Interview with Mark
On his home GP and Jaguar
February 6, 2004
is a transcript of a telephone hook-up with Australiaís Formula One
driver Mark Webber by Australian media on February 4, 2004, organized
by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation ahead of the world
championship season-opening 2004 Fosterís Australian Grand Prix to be
held in Melbourne on March 4-7.
HOST: Good evening to Mark Webber in Britain and good morning to
everyone else in Australia. We have a lot of people on the line today
and we wonít waste time getting started. Mark Webber needs little
introduction these days, except perhaps to say that as Australiaís
only modern Formula One star he is now preparing for his third season
in F1, starting at the 2004 Fosterís Australian Grand Prix.
QUESTION: Mark, first of all about the car. We believe there have been
some problems. How is it going?
ANSWER: Itís going well, actually. I think the problems have been
fueled up in the press more than what we know about. The press know a
lot more than we do at the moment, which is interesting, but weíre
going along pretty well. The tests in Jerez (in south-west Spain) next
week and also in Valencia (in eastern Spain) the week after will be
very, very important for us Weíve got two new cars (going) down there,
and they will be all set for Melbourne. Itís progressing along pretty
well. Weíve got issues, which every team has at this stage of the
year. The Australian Grand Prix date is always one that comes along
very, very quickly, but everyone in the factory is confident at this
QUESTION: How happy are you with the support that youíre getting from
Jaguar at the moment? There have been rumors that other teams have
been chasing you?
ANSWER: Very, very happy (with Jaguar). Iíve never been closer to the
team, weíre working very, very hard together to get the best out of
the car in the early parts of the championship this year, and weíre
focused very, very hard on the issues that need to be addressed from
2003. Itís a huge challenge for me, as it is for any driver at any
team, so Iím looking forward to the season, looking forward to getting
down there in Melbourne, and weíre looking forward to it.
QUESTION: Bernie Ecclestone said a couple of days ago that Ford (the
owner of Jaguar Racing) just canít go on with its restricted budget,
and if it wants to compete with the top teams it has to get serious or
not be in it. Is that too harsh, do you think?
ANSWER: We have a smaller budget, clearly, to the big guns. There is
no question about that. Itís how you spend your money that makes the
car perform well, and what we have at the moment is a very healthy
budget to do our championship for this year - and what Ford do in the
future no one really knows at the moment. Iím sure theyíre committed
to making it work as best they can. I think Iím probably not in the
position to talk about what Fordís involvement is going to be.
Probably Bernie knows more than what I do about what theyíre up to.
Time will tell.
QUESTION: There was a lot of talk at the time when your very young
teammate (20-year-old Austrian Christian Klien) was signed up to
partner you this season. How has he been going in testing and is he
going to be more of a test for you than Pizzonia (Brazilian Antonio
Pizzonia) or (Englishman) Justin Wilson was last season?
ANSWER: I think he will be. I think heís been testing very, very well.
He has matured beyond his years. And you donít win in Formula Three if
you donít know what youíre doing - and he has won some very, very
tough races - the Marlboro (F3) Masters in Holland, which is a very,
very tough event, probably one of the toughest Formula Three races in
the world. Heís won that. So clearly (he has) a lot of talent, speed
and determination there - and he is (gelling) fairly well with the
team, which is very good, which is important. Weíre getting on well,
actually. Probably the best Iíve got on with any of my teammates, so
thatís good. And Iím expecting that it will be a tough fight. It
always is at this level. These guys are expecting a good challenge.
Testing is one thing, racing is another, but as usual I will be
focusing on myself.
QUESTION: What are the goals for the team this year, in terms of what
they expect to achieve and trying to achieve, and where does that fit
with your goals as a Formula One driver?
