Webber to stay with the Bulls another year?


It appears the rumour that Mark Webber has signed a 5 year deal to race Porsche sports cars has been quashed by the Aussie who insists he is still “hungry” for success. The Aussie flew from Bahrain to Austria for talks with Dieter Mateschitz and appeared on Servus TV, a Red Bull owned broadcast.

When asked about his F1 future Mark replied, “I’m still hungry, I still want to do well, and I think I still have a few years left in me. As long as I’m fit, the performance is still there and the job is fun… that’s actually the most important thing, that it’s fun. I have never decided what I’m doing for the next year in April, and I’m not going to start now.

This is all fine, but it is difficult to see Webber and Vettel at Red Bull for another season beyond the present – unless the team wish to send Vettel a message Webber will surely be replaced or leave.

Marko Watch

untitledIt appears the TJ13 Marko and Lauda watch is being taken seriously by concerned parents. In this case they are searching for the creature with the combined qualities of a Pinscher, Snake and one of those slimey things from Ghostbusters.

Marko has been up to his usual tricks in Bahrain when he was asked about the possibility of seeing Raikkonen in a 2014 Newey car he drawled, “We have always admitted that we are looking at him”. Suddenly as though he remembers a tongue lashing from Dieter he adds, “And, for the umpteenth time, Red Bull traditionally looks at its driver issues only in the summer.

Kimi and Mark traded race engineers this winter. It would be ironic were the drivers to trade places and be re-united with their old friends for 2014. Make no mistake Webber has value to an F1 team beyond 2013.

Firstly he is a very quick racing driver and of all the “No. 2’s” there is none better. Then there is his knowledge of Newey and how he works. Whilst Mark is no engineer over the years he will have been party to technical solutions for handling problems and have learned a methodology and philosophy that will be of interest to more than a biographer.

Yet would Red Bull want Kimi?

untitledAll the talk of him being ‘best buds’ with Vettel is surprising. Of course opposites do attract and whilst Kimi is necking Vodka Red Bull shots for free it is not difficult to imagine Sebastian in his white pool sandals and white socks chortling with the kind of respect a boy would have for the leader of his pubescent gang.

More importantly how would the relationship work? At present Red Bull have 2 drivers who dislike each other with an intensity that could lead to blows – yet they control this and focus it like a laser beam on eeking out that last drop of performance with the goal of beating and humiliating the other, thus proving who is top dog.

Kimi and Sebastian

Like Jason and Kylie (sorry US readers can’t think of a comprable couple). Mmm. How does that work?

Kimi may play older brother to his innocent sibling and encourage him to step out into the big wide world from his sheltered existence. He could start delivering to Seb’s place the odd newspaper for him to peruse with his morning spring water – shipped overnight from his glacier in Greenland.

untitledYet this education – this bubble bursting moment – may have catastrophic consequences. Vettel may come to learn he is not universally loved and adored across the universe and what then would be the result?

Feeling responsible and quite guilty for bringing about the destruction of Seb’s ‘Fantasy Formula 1 Land’, Kimi takes control of the next step of “lil bro’s” university of life journey.

Seb has never known anything but joy and happiness and now has to discover a coping mechanism for when the world seems a bad, bad place. Kimi knows that solace can be found by getting wasted. To break it gently to Seb he decides on a 5 star hotel, a roomful of girls, champagne and other unmentionables.

All is going well and Seb has let his hair down remarkably quickly then in burst the paparazzi. Flash bulbs dazzle the room’s occupants and (I can’t resist this) one senior hack in a pork pie hat growls – “Seb – where did it all go wrong?”

untitledA quite different scenario has Kimi not being able to cut it. Seb may then out of respect for his bad boy gang leader cut him some slack. This drop in ultimate performance could see the Bulls hunted down and killed by their matador tormentors. The sound of the donkey and its harness of tinkling bells could be the last thing Horner hears on his way out of the F1 arena.

On a serious note, if Raikkonen is merely a few degrees better than Webber he will consistently challenge Vettel for the top Red Bull finishing spot; will this then dilute the chance of either winning a WDC? Kimi may appear laid back but he knows how to position himself within the team and does not play second fiddle.

