After reports from a Spanish newspaper stated a one-year deal between Australia’s Mark Webber to race for the famous Ferrari F1 team in 2013 surfaced yesterday, the Australian press has been quick to jump on the bandwagon. But the move won’t happen.
It won’t if Formula 1 is anything to go by. These early silly season rumours usually get dismissed by the mid-season and it’s all play again for the best rumour award. But looking at it analytically, there is already little chance this deal will be proven correct. Here is why.
• Ferrari well and truly has its eye on Mexican Sergio Perez. Perez stormed to second place at the Malaysian GP, narrowly missing out on a chance to beat Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. He has always showed serious promise and this was finally the proof he had it in him. He’ s part of Ferrari’s young driver programme and they have invested a lot of money in him. After what will be two years at mid-field Sauber F1, he is ready to make the jump.
• Mark Webber only has one or two more years in him. That’s not such a big deal but it doesn’t make sense to pit him next to Alonso, who is much the same in terms of style, just with more success in his pocket. Ferrari, like Red Bull, will be trying to find the next Alonso rather than placing Webber in the team knowing they only have him for a year or two. If they get a young driver in now he will have years to learn from Alonso. And it gives Ferrari another shot if they get the first choice wrong, that is, Perez turns out to not be able to handle it.
• Webber hates the idea of being number two. He won’t cop it to Sebsatian Vettel, why would he want to cop it to Fernando Alonso? Webber races to win and Ferrari race for a single driver – and it wouldn’t be Mark Webber.
• Ferrari are nowhere. Sure, they might make a comeback next year, or even later in the year, but they are miles off the pace at the moment. Webber wants to stay in a winning car. That would be Red Bull, realistically. He’s much better off trying for another one-year contract extension at Red Bull if he wants to add more trophies to the cabinet. Alonso can’t even pull the Ferrari on to the podium on a normal day at the moment.
• Ferrari is a team built on passion rather than clear thought. That’s why its has some unusual driver choices. Webber has been rumoured to be heading to Ferrari for years, but if Ferrari maintain its quirkiness (think Irvine, Barrichello, Massa – drivers never really linked to the team until a few months before the decision was made public), Perez or even Jules Bianchi have a better shot. Anyone notice Italian Jarno Trulli is on the sidelines, in case Ferrari needs a really quick replacement…
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.