x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Webber gears up for chase

The Australian driver is 32 points behind Jenson Button and he aims to start closing the gap in Spain.

Mark Webber, in action last month at the Malaysian  Grand Prix, says his Red Bull team have to be more consistent. Paul Gilham.
Mark Webber, in action last month at the Malaysian Grand Prix, says his Red Bull team have to be more consistent. Paul Gilham.

Mark Webber is determined to kick start his bid for Formula One glory this weekend. Other than one pole position in Malaysia, where he finished second to Sebastian Vettel, his Red Bull-Renault teammate, Webber has struggled to make his mark this season. The same can be said for the team as a whole as Vettel and Webber have had the most powerful car, yet failed to make their supremacy count.

Vettel is 15 points behind Jenson Button, championship leader, with Webber 32 adrift, while the Milton Keynes-based team are 36 points off the pace of McLaren-Mercedes in the constructors' standings. Webber knows he and the team have to improve in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix around Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. Asked why the team had so far failed to excel, the Australian replied: "Consistency is the big thing, and that comes with executing clean Sunday afternoons.

"You could write a dossier of where things could be improved, but then so could Ferrari. "There is not one team that has come away from the first four races and said 'Yes, we've left nothing on the table'. "Every team has, and we have, and we are looking to address them as quickly as we can." As for Webber personally, now is the time he has to get his act together if he is going to challenge for the crown.

He has been on the podium only once in the four races to date, but is confident that a run of good results will see him move back up the standings and back into title contention. "We know the points system fluctuates very, very fast, so it can take one weekend," said Webber. "The middle part of the championship last year for me was very, very good, and that is what I am looking to do again, but with a different result at the end.

"I want to keep going and keep finishing." It is that fluctuating championship that has so far resulted in a different leader at the end of the last three races and why Webber feels no team or driver will break away as Brawn GP and Button did last year. "I think it will be pretty tight between all the teams," added Webber. "It is going to be who is doing the most consistent job, but for a team to break away, and of course I hope it is us, it is not going to be easy."

Meanwhile, Button is confident that he can extend his 10-point lead at the top of the title standings in Barcelona. "It is a race I won last year, and I regard it as one of my best victories of the 2009 season," said the world champion. "It's a relatively high-speed circuit, one that's quite enjoyable to drive, provided your car is working properly. "There are some fast corners, but the majority of the track is made up of pretty long corners where you really need the car to do all the work.

"It's a circuit that rewards precision, and punishes aggression, and if you've a car that wants to under-steer, then you're going to have a difficult race. "Fortunately, our car does seem to have a very good neutral balance in the high-speed corners, which is probably the most impressive aspect of the car. "We also went well there during pre-season testing, so I think we go into this weekend feeling pretty well prepared."

* PA