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Can Mark steal some of Seb’s glory?

January 18, 2010

Can Webber elevate himself to the top and take some of Seb's shine?

Next up is RBR and they are unique among the top teams as the only one not to change driver line up. This adds an interesting dynamic especially with Webber’s contract up this season so look out for the usual elaborate silly season rumours about midseason.

These two should be looking for nabbing the driver’s championship if the car is on form as expected. They have Newey so not much can go wrong and all the important aero data can be carried across. The team did push until the end of the season which caught a couple of big names short last year but the rule changes aren’t half as big as the 09 ones.  It seems then to be on the driver’s shoulders to deliver the goods.

Vettel should be heading the Red Bull charge and few would be otherwise. He destroyed Webber in qualifying but actually I wasn’t at all convinced by Webber, the former one-lap wonder last season. I do think Vettel has a better natural pace than Webber but the Australian seemed all out of answers a lot of the time whereas his race pace could be staggering. Perhaps it was the accident, getting to grips with the new cars or even the change to slicks but I think Mark’s best performances had transferred to race day and not qualifying. But this sets him immediately back as qualifying is so important these days although refuelling could see to that.

Vettel put up a good fight while Mark seemed to just fade away for the latter part of the 09 title campaign. Webber did suffer with his car, most notably at Singapore and his stunning drive at Interlagos showed just how dominant he can be.

The big problem is that this year is shaping up to be much tougher than 2009, Mclaren should be strong, Schumacher has returned and many are expecting and Ferrrari resurgence. Getting this year’s title will take some feat.

Vettel made far too many errors next year and even though I like him because of those mistakes I think he didn’t deserve the championship at the end of the day. He’s still on a huge learning curve; he may have participated in three seasons now but this will only be his second year fighting at the top level. I don’t expect him to shrug off his school boy errors so he shouldn’t get the title-the competition will just be waiting to grab the points.

His errors also give Mark a chance to collect the points for the team and keep him back in the game. Ultimately I think it will be Vettel’s mistakes and not Mark’s performances which determine how far apart these two are. Mark is a great bloke, a deserved race winner but I’m yet to be convinced he can be considered champion material whereas Vettel (despite his protestations) is already being touted as ‘baby Schumi’.

 Mark will be desperate to cling onto his seat and although he seems a good fit at RBR and I don’t expect him to go anywhere, there is the potential for a surprise signing. Kubica and Massa will be scrapping for the Ferrari seat and it could spill over onto Red Bull and Renault. There is also the slim chance Raikkonen reappears as he has links there with his rallying but it seems more probably he will prefer the WRC life to the F1 glitz, press and chaos.

The rumours and speculation that these two hate each other should be ignored. Their relationship is the right balance for colleagues in my view. Webber seems pretty straightforward so don’t envision any real head games next year. But there was a moment when people wondered just how far Mark would go to help Vettel and it took him some time to answer that he would work for the team. At the end of the day he has a good heart but he isn’t going to enjoy it if Vettel beats him again and is treated like the golden boy.  This line-up works well and it would be in Red Bull’s interest to keep things as it is but there are some interesting elements at play so as Ferrari and Mclaren are lavished with attention about which drivers beat their teammates, don’t forget these two will be pushing hard next year.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2010 8:09 pm

    I think Seb will be tough on his tyres and like Hamilton the new rules are against him. (My two favourite drivers darn it!)

    I think Webber did really well in 2010, I was chuffed for his debut win but for people to say they were really evenly matched last year I really don’t understand.

    Seb out qualified Mark in almost every race and would only lose out to Mark if he made a mistake or he had car problems – Having Seb’s speed with the maturity of Mark would make a supreme racing driver! :D

  2. January 18, 2010 8:18 pm

    Great as ever Steph.

    I think that as far as driver line-ups go, Red Bull have it pretty nailed on. It is a cliche but in terms of youth and experience RBR are the best team on the grid.

    Seb is undoubtedly a future world champ, and hopefully he will be lifting the trophy this season!

    • January 18, 2010 8:20 pm

      Agree about youth and experience. Very good mix. Williams have it in a more extreme version, Barrichello been there donkeys years and Hulkenberg who can barely test :P RBR have a great balance

  3. January 18, 2010 8:42 pm

    I’m expecting a great year for RBR; Vettel has matured immensely over 2009, many of his early errors where eradicated by the end of the year and he will only get stronger. However, Webber was clearly hampered by his terrible pre-season injuries, both in those early races and in pre-season. Something he is only now admitting to. So for 2010 we could well see an improved driver and making more of a challenge to Vettel and the rest of the field… with a bit better luck. (Of his fading away, much of his none scoring run was down to bad luck and not lack of talent).
    And if you look at fuel adjusted qualifying, Vettel did not destroy him. If you look at Q2 in the 14 GPs where they both made Q3, the score was 7-7.
    I’m a big fan of Vettel and would love to see him become champion soon but don’t discount the determined Aussie just yet!

    • January 18, 2010 8:45 pm

      Perhaps I should have been cleaer I meant Webber was detsroyed not on terms of pace but just by Vettel beat him more often than not in qualifying.

  4. January 18, 2010 9:32 pm

    I know what you mean but a lot of the difference was about fuel weights, though I won’t deny Vettel still beat Webber over all in quali… just not “destroyed” him.

  5. james permalink
    January 21, 2010 5:00 pm

    15-2 i think it was and Vettel was carrying more fuel in most as well.I expect Vettel to beat Webber comfortably in 2010

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