Skip to main content

Webber vows to challenge champion teammate Vettel in 2012

February 27, 2012 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Australian driver Mark Webber has been with the Britain-based Red Bull team for five seasons.
Australian driver Mark Webber has been with the Britain-based Red Bull team for five seasons.
  • Mark Webber wants to challenge teammate Sebastian Vettel for the F1 world championship
  • Webber watched as Vettel became F1's youngest double world champion last season
  • The 2012 season begins with Webber's home grand prix in Australia on March 18
  • The 35-year-old's contract with Red Bull expires at the end of this season

(CNN) -- Mark Webber could have been forgiven for feeling like a guest at someone else's party during the 2011 Formula One season, looking on as his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel charged to a second consecutive world championship.

The Australian finished third in the drivers' standings -- a massive 135 points behind his German teammate after winning just one race all year, at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 35-year-old, who is entering the final year of his Red Bull contract, wants to push on from November's victory and challenge for a first drivers' championship when the new season begins next month.

"I had a pretty strong finish last season but unfortunately it was not the best of starts," Webber, who is entering his 11th season in the elite division of motorsport, told the official F1 website.

Female driver fires up NASCAR series

Danica Patrick enters world of NASCAR
The fascination with Danica Patrick

"So for 2012 I want to have a good start, keep it together in the middle part and have a good finish. And then let's count up the points."

Webber watched as Vettel won 11 of 19 grands prix last year to become F1's youngest double world champion.

The former Williams driver is convinced the championship will be closer in 2012, with rival teams Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes all looking to reign in back-to-back constructors' champions Red Bull.

"We know that Mercedes need to win races this year, Ferrari would like to win races this year, McLaren want to win and we want to win. So let's go to Melbourne to find out.

"Last year it was never just the two Red Bull drivers. It's true Sebastian had a fantastic season last year, but in 2010 everything was much closer. And I think it is the goal to bring it back to that at least."

For the second year running the season will begin with Webber's home grand prix in Australia. He has yet to win in Melbourne, with his best result being fifth in 2005 and 2011.

For 2012 I want to have a good start, keep it together in the middle part and have a good finish
Mark Webber

"Irrespective of where the first race is, I want to win it and I am really excited to start the season," he said.

"Sure there is a bit more tension at the home race, but in the car you do your thing wherever you are. I am not going to let anything distract me in Melbourne. That is the plan."

Whether 2012 will be Webber's final year with the Austrian-owned Red Bull team remains to be seen, but he is determined to focus on achieving results on the track.

"When you are in front in Formula One you are always under intense scrutiny. Every corner is analyzed. If teams don't like a driver's style or discipline it does not matter who is waiting in the wings -- you are out anyway," he said.

"Teams will always look at what's best for them as drivers are a huge part of the team. I respect that and will focus on 2012 in this fashion."

Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
May 21, 2014 -- Updated 1459 GMT (2259 HKT)
Caterham F1 reserve driver Alexander Rossi takes you on a tour of the Monaco racing circuit.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
May 1, 2014 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN ARABIC BY SUHEIL HOWAYEK: (FILES) Brazilian F1 driver Ayrton Senna adjusts his rear view mirror in the pits 01 May 1994 before the start of the San Marino Grand Prix. Senna died after crashing in the seventh lap. Some 45 drivers, including Senna and Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, have been killed during Formula One races whose tracks are dubbed by some as the 'circuits of death.' AFP PHOTO/JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU (Photo credit should read JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1516 GMT (2316 HKT)
Just four F1 drivers turned up to Roland Ratzenberger's funeral after his death during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix on April 30 1994.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
For a championship with a distinctly Iberian streak, it is no surprise that South America should be high on MotoGP's list of territories to conquer.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Susie Wolff, pictured, will become the Formula One's first female competitor in 20 years when she takes part in the first practice sessions at the British and German grands prix in July.
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.