ANSWER: What we did last year was probably slightly above
expectations. Certainly to finish in the top 10 of the driverís
championship, we didnít really expect that. Finishing seventh in the
constructorsí championship was a bit of a late blow. If you looked at
it, we chipped away at getting points, had a lot of breaks during the
mid part of the championship, and where there was low retirement and
they were tough races for us. And then you had things like, teams,
Sauber potentially coming along and rattling a lot of points at wet
races. Last year seventh, which was okay, but for this year we need to
achieve a step further than that, for sure. We need to try to finish
sixth. Thatís going to be tough with Toyota - they will be very
strong. If we can keep them covered, that would be very, very good for
us. Itís pretty clear within the team what we have to try to do - and
thatís stay in the race with BAR and Toyota and those teams. Clearly
the top four are going to be very, very strong. BAR looks strong. When
you look at the testing when you go out there, thereís actually not
many weak teams. Thatís the game really, at the moment, and we will
see when we get to Melbourne. Iím actually not aware of what is going
on in (the northern) winter and we will see what happens in Melbourne.
Weíre a massively realistic team, weíre very critical of ourselves,
and we will look at all the issues we need to address for Melbourne
and hopefully we can do a good job down there.
QUESTION: Just in light of what you said then, what are your prospects
for Melbourne? How do you feel you are going to go?
ANSWER: I think we will go pretty well. Itís again very, very
difficult to know; if we all knew what was going to happen it would be
pretty boring, I suppose, but we know as much as you guys do at the
moment, which is Ö itís going to be very interesting, I think. The top
five are very, very tight at the front Ö weíve seen Williams and
McLaren and Ferrari, thatís going to be a great battle, and with the
guys like ourselves, Sauber, BAR, Toyota, us four there trying to pick
up the scraps, so to speak. So thatís going to be very interesting.
Reliability is going to be crucial in Melbourne, itís a tough race,
the date always comes up on you too quickly, weíve got the one-engine
rule, so we have to run with the engine from Friday onwards we use in
the race. Once we feel that, thatís it, so a lot of new things to the
rules and qualifying - only the one day (of qualifying) so weíve got a
lot of things that teams have got to get their head around for the
first event of the season. I predict that if we see the flag it will
be a reasonable result for us.
QUESTION: The atmosphere at the Australian Grand Prix? Youíre probably
looking forward to it more than most F1 drivers. Do you like driving
ANSWER: Absolutely. Itís the best race for me of the year in terms of
atmosphere. Itís probably not the best race for me in terms of
off-track activities, Iím stressed a little bit, to be honest, but it
is a phenomenal event. Whether you talk to the drivers or the
engineers or the mechanics, they always love coming to Melbourne and
theyíre so well looked after. The fans are very knowledgeable, they
understand the situation that Iíve been in each year, they get behind
me, and it is a great event. And I think Melbourne in general is a
great sport - they get out and support it and we know it gets huge
attention nationally as well. Great event for me. Iím very lucky.
Others drivers like Kimi (McLarenís Finnish star Kimi Raikkonen), a
lot of drivers, donít have a home Grand Prix. But Iím very fortunate
that I do - and we have one of the best on the calendar.
QUESTION: Michael Schumacher has been ďroad-testingĒ the new Ferrari
as well. How do you think your Jaguar will come up against the
ANSWER: Well, two different categories to be honest. Theyíre on the
end of probably, I would think, a very strong phase - and I hope
Michael wins the championship this year, I think to win seven (world
titles) would be amazing, but itís going to be very, very tough for
him. So how we compare to Michael? We donít really talk about Ferrari
much in our factory. We talk about other teams which are closer to us.
Clearly itís a different ball game, with the experience and
development resources that Ferrari have under their belt. We canít buy
that overnight, so Iím not really expecting to be shaping up to
Michael in the championships as yet.
QUESTION: Could you walk us through the new rules - how do you think
they will affect you and the way the race weekend unfolds this year?
