Webber's Monaco GP triumph sparks Ferrari talk
London, June 02, 2012
First Published: 17:21 IST(2/6/2012)
Last Updated: 17:32 IST(2/6/2012)
Mark Webber did his CV and his future employment prospects a power of good last Sunday when he claimed his second masterful Monaco victory in three years.
The 35-year-old Australian, emerging from the long shadow cast by his Red Bull team-mate and defending double world champion Sebastian Vettel, swiftly became one of the names tipped for a switch to Ferrari for 2013.
Webber did not deny he would be interested in joining his friend Fernando Alonso at the Italian team, but he also did little to indicate he was doing anything other than listening to the rumours with a smile on his face.
"This always happens around this time of year," said Webber.
"Drivers are linked with moves for the following year, but only rarely does anyone do anything now, or make any major decisions. I am just racing to win the title for now."
The idea of Webber enjoying a glamorous and well-paid Indian summer to his career in F1 was given solid support, however, from one of Australian motor racing's biggest names, when former world champion Alan Jones urged him to take the chance -- if he receives an offer.
Jones, the last Australian to win the drivers' title, said that Webber had already achieved one of the two great ambitions of any F1 driver by winning Monaco and should now consider adding Ferrari's name to his list of teams.
Jones said: "Mark has already done one of the two things that most Formula 1 drivers would like to do, and that's win Monaco. The other one is to drive for Ferrari.
"I'm sure he'd have a look at it. If he goes to Ferrari, it could be a breath of fresh air -- it's very prestigious and something really good to have on your CV.
"He gets on extremely well with Alonso, so maybe that could be a good way for him to go."
Webber's contract with Red Bull runs out at the end of this season, and his strong form in the opening part of this campaign has ignited speculation that he is on Ferrari's radar as a potential replacement for struggling Brazilian Felipe Massa.
Jones added that he believed Webber would cope well with a direct scrap against Alonso because he has endured similar experience with Vettel at Red Bull.
He said: "Personally, I think that Mark is with a good team (but) having said that, if he signed on with Red Bull next year, he's still going to have Vettel as his team-mate, which is a pretty hard task."
Webber revelled in his Monaco win -- celebrating with a backwards dive into the Red Bull swimming pool in the harbour in his full racing suit -- but said claims that he had deliberately tried to help Vettel in the race were wide of the mark.
While Webber started on pole, Vettel started from 10th with a very different strategy in order to gain places, but Webber insisted he had done nothing to aid his team-mate.
"I heard afterwards people had been speculating that I was 'backing up' Nico (Rosberg), Fernando and Lewis Hamilton, who was also behind me, to help my team-mate Sebastian Vettel gain places, but that's absolute rubbish," he wrote in a blog for the BBC. "You just cannot be that fancy around Monaco.
"Ultimately, Seb ran out of tyres and he had to pit because the rest of us started to go quicker, but if they'd kept going, he would have been pushing for the win.
"If we had been trying anything on, I could have been even cuter. I cleared Seb by quite a lot. If I'd wanted to slide him in among other people, I could have slowed down and it would have been even better for the team.
"But it just wasn't part of the plan."
Webber had nothing to say in his blog about Ferrari, whose list of fancied drivers is now reported to include both of the Red Bull men, Briton Lewis Hamilton of McLaren, his compatriot Paul Di Resta of Force India, and Mexican Sergio Perez of Sauber.
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