Mark Webber is confident he can put together a 'good' weekend in front of his home fans in Australia and feels Red Bull Racing will definitely once again be in the 'ballgame'.
Webber has yet to finish on the rostrum at Albert Park, and while he did get a fourth place last year in Melbourne, he will be hoping to go at least one better next Sunday when the 2013 F1 season gets underway.
Speaking ahead of the first race, Webber told WA Today
that he was more than happy with his pre-season tests, although he knows team-mate and three-time F1 world champion, Sebastian Vettel will again be very strong.
“Seb is obviously off the back on an incredible run and he'll absolutely be a contender for the win [in Australia]. We know that. It's completely obvious with how well he's been driving. But there's certainly no reason why I can't put together a very good weekend as well, which is what we've seen with the testing so far," Webber remarked.
“I've been very quick and very comparable, so that's been good. So, yeah, we're in the ballgame. I'm just looking forward to getting in the car and doing that bit [driving] rather than all the other stuff [talking about it]. Testing's good, but we just want to get racing now.”
So how important is it for him to get on the podium on home soil?
“I've been on the podiums at most tracks around the world and have won at quite a few circuits and Melbourne is one which I would like to add to that,” he admitted in Red Bull Racing's pre-Australia preview release. “I really enjoy driving at the track, the atmosphere is fantastic.
“In general the people of Australia love the Grand Prix and are excited to have a world class event there. I'm proud when we go there with F1 as an industry and that we put on such a great event.
“Of course I want to go there and perform well, so I'll be focusing on myself to get the job done. The champagne will taste a little bit better in Melbourne if I get on the podium there.”
Meanwhile, Webber has reiterated again that he is not going into this year thinking it could be his last in the top flight.
“No, I'm not,” insisted the 36-year-old, who is now the oldest driver on the grid. “It's completely obvious that I'm not at the start of my career any more, but I'm also achieving some very good results. While I continue to do that and while I enjoy my work, I'll continue. Whether I was born in '76 or '86 is irrelevant.”
“It starts and stops with me [whether I can race in 2014],” he continued. “You always have to perform, especially when you're aiming for podiums in this game and it's no different this year. So I'm going to go out and enjoy my racing this year, but still obviously with that steely determination to make sure that we make every opportunity count and continue to do well.”