is sufficiently a good enough driver to complement him perfectly. Murphy certainly has the experience and is a four time winner.

If Webber were to move to V8Supercars he would go from being a reasonably big fish in a pond of other big fish, to being a big fish in a smaller pond. He'd easily be the most talented driver in the field and I'd expet that he'd be wearing the No.1 plate in 2014.

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