Mark Webber

Mark Webber

Birth name: Mark Alan Webber
Born: August 27, 1976
Age: 42
Birthplace: Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia
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Biography

Mark Alan Webber AO[1] (born 27 August 1976) is an Australian former professional racing driver, who last competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship as a Porsche works driver in LMP1, in which he won the championship in 2015. Webber won nine Formula One Grands Prix and finished third in the championship in 2010, 2011 and 2013, all of which achieved while driving for Red Bull Racing.

After some racing success in Australia driving Formula Ford and Formula Holden, Webber moved to the United Kingdom in 1995 to further his motorsport career.[2] Webber began a partnership with fellow Australian Paul Stoddart, at that time owner of the European Racing Formula 3000 team, which eventually took them both into Formula One when Stoddart bought the Minardi team. He also beat future F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, then 19, in the 2000 International Formula 3000 season.

Webber made his Formula One debut in 2002, scoring Minardi's first points in three years at his and Stoddart's home race. After his first season, Jaguar took him on as lead driver. During two years with the generally uncompetitive team, Webber qualified on the front two rows of the grid several times and outperformed his teammates. His first F1 win was with Red Bull at the 2009 German Grand Prix,[3] which followed second places at the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix, 2009 Turkish Grand Prix and 2009 British Grand Prix. By the end of 2009, Webber had scored eight podiums, including another victory in Brazil. His eight podiums in 2009 compares with only two podiums in the first seven years of his career. He added ten more podiums in 2010, including victories in Spain, Monaco, Britain and Hungary. Webber finished the 2010 season in third place having led for a long period, losing out to teammate Sebastian Vettel in the final race of the season. Webber added another race victory in the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix, as he once again finished third behind champion Vettel and runner-up Jenson Button. Webber partnered Vettel again in the 2012 season, outperforming him in the early season and looked to be a major title contender but fell away with no wins in the second half of the season after two in the Monaco and British Grands Prix. The latter win turned out to be his final Grand Prix victory. He finished the season in sixth position. Webber was also a long-term director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, the Formula One drivers' union.

On 27 June 2013, Webber announced he would be retiring from Formula One at the end of the season. He began to race for Porsche in 2014, on a long-term deal, racing LMP1 Sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Webber is one of six drivers of the Porsche 919 Hybrid,[4] and in November 2015 he became World Endurance Champion in the #17 car, alongside Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. The trio race with the #1 on their car in 2016. After his retirement from F1 Webber joined the BBC F1 team as an occasional pundit and reporter from 2014-2015 and has joined the Channel 4 F1 Team in the UK for their coverage in 2016 as a full-time pundit.

On 13 October 2016, Webber announced that he would retire from driving at the end of the 2016 season in order to take up a representative role with Porsche and to focus on media roles with Channel 4's coverage of F1 and WEC.

Webber was born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales,[5] son of Alan Webber, a local motorcycle dealer, and his wife Diane. Webber has one older sister, Leanne, and two nieces.[6] He attended Karabar High School in Queanbeyan for his secondary education. He began his relationship with sport at a young age, working as a ball boy for premiership winning rugby league team, the Canberra Raiders, during the late 1980s. However, motorsport was where his interest lay, listing Formula One World Champion Alain Prost and Grand Prix motorcycle racer Kevin Schwantz as his childhood heroes.[7] Starting out racing motorcycles, Webber moved to four wheels in 1991, taking up karting at age 14. He won the New South Wales state championship in 1993, and moved straight to the Australian Formula Ford Championship after his father bought him an ex-Craig Lowndes Van Diemen FF1600. Working as a driving instructor at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway between races, Webber finished 14th overall in his debut season. Continuing in the series in 1995, Webber scored several victories, including a win in the support race for the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide. He finished the series in fourth place, but perhaps more importantly, he teamed with Championship coordinator Ann Neal, who gained him a seven-year sponsorship with Australian Yellow Pages,[2] and would become his manager, accompanying him on a trip to England to try to start a career in Europe.[8]

