Mark Webber is confident that the Williams team can return to the front of the Formula One field, despite deciding to leave for Red Bull Racing after a disastrous 2006 campaign.

Webber joined Williams in what he described as a 'dream move' ahead of the 2005 campaign, but the union failed to produce the sort of result talked about by both sides. Tenth place in the points in his first season at Grove suggested better things in future, but the loss of BMW power and a year of unreliability saw the Australian sink to a share of 14th place as Williams produced its worst return in many years.

The frustration was apparent and Webber opted to look elsewhere for 2007, signing with Red Bull Racing - effectively the team he left for Williams in its previous Jaguar Racing guise - to partner David Coulthard. Despite jumping ship, however, Webber believes that Williams will bounce back once its new relationship with Toyota settles down.

"They'll have a lot better year next year - they have to because it just couldn't be any worse than this year," he told The Australian newspaper, "Whether it's as good as they want it to be remains to be seen, however."

Webber, who is back home preparing to start his Pure Tasmania Challenge endurance event today [5 November], admitted that the problems made it hard for him to motivate himself, especially as he repeatedly saw potential points finishes scuppered by mechanical failures.

"It's never ever happened in my career before, but it was tough towards the end because you felt there was not a great deal you could do to make a difference - and that was hard," he explained

As a result of the disappointing 2006 campaign, Webber is hoping that the move to the vibrant Red Bull operation will rejuvenate him, despite Christian Horner's squad tailing off towards the end of the season as it concentrated on its Adrian Newey-designed, Renault-powered RB3.

"There's a lot of pressure inside the team, they want to go and achieve things," Webber said, "They want to make a difference next year, otherwise I wouldn't have gone there. Is it world-beating? Over time, it could be, but I'm absolutely praying that they're going to be one of the finds of the season next year."

 

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