Surely Raikkonen would not go to Red Bull unless he believes he can beat Vettel. He also knows that Newey’s recent winning designs have required a significant level of counter intuitive driving style – something Vettel has been refining for some years.

It may be the new Turbo era will restrict the RB10 design from exploiting this particular kind of aero approach. If so, Kimi might feel he can beat Vettel given a car which requires the accelerator pressing to go faster and the brake deploying to slow down.

Losing Webber appears to be a lose – lose for Red Bull if they wish to persist with allowing Vettel to be the golden child.

untitledMarko should reconsider his spat with Mark and seek an audience with his overlord and master Mateschitz. The suggestion should be for a testimonial year for Mark Webber – pay him gazillions to stay – because without him Sebastian may never be the same again. Batman without the Joker is just a man dressed up in a silly gray lycra costume.

29 responses to “Webber to stay with the Bulls another year?

  1. Sorry to disagree with you but Red Bull know Webber isn’t a WC contender anymore and his sole value to the team is to score as many points as he can in support of Vettel. And even in that area he isn’t doing all that well. Last year in what was at least the best car for much of the season he was only able to place 6th in the WC, 25 points ahead of Massa. While I like Webber he’s become a liability and under-performer for Red Bull. Raikkonen maybe would bring a “cool” image to Red Bull but he too generally under-performs. Bringing in a young driver like Riccardo would seem to me to be the best way to go.

    • CR – the courtroom would be rather dull if all parties agreed and I would be stuck in chambers with Ms. Starch, my recorder. No apology necessary.

      My point is would RB have won 3 constructors titles with a Ricciardo, Perez, Grosjean type under study?

  2. Well I think if Vettel has he way, he will be a Ferrari Driver before he is 30, meaning RB might need 2 new drivers sooner rather than later (Of course, this will likely depend on when Alonso retires). I cannot see Riccardo AND Vergne at RB, but maybe one of them. I bet Vettel reckons Webber will be out next year, meaning Webber might stay just to piss Vettel off – that would be funny.

    If I’m right in saying, there are 4 drivers currently over 30, meaning all of those will probably be out before the decade is. Also, who will replace Vettel if he goes to Ferrari sooner rather than later – Hamilton perhaps?

    I personally think Raikkonen is happy at Lotus, and Lotus are happy with him. I can imagine more PR answers (and PR stuff generally) with RB, which Raikkonen would not like. So I cannot see this happening.

    • as we saw after Canada 2011, Hamilton has been in contact and has a close link to RB; but ultimately they chose to keep Webber and not take Hamilton last year. Actions really do speak louder than words.

  3. Yeah I can’t see Kimi leaving Lotus whilst they’re doing well at the moment but really next year is a massive shake up and throws in lots of new variables. The best resourced team will probably be the best by the end of 2014, if Kimi is offered a place I can see him taking it anticipating Lotus to be a massive 2014 performance gamble.

  4. I think this story isn’t complete without mentioning the mechanical and operational issues that the #2 Red Bull car suffers.

  5. I think we need a Judge’s overview of the drivers in the top teams and any pretenders. For me, I see the following:

    Jenson will see out his time at McLaren.
    If Perez comes on then both seats there are tied up for the next few years. If he continues to struggle then just maybe there would be an opening for Webber there.
    Alonso really has nowhere else to go. If Ferrari can’t give him the car he needs to win the WDC he is not going back to McLaren and is unlikely to go up against Vettel or Kimi.
    Massa – difficult one! If he can keep his form up then he is a perfect no 2 for Ferrari. It would be a gamble for them to change him for someone like Webber, it would be more likely to bring in Bianchi or Hulkenberg.
    Kimi – won’t be going back to Ferrari and I can’t see a place for him at McLaren. Only money would entice him to Red Bull, might as well stay at Lotus.
    Grosjean – if he can live up to his promise I see no reason for him to move away from Lotus. No obvious candidate to replace him anyway.

    So, it seems to me that the only real option Mark has would be if Perez fails at McLaren. I can’t see him going to a lesser team and neither Lotus nor Ferrari have any real reason to take him in place of their current second driver.

