Mark Webber can become the first Australian to lift the F1 World Drivers' Championship trophy in exactly three decades in 2010, reckons Alan Jones – the last man to successfully clinch the crown for his country all the way back in 1980.
The land Down Under boasts a chequered roll call of F1 talent throughout the official history of the top flight, with triple title-winner Sir Jack Brabham and Jones himself having conquered the world, but Webber aside, the other 13 drivers to have attempted to make the grade having all come up short.
The New South Wales native might be the first of his countrymen to compete at the highest level since David Brabham back in 1994, but he is also the third-most successful Aussie of all time in the sport – and having finally broken through in registering his first two grand prix victories with Red Bull
Racing in Germany and Brazil in 2009 en route
to fourth spot in the final title standings, Jones contends that the man from Queanbeyan is now ready to go all the way.
“He's already displayed that he's got the speed, he's got the stamina, he's very fit and he's very consistent,” the 63-year-old told Speedcafe.com.au
, appropriately enough on Australia Day. “They're the things you need for a championship.
“Winning your first race is certainly a terrific morale-booster, and I believe that Mark drove with a lot more confidence after he won his first grand prix. He had a handle on what to do and, providing Red Bull
give him a good car this year – which I think they will – he's well set at having a crack at the championship.”