Mark Webber is hoping to claim his maiden podium in Italy next weekend as he races a Formula One car at Monza for the final time.
The Australian driver confirmed at the British Grand Prix that he would be walking away from the sport at the end of the season in favor of a move to Porsche’s LMP1 programme that will see him race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans next season. However, he is still focused on finishing his F1 career in the best possible fashion, and a podium at Monza will be another achievement chalked off the list.
“I like Monza a lot because it’s very Formula One in terms of its history and its atmosphere,” Webber said. “All of the greats have raced there and I have an affinity with Italians from my Minardi days. The track is one of a kind, it’s an incredibly fast circuit with high top speeds, so there’s a lot of heavy braking.
“Monza has never been that kind to me; I’ve had a few retirements and have never finished on the podium, so I want to get a good result there this year!”
Webber’s best result at Monza is a lowly sixth place in the 2010 race, with the circuit traditionally being a challenge for Red Bull despite their dominance at other tracks. However, the Aussie will be keen on bettering this result in what will also be his final grand prix in Europe.
Toro Rosso chief Franz Tost hopes to see sacked driver Daniil Kvyat return to Formula 1 in the near future, saying the Russian “deserves” a place on the grid.
Toro Rosso dropped Kvyat twice through the 2017 season due to poor form, with his final dismissal coming after the United States Grand Prix in October.
Kvyat is no longer part of Red Bull’s motorsport program and is exploring options both inside and outside of F1 for 2018, and Tost feels he could be energized by some time away before returning.
“I am still convinced that Daniil has a very high natural speed. He was sometimes even faster than Daniel Riccardo, but somehow last year and this year he couldn’t show the potential that is within him,” Tost told the official F1 website.
“He was involved in many incidents, but in his defence I also have to say that he had many reliability issues and that didn’t help build up confidence. Being the victim of too many incidents killed the performance he would have been able to show.
“Maybe a short break – to get organized again – and probably we will see Daniil back at his usual performance level with another team.
“Sometimes he was too aggressive at the beginning of the race. The first corner was his weak point. He wanted too much in the first hundred meters – success by any means!
“That puts you under pressure – unnecessary pressure – and that never works.
“I hope for him that he gets another chance, as I think he deserves to be in F1.”