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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Bravo Mr Webber

In this day and age of political correctness, PR consultant lead corporate robo-speach, we still find some drivers who are not afraid to speak their minds. And thank god for that. Winess one BMW-Williams driver Mark Webber who is apparently unafraid to pour scorn on team mate Antonio Pizzonia. You can read the stories here on PlanetF1 and here on

Mark is quoted as saying that Pizzonia "has been lying" and that "he's a loser." Harsh words and perhaps not the sort of thing corporate BMW or even Claire Fiorani of HP wants to hear. One wonders why Mark reacted so strongly to Pizzonia's allegations that during their time together at Jaguar, Mark was given preferential treatment. It is alleged that this biasness on the part of Jaguar was what had caused Antonio's less than stellar performance with the Milton Keynes based outfit leading to his dismissal after the British Grand Prix.

Accusations of preferential treatment in a team is nothing new. Alain Prost accused Senna of hijacking the McLaren team to his own detriment during the 1989 season when the two were team mates. Ayrton acted with aplomb. He basically said nothing. Perhaps it was true, but I've never really known McLaren to be unequal in their treatment of drivers especially where equipment is concerned. Perhaps Alain was simply unhappy that the young pretender was usurping "his" team. Well, Alain himself has been guilty of being political. Just ask Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg. A case of can't swallow his own medicine.

If one looks at Eddie Irvine, well, everyone knows that Michael Schumacher gets preferential treatment at Ferrari and Irvine himself lets everyone know of this fact. Michael's reaction, like Senna, is to neither confirm nor deny this fact. He just shuts the hell up. Well, Schuey is a very shrewd competitor on and off the track. His silence is made up by the fact that he simply pulverizes the competition on the track and quite rightly, his actions speak louder than words. Rather like the Queen, Michael keeps his dignity and maintains a regal silence, without feeling to justify a reponse to those beneath him.

So why did Mark react the way he did? Perhaps he didn't want to be known as a politician-racer, unlike his good friend, the seven times world champion. Here is a person that perhaps needs the world to know that he beat his team mate fair and square and is very much concerned about how others see the means by which he achieved those results. As opposed to merely pointing to the ends and justifying any means. A straight shooter perhaps, our man Mark.

Quite frankly he doesn't need such responses because there are plenty who believe he is simply a superior driver to almost all of them out there. His bosses Frank and Patrick among them. After all he did drive better than Antonio during their time at Jaguar and he did beat a BMW-Williams driving Antonio whilst driving a Jaguar this year. Case closed I would imagine. Honestly speaking I don't really know why Frank is even considering Antonio for a race drive next year. He's a good tester and its a mistake to choose him to race. When Ralf got back in the car after his injury, he was clearly much quicker than Antonio in the Williams. Antonio is sub standard.

So there really isn't much to say about this at the end of the day. While I feel there was no need for his comments, I applaud Mark Webber's honesty (and bravery). He is already becoming like his predecessor, Juan Pablo Montoya, another man who doesn't mince his words. As for his bosses, I think they don't really care what Mark says, so long as he whips the competition on the track. Williams' sponsors though might have a word or two about it with him, but who really cares about what these corporations think anyway. It ain't about them.

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