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Europe

Webber was given a test at Snetterton with the Van Diemen team,[5] and subsequently earned a works drive for the team at the 1995 Formula Ford Festival, at Brands Hatch, where he finished third.[2] That was good enough to prompt the team to signing him for the 1996 championship.[2] Before moving to Europe permanently, Webber won the Formula Holden race at the 1996 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. During the 1996 British Formula Ford Championship, he took four victories on his way to second place overall, finishing a strong season with a win in the Formula Ford Festival. He also won the Spa-Francorchamps race of the Formula Ford Euro Cup, taking third in the series despite competing in only two of the three rounds. His results throughout the year saw him voted as Australian motorsport's "Young Achiever" and "International Achiever" of 1996. Two days after his Festival victory Webber completed a successful test for Alan Docking Racing, and was signed by the team to graduate to Formula Three in 1997.[5]

Formula Three and sportscar racing

"We really struggled with the budget early in the year. Between Dad and Yellow Pages we bought the car but we simply didn't have the money to run it. At one point, we were so behind on payments that we decided to ask David Campese for help. He played union with Dad for the Queanbeyan Whites, so he knew our family well, and if anyone was going to buy into what I was trying to do, we thought it would be him. In the end, he paid something like £50,000, which was just unbelievable, and it meant that we could keep going."

Mark Webber on his 1997 season.[9]

Without the financial backing he had enjoyed during his time in Formula Ford, Webber and his team struggled to find the money to fund their 1997 championship campaign. He was almost forced to quit halfway through the season, but was able to obtain significant financial and personal support from Australian rugby union legend David Campese, which helped him to complete the year. Mark has since stated he has been able to pay back the money Campese gave him.[10]

Webber took victory in just his fourth ever F3 race, at Brands Hatch, leading from start to finish and setting a new lap record in the process. He took a further four podium finishes, including a second place in the support race for the 1997 British Grand Prix, and finished the season in fourth overall. Webber also took strong finishes in the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort (3rd) and the Macau Grand Prix (4th), both times making his circuit debut.

During the 1997 season, Webber was approached by Mercedes-AMG to compete in sportscar racing. Although he initially declined the offer he was persuaded at the end of the year when invited to participate in a test session for the team at the A1-Ring in Austria. Mercedes-AMG were suitably impressed with Webber, and he was signed as the official Mercedes works junior driver for the 1998 FIA GT Championship, alongside reigning champion Bernd Schneider. Travelling around the world, including the United States, Japan and Europe, the pair won five of the ten rounds on their way to second in the overall standings, beaten to the Championship by teammates Klaus Ludwig and Ricardo Zonta by just eight seconds in the final race at Laguna Seca. Webber remained with the Mercedes-AMG team for 1999, however his sportscar career came to an early end after he flipped twice on the Mulsanne Straight during practice for the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans race.[2] An aerodynamic fault on the team's Mercedes-Benz CLRs caused Webber to become spectacularly airborne during both practice and race-day warm up, with the same fate befalling teammate Peter Dumbreck five hours into the race. Both drivers escaped uninjured, but the crashes forced Mercedes to shelve their sportscar program for the year and Webber to reconsider a return to open wheel racing.[11]

Formula One testing and signing

Webber spoke to Formula One team owner Eddie Jordan, who introduced him to fellow Australian Paul Stoddart. Stoddart offered to underwrite the necessary $1.1 million budget for Webber, and gave him a drive in his Eurobet Arrows Formula 3000 team for 2000. As a result, Webber also got his first taste of a Formula One car, completing a two-day test at Barcelona in December 1999 for the Arrows F1 team.