ANSWER: Clearly the biggest one is obviously the one-engine rule -
having to have an engine which is going to do the whole, complete
event starting on the Friday. I think weíre going to see limited
running on Friday at Melbourne. There wonít be much activity on the
Friday, especially the first session; the second session you will
probably see a lot of activity, because the track is quite dirty - and
thatís the same for any circuit in the world. Doesnít matter where we
go, the first session is always a bit of a non-event. Teams will be
very, very selective in their mileage, so they wonít be doing a great
deal on Friday. I could be wrong. First of all, you will see that, and
also we will see the test drivers being used to do quite a bit more
mileage in front of the teams to get information on tyres and just
where the surface is going. Then Saturday is going to be absolutely
flat out. Youíre going to have everyone getting as much information as
they can, even though the track is always traditionally a lot cooler
on Saturday morning. Itís nice to get the long runs in on Friday, but
we only have one real qualifying session now as such, instead of what
we had last year with two - with one being you can use what fuel you
want in the first qualifying run, and the second qualifying run is the
one for the grid. And that is obviously your starting field for the
race there. So I donít think thatís going to be a huge difference from
last year, to be honest. Friday was a bit of a non-event in terms of
qualifying (last year). Weíve also got the 100kmh speed limit (in pit
lane), which will have an interesting twist on strategy. So 10 places
further back if you have an engine-related issue. There are certain
parts of the engine which wonít be counted as an engine change; itís
the main parts of the engine which will be sealed. If you have some
electronics and maybe black box or control panel issues, they wonít be
counted as an engine issue, but if you have a serious issue and you
need to change the engine, then it will be 10 places further back on
the grid. As far as Iím aware thatís about it, unless you guys know
anymore. Thatís about it in terms of changes. [Hostís note: Mark
omitted to say that the test drivers for BAR, Sauber, Jaguar, Toyota,
Jordan and Minardi will be allowed to drive in Fridayís two one-hour
QUESTION: What about the car changes, like gearbox and traction
control and stuff?
ANSWER: Launch control, yes, thatís out. Weíre basically doing more
manual starts, so itís more in the driverís control now - so thatís
good. Thatís a useful thing. I think traction control is very, very
difficult to police, so thatís still legal. Talking about the areo
changes which we have got Ö different engine covers and different rear
wing end-plates. We are only allowed to run two rear wing elements in
our rear wing package, instead of three, which we probably
traditionally run at Melbourne. All of these things, I think for the
person in the grandstand seats wonít make a huge difference, but it
probably will do - itís just more bringing specific costs down for
those certain issues, I think.
QUESTION: The speculation linking you to Williams doesnít seem to be
going away, whether you like it or not. Is it a threat to team unity
at Jaguar, based on every performance, if it actually happens to be a
mediocre weekend for you at Jaguar that you are going to be moving
closer and closer to Williams?
ANSWER: Until somebody replaces Montoya (Williamsí Colombian driver
Juan Pablo Montoya) itís going to go on, whoever is going there. Iím
clearly focussed on Jaguar and will be throughout the whole year. The
boys in the team who are very, very close in terms of our professional
relationship, they havenít mentioned absolutely zero about what my job
potentially could be in the future. As far as weíre concerned itís all
systems go and in 2005 I will be at Jaguar. But to try to get some
sort of answer, in terms of just the press and the momentum and the
stuff that can be out there, whether itís Juan going to McLaren, and I
think in this game they are professional people and it is a very, very
intense industry, we know that each weekend we have to do the
business, so itís in the back of everyoneís mind really - and thatís
what the case will be. I mean, Juan is in a different situation. My
stuff is a million miles away from that. But systems as normal and we
will see what happens.
QUESTION: What are the major differences between Jaguarís latest R5
model and last yearís car? And if there have been any improvements, in
ANSWER: The major differences are a lot of installation of the car and
where we put the weight in the car and lots of things like that, which
gives us more window for step-up, if you like, and to tune the car to
circuits, so a lot tidier in places. The gearbox is different, if you
like, a bit faster, hopefully leaner and meaner, and obviously the
engine is slightly different as well, so the aerodynamics obviously
totally being revised. They will be different for Melbourne. The
issues we need to work on, what weíre trying to improve on, obviously
the tyre management or the tyre degradation situation was something we
wanted to chip away at last year and we did make progress with it.
Again, I touched on the flexibility potentially with our weight
distribution and things like that to try to help that take the load
off the rear tyres. We want to try to chip away with that. Our
control, whether itís traction control side of things, all of that is
one of our strong departments, and that has gone very, very well over
the winter - something which was very, very poor about 18 months ago
and that has come in leaps and bounds. So weíre just chipping away.
The next few tests are very, very important, (indistinct) after Jerez
to see where we really are, but Melbourne will be the final wake up
call for everyone and see what weíve got. Always got issues you want
to keep chipping away on, but hopefully with the R5 weíve addressed
quite a few from the R4 and hopefully (that will) be enough to give us
a good season.
QUESTION: You talked before about the gulf between teams like Jaguar
and Ferrari, McLaren and Williams. Is that a source of frustration, or
is the team realistic about where it is and what it can achieve?
ANSWER: Yeah, weíre very realistic. If you look at Jordan in 1998 and
í99 they were giving the championship a run and things change. They
clearly wonít be doing that this year. We all have our different
goals. Last year was clearly a season which worked quite well for us
and it would have been nice to get a podium last year, but to get a
consistent run of points was always very rewarding. We lead probably
in terms of satisfaction for our job, very similar to what McLaren and
Williams have done - finishing second or third for them is a bad day
at the office. Theyíve got a lot more to achieve in terms of their
strike rate, so very difficult to achieve in terms of their wins. So
for us itís also hard because you have different goals. Just got to
assess your goals at the moment. Yeah, it is a little bit frustrating.
Everyone wants to be a winner, everyone wants to win the next race,
but youíve got to remember what youíve got.
QUESTION: You spoke a little earlier about some of the teams that were
going well in testing, and the BAR-Honda is one of those. (BARís
British driver) Jenson Button has predicted that they can probably
score some podiums this year. Do you see that as a possibility for
yourself and Jaguar, being on the podium at any race this year?
ANSWER: We will need a reasonable amount of luck, to be honest to do
that; I donít think we will be driving on to a podium, to be honest.
It would be a nice surprise to have, but if you look at how
bullet-proof the big guys are - McLaren, Ferrari, Williams and Renault
- the level now of Formula One from the top teams in terms of everyone
can make a reliable car, thatís very, very easy, but the car would not
be very quick and (would be) very heavy. In terms of what is out there
now, in terms of the lap times, the lap times that theyíre doing and
also the reliability of the car is very, very strong. If you are on a
podium this year you (will) bloody deserve it and there might be a few
races where you have a bit of a lottery, as we always do in one
season, but we could be there to grab some of that. But Iím thinking
itís going to be tough for us to drive on the podium if everyone else
QUESTION: You touched on the Melbourne track a little bit before. How
does the Melbourne track shape up compared to others around the world?
ANSWER: The surface is very, very good. It doesnít have a history of
Spa (in Belgium) and Monaco and places like that, of course, because
itís relatively new to the calendar, but itís a track which is
extremely safe - very, very safe surface - which is very, very good
for the drivers. They do a great job, the marshalling and the whole
thing is exceptional, probably one of best in terms of the effort
thatís put in there. A driver always likes to see the attention to
detail, and Melbourne does a lot of that, whether itís the curves or
the grass, and the track is always in the best condition possible.
Itís a very, very good modern Formula One circuit. Very, very good,
definitely in the top five, and itís a great track. In terms of
organisation itís leaps and bounds ahead, very smooth as well, which
drivers like. Bumpy surfaces are not very enjoyable in these cars.
Itís a good circuit.
QUESTION: Harking back to the R5 again, you mentioned a couple of
times that you have had a few teething problems or issues to sort out.
Are you able to say what they are? And also your test schedule: do you
get much chance to have a break between now and Melbourne?
ANSWER: Yeah, Iíve got a break this week actually. Iíve just come back
from Geneva, launching the new X-Type Jaguar Estate there and doing a
lot of rally-crossing in the snow, which was good fun. Issues weíve
got: clearly just not enough mileage. Issues which Ö you want to get
as much mileage on the car as possible, and weíve just had a few snags
which have caught us out and theyíre just small things: Installation,
pipeage, a few things with brakes and stuff which stops you putting
long runs on the car. Thatís the thing which you would like to be able
to do. We had a good last day in Valencia with the car (last week), a
lot of those issues were addressed, but we need to build more
confidence with that, which Iím sure we can do in Jerez (next week).
You canít run these cars half pregnant, theyíve got to be fully
pregnant before we can run them properly. They donít work. So weíre
looking forward to the next few tests.
QUESTION: A question related to drivers and the importance of
sponsorship in modern Formula One. Do you think drivers that are the
best drivers are making it into Formula One or do you think some
drivers are missing out?
