Webber: Red Bull's Folly

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
We've now had 16 races of the 2011 season. Within those races Sebastian Vettel has won 10 Grand Prix and had 5 other podiums. His team-mate, Mark Webber has no race wins and 9 podiums.

In the last 25 years there are only 4 other occasions when a driver has become world champion whilst his team-mate has failed to win a single race. It was done twice by Michael Schumacher - the last time being 2001 when Rubens Barrichello was on the recieving end but even his stats compare well to Mark's this year. Rubens scored 5 second places, 5 third places, 2 fifth places and 4 retirements in 17 races - compared to Mark's 2 second place, 7 third places, 4 fourth places, 2 fifths, and 1 retirement.

Rubens 2001 season is the only season comparable to Mark's in the last 25 years. In 94 Scumacher won the title without his team-mate winning a race but as the second car was shared by 3 different drivers over the year its not comparrable it is worth mentioing though that of the 3 JJ Lehto never drove in F1 again, Promising 22 year old Jos Verstappen never got over the stigma and became a permanent back-marker and Johnny Herbert made up for 2 poor races that year by helping Benneton to the constructors the year after and contributing 2 GP wins.

In 1990 Senna won the title whilst Gerhard Berger in his first year with Mclaren didn't take any victories at all. He notched up 7 podiums in 16 races and finished 4th in the championship. Far worse than Webber I hear you cry but it was a completely different situation. The Mclaren was the front running car that season but only just from the Ferrari and at some event the Ferrari was clearly the superior car. That years title battle was between Senna and Prost and between them they won 11 of the 16 Grand Prix's with Prost's team-mate Mansell only claiming 1 victory and that being one he should really have Prost and can be argued cost Prost the championship.

1986 saw Prost win the title whilst his world champion team-mate Keke Rosberg was absolutely crushed and finished a lowly 6th in the championship - not even coming close to a victory. Once again it could be argued the situation was entirely different to the Webber situation currently. The Mclaren car was far far behind the superior Williams Honda and it was only the Williams in-fighting that let Prost sneek past to the title. Due to a combination of a terrible season and the death of his friend Elio De Angelis Keke retired at the end of the season - I guess the question I'm asking is should Mark Webber follow suite?

The point of this article is that its clear to see that in the last 25 years of Grand Prix racing no one driving the best car in the field has recieved such a walloping from their team-mate as Mark Webber yet he's been reward with a one year contract extension. Now you can argue with me that the Red Bull hasn't been the best car all season blah blah blah but there is no arguing that Mark has been hit for six. You also can't argue that Red Bull don't have a whole squad of driver talent sitting in the wings waiting for a chance. Red Bull can't really expect to have the type of dominance they've had this season next year can they? Surely they are not cocky enough to think that. So why hasn't the Webber situation been addressed? If they're fighting for the constructors next year with a Mclaren team who are getting ever closer and a Ferrari team that can't be counted out surely they need a number 2 who is going to bring home the bacon.

I know the argument that he is nicely settled in the team and that Seb is their number one and they don't want to upset the apple cart but surely the job of a number 2 is to get the results when the number 1 driver fails to - have we seen Webber even looking like he might do that? The one race this year Vettel was truely off form was Germany and Webber didn't do his job and hold the opposition off - he was beaten by both Hamilton and Alonso. In Japan a few weeks ago when Vettel backed of so he's get the title was Webber around to make it a good result for Red Bull? No. You have to say if you're Jamie Alguersuari or Sebastian Buemi, who both have had pretty good seasons, the thought that you're going to lose your seat at Toro Rosso whilst Webber keeps his drive at Red Bull must be a slap in the mouth. How can either do any worse than Mark has this season? Why not risk one of them for a season or even chuck in Ricciardo or Vergne and see how they can do.

It doesn't go with their brand of extreme sports and taking risks and I believe by being so desprete to hold on to stability Red Bull may cost themselves next years constructors title
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
I know the argument that he is nicely settled in the team and that Seb is their number one and they don't want to upset the apple cart but surely the job of a number 2 is to get the results when the number 1 driver fails to - have we seen Webber even looking like he might do that? The one race this year Vettel was truely off form was Germany and Webber didn't do his job and hold the opposition off - he was beaten by both Hamilton and Alonso. In Japan a few weeks ago when Vettel backed of so he's get the title was Webber around to make it a good result for Red Bull? No. You have to say if you're Jamie Alguersuari or Sebastian Buemi, who both have had pretty good seasons, the thought that you're going to lose your seat at Toro Rosso whilst Webber keeps his drive at Red Bull must be a slap in the mouth. How can either do any worse than Mark has this season? Why not risk one of them for a season or even chuck in Ricciardo or Vergne and see how they can do.

