Webber: We're all in the same boat with Korea track, so get on with it
Australian expects grip to be a problem at new circuit as he looks to move a step closer to first championship
Friday 22 October 2010
Mark Webber is relaxed about the impact of the unfamiliar Yeongam track on the race for the Formula One championship. The South Korean International Circuit is hosting the country's first Grand Prix this weekend and has been cleared for action unusually close to the date of the race itself, leading to criticism from Bernie Ecclestone, but Webber is unperturbed.
"It's a new venue, and we've good simulation tools to understand what we expect to a certain point," said the championship leader. "The big unknown is what sort of grip level the track will give us in the cockpit, and how the tyres will work.
"Everybody's in the same boat. I think we're all imagining it won't be incredible in terms of grip. It will be a surprise if we have something to play with, but what we will face is not that difficult. It's a clean slate here for everybody. It looks a good venue to have a race on, so let's get on with it."
As calm as Webber is about the track, he knows that a good performance could put him within one race of not only his first championship but the first for Red Bull Racing. "No one knows what is going to happen in the next few races," he said. "We can talk for hours about what we're going to do, what's going to happen, this, that, ra-ra, upside down, inside out, but no one knows.
"All we can do is go out there and do our stuff, although if I win the next two races it's all over anyway, so it's up to me to keep doing what I'm doing. The gap has been edging the right way in the last couple of races so I need to keep on with that. I just have to keep doing my best, and that's the most important thing. If I'm doing that then hopefully the results will take care of themselves."
While Webber might feel under pressure as the points leader, it means that reigning world champion Jenson Button can relax going into the final three races. "I'm just going to go out and enjoy it and see what happens," said Button. "It's not the easiest position for me to be in, [over] 30 points behind, but we are going to give it all we can.
"We've three races to go and 75 points to play for, so it is still possible. But we have to hope we can fight on a level playing field with the Red Bull, and that's our aim."
The hope is that McLaren's car will be more robust than it has proved for most of the 2010 campaign. "As we've seen this season so much has happened with reliability issues, accidents, just very different finishes than what we have expected before a weekend, so I'm still positive," added Button.
"For all of us it's been quite up and down. We've all had some pretty poor events and some pretty good events as well. It's made the championship very exciting, so I'm looking forward to the next three races. I'm sure it's going to be pretty mixed up. If you look at the last few races Ferrari and Red Bull have had the legs on us. But I'm hoping in these next three we'll be closer and that will make for an exciting fight to the end of the season."
Button's McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton shied away from blaming the car for his season so far. "There's some situations that I've been in that were unfortunate and you would have hoped they didn't happen, but they do, and that's character building," he said. "I don't think bad luck really exists – you make your own luck."
McLaren chief engineer Phil Prew agreed with Button's analysis. "We've under-delivered points in the last couple of races. The car has the pace and the potential to be competing, and finishing higher up than we've achieved recently.
"I think our target this weekend is very much to get on the podium – in fact, we need to be in front of Webber. We need two cars at the front, competing for the front row of the grid in qualifying, and then delivering a race result on the podium."
F1 championship race
1. M Webber (Aus) Renault 220pts
2. F Alonso (Sp) Ferrari 206
3. S Vettel (Ger) Renault 206
4. L Hamilton (GB) McLaren-M'des 192
5. J Button (GB) McLaren-Mercedes 189
6. F Massa (Br) Ferrari 128
7. N Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 122
8. R Kubica (Pol) Renault 114
9. M Schumacher (Ger) Mercedes 54
10. A Sutil (Ger) Force India 47
Sunday: South Korean GP (Yeongam)
7 Nov: Brazilian GP (Interlagos)
14 Nov: Abu Dhabi GP (Yas Marina)
All races live on BBC1
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