Mark Webber has acknowledged that Red Bull Racing needs to start putting all the pieces of the jigsaw together if it is to successfully fulfil its manifest potential by challenging for the F1 2010 drivers' and constructors' world championship laurels – but the Australian insists he is 'very' confident the energy drinks-backed outfit can do just that.
In terms of out-and-out speed, the Adrian Newey-penned, Renault-powered Red Bull RB6 has been the indisputable benchmark throughout the opening four grands prix of the campaign, with Sebastian Vettel storming to pole position in Bahrain, Australia and China – and Webber completing that raw pace domination with the same result in Malaysia.
However, due to various issues – a faulty spark plug on Vettel's car in Bahrain, a wheel-fixing problem for the young German in Melbourne, some scrappy showings from Webber and a perhaps rather more alarming lack of competitiveness when the rain came down in Shanghai, scene of a commanding breakthrough triumph twelve months previously in torrential conditions – the scoreboard to-date does not reflect what the Milton Keynes-based squad looks to be capable of.
When all has gone to-plan, however, RBR and its two drivers have been peerless, with an unrivalled one-two in Sepang vaulting them firmly back into the title reckoning. Early-season points might have been squandered and the stage might be set for a four-way dogfight between leading contenders Red Bull, McLaren-Mercedes, Ferrari and Mercedes Grand Prix – but Webber is insistent that once it gets its act together, the former can do the business.
“We've got awesome guys at our base and we know what we need to improve on,” the New South Wales native told Crash.net Radio
. “China was a challenging grand prix, and we know we've probably got to improve the car in those sorts of conditions. That is certainly achievable, though, and we can work on those areas to get us clean results on Sundays, which is when the points are awarded.
“You can say one team [is the title favourite] now, and then in two weeks it changes – you could have said Ferrari after Bahrain, and then two weeks later it's McLaren. It moves around weekly, but our goal is to be consistent. We've got a brilliant base – which is a fast car – and Seb and I are asking for the same things from it development-wise, which is good. We're looking forward and we've just got to keep knocking on that door – and those Malaysian results will come our way again.”
Having endured something of a Trains, Planes and Automobiles
style trip back from Shanghai in the wake of the Icelandic volcanic eruption and resultant global travel chaos – including a misplaced passport when he got to Glasgow Airport, causing Webber to quip that 'there was a little bit of extra documentation but they were very nice and they knew I had no other agendas entering the country, so I was let in...a bit of common sense prevailed, which doesn't happen too often these days' – the 33-year-old is now aiming high in this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, what he hopes will not be 'Bore-rain' part two...
“Let's hope it's a good, clean weekend for us and that we get a top result,” he affirmed. “Let's hope the racing is also interesting. The drivers are mindful of the fact that we don't want too many boring grands prix, and we do our best to make the racing interesting because we're trying to race each other – but sometimes it's not that exciting round Barcelona. If we're out in front, obviously, I'm not too bothered about how exciting it is, but it should be a good show.”
One circuit that the man from Queanbeyan is sure will provide 'a good show', finally, is Silverstone's new 'Arena Grand Prix' layout, officially inaugurated by HRH The Duke of York last week and having drawn a largely positive response from those to have lapped it thus far.