That is very true, I am quite baffled why Red Bull have contracted Webber for next year, he has done a very poor job, two 2nd places in a car that's won 10 grand prix's come on, that is poor. What is the point in those two Toro Rosso drivers? You have nothing to lose to throw one of them into the Red Bull they are in my opinion bound to at least match or do a better job than Webber has this season, instead it looks as if both are going to be replaced next season.
 

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
It doesn't go with their brand of extreme sports and taking risks and I believe by being so desprete to hold on to stability Red Bull may cost themselves next years constructors title

With so many more points for a win red Bull seem to think it works for them just focusing on one driver winning and getting what they can with the other.

That is very true, I am quite baffled why Red Bull have contracted Webber for next year, he has done a very poor job, two 2nd places in a car that's won 10 grand prix's come on, that is poor. What is the point in those two Toro Rosso drivers? You have nothing to lose to throw one of them into the Red Bull they are in my opinion bound to at least match or do a better job than Webber has this season, instead it looks as if both are going to be replaced next season.

That makes sense, but perhaps Red Bull just think that they're not ready yet. They'll have a lot of data on the drivers to compare them to Webber. From the outside it looks like Webber had a pretty bad season in what's supposed to be the fastest car on the grid, but is he really that much slower than Vettel or just not given the same opportunities as him within the team and done the best possible with what he had?
 

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
Could it be something as simple as mark being a known quantity until some of the more major players become available at the end of next year?

Why tie up an unproven prospect for a couple of years and miss an opportunity for someone like Lewis or nico?

Just a thought.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
That makes sense, but perhaps Red Bull just think that they're not ready yet. They'll have a lot of data on the drivers to compare them to Webber. From the outside it looks like Webber had a pretty bad season in what's supposed to be the fastest car on the grid, but is he really that much slower than Vettel or just not given the same opportunities as him within the team and done the best possible with what he had?

I think he's been given the same oppurtunities, he gets to pick his strategies fight for pole and wins, has the same car. Is he that much slower than Vettel? Well the results speaks for themselves, the only time I remember him being on pace with Vettel or performing better was China (where fresher tyres where more of a bonus), Silverstone, Valencia and Nurburgring, Cider and Toast posted on here who has got the most points for their team, Webber's points percentage is just ahead of Massa's who is clearly Number 2.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
From the outside it looks like Webber had a pretty bad season in what's supposed to be the fastest car on the grid, but is he really that much slower than Vettel or just not given the same opportunities as him within the team and done the best possible with what he had?

But for that to be the case then Red Bull will have had to have had a serious attitude change towards their drivers since last season - and if that was the case with all the complaining about it we got from Webber in 2010 surely we'd have heard far more about it this season from him?

You can't tell me that someone who was so publicly vocal over Seb being shown favouritism last year would suddenly sit quiet and take being relegated to total and complete number 2 this year? I think the lack of talk from Webber on that this season just shows that he knows like everyone else he's had and awful season.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
Excellent post Ras, but can I just clear one thing up.

1986 saw Prost win the title whilst his world champion team-mate Keke Rosberg.....finished a lowly 6th in the championship - not even coming close to a victory.

Keke was over 30 seconds out front in the lead at Australia 86 and was going to quite easily claim victory in that race, however, he suffered a puncture and blowout right before Mansell, and for obvious reasons the Mansell puncture is all anybody remembers from that GP.

The McLaren was also incredibly ill-suited to Rosberg's driving style and as soon as they tailored the car to his liking he grabbed Pole at Hockenheim.

As for Webber, I've said on several occasions that it's an absolute shame that the only driver that we can fairly compare Seb with is Mark. And the gap is widening. Vettel's getting better while Webber has clearly peaked.

Red Bull can't really expect to have the type of dominance they've had this season next year can they? Surely they are not cocky enough to think that.

I fear they will, and I don't see any reason why they shouldn't be.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
Could it be something as simple as mark being a known quantity until some of the more major players become available at the end of next year?