Webber was signed as test driver for the Arrows F1 team for 2000, and also gained sponsorship from Australian beer company Foster's whilst competing in Formula 3000.[12] Webber took victory in round two of the season at Silverstone, and finished the series with two fastest laps and three podiums on his way to third overall—the highest position of any rookie that year.[13] Contract issues meant that Webber was never able to drive the Arrows A21 car, and rejected a full contract offer for 2001 in July. However, he was offered a three-day evaluation test for Benetton at the end of the year, outpacing F1 drivers Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella at Estoril.[14] The results were good enough to earn him the test driver role with the team for 2001, and he also agreed to take on team boss Flavio Briatore as manager in return for finance for a further F3000 season. Webber joined the championship-winning Super Nova Racing team, and despite winning at Imola, Monaco and Magny-Cours, he finished second overall to British driver Justin Wilson.[15] Webber was replaced as test driver for Benetton for 2002 by Fernando Alonso, but Briatore managed to secure Webber a contract to race alongside Alex Yoong in the Stoddart-owned Minardi team, making him the first Australian in Formula One since David Brabham in 1994.[5]

Formula One career

Minardi (2002)

The Porsche 919 Hybrid Webber drove in the World Endurance Championship

In 2013 Webber announced his return to sportscar racing, racing for Porsche as one of their drivers for the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship as the marque returned to the top category of sportscar racing after a 16-year absence. Driving the Porsche 919 Hybrid Webber finished his first World Endurance Championship race in third at the 2014 6 Hours of Silverstone two laps behind the winning Toyota. At Le Mans, although still running at the finish, the team were thirty three laps down and were therefore listed as Not Classified. Two more third-place finishes followed at Fuji and Bahrain. At the 6 Hours of São Paulo, Webber's Porsche took pole position, but was involved in a heavy crash towards the end of the race whilst passing the Ferrari of the 8 Star Motorsports team. Webber's car split in two, but he avoided serious injury. Webber therefore finished his first season in 9th place.

In November 2015 he became World Endurance Champion in the #17 car, alongside Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. The trio raced with the #1 on their car in 2016.

On 13 October 2016, Webber announced that he would retire from driving at the end of the 2016 season in order to take up a representative role with Porsche.[128]

Outside motorsport

Webber lives in the Buckinghamshire village of Aston Clinton with his partner Ann Neal.[129][130] Outside motorsport, Webber enjoys "most outdoor pursuits" including road cycling, mountain biking, tennis and fitness training. He has won the annual F1 Pro-Am tennis tournament in Barcelona three times (2002, 2004 and 2005) and was also runner-up to Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003.[131][132] Webber is an avid rugby league football fan, supporting the Canberra Raiders,[133] as well as being a football fan, supporting English Championship club Sunderland.[134] His favourite musical acts are Pink, Oasis, INXS, Dizzee Rascal, U2 and Feeder.[134][135]

Webber is also a keen fan of motorcycle racing, and has made several trips to the Isle of Man TT Races.[136] On Saturday 2 June 2012, he was a guest at the Superbike TT, and was on hand to congratulate his close friend John McGuinness as he secured victory, and his 18th Isle of Man TT triumph.[137]

In July 2015, Mark Webber released his long-awaited autobiography, Aussie Grit. The book covers his journey from Queanbeyan to the pinnacle of Formula 1 and during his book tour he candidly discusses his relationship with former Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel and how the media portrayed things differently to how they actually were.[138]

Webber supports the North Melbourne Kangaroos in the Australian Football League.[139] In 2017 Webber was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to motor sport as a competitor and ambassador, and to the community through fundraising and patronage of a range of medical and youth support organisations.[1] Since 2017 Webber has been a pundit for the Channel 4 F1 coverage alongside Steve Jones, David Coulthard, Lee McKenzie & Susie Wolff.

