Mark Webber has laughed off rumors that he may retire at the end of the season, telling WA Today that “it starts and stops with me.”
“It’s completely obvious that I’m not at the start of my career any more, but I’m also achieving some very good results. While I continue to do that and while I enjoy my work, I’ll continue.
“Whether I was born in 1976 or 1986 is irrelevant.”
The Australian driver has just one year left on his Red Bull contract, and as he continues to be outshone by teammate Sebastian Vettel, many believe he could be dropped by the team at the end of the season. Webber acknowledged Vettel’s immense talent, but he believes that he can match the three-time champion.
“Seb is obviously off the back on an incredible run and he’ll absolutely be a contender for the win. We know that. It’s completely obvious with how well he’s been driving.
“But there’s certainly no reason why I can’t put together a very good weekend as well, which is what we’ve seen with the testing so far. I’ve been very quick and very comparable, so that’s been good.”
Red Bull struggled in winter testing, finishing as the seventh quickest team, but Webber is feeling positive for his home race in one week’s time. It will be important for him to start the season strongly if he is to compete for the championship this year.
MotorSportsTalk continues its review of the Verizon IndyCar Series field, driver-by-driver, with a look at Ryan Briscoe. Despite not having a ride to start the year, Briscoe ended strongly courtesy of a series of strong runs at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Ryan Briscoe, No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
- 2014: 11th Place, Best Finish 4th, Best Start 4th, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.6 Avg. Finish
- 2015: 18th Place (8 starts), Best Finish 5th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-5, 4 Top-10, 10 Laps Led, 17.8 Avg. Start, 12.0 Avg. Finish
For those who slag on Briscoe as being undeserving of top level equipment, his 2015 second half provided a friendly reminder of his overall ability level in what might be less than the best machinery.
Briscoe was thrust into the No. 5 car under trying circumstances to begin with, getting all of an hour’s worth practice replacing the injured James Hinchcliffe ahead of the Indianapolis 500. But subsequent drives on the ovals there, Texas, Fontana, Milwaukee and Iowa – even if the results were less than ideal – showcased a driver determined to show to the paddock he still had it, and then some. His defense against Juan Pablo Montoya in Sonoma was nothing short of brilliant, and courtesy of double points he actually finished ahead of full-season driver Stefano Coletti.
The Australian immediately gelled with the SPM team, engineer Allen McDonald and race strategist Robert Gue. He continues to prove he’s an asset, as he has enjoyed multiple opportunities to extend his career in various arenas of motorsport in both open-wheel and sports cars, the latter of which he won at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with Corvette Racing this year.
Following an early retirement for Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton has closed even more on his third Formula 1 World Championship.
View it above in the race recap from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix.