Sports Persons » F1 Drivers » MARK WEBBER
|Full name||: Mark Webber|
|Alias||: Mark Webber|
|Animals||: The Dragon|
|Father||: Alan Webber|
|Education||: Noida International University Karabar High School|
|Activists||: F1 Drivers|
Mark Webber is a retired Australian Formula One professional racer, who in his over decade long career left a deep impact on the racing circuit, through his grit and determination. Confident and cool, Webber’s brilliance behind the wheels was visible on the track through his superb control and remarkable speed. What gave him the edge over other drivers was his ability to push a car beyond its limit. As such, even if he were behind the wheels of the slowest car on the grid, underestimating his chances of winning would be imprudent. His interest in sports car racing led him to pursue a career in Formula1. He moved to UK in 1995 and after a series of contests managed to land himself at the F1 circuit as a driver for Minardi in 2002. In his twelve years of Formula One Racing, he raced for Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull, recording 9 victories, 42 podiums, 13 pole positions and 19 fastest laps. Apart from his motorsports career, he enjoys most outdoor pursuits, including road cycling, mountain biking, motorcycle racing, tennis and football. Webber’s career has gone a complete circle, returning to where he started. Currently, he has re-joined sports car racing for Porsche in its LMP1 car for the FIA World Endurance Championship
He started as a motorcycle racer but soon moved to four wheels. At the age of 14, he kicked off his karting career. In 1993, he won the New South Wales state championship that secured him an entry into Australian Formula Ford Championship. He finished at the 14th spot in his debut season.
Year 1995 was a fruitful one in his early career as he recorded several victories. He finished the Australian Grand Prix at the 4th position. Following this, he teamed up with Ann Neal, Championship co-ordinator, who secured him a seven-year sponsorship with Australian Yellow Pages.
It was his excellent performance that helped him earn a place in the Van Diemen team for the 1996 championship. He finished second at the British Formula Ford Championship and first at the Formula Holden Race at the Australian Grand Prix, Formula Ford Festival and Spa-Francorchamps race. Thereafter, he left for Europe
In 1997, he graduated to Formula Three. He finished the season at the fourth place. Due to his outstanding performance, he was approached by Mercedes-AMG. He was eventually signed as the official Mercedes works junior driver for the 1998 FIA GT Championship. Together with Bernd Schneider, he won several races.
Making a mark in Formula Three, he soon looked forward to make a mark in Formula One. His first experience of a Formula One car was for the Arrows F1 team in a two-day test in Barcelona in 1999. Initially, he was given a test driver position which he served until 2001. At this time, Flavio Briatore was his manager.
In 2002, Briatore secured him a contract to race alongside Alex Yoong in the Paul Stoddart-owned Minardi team, thus becoming the first Australian in Formula One since David Brabham in 1994.
His debut at the Formula One race came at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. He finished the race in an unlikely fifth position, after a first lap crash wiped out most of the racers from the field, thus gaining his team points. He outperformed in other races as well, including Malaysian Grand Prix, Hungarian Grand Prix and Belgian Grand Prix.
His brilliance behind the wheels attracted the attention of Jaguar Racing team who signed him for the 2003 racing event. He was to race alongside test driver Antônio Pizzonia.
After a somewhat disdainful start to his Jaguar career, he zoomed his way to the third spot in the season’s third race in Brazil. In the aftermath of the great performance in Brazil, he signed a two-year contract with the team for a whopping $6 million. He went on to score points in five out of six races in Europe, moving into the top 10 in the World Drivers' Championship
He continued with Jaguar in 2004 but his performance declined. Consecutive problems caused Webber to retire eight times from the racing field which finally led to the termination of his tie-up with Jaguar. He ended the year at the 13th position with seven points in his kitty.
In 2005, he tied up with WilliamsF1, his dream team. With a faster car to drive on, expectations for Webber to clasp on to his first victory were riding high. After a mediocre start to the season, he made his mark in Monaco, finishing the race at third place thus making his career’s first podium finish. He finished the year at the tenth place with 36 points.