ANSWER: I think some drivers have always missed out, no question about
it. Eighty per cent of the guys on the grid are the best and thereís a
few guys who probably donít deserve to be there. Whether itís through
the í60s, í70s or í80s weíve always had guys who probably havenít been
to the level of the guys at the front. Christian (Klien) is not a good
example for that because, yes, heís brought some funding to the team,
but the guy has blown away seriously quick peddlers in Formula Three.
Christian has come from a very, very normal background, which is
great, and theyíre very, very good people. And Red Bull (the Austrian
energy drink brand that sponsors Klien) have plucked him when heís 16,
so you canít take that away from him. Itís always been in Formula One,
always will be, especially now with the climates as they are. A lot of
sports are like that, struggling a little bit, and theyíre looking to
drivers to bring a little bit more funding to the teams. Thatís what
basically theyíre going through at the moment.
QUESTION: Youíve said that youíre focussed on Jaguar until the end of
2005, but itís been reported that your contract has performance
clauses in it. Should you be released from that contract due to
performance clauses not being met, would it be you alone that decides
your future or does Renault still have some influence on your
ANSWER: We will look at it. Weíve got the old crystal ball on the
table and also the things we have got within our control, and weíve
get a good grip on actually the whole situation. First thing is Mark
Webber has to perform, otherwise we donít have a problem at all
because no one wants me, so I will do my best at every single race,
and the next two years Iím planning to be at Jaguar. Thereís
performance clauses in every driverís contract, I assume, and we hope
that we have the best bloody season possible this year to look into
2005. We will make the decision together. Renault helped me massively
to get into Formula One and have been absolutely brilliant throughout
that, so weíll make that decision together and there is options for me
to go there, to go to other places in 2007, 2008.
QUESTION: Mark, what should they do to put more back on the driver in
Formula One, to get more passing rather than for you to be under the
control of electronics and smart boffins back in the pits with
ANSWER: Well, electronics is not the issue, the issue is the
downforce. Thatís the big problem. The braking areas are so late and
so short that itís very hard to get into the inside of other cars. I
think on the control side that is something which in the electronics
side is a relatively healthy thing for Formula One, because that will
filter into the mass market. Iím a big fan of getting as much as they
can back to the driver. We still have a huge amount on our plate to do
the Grand Prix as quick as possible and try to pass, and passing is
the frustrating thing, no question about it. All the drivers talk
about it, but we all know itís very, very fast corners, itís very,
very hard to follow. If they were to look at things, the aerodynamics
would be the area if they were to chip away on, but itís very, very
difficult to slash the aerodynamics because if you slash the
aerodynamics then you have cars that are a lot more unstable - and
potentially more unsafe. With the tyre war last year, we saw some
pretty good racing and different people over different phases with
their tyres. We will see. I hope this year can provide some more
QUESTION: Mark, isnít passing, or potential passing, diminished a
little bit by the fact that often times people, when theyíve caught
somebody and might in past times have tried to get past, these days it
seems to be smarter to go in and do a pit stop?
ANSWER: Yeah, your strategy these days is you have your windows to do
your stops and not only to be able to be moved around within two laps
really so, yeah, you can look at the stop to be a very powerful tool
to pass somebody. But we did have races, as you well know, we had
races where they start with 220 litres (of fuel) and do the whole race
and not see the pits at all, so I thought when we did the pitstops and
more activity and different fuel loads that it actually is more
entertaining and more interesting to know what is actually happening
in terms of strategy and fuel loads. And the pitstops, again, are
very, very important and it would be interesting to see what is going
to happen to the outcome of the race. There always will be issues in
terms of how we best make the championship better or more exciting,
but I think, as it is at the moment, weíve still got the qualifying,
you have a few people out of position, the different fuel loads, itís
QUESTION: The new engine regulation (only one for each driver for the
whole GP weekend)? Has that made the engines any different to drive?
And has it changed, for instance, the number of gears you need? Are
they any least ďpeakyĒ powered than they were?