Charity Challenge

Route map for Webber's 2003 Challenge

In November 2003, Webber organised and competed in a 10-day trek across Tasmania to raise funds for children's cancer research charities. Starting in Marrawah on the state's west coast, the trek involved 1,000 km of cycling, kayaking and trekking along the southern coast and finished at Coles Bay in the east. Four teams of four competitors each started the trek, with only two teams (including Webber's) completing the entire journey.[140] Along the way, Australian sporting stars Pat Rafter (tennis), Steve Waugh (cricket), Cathy Freeman (athletics), James Tomkins (rowing), Guy Andrews (iron man), and actor Joel Edgerton completed certain parts of the trek. The challenge concluded with a black tie dinner and auction to raise funds. Webber said he was driven to organise the event after the death of his grandfather to cancer, as well as his experiences with friends whose children had battled the disease.[141]

With Webber's switch from Jaguar to Williams at the end of 2004, the challenge was postponed until 2006, when he was able to secure a three-year deal with the Tasmanian Government to hold the event.[142] The 2006 event (now named the "Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge") was held over six days and covered nearly 600 km. Twelve teams competed in the event, and it raised A$500,000 for children's charities.

The 2007 Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge was launched at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne when Webber was joined by sports stars and Kylie Minogue, and Hollywood star Anthony Edwards. The trek was another gruelling physical and mental adventure race about Tasmania in aid of charity but albeit with a new format. Teams competed for honours in two unique categories: the Van Diemen Cup - designed exclusively for corporate teams of four people, and the 2theXtreme Cup - a two-person elite team entry. Both categories trekked, kayaked and cycled alongside each other as they covered approximately 450 km through World Heritage wilderness and along the idyllic coast of the Freycinet National Park. It was held from 17-23 November, and for the first time, one of Webber's fellow Formula One drivers, Heikki Kovalainen, joined him in the challenge.

During the 2008 event, Webber broke his leg when his bike collided with a car.[143] He did not suffer any other injuries, but had a pin inserted into his broken bone.[144] The event was not held in 2009 or 2010[145] but returned for a three-year stint in 2011. It was won in 2011 by Mark Hinder and Mark Padgett.[146] The following year, it was won by Jarad Kohlar and James Pretto [147] and in its final year it was won Richard Ussher and teammate Braden Currie.[148]

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
1994 Australian Formula Ford Championship Mark Webber 16 0 0 ? ? 30 13th
1995 Australian Formula Ford Championship Yellow Pages Racing 16 3 3 ? ? 158 4th
Australian Drivers' Championship Birrana Racing 2 0 0 0 2 32 8th
Formula Ford Festival Van Diemen 1 0 0 0 1 N/A 3rd
1996 European Formula Ford Championship Van Diemen ? ? ? ? ? ? 3rd
British Formula Ford Championship ? ? ? ? ? 113 2nd
Formula Ford Festival 1 1 0 0 1 N/A 1st
Australian Drivers' Championship Ralt Australia 2 1 0 0 1 20 10th
1997 British Formula 3 Championship Alan Docking Racing 16 1 3 1 5 127 4th
Macau Grand Prix 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 4th
Masters of Formula 3 1 0 0 0 1 N/A 3rd
1998 FIA GT Championship AMG Mercedes 10 5 0 0 8 69 3rd
24 Hours of Le Mans 1 0 1 0 0 N/A NC
1999 24 Hours of Le Mans AMG Mercedes 1 0 0 0 0 N/A DNS
2000 International Formula 3000 European Arrows 10 1 0 2 3 21 3rd
Formula One Arrows Test driver
2001 International Formula 3000 Super Nova Racing 12 3 2 3 4 39 2nd
Formula One Mild Seven Benetton Renault Test driver
2002 Formula One KL Minardi Asiatech 17 0 0 0 0 2 16th
2003 Formula One Jaguar Racing F1 Team 16 0 0 0 0 17 10th
2004 Formula One Jaguar Racing F1 Team 18 0 0 0 0 7 13th
2005 Formula One BMW Williams F1 Team 19 0 0 0 1 36 10th
2006 Formula One Williams F1 Team 18 0 0 0 0 7 14th
2007 Formula One Red Bull Racing 17 0 0 0 1 10 12th
2008 Formula One Red Bull Racing 18 0 0 0 0 21 11th
2009 Formula One Red Bull Racing 17 2 1 3 8 69.5 4th
2010 Formula One Red Bull Racing 19 4 5 3 10 242 3rd
2011 Formula One Red Bull Racing 19 1 3 7 10 258 3rd
2012 Formula One Red Bull Racing 20 2 2 1 4 179 6th
2013 Formula One Infiniti Red Bull Racing 19 0 2 5 8 199 3rd
2014 FIA World Endurance Championship Porsche Team 8 0 1 1 3 64.5 9th
24 Hours of Le Mans 1 0 0 0 0 N/A NC
2015 FIA World Endurance Championship Porsche Team 8 4 5 0 6 166 1st
24 Hours of Le Mans 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 2nd
2016 FIA World Endurance Championship Porsche Team 9 4 2 0 6 134.5 4th
24 Hours of Le Mans 1 0 0 0 0 N/A 13th

