After 12 seasons and nine wins in his distinguished Formula One career, and with his experience as the principal with GP3 team MW Arden, Mark Webber knows all about successful racing teams. But what would his own perfect team look like? Here, the old Red Bull hero mulls over the opponents and team-mates who have helped shape his career and comes up with his idea of the ideal F1 team.
My drivers: Fernando Alonso and Mitch Evans
Fernando is the most complete single-seater driver in the world
What a blend of experience and awesome talent; a man I’ve raced hard against in F3000 and F1, and another driver of exceptional ability that I co-manage.
Fernando is the most complete single-seater driver in the world. He has amazing versatility and has proved himself over several sets of regulations. Considering how hard he races, he also produces the fewest mistakes by far.
Mitch would absorb all that experience. He’s had an exceptional junior career, is incredibly fast, Alonso-esque in racing situations and more capable than most to go toe-to-toe at the pointy end. Both are a similar size and weight which Adrian (Newey) would require and they’re hungry, determined and fiery. The perfect line-up.
My team principal: Roger Penske
Without question, he’s the man. Roger is passionate, a straight shooter and has an awesome moral compass. The drivers I know who have raced for him can’t fault his methods.
My chief designer: Adrian Newey
My all-time favourite F1 car is Adrian’s – the Williams FW14B
Adrian’s exceptional at knowing what areas to focus on and the best at communicating with drivers on maximising car potential. Generally, his cars are all attractive except when regulations dictate ugly features. My best memories are the RB6, which had phenomenal predictability, and my all-time favourite F1 car is another of Adrian’s – the Williams FW14B. F1 at its purest.
My race engineers: Pat Symonds, Ciaron Pilbeam and Simon Rennie
With Adrian on board, we’d be a magnet for the cream of engineers. I’d have to pick this trio, my ex-engineers, who all have a sensational balance between modern-day practices and an old-school feeling for a driver’s needs.
My dream era: The late 1980s, early 1990s
The cars had big engines and wide tyres, and slipstreamed well
If this team could race in any era, I’d go for the tracks used during those years, plus Sepang, when F1 was a good balance between pure racing and safety. The cars had big engines and wide tyres, and slipstreamed well. Engineers also had scope for design philosophies and my own heroes were plying their trade then.
As a young fan, I remember the high-pitched engines and drivers’ hands working hard at the wheel. The gearboxes were manual, the tracks were more technical due to the variation in kerbs and run-off areas were well-respected.