ANSWER: Good question. Weíve looked at that. Your torque curve might
change a sniff. Our power for Melbourne will be very similar to what
we had there last year, which is a good thing. I think a lot of teams
will be on the same sort of level, if not a little bit more. The
engine will have a lot more different modes in terms of safety and
security modes on the engine to look after the engine, certain running
of certain parts of the Grand Prix, so from the driverís side we donít
feel a huge difference, to be honest, but we will have more demand put
on us, I suspect, in terms of us having to nurse the engine.
QUESTION: When you talked about fuel stops and pitstops and whatnot,
are you counting on an extra pitstop, a third stop in Melbourne this
year because of the straightening of the pit lane entry?
ANSWER: Iím sure the boys have looked at it. I donít know yet. Until
we do some running down there, see what the track is up to. I wouldnít
be surprised if we had three stops there for the first time. And itís
great that it has been straightened to potentially make a
three-stopper happen. We will see.
QUESTION: From a local angle, youíre really driving with the hopes of
people from Canberra and Australia. How conscious are you of the
support you have in Canberra and around Australia when you are
driving? Is that a pressure on you?
ANSWER: Well, Iím very proud to fly the flag for Australia, especially
for everyone there in Queanbeyan. And Canberra is very, very close to
my home there. Like I touched on before, I think the Australian fans
are extremely knowledgeable, they do understand how my career is
trying to progress, and I hope that in the future I can give them even
more to cheer about and stay up late nights and really give them
something to look at on TV and hope we can do that this year and in
the future. Iím very proud to fly the flag and try to do my best and
Iím still true blue, even though I donít get home much, and I still
love performing for my country.
QUESTION: Just a follow up on the questions about engines. Last year
Cosworth (Ford and Jaguarís engine company) had more failures than
most and youíve just told us this year there will be more modes on the
engine, more things perhaps to worry about. Is it the mechanical side
thatís a worry to you, or will it be electronics that youíre looking
at and things that you can still work on despite the one engine rule?
Or is the engine the major concern to you?
ANSWER: No, I think the engine should be quite reliable, I hope. The
dyno work has been quite encouraging, also our circuit work has been
backing that up quite well. It is the major components that will
probably let you down, if they are going to. Weíve seen a few crashes
in testing with teams obviously getting to the last part of the
mileage of their engine and whether you have got a hole in your floor
where the rod has gone through the bottom of the floor, or youíve got
some serious amount of smoke flying out your exhaust, which is a
top-end failure Ö Cosworth Ö whatís important is that Jordan (team)
have the same engine as us, which is very important in terms of
mileage, and in the integration of what Jordan and Jaguar are doing
itís easier for Cosworth logistically to have those two teams: one
program going out the door for them, so thatís good because last year
they had three different types of engine which was a bit strange and
obviously Paul (Stoddart, the Australian who owns the Minardi team)
was the only one with the older Cosworth engine, so it should be
better for Northhampton (Cosworthís base).
QUESTION: Just to follow up on the situation with your future. You
mentioned performance clauses in your contract, and obviously if you
didnít perform no one would want you. What is your feeling looking at
the reverse direction in terms of your view of the performance of the
car and the team? Do you have a performance standard you expect from
the car and team, or in fact do you have clauses where you have a way
out if the Jaguar is not performing in the opposite direction?
ANSWER: Clauses both ways, always has to be. Thatís what a contract is
all about. Both of us have to perform, and you always want more. I
went into the Jaguar agreement a very, very happy man and I still am a
very, very happy man, so we have to make it work and do the best we
can. The opposition is something that we canít control, and I want to
be able to control the situation Iím in at Jaguar. Thatís all I can
do. We will do our absolute utmost to make sure that we keep as many
smiles on our faces as possible and not have a season that we donít
QUESTION: Just also looking back a little bit earlier in the year,
Tony Purnell, the boss of your operation, was reported as saying there
were some fundamental issues with the car. They were later denied by
another team spokesman. Those things seem to be at odds with each
other, the explanations. Is there a fundamental problem and is there
some instability in the team from that point of view in having a
common view of what is really going on?
