Australia’s Mark Webber used the first official FIA press Conference at Albert Park on Thursday to underline his eagerness to get on with the job – driving his Red Bull Renault RB9 as close to the limit as always.
Webber was one of six drivers paraded before the world’s press to kick-start the Formula 1 weekend, and he was glad to be back home.
“It’s great to come to Australia at any stage, let alone for a race, so we’re all looking forward to finally getting down to what we all enjoy doing, and that’s racing the car,” said the 36-year-old.
“All of the teams and drivers come here with a little bit more anxiety, let’s say, because it’s the first Grand Prix of the year. Whether it’s pit stops, whether it’s the department you’re in, it’s a fresh challenge for the new year.
“Round six, round seven, everyone’s a little more comfortable with their jobs but it’s the same for everyone. It’s a great event – I’m looking forward to getting into the car.”
There was a touch of world-weariness to Webber’s answer when asked about recent critical comments from Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko: had they motivated him any more than usual?
“I’ve answered this question many times in recent weeks,” Webber shrugged. “He has his agenda, I have mine. Everyone can have their opinions. I’m always pretty good for motivation,” he said simply. “But of course I’m not any less motivated…”
He was also reminded of the special significance of this year’s event – sixty years since the first Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. And again the answer was biased towards realism rather than reverie.
“Any Grand Prix victory is special,” said Webber. “I’m lucky to have had that feeling a few times now, which is great. Beside Monaco and the British Grand Prix, two very prestigious races, this is up there in the top three events a driver wants to win. Your home Grand Prix is for sure very, very special, so it would be a sensational feeling to be able to do it.
“But all the anniversaries and all of the nice fuzzy stuff is not going to make it any easier for me. We’ve got to put together a clean weekend and make all the right decisions. We’re capable of it but we’re also mindful that it’s a very tricky weekend to execute, especially being the first race.
“Looking forward to it!”