Year 2006 witnessed the worst performance by Williams drivers as Webber and his teammate Nico Roseberg scored just eleven points between them. Though he started well in most of the races, he wasn’t able to convert them into victory. The disappointing season for Webber ended with fourteenth position and seven points.
In 2007, his contract with Williams ended which led him to sign up a new contract with Red Bull Racing. He was partnered with a more experienced teammate, David Coulthard. The season saw him record the second podium finish in his career at the European Grand Prix claiming the third spot. At the Japanese Grand Prix, he was the closest to his maiden victory when a crash with Sebastian Vettel prematurely ended his race and with that his hope for victory as well. He ended the year with 10 points at the 12th spot.
Though in 2008, he did not gain any podium finish, his performance steeply improved, as he ended the year with twenty-one points at 10th position, his best since 2005.
In 2009, he was joined by Sebastian Vettel. The season brought glorious result mid-way for Webber as he made podium finishes. It was at the German Grand Prix that he set his first pole position. He went on to mark his maiden victory, despite recovering from a drive through penalty. In Brazil, he recorded his second victory. Webber ended the year at the 4th place with 69.5 points.
Webber entered 2010 as one of the favourites. Keeping up with the expectations, he recorded four victories - in Spain, Monaco, Britain and Hungary. Furthermore, he qualified for pole position five times, in Malaysia, Spain, Monaco, Turkey and Belgium. At the Monaco Grand Prix, he became the first Australian since 1981 to lead the Driver’s Championship. However, towards the end of the year, he was out-raced by Vettel, who won the Driver’s Championship. Webber had slipped to the 3rd position with 258 points.
While Vettel was continuing his streak of victories into 2011 as well, Webber struggled to convert his races into victories. Except for a single victory at Brazil, nothing extraordinary happened for Webber in the year. The only saving grace was his achieving fastest lap of the season seven times in a single season. He ended the year at the 6th spot with 179 points.
Webber continued his association with Red Bull Racing Team in 2012 as well, partnering with Vettel. The championship started on a strong note as Webber registered fourth place in Malaysia, Bahrain and China and victory at Monaco. He took up second position at the British Grand Prix and pole position in Korea and India. However, he failed to capitalize his wins into greater victories in the second half of the championship.
Year 2013 was his last season before his retirement from Formula 1. He took four podium wins and two pole positions in Britain and Abu Dhabi each. His final race was at the Interlagos circuit in Brazil where he set the fastest lap of the race, thereby jumping from the overall fifth to third position in the Championship.
Post retirement, he signed for Porsche to drive in their new LMP1 car for the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 hour race. In his maiden race, he finished third and completed his debut season at the ninth position.
Mark Alan Webber was born on August 27, 1976 in Queanbeyan, New South Wales to Alan Webber, a local motorcycle dealer.
He completed his secondary education from Karabar High School in Queanbeyan. He was interested in motorsports from an early age.
Webber resides in Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, England, with his partner Ann Neal and her son from previous marriage Luke Barrett. The two haven’t tied the knot.
In 2002, he won the Rookie of the Year Award. He followed this up with a Lorenzo Bandini Trophy in 2006, Hawthorn Memorial Trophy in 2010 and DHL Fastest Lap Trophy in 2011.
Webber’s racing career took an upward climb in 2009 when he recorded eight podium finishes, including a victory at German and Britain Grand Prix. This was in stark contrast to his two podium finishes in the first seven years of his career.
He followed his 2009 winning streak in 2010 as well, recording ten podium finishes, including victory in Spain, Monaco, Hungary and Britain. He looked to be a major title contender for the year. However, he lost to teammate Vettel in the final race. Nevertheless, he finished the season at the third position. In the year 2011 as well, he finished at the third position behind champion Vettel.