ANSWER: What was amazing with that is that I read that the same time
you guys did. (I thought) Thatís interesting that weíve got major
problems, I actually donít know about these things, and Tony was
massively misquoted. I think he did he send an e mail out to every
single person in the factory to apologise for that, and he was very
disappointed that his quote was not handled as he would like it to
have been. I think in Australia, also, that it got some reasonable
mileage, from what Iíve heard. The car hadnít even run properly. It
was a strange one. Our superb PR man covered the situations superbly.
QUESTION: You said earlier itís a bit hard to tell what is going on
with other teams testing and you sounded almost sceptical. Where do
you think BAR is at the moment? If you were to guess, if you will, and
just overall, where do you think Jaguar needs to improve to get a bit
closer to those teams in your area, and perhaps even the next-level
teams like Renault?
ANSWER: BAR arenít where they are (in) testing now, thatís for sure.
Theyíre going to be strong, theyíll have a good year. I will be very
surprised if theyíre on pole and drive to victory in Melbourne, and it
would be good for Formula One if they do, but I will be surprised if
that happens. The thing in testing, there is a whole raft of different
tyres floating around, thereís different weights in the car. Mrs De La
Rosa puts the washing up on the line out at turn three at Barcelona
and the whole track changes, so when youíre out on the track youíre
there for eight hours, when you want to do your run there is so many
different windows. [Pedro De La Rosa is a Spanish driver whose home
track is Barcelona; he has raced for the Arrows and Jaguar teams and
is now a test driver for McLaren]. So with testing you get a rough
idea, but until we get to Melbourne, thatís what really counts. What
Jaguar needs to do, we need to improve on our racing performances.
Clearly qualifying was strong for us last year, that was something
which I was actually over to be honest, I was over doing well in
qualifying and was a bit disappointed that we couldnít convert that
into races, and it didnít reflect well on myself or the team - and
itís something where we could be a lot stronger team with stronger
race performances. And thatís where the experience and the resources
come into play. You look at Williams in 2001 and Juan in 2002 had
seven pole positions and only one win, so theyíve clearly switched
that around, so itís the whole package. Experience is what we need.
This is the first time Jaguar has had some good stability, so we are
going to learn a lot from this and there is some bloody good blokes
there and we just need more time, more experience. Thatís what we
QUESTION: Ryan Briscoe seems to be in line to be the next Aussie in
Formula One at the moment and he is going down the test driver route.
Do you think thatís now the way to go, or do you think a Minardi
drive, much like you took, is probably still the better option of
getting a foot in the door?
ANSWER: I think clearly if the Minardi thing could work for him Paul
(Stoddart) would do a great job for him. And, also, as long as he
doesnít have to cut his ties with Toyota to achieve that then Iím sure
that would be the good thing for him to do. The most important thing
for Ryan is obviously his association with Toyota, which is clearly
going to be a force in the future. They are going to win Grands Prix,
itís just a question of when, not if. And theyíve looked after him
well and been very patient with him some through some of the
championships that heís done, so whatís the right thing to do? It
would be great, it would be good to see him in a Minardi. Paul would
be very happy to have that, Iím sure, if Toyota are happy to help him
out to get in there and keep that link up, then thatís great.
QUESTION: You said before that you thought a podium finish was
probably out of the question this year. What would you see as good
result in Melbourne?
ANSWER: A good result in Melbourne depends how the race goes. If we
finish eighth we might not be that happy with it, but if we finish
eighth and all the big guns have finished thatís a decent afternoon
for us. Whoever finishes in front of you, the overall pace of the car,
might finish fourth, or finish fifth like I did in the Minardi (on
debut in 2002), but clearly thatís probably going to be your last
chance and you wonít be happy. So I will be taking two things on board
that weekend: one, obviously, itís a great weekend for me and I enjoy
driving there, but itís the trend for the next four or five months for
my life basically. The performance of the car in Melbourne is a big
reflection on what Iím in for the future, in the short term, so that
is something that shall be more on my mind than probably the short
term result in Melbourne.
