With less than two weeks until the first Grand Prix of the season kicks off in Melbourne Australia, Red Bull’s racers are ready to fly again.
Prague Daily Monitor and Red Bull Racing bring you an insight into the two drivers that have been at the front of the pack for the last few years.
This week, we introduce the experienced, straight talking Australian Mark Webber and next week, the unstoppable world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Disciplines: Formula 1
If there’s such a thing as the typical Formula One driver, then Mark Webber definitely isn’t it. Red Bull Racing’s Aussie import prefers to live a short drive from the Factory, rather than a short drive from The Alps; owns a donkey and dogs rather than a yacht and revels in giving straight answers to even the most crooked of questions.
Mark was a relatively late starter in motor sports, as it was not until the age of 14 that he turned to karting – though his instant affinity with the sport firmly focused his mind.
He became New South Wales State Champion two years later, made the move into Formula Ford and enjoyed some success on his native soil before following in the footsteps of many, many Australian teenagers by heading for England.
More success in Formula Ford followed, before Mark graduated to Formula 3 in 1997. He kept up the winning ways before being lured into sports cars with a works drive for Mercedes, where he claimed five wins before switching back to open-wheel racing and testing for various F1 outfits.
He had a dream F1 debut, finishing fifth at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix for the impoverished Minardi team.
It was the painfully slow Minardi’s only success of the year, but a string of solid performances enhanced Webber’s reputation and saw him attract the attention of bigger teams. Seduced by the bright lights of Milton Keynes, Mark signed for Jaguar Racing and then on to Williams, before signing for Red Bull Racing at the end of 2006.
He took his maiden – and emotional – Grand Prix victory at the Nürburgring, winning the 2009 German Grand Prix.
Mark finished fourth in the World Drivers’ Championship that year after another victory and eight podium finishes and went on to finish in third place overall in both 2010 and 2011 behind his Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel.
In his career to date, Mark has amassed seven Grand Prix wins, 30 podiums, nine pole positions, 13 fastest laps in 178 races. During the off-season Mark organises and competes in the Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge, a gruelling cross-country charity race across Tasmania involving hiking, cycling and kayaking.