It almost feels like yesterday, in Australia 2002. It was when Mark Webber entered Formula1, driving in a Minardi. His first race and 5th place. Impressive. OK, drivers retiring in front but still. Not bad for a rookie.
In 2003, he joined Jaguar. It wasn’t the best car but stillmanaged to drive well. What made me like him even more. And support him as a driver. Was a live chat on his official website where you could ask him questions. And he answered one of mine. The question was, does he ever lose his temper. He even wrote a smilie in the answer. He was so nice and after that I was hooked. On the same week there was another chat. This time on the ITV-F1 website, where my question was asked aswell. I will never meet him but at least I have something.
Then in 2004 Jaguar Racing gave fans a chance to ask him a question and he answered 3 of mine (I sent 5) 3 times is not bad. Some people never get the chance to ask their driver anything.
The Williams years wasn’t great at all. Car was unreliable. But he tried his best. For some people that wasn’t enough. There were people that thought maybe he wasn’t that good after all and then stopped being fans. Some fans they were. You can’t expect wins if the car is not there. I heard and read so much BS about him, I stopped caring. They’ll be sorry now.
In 2007 when he joined Red Bull Racing, things were looking much better. Still no wins but patience is a virtue. But then Sebastian Vettel arrived to the team and suddenly he was the number one driver. Why some drivers get that status is beyond me. It’s like the 2nd driver is just there to make up the numbers. Whatever people think about Red Bulls driver policies, the fact is, they have given Mark the opportunity to fight for wins. Even if sometimes it has seemed, they are reluctant to do so. A real shame he haven’t become champion, which he really deserve. It doesn’t mean he’s less of a driver. It just wasn’t meant to be. Winning a championship is overrated anyway.
Now when he decided to leave Formula 1, I’m not that sad. It’s time to move on. I would be more sad if he quit motor sport altogether. There’s been ups and down but I’ve never given up on him. Too bad he’s never got the respect he really deserves. What I’m gonna miss the most is he’s straight to the point attitude and his way with words. Some people don’t like outspoken drivers. They only want to hear what they want to hear. Whatever he said, they saw it as whining. You don’t have to agree but have at least some respect. He’s the reason I kept watching and following the sport. Otherwise I wouldn’t have done it as much.
Maybe when the season is over, sadness will come over me. At least he doesn’t have to listen to team orders to help Vettel any more.
Formula 1 won’t be the same without him.