QUESTION: You talk of finishing eighth in Melbourne and we know that
Ford isnít putting in anything like the commitment and the money that
some of the other manufacturers are. This is the problem, isnít it,
that in a sense eighth isnít going to please Ford and isnít going to
encourage them to put in more money. How do you do that? How do you
wind up their need for value, in a sense, in terms of results. And the
public sees value as being, perhaps, on the podium? How do you reverse
ANSWER: It is pretty tough, to be honest. All I could do is absolutely
do my job, have absolutely no regrets, do as professional a job as I
possibly can, and itís up to my bosses to make sure that they sort
their bosses out, that the team has a healthy future. The control I
have over that is obviously what I do with my feet and hands in the
car. And I felt we had a strong year last year and if we can do
something like that again then maybe the guys above me can do
QUESTION: A few teams, and Jaguar was one, were flattered by the
point-scoring system last year with first getting less of a margin
over the rest of the field than they had in previous years (and points
being awarded down to eighth place instead of the traditional sixth)?
ANSWER: Yes, they were. But what was absolutely clear was the point
system was the same for everyone last year. The old point system I
liked a lot more top six was a good result, top eight a lot of people
can get points now. But thatís how it is now. Everyone had a good
chance to get points at race weekends. We clearly had a massively
strong part in the middle season where we got points, where a lot of
teams were reliable and werenít fast and we were there to get some
points. So we did chip away quite well in the middle part of the year.
I think the gap from first to second is quite harsh in terms of
Michael (Schumacher) and Kimi (Raikkonen). Kimi won one race and was
still in with a chance at the last race, which is a bit strange - but
thatís how it is.
QUESTION: Can you crystal ball who will be the regular podium people
ANSWER: McLaren and Williams are very strong. I think Renault will be
there. Ferrari will be there. Theyíre your four. Renault will be a lot
closer than people think. I think they will have a strong year. Toyota
and BAR. Probably BAR more than Toyota will be there grabbing the odd
one, but I really doubt we (Jaguar) are going to see consistent
podiums. I think we (the sport) are going to have a good mix of people
on those steps and itís going to be good. Itís absolutely guaranteed
we are going to have fireworks at the front - itís going to be very,
very close and very, very competitive. And it will be great to see
Michael try to defend it. It will be good.
QUESTION: It is interesting that you are tipping or would like to see
Schumacher win again when there is a sense that the pendulum is
swinging towards Williams and McLaren and that the tyres could be
decisive. You are going to be on Michelin tyres, as are McLaren and
Williams, and yet you are still basically favouring a Bridgestone
driver (Michael Schumacher) to win the championship.
ANSWER: No, Iím not favouring him to win it. I want him to win it, but
I donít think he will win it. I think a Michelin driver will win the
championship. I think Kimi or a Williams driver (Montoya or Ralf
Schumacher) could give it a good run, (with) Fernando (Alonso, the
young Spaniard with Renault who won last yearís Hungarian GP) on the
outside. Michael (Schumacher), you canít underestimate the guy, heís
just unbelievably consistent, unbelievably cool, every session, every
race weekend. Heís just got the whole thing under control. So Ferrari
and the whole package will need Michael to win the championship, as
they did last year. It was Michael who won the championship last year.
QUESTION: Of the drivers most likely to beat Michael, how do you rate
Kimi against Montoya in terms of speed, consistency consistency not
only through the race but over a race weekend?
ANSWER: I think Kimi is slightly stronger just as an overall. If I was
a team boss I would probably say Kimi. There is not much in it; both
very different characters in terms of how they go about it. Theyíre
very, very quick and very, very fast, but theyíve got a long way to go
before they get to Michaelís level.
QUESTION: In absolute flat out speed, just on a lap, how do you rate
ANSWER: Consistently, I would say Kimi is quicker.
HOST: Obviously you hold Michael Schumacher in the absolute highest
regard, so it was interesting some weeks ago to note that your new
teammate, perhaps while he might have regard for Michael as a racing
driver, cheekily suggested that he was perhaps too arrogant and too
serious. Do you think that was a wise thing for a 20-year-old fellow
to be doing?
ANSWER: I donít know. Thereís lot of history over there, as you well
know, what happened through the í50s and í60s. So I donít know what
theyíre playing at. I will leave it at that.
HOST: Letís wrap it up there. Thanks very much to everyone for
participating, particularly Mark Webber. Thanks for your time again,
Mark, and all the best with the testing and we look forward to seeing
you in Melbourne soon.
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