Mike Stevens | Sep 9, 2010

The likelihood of imminent 'number 1' status for Mark Webber has taken a backwards step.

After the Australian moved further ahead of Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel in Belgium two weeks ago, he suggested the time might be nearing for the team to put its eggs in the Webber basket.

However, the 34-year-old has a tetchy relationship with team consultant Dr Helmut Marko, particularly after the Silverstone front wing saga and Webber's unhappy boast that he is the "number two driver".

So when it was put to Austrian Dr Marko that Webber might now be favoured over Vettel, he told Sportwoche: "A few races ago he (Webber) was demanding more equality!"

Marko is also critical of McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh's post-Belgium comments that Vettel has become F1's "crash kid".

"That's not a fair way for them to fight for the Championship," he commented.



Calder Park Not Eyeing Australian GP

A major redevelopment of Melbourne's Calder Park Raceway is taking place, but owner Bob Jane has played down reports the track could be an alternative host for the Australian Grand Prix.

The plans involve Calder upgrading to FIA standard with some State Government backing, sparking rumours the Australian Grand Prix may no longer be held on the public roads around Albert Park.

"As far as I am concerned, Albert Park is the best venue for the grand prix and I have no plans to have formula one racing out here," Jane, a former touring car driver and owner of Bob Jane T- Marts, is quoted by the Brimbank Leader.

Jane organised non-Championship F1 races at Calder Park between 1980 and 1984, before the World Championship moved to Adelaide and subsequently Melbourne.



Buemi admits targeting Webber's seat for 2012

Sebastien Buemi has admitted he is happy to spend another season at Toro Rosso in order to convince Red Bull that he should be paired with Sebastian Vettel in 2012.

The 21-year-old Swiss will spend a third season with the energy drinks company's Italian-based junior team next year, but is hoping Mark Webber will move on from Red Bull Racing once the Australian's 2011 contract expires.

"My goal is to have a seat at Red Bull, to follow in the footsteps of Sebastian Vettel," Buemi told the Swiss newspaper Le Nouvelliste.

"But first I have to convince the bosses. First of all, it requires good results, because a car like that has to be deserved.

"Today, I am happy to drive a Toro Rosso, with the team that gave me my chance."

He admitted that it is the cockpit currently occupied by Championship contender Webber that is in his sights.

"Admittedly he has had a superb season," said Buemi of the Australian. "But it is a place that could be free for 2012.

"But first it is my task to prove myself," he said



Webber almost quit F1 during Williams days

Now considered a favourite for the 2010 World Championship, Mark Webber has revealed he almost quit Formula One some years ago.

Having impressed at Minardi and Jaguar, the Australian was signed for 2005 by Williams, but the famous British team had concurrently begun its slide from the sport's pinnacle.

"I got pretty low during my time with Williams," admitted the 34-year-old, who subsequently switched to Red Bull.

"I think most people at this level have similar levels of talent and you have to be the one who wants it the most. There was a stage when I didn't," said Webber.

He said his struggle with Williams went beyond a normal period of feeling burned out.

"I think a lot of people may want to throw the towel in at times," said Webber. "But I considered it during my Williams days. That was very tough.

"I lost my motivation for about six months," he explained. "I mean it is not like you are in other sports, where you can take some time off, maybe pick and choose your events."

Even in 2010, winning more Grands Prix than any of his highly rated competitors like Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and teammate Sebastian Vettel, the Herald Sun newspaper said Webber is still enduring a tough time with pain from the leg he badly broke in late 2008.

"I have had a few niggles and dramas, but I won't go into it too much," he confirmed. "No, it is fine."

Webber is signed up with Red Bull for the 2011 season, insisting he does not want to commit further in case the "fire" burns out.

"If I win that World Championship, well, that may do me. I'd be a very content man."


(Photo by Malcolm Griffiths/Getty Images)


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