Complete FIA GT Championship results

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Rank Points
1998 AMG Mercedes GT1 Mercedes-Benz CLK LM Mercedes-Benz M119 6.0L V8 OSC
3
SIL
1
HOC
1
DIJ
11
HUN
1
SUZ
1
DON
1
A1R
2
HMS
4
LAG
2
3rd 69

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
1998 AMG-Mercedes Klaus Ludwig
Bernd Schneider
Mercedes-Benz CLK-LM GT1 19 DNF DNF
1999 AMG-Mercedes Jean-Marc Gounon
Marcel Tiemann
Mercedes-Benz CLR LMGTP 0 DNS DNS
2014 Porsche Team Timo Bernhard
Brendon Hartley
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1-H 346 NC NC
2015 Porsche Team Timo Bernhard
Brendon Hartley
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 394 2nd 2nd
2016 Porsche Team Timo Bernhard
Brendon Hartley
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 346 13th 5th

Complete International Formula 3000 results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 DC Points
2000 European Arrows F3000 IMO
3
SIL
1
CAT
Ret
NUR
Ret
MON
Ret
MAG
16
A1R
4
HOC
3
HUN
9
SPA
16
3rd 21
2001 Super Nova Racing INT
7
IMO
1
CAT
7
A1R
Ret
MON
1
NUR
2
MAG
1
SIL
4
HOC
Ret
HUN
Ret
SPA
Ret
MNZ
Ret
2nd 39