Why tie up an unproven prospect for a couple of years and miss an opportunity for someone like Lewis or nico?

Just a thought.

But then you can argue why do they spend millions of pounds on the young driver programme but not put them into their main cars, they have at least 4 young drivers waiting in the wings for that seat, two of them have at least more than 2 seasons of experience.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Why tie up an unproven prospect for a couple of years and miss an opportunity for someone like Lewis or nico?

Why not bung the unproven prospect in for a year contract? you telling me Alguersauri and co would turn down a deal with Red Bull just because it was a year contract? I don't reall see what they'd lose - they couldn't do much worse than Webber this year and if they turn out to be hot property then they're already in the seat.

Keke was over 30 seconds out front in the lead at Australia 86 and was going to quite easily claim victory in that race, however, he suffered a puncture and blowout right before Mansell, and for obvious reasons the Mansell puncture is all anybody remembers from that GP.

I wasn't aware of that Keke as pre-1990 F1 I've only read about rather than witnessed so apologies to Mr Rosberg if I did him an injustice. My point remains though that you can't compare him to this years Webber situation anyway due to the fact that the Mclaren was not the fastest car in the field for the majority of races and certainly didn't enjoy the dominance this years Red Bull does.

Maybe I'm an optimist but I believe Ferrari and Mclaren have finally woken up to the fact they need to get their cars quick out the blocks and not rely on development through the season and that although Red Bull might be the front runner next year they won't hae quite the lead they did this year.
 

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
Agreed, Sly, but maybe they are unsure of the pipeline, unsure of their current drivers position going forward, or maybe they are just trying to keep in sync with the market, so they can indirectly have some say in who goes where, in case one of their targetted young prospects signs for another team.

One thing is certain though, I am sure that there is a very good reason, whether we know it or not. Despite mark webbers performances this year being behind sebs, they have wrapped up the wcc with three races to spare, and will have a good chance of doing so next year if the car is good, besides, I think mark knows which side his bread is buttered, and is where he is because he is unlikely to worry the team too much without needing to be labelled a number two (although I suppose there have been a couple of issues...)
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
I think there are several things to consider here.

Mark came close to winning the title last year so he's not that bad a driver at the end of the day.

Seb, after struggling to come to terms with being a front runner last year has really hit his groove this season and it's always hard for a team mate to compete when he's up against that level of talent.

Most of the top name drivers are tied up for next year so the 2011/12 silly season has been pretty quiet. Why let Mark go now when you have a proven quantity in the team who brings home the points. Does it really matter that he hasn't won a race this season. He's been the perfect team driver with consistant finishes and lets face it Red Bull have the World Drivers Champion and are World Constructors Champions with 3 races to go. What more can they ask for?

I think it's clear that Mark's hasn't got the speed left in him to have another crack for the title but as a foil for Vettel he's just the job.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
I don't think he's doing the job a number 2 in that team should be doing though. He's not beating Vettel and I'm not holding that against him but he's not beating the other rivals around him either. Alonso who has been in the 3rd quickest car for the majoirty of the season has finished in front of Webber 8 times this year. He's only beaten both Mclaren's on 4 occasions this year - and he's only given Red Bull 2 1-2 finishes. In a more competitve year a number 2 driver on that form is exactly what would cost the team the constructors championship.

I've never denied that Mark had talent - last year he was fantastic and he did well the year before but this year he's been a shadow of his former self and I think its a folly to keep him for next year.

C_a_T - put yourself in the place of Jamie Alguersauri or Sebastian Buemi - You've both had your best season in F1 and the chances are you won't have a drive next year - the same employeers employ Mark Webber who's just had probably his worst season ever and he's been given a year contract extension. Wouldn't be chuffed would you?
 
I thought i'd add my thoughts in this thread.

I don't see what Alguersauri and Buemi have done to deserve Webber's seat (Please read to the end before judging this post.).

Alguersuri was almost fired after the first 6 races. He's done alright since then, but where was he up to Monaco inclusive? (He's been inconsistent.)

Buemi was better in those 6 races but he hasn't exactly lit the world on fire since. (He's been inconsistent.)

Back to Webber...

Newey knows Webber. Up until the Spring of 2011, Webber was about 1 to 1-and-a-half 10ths off Vettel. In an age where there's no testing and in an age where Newey's team is bringing up upgrade after another, a guy of Webber's experience and here-to-fore-speed-vs-Vettel is valuable for Newey. They can, basically, experiment with two known drivers of virtual equal speed during Practice, etc.

I don't see Alguersauri or Buemi bringing that to Newey's table.

If ALG/BUE were that great, they would be having other team managers knocking down their doors.

We won't know this until 10 to 20 years from know but Vettel could end up being one of the All Time Greats. If so, then Webber being 2-tenths of Vettel isn't shabby, frankly.

Newey is the key at RBR and he likes Webber, Webber's speed and Webber's feedback...and that's about the only thing that counts.

And, o, Webber over-took Alonso on the outside of Eau-Rouge and twice in Singapore...so RBR can't question his committment. The hunger is still there and Mateschitz is a known fan.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Webber is the perfect second driver as far as the team are concerned.

He's not going to challenge Vettel in pursuit of the WDC, yet brings home enough points to secure the WCC.

Why would Red Bull want to change that?
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
I don't see what Alguersauri and Buemi have done to deserve Webber's seat (Please read to the end before judging this post.).

We can argue what has Webber done to deserve his seat?

Alguersuari has had a great second half of the season poor in the first half, Buemi's been consistent, but he's had bad luck in the second half of the season.

I don't think Webber is a car developer, you say that Webber is 2 tenths behind Vettel is not too shabby, but in the race, he is way off, instead he's fighting with the lower McLaren and the two Ferrari's.

As Ras' says, if it was a more competitive field (car wise) Webber's contribution to the constructors points would be a let down. Vettel's driving great, Webber the opposite, there's lots of drivers on the grid who would be hungry for that seat that can do the same job as Webber, that can cost less, and could be a promising talent and take over from Vettel once Vettel leaves.
 
We can argue what has Webber done to deserve his seat?

As I said, there's something about the way Newey operates that makes him value Webber's contribution and relative speed.

I think there's a lot of 'stuff' going on with Newey's design team. They're experimenting a lot in Practice 1, 2, 3 and even in Q1 and - at the extreme - Q2.

That means it's vital for Newey to have two guys of very equal/near equal speed to benchmark off each other during those experiments.

How does Newey know if ALG or BUE are going to be consistently within 1 to 2 tenths of Vettel?

He doesn't.

What Newey does know is:
1. ALG has been inconsistent

2. BUE hasn't been very consistent

3 WEB is within 1 to 2 10ths of, arguably, the fastest driver on the Grid. And that's valuable info for Newey to have when he's trying to evaluate one development vs another or this upgrade vs that upgrade in an era when there's no in-season testing.

Does anyone here on CTA know what's going on at Red Bull Technologies and Webber's contriution to Newey?

No. None of us do.

What we do know is that Newey has consistently said good things about Webber in interviews...So far be it for someone like me to question Webber's value to Newey's design team.

In a recent interview Vettel thanked Webber's contribution to the team and i'm quite sure he knows the exact reason why he said it and it was probably along the lines of 'thanks for the feedback/input into developments' as opposed to 'thanks for not being as fast as me'...

Lastly, Webber's got balls. To take Alonso on the outside of Eau Rouge shows absolute committment and hunger (as well, of course, as trust in ALO) so I don't think RBR can question Webber's balls, committment and hunger at all.

I think there's something about Webber and Newey that punters don't see.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Ray loves Webber's balls LOL

I do see your point Ray and he probably does bring more than we see etc but I just don't think it fits in with the policy Red Bull have been running. How many young drivers have been turfed out of their young driver scheme for not producing the goods? Sebastian Bourdais was he given a fair chance? Webber has failed with his result this year yet Red Bull have rewarded him with an extended contract.

Just doesn't seem to fit in with their brand
 
Red Bull have gotten rid of a lot of young drivers over the past several years. Some of them before F1 like Hartley and Zaugg and Armemuller and the like. They're from all over the planet...Australia, South Africa, Germany.

I fear that Alguersauri and Buemi might not be good enough either.

If i'm eyeing a young driver for my team I wouldn't touch Alquersauri or Buemi right now. I'd go Perez, di Resta and the like. Possibly Hulkenberg. Possibly.

PS

I actually prefer women, so, no I don't like Webber's balls. :D They're obviously BIG. Mateschitz thinks so. He basically said so. Said he's "a man of steel":whistle:
 
Top Bottom