Sunday, 31 October 2010

Has Mark Webber Blown It?

I was worried to read recently, Australian F1 legend Jack Brabham say how Mark Webber has blown his chance at winning this year's F1 World Championship.

It's not that I necessarily disagree with him. It's just that if a fellow Australian has his grave concerns about Webber's chances and is willing to express them publicly at such a critical stage in the Championship, then all can not be resting easily in the Webber camp.

Australian F1 Genius
Jack Brabham in all fairness, has quite a platform to speak from. The first antipodean World Champion, he didn't just do so once, but 3 times - in 1959, 1960 and 1966. Significantly, his final Championship win in 1966 was the first ever, and only to date, by a driver in his own car. His New Zealand team-mate Denny Hulme won the title in 1967 with Brabham winning the constructors title in both years. Brabham as a team went on to win more drivers titles in 1981 and 1983 under the control of Nelson Piquet.

So Jack knows what he's talking about and at 84, is one of the statesman of motor sport.

The only other Australian F1 World Champion was Alan Jones in 1980 - giving Frank Williams his first ever drivers and constructors Championship wins.

Mark Webber - Formula One World Champion?
Will Mark Webber join his comapriots Brabham and Jones to become only the 3rd ever Australian Formula One World Champion?

After his human error in Korea, Jack Brabham can be forgiven for raising serious doubts. Ferrari and Alonso have clearly got the momentum whilst McLaren have fallen back in recent races.

The relief for Webber must be his team-mate Vettel's blown engine just laps away from victory in Korea which handed Alonso the win. That unfortunate development for his team-mate has guaranteed that Webber still has the in-team advantage. Had Vettel have won, Webber's chances would've been diminished even further.

Because as we know, Ferrari's entire support is going to Alonso. Whatever Jenson Button may say, only a mad man in McLaren now would not put their resources all behind Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull Tactics
What then of Red Bull? Webber finds himself 11 points adrift of Alonso. Vettel however now finds himself 25 points adrift with only 50 left up for grabs.

It would be wise for Red Bull to consider putting all of their eggs into the Webber basket, but then I can't see Vettel buying that.

More than likely then that Red Bull will continue to play 100% fair to both of their men. This is laudible but ultimately, my hunch is that this will help to secure the title for Alonso.

Good Luck Mate
I personally hope that Webber does win it. For as Jack Brabham says, this really could be Webber's last chance to win the title. He's not getting younger and this is clearly his big chance. I was backing Barrichello all the way last year against Button for the same reason. I hope that Webber can finish the job where Barrichello failed and can land that 3rd Australian F1 World Championship.

But I worry increasingly that he won't and it would seem that I'm in good company in coming to this conclusion.

NB. A follow up blog piece which I wrote after Mark Webber did indeed miss out on the World Championship can be found and read here - A New F1 Bridesmaid - Mark Webber

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