The ideal way of defining the Aussie’s six-season long career is ‘remarkable promise’, ‘patchy brilliance’ and ‘bad fortune’. Mark has a rather unusual record - he has had the second highest number of starts without a win, and is often referred to as the “unluckiest man in modern Formula One.”
Webber demonstrated great determination and skill in his very first Grand Prix at home, at Albert Park, with minnows Minardi during the 2002 season. He clinched fifth position - which still remains one of the best results in the Italian constructor’s history. He claimed the only two points for Minardi that season and outraced teammate Alex Yoong.
The combination of Jordan and Jackie Stewart’s team formulated into Jaguar Racing and they were quick to spot Webber’s talent, roping him in for the 2003 season. The Australian presented impressive performances right through the season, to finish with 17 points and claiming tenth place in the drivers’ standings. He comfortably outraced teammates Antonia Pizzonia and Justin Wilson.
The subsequent season was not a very productive one for the first Australian in F1 since David Brabham, as he managed only 7 points, claiming his best result of 6th place at Hockenheim. The season dawned to a close and the Jaguar F1 Racing team was history.
The contract terminations of the vibrant duo of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya by WilliamsF1 in 2004 gave way to a new set of drivers for the British constructor. Budding drivers Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld were quick to pounce on the opportunity of driving for an established squad and were granted with the desired seats for the 2005 season.
The big burst through of driving for Frank Williams’ regime was firmly grasped by Webber - starting off the season with a steady approach -claiming his first-ever podium finish at the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix - whilst teammate Heidfeld finished second.
Webber finished on fourth position during a few more races that season but could not reappear on the podium until 2007 for Red Bull Racing. He ended 2005 with 36 points and 10th place in the standings and the succeeding year was a disastrous one for the Australian as he finished with just 7 points. It was the new-look Williams outfit after its disintegration with BMW. Rookie teammate Nico Rosberg claimed only 4 points.
2007 witnessed Webber switch teams once again, this time to Red Bull Racing to drive alongside veteran David Coulthard. He finished with 10 championship points and reached the podium at Indianapolis.
Focusing on his bad fortune, he penetrated with some breathtaking racing at the complicated Fuji Speedway Circuit and looked set to secure his career’s third podium finish until some inexperienced driving from rookie Sebastian Vettel spoilt his party.
Loyal fans of the Aussie would still be hoping that he’d reclaim the aggressive instincts which he so blatantly displayed during his younger days and surface as a contender for a world championship someday. He will continue to drive for the Austrian constructor during the 2008 season - once again alongside Scottish driver David Coulthard.
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Wednesday March 27
McLaren’s Jenson Button says Sebastian Vettel’s decision to disobey team orders for glory at the Malaysian Grand Prix will hurt him in the long run. More
Wednesday March 27
Reigning world Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel insists he made a mistake and wouldn’t do it again after disobeying team orders and overtaking team-mate Mark Webber to earn victory in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix. More
Thursday February 28
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says his team will be giving drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber “equal opportunity” to succeed in 2013. More