Mike Stevens | Jul 14, 2009

RED BULL BOSS Christian Horner has revealed German GP winner Mark Webber is yet to reach full fitness after breaking his leg and shoulder in November last year.

Webber was involved in a collision with a car while riding a mountain bike during his annual charity event, ruling him out from participating in pre-season testing and jeopardising his preparations ahead of a contract year.

Although Webber managed to make the grid for round one of the season, Horner said that the Australian is still suffering from the after-effects of the accident, making the dominating nature of his victory in Germany even more impressive.

“I don't think he is still at full fitness. He cannot run. He is carrying an extra bit of ballast in his leg which Adrian [Newey] is not too happy about, but I think that he has dealt with the injury,” he said.

“He has very good support and it is not compromising his driving but I don't think he is certainly at the fitness level he was 12 months ago.”

Horner admitted Red Bull was worried by the state of his fitness as a result of the accident, but said his ability to work through his pain “is a testament to his determination and commitment.”

“I think lying in a hospital bed in Tasmania in November, he could never have dreamed about (victory). Certainly we had some concerns because he forgot to tell us that he broke his shoulder as well. So, the comeback that he has had has been remarkable,” he said.

Meanwhile, 1980 World Champion Alan Jones joined the growing chorus paying tribute to Webber, claiming the result was long overdue.

“It is great news; Mark has been in something like 130 Grand Prix and while he has led races in the past hasn’t been able to convert it often through no fault of his own, so it is great to see him break through for the win,” he said.

“I am sure it isn’t going to be the last, and it will give him a big confidence boost for the rest of the year.”

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Jones though believes the task of toppling Brawn’s Jenson Button atop the championship standings may prove difficult at this stage of the season.

“While a championship this year isn’t probable, as Jenson Button would have to make some pretty big mistakes and Webber string together quite a few wins for it to happen at this point, it will certainly set him up well for next year,” he said.

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