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.
It 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?
All 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.
Yet 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?”
A 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.
Marko 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.