Mark Webber pays tribute to late Sir Jack Brabham

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Ex-Formula One competitor and Porsche World Endurance Championship driver Mark Webber has penned a touching statement on the loss of three-time F1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, whose death at the age of 88 was confirmed yesterday.

Calling him “the epitome of a champion racing driver,” Webber said that the man known as ‘Black Jack’ was an inspiration to him and his family.

“He provided me with endless support and advice over the years and became a close confidante  – even right up until the last couple of years when, after hearing the rumors that I might move to Ferrari, he told me he would be very disappointed if I went there because for him, it was the absolute betrayal because they were his motivation – the ones he wanted to beat in his day,” Webber wrote on his web site.

The former Red Bull racer also writes that while he couldn’t join Brabham and Alan Jones as Aussie World Champions, he was proud to have made Brabham happy by winning “some of the more prestigious, special Grands Prix”; Webber was a two-time winner of both the Monaco Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix in his F1 career.

He closes his statement in part by telling the surviving Brabhams – Jack’s wife, Margaret, his three sons, and their respective families – that “you are very much in our thoughts at this sad time.”

Sir Jack Brabham became the only driver in F1 history to claim a World Championship in a car of his own creation in 1966. That was the third and last of his titles, with his first two crowns coming in 1959 and 1960 in the Cooper Climax.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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