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 WDC Points
2002 KL Minardi Asiatech Minardi PS02 Asiatech AT02 3.0 V10 AUS
5
MAL
Ret
BRA
11
SMR
11
ESP
DNS
AUT
12
MON
11
CAN
11
EUR
15
GBR
Ret
FRA
8
GER
Ret
HUN
16
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
USA
Ret
JPN
10
16th 2
2003 Jaguar Racing F1 Team Jaguar R4 Cosworth CR-5 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
MAL
Ret
BRA
SMR
Ret
ESP
7
AUT
7
MON
Ret
CAN
7
EUR
6
FRA
6
GBR
14
GER
HUN
6
ITA
7
USA
Ret
JPN
11
10th 17
2004 Jaguar Racing F1 Team Jaguar R5 Cosworth CR-6 3.0 V10 AUS
Ret
MAL
Ret
BHR
8
SMR
13
ESP
12
MON
Ret
EUR
7
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
FRA
9
GBR
8
GER
6
HUN
10
BEL
Ret
ITA
9
CHN
10
JPN
Ret
BRA
Ret
13th 7
2005 BMW Williams F1 Team Williams FW27 BMW P84/5 3.0 V10 AUS
5
MAL
Ret
BHR
6
SMR
7
ESP
6
MON
3
EUR
Ret
CAN
5
USA
DNS
FRA
12
GBR
11
GER
NC
HUN
7
TUR
Ret
ITA
14
BEL
4
BRA
NC
JPN
4
CHN
7
10th 36
2006 Williams F1 Team Williams FW28 Cosworth CA2006 2.4 V8 BHR
6
MAL
Ret
AUS
Ret
SMR
6
EUR
Ret
ESP
9
MON
Ret
GBR
Ret
CAN
12
USA
Ret
FRA
Ret
GER
Ret
HUN
Ret
TUR
10
ITA
10
CHN
8
JPN
Ret
BRA
Ret
14th 7
2007 Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB3 Renault RS27 2.4 V8 AUS
13
MAL
10
BHR
Ret
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
9
USA
7
FRA
12
GBR
Ret
EUR
3
HUN
9
TUR
Ret
ITA
9
BEL
7
JPN
Ret
CHN
10
BRA
Ret
12th 10
2008 Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB4 Renault RS27 2.4 V8 AUS
Ret
MAL
7
BHR
7
ESP
5
TUR
7
MON
4
CAN
12
FRA
6
GBR
10
GER
Ret
HUN
9
EUR
12
BEL
8
ITA
8
SIN
Ret
JPN
8
CHN
14
BRA
9
11th 21
2009 Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB5 Renault RS27 2.4 V8 AUS
12
MAL
CHN
2
BHR
11
ESP
3
MON
5
TUR
2
GBR
2
GER
1
HUN
3
EUR
9
BEL
9
ITA
Ret
SIN
Ret
JPN
17
BRA
1
ABU
2
4th 69.5
2010 Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB6 Renault RS27-2010 2.4 V8 BHR
8
AUS
9
MAL
2
CHN
8
ESP
1
MON
1
TUR
3
CAN
5
EUR
Ret
GBR
1
GER
6
HUN
1
BEL
2
ITA
6
SIN
3
JPN
2
KOR
Ret
BRA
2
ABU
8
3rd 242
2011 Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB7 Renault RS27-2011 2.4 V8 AUS
5
MAL
4
CHN
3
TUR
2
ESP
4
MON
4
CAN
3
EUR
3
GBR
3
GER
3
HUN
5
BEL
2
ITA
Ret
SIN
3
JPN
4
KOR
3
IND
4
ABU
4
BRA
1
3rd 258
2012 Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB8 Renault RS27-2012 2.4 V8 AUS
4
MAL
4
CHN
4
BHR
4
ESP
11
MON
1
CAN
7
EUR
4
GBR
1
GER
8
HUN
8
BEL
6
ITA
SIN
11
JPN
9
KOR
2
IND
3
ABU
Ret
USA
Ret
BRA
4
6th 179
2013 Infiniti Red Bull Racing Red Bull RB9 Renault RS27-2013 2.4 V8 AUS
6
MAL
2
CHN
Ret
BHR
7
ESP
5
MON
3
CAN
4
GBR
2
GER
7
HUN
4
BEL
5
ITA
3
SIN
KOR
Ret
JPN
2
IND
Ret
ABU
2
USA
3
BRA
2
3rd 199

‡ Half points awarded as less than 75% of race distance was completed by the winner.
† Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.

Complete FIA World Endurance Championship results

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Rank Points
2014 Porsche Team LMP1 Porsche 919 Hybrid Porsche 2.0 L Turbo V4 (Hybrid) SIL
3
SPA
12
LMS
NC
COA
5
FUJ
3
SHA
6
BHR
3
SÃO
Ret
9th 64.5
2015 Porsche Team LMP1 Porsche 919 Hybrid Porsche 2.0 L Turbo V4 (Hybrid) SIL
Ret
SPA
3
LMS
2
NÜR
1
COA
1
FUJ
1
SHA
1
BHR
5
1st 166
2016 Porsche Team LMP1 Porsche 919 Hybrid Porsche 2.0 L Turbo V4 (Hybrid) SIL
Ret
SPA
26
LMS
10
NÜR
1
MEX
1
COA
1
FUJ
3
SHA
1
BHR
3
4th 134.5

[ Source: Wikipedia ]