Team: Red Bull
Birth date: 27/08/1976
First F1 race: Australian Grand Prix, 2002
2012 points: 179
2012 best finish: 1
2012 championship position: 6
Surrounded by Formula 1’s new generation of racers who’ve been behind the wheel almost as soon as they could walk, Mark Webber is proof there’s still room for experience in modern motorsport.
He got into motor racing at the relatively late age of 14 when he first gave karting a try in his native New South Wales, Australia, before moving to the UK to pursue his career in 1996.
Despite stretching his means to their limits the move paid off, and Webber pushed through from Formula Ford all the way to Formula 3000 in 2001, where a win in Monaco earned the attention of Flavior Briatore. He was given his break in F1 the following year.
And his debut was a stirring success too: despite being in a poor Minardi, he steered the team to fifth place in his home grand prix. It was his only points finish of the season, but it was enough to secure him a step up with Jaguar.
An unsuccessful period with Williams ended in 2009 when he returned to his old team Jaguar, recast as what would become the dominant Red Bull. Unfortunately for Webber, Sebastian Vettel was now also on the scene and quickly established himself as the team’s number one driver. Despite this, Webber pushed Vettel all the way to the final race in the 2010 World Championship.
2011 and 2012 saw the points gap between the two teammates grow, but Webber’s professional and unfussy demeanour has ensured he’s still a force in the Red Bull team. Retirement is on the horizon; here’s hoping Webber goes out on his own terms.
2013 predictions: “I don’t feel the oldest on the grid. You feel you’re the oldest on the grid if you’re back on the grid getting blown away, but that’s my job to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
Did you know? Mark Webber seems keen to stay involved with motorsport even after his driving career ends: he’s already part-owner of GP3 Team MW Arden with Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner.