Monday, July 13, 2009

Mark Webber F1 Driver

After some racing success in Australia, Webber moved to the UK in 1995 to further his motorsport career.[2] He continued to win, although he gained his biggest headlines while driving for the Mercedes-Benz sports car squad at Le Mans in 1999 where he had two spectacular accidents during practice and warm-up in which an aerodynamic fault caused the car to somersault off the Mulsanne Straight. After Mercedes' withdrawal from the race, Webber began a partnership with fellow Australian Paul Stoddart, at that time owner of the European Racing Formula 3000 team, which eventually took them both into Formula One when Stoddart bought the Minardi team.

Webber made his debut in Formula One in 2002, scoring Minardi's first points in three years at his and Stoddart's home race. After his first season Jaguar Racing took him on as lead driver. During two years with the generally uncompetitive team Webber several times qualified on the front two rows of the grid and outperformed his team mates. His first F1 win was the 2009 German Grand Prix, prior to which he secured a string of second places, at the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix, 2009 Turkish Grand Prix, and 2009 British Grand Prix.

Webber is a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, the Formula One drivers' union.

Webber is a keen sportsman away from the track. He has won the annual F1 Pro-Am tennis tournament in Barcelona three times and has recently set up the 'Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge' trek across Tasmania to raise funds for cancer charities. Whilst cycling in the event during November 2008 he was involved in an accident when he collided head-on with a car. He sustained a broken leg which kept him out of most winter tests, but recovered before the start of the 2009 season.

Mark Alan Webber (born 27 August 1976[1] in Queanbeyan, New South Wales) is an Australian Formula One driver. In 2002 he became the first Australian to race in Formula One since David Brabham in 1994.[2] At the 2009 German Grand Prix, he became the first Australian to win a race since Alan Jones in 1981.[3]

Mark Webber driving for Red Bull Racing at the 2009 Turkish Grand Prix.

Webber remained with Red Bull for 2009, where he was joined by Sebastian Vettel after David Coulthard's retirement in 2008. After sustaining a broken leg in a road accident during his charity event in Tasmania in the off-season, he returned to testing on February 11 with steel rods in his leg.[83] As of the 2009 season, the only track on the calendar at which Webber has yet to score points is Interlagos, the venue for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

At the opening round in Australia, both Webber and Vettel performed well in practices and qualifying, with Red Bull one of the top competitive teams behind Brawn GP and Toyota, but an error in qualifying left him in 10th on the grid for the start of the 2009 Australian Grand Prix. An incident with Rubens Barrichello, Heikki Kovalainen and Nick Heidfeld saw Webber in a highly damaged vehicle for the remainder of the race, eventually finishing last under the safety car. Post-race, Webber related his disappointment for not being able to perform well at his home GP after recovering from his broken leg.

The 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix got off to a better start, with Webber qualifying 7th and gaining two positions due to penalties to other drivers. Webber was overtaken off the line by the KERS-running cars of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen, but a series of bold moves coupled with good race pace over the next few laps saw him move up back to fifth. The RB5 performed well as weather conditions worsened, Webber driving his way to second before pitting to change to full wet-weather tyres. The race, which was halted early due to monsoonal rains, ended under the safety car with Webber in fourth. A list later announced his position as eighth. Further investigation brought his position up to sixth. He was awarded 1.5 points due to the half-points decision at the conclusion of the race. Webber was on track for a podium had the race not been red flagged.

The 2009 Chinese Grand Prix proved a breakthrough for Webber. Starting in third position, the race began under the safety car due to heavy rain. 25 minutes into the event, the safety car eventually re-entered the pit lane. Webber, who had gained a position with Alonso pitting, held strong in second position in extreme wet conditions until his first pit stop. Re-emerging in sixth position, he fought his way up the order, eventually having a tight-battle with Brawn GP's Jenson Button. He eventually overcame the pressure from Button and continued to pull away from him. Emerging after his second, and final, pit stop, he found himself in third position: Button ahead and Barrichello behind. Pulling away from Rubens, he eventually gained the advantage over Button during Jenson's pit stop. Gaining 9 seconds on his team mate in the last 15 laps, he brought his car home in 2nd position, 12 seconds behind Vettel. This event marked Webber's career-best finish and was also the first win (and one-two finish) for the Red Bull team.

The Spanish Grand Prix saw Webber qualifying fifth fastest and finishing third in the race, with Brawn GP's Barrichello in second and Red Bull Racing team mate Vettel in fourth. The pace of the RB5 had given Webber the speed necessary to compete regularly for podiums. Webber took 5th in Monaco and followed this up with his equal career best 2nd place in Turkey, equalling this result in the subsequent British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Webber qualified on pole for the first time in F1 at the Nurburgring for the German Grand Prix on Saturday, 11 July. This was the first time an Australian driver had claimed pole position since Alan Jones in 1980. He went on to achieve his first F1 victory despite receiving a drive through penalty early in the race for causing an avoidable collision at the start when he hit the Brawn GP of Rubens Barrichello. Webber went on to dominate the race and win ahead of his teammate Vettel, heading a Red Bull 1-2 and closing the gap on the Brawns in the constructors championship. Webber moved up to 3rd in the drivers championship after his win, passing Rubens Barrichello in the championship and stood behind Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel.

source : wikipedia with some editing
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