Sunday, 14 November 2010

A new F1 Bridesmaid - Mark Webber

Well done to Seb Vettel. Not only the new F1 World Champion, but the youngest in the proud 60 year history of his sport.

When all is said and done, he deserved it. He won 5 races, equalled only by Alonso whilst Webber won 4 races, Hamilton won 3 and Button won 2. Vettel won 10 pole positions out of a possible 19. But most importantly, after 19 races, he was leading the championship when it mattered.

Mark Webber Blew It
But I just want to say a word for Mark Webber. I salute Vettel's championship victory with pleasure as it halted Alonso in his tracks. But I wanted Webber to win it. But as the season drew to a close, it looked as if the long-term leader from Down Under was letting the Championship slip through his fingers. As I asked in this blog a few weeks ago, has Mark Webber blown it?

I hoped the answer in the final analysis would be no, but as it turns out, my concerns were bourne out. His own error in Korea was pivotal to the final standings and he was playing catch-up from there on in. In fact, he ended up finishing 3rd in the World Championsship behind both Vettel and Alonso.

Always the Bridesmaid?
My concern for Webber is that this may well be his best opportunity to win the title. Like Barrichello last year, he had an opportunity now and he didn't take it.

Over 60 years, there have been a number of World class drivers who have never won the world title. Most signifanctly surely has to be Stirling Moss. Four times a World Championship runner-up and three times a third place finish but never a World Title.

In this humble F1 fan's opinion, there were other bridesmaids of the sport who had the skill to be a World Champion but who never made that final leap.

They include the Belgium Jackie Ickx, the Argentinian Carlos Reutemann and the Italian Riccardo Patrese. Then of course there was that Canadian. That wonderful, mercurial Canadian who was killed at the prime of his the abilities, Gilles Villeneuve.

Looking at the current crop, I see Barrichello being joined by his fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa who saw his title slip from his fingers at the last corner of the last Grand Prix against Hamilton in 2008. Both had their chances but I fear they will neither get another one.

It is my worry now, that the man from Oz, Mark Webber is now destined to join this unfortunate group and not the one that includes the likes of Senna, Fangio, Schumacher, Frost, Stewart, Surtees, FittipaldiClark, Mansell, Ascari, Lauda, Rindt and Brabham.

You need luck of course to win World Titles, but over the course of a career, short of a life threatening accident, talent should deliver one.

I hope I'm proved wrong and Webber does indeed become a F1 World Champion. I'll happily drink a pint of Fosters to celebrate if he does. But my gut tells me that that Fosters will be on ice for a long time.

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