Mark Webber has sympathized with Nico Rosberg’s current struggle in Formula 1 as the German driver continues to lose ground on Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.
Rosberg (pictured with Webber in 2013) retired from last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix with three laps remaining, which combined with Hamilton’s victory saw the gap at the top of the standings swell to 53 points.
With seven races remaining in the 2015 season, Rosberg is facing an increasingly difficult task to claw his way back into contention and deny his teammate a third championship.
However, he is not alone in his struggle. Webber came close to winning the drivers’ title with Red Bull back in 2010, only to lose out to teammate Sebastian Vettel at the final race of the year.
The Australian struggled to put up any kind of fight in 2011, winning just a single race as Vettel romped to his second world title.
Speaking to Reuters earlier this week, Webber sympathized with Rosberg, saying that picking yourself up after a near-miss was a big challenge.
“The year after is probably the hardest,” Webber said. “In my personal opinion it was.
“Lewis is completely on fire at the moment with how the cars are now and next year is going to be a tall order for Nico to get the high ground.
“Lewis is going to finish the end of the year as a three-times world champion and then it’s in his court to keep that drive and hunger going.”
Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.
“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”
Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.
The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.
Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.
Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.
Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.
Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.
Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”