    It is so hard to judge Mark’s performance. He does seem to be underperforming in a winning car but there are so many factors to consider. I hate to say it but Seb is obviously one step above him but I think circumstances make them look further apart than they are in reality.

    • There’s no way Webber’s going to Macca. Why would you want to employ two ageing drivers in Jenson and Mark and eventually look for 2 new drivers in 2 years’ time?
      If Perez doesn’t produce the goods, Hulk might be in his way in.

      • The joys of Bernie’s 2013 calendar with 3 week gaps between races. We have to resort to debating who will be driving where in 2014. V V Funny.

      • Got to disagree there. I can see the logic but there is another factor – money. If McLaren can’t get on top of the car this season and finish 5th or 6th in the WCC then it could be more important to them to have someone who they can trust to get the car home well up the grid rather than risk bringing in a young gun.

        It might only be for a year or two then bring someone younger in, but it may well be a case of needs must.

  6. Mark Webber the best No.2 on the grid; are you sure Nico Rosberg wouldn’t have something to say about that?

  7. What weed or substance doth thou consume to give such abstract angles within your visions. I have seen the hand of Beelzebub take hold and twist the mind of the holiest of men after the consumption of Belladonna, Mandrake or even Wormwood. But none of this could quite account for the creativity that has spewed forth. As my amusement transitions to concern for your pagan soul, I find myself wondering if you can perceive the bias that infects you. Repent TJ13! Repent and your blog might be saved from the damnation of biased and twisted reporting. Or join Saward and others on a trip over river Styx where all corrupt ramblings burn for eternity. There is no return.

  8. I think that all of the top teams will try and stay with their line ups for next season, there is just too much changing to change the drivers as well. If Perez (maybe) Lewis (already) and Massa (seemingly) and Webber (if he wants to) do half decently this season I think that they will al be kept on, if only to provide a little continuity…

  9. Simple little question for all you ‘knowledgeable’ guys…
    There have been many times in past decades when a change in engine regs. has not been a big deal – except perhaps 1961 when all but Ferrari chose ‘not to play’…
    Why is 2014 such a big deal for everyone. Certainly it will be interesting, even fascinating, and I’m looking forward to it… but so many people seem to regard it almost as the end of F1 as we know it…
    Could it be because many fans have not previously experienced such a major change in the regs…?
    One-line answers only please… 😉

    • Sorry BJF, could not resist.

      I think it is driven by the teams as well. People are afraid of change, of losing what are a known quantity to them. Pirelli tyres being a prime example – engineers figured them out last year and then Pirelli had the audacity to go change them again.

      Some people, including myself, want to see things change in the hope of something better. If its worse we can just change it again can’t we so why the big deal.

      There could also be a sense of anticipation fuelling the talk. I am excited to see new engines and power trains. Personally I think they should push the power up to 1000hp so we can see we who can tame the beasts! I also think we could see a couple of engines go up in smoke… Well I hope we do so that its not a done deal to get pole and win 🙂

        • I still think we should have a couple of drivers there who’s job it is to take people out… Like Mario Kart 😛

          Esteban I don’t think can be a driver for the “Empire”… Maldonado is definitely a candidate to be commander for the “dark side” 🙂

      • Dear_Quixote – never resist an urge when in good humour… 😉
        I agree with all you say… but is 2014 really going to be a bigger change than we’ve had before…?
        It occurs to me the main difference this time is that the internet has allowed so many more people to comment, and such enthusiasm fuels greater involvement and concern – maybe…
        Regards, Pancho 😉 – oh all right, Sancho, if you insist.

    • The hope is that from next year engines will start playing a bigger role again rather than aerodynamics.
      Rear exhausts will be angled upawards, so you can forget the whole blown diffussers effect. The front nose will be very close to the ground and there were also ideas of making the fornt wing smaller, although the latter has been abandoned now. Not sure if anything else changes from an aero perspective, but Newey will have to work his magic all over again.

        • I don’t think they’re angled upwards, they just repositioned the exhaust tailpipe a bit higher and out of the diffuser area, but still there is some effect there due to overall design of the car and a bit of engine mapping that was going on for a while.

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