Webber: It's the Car That Counts, More Than the Driver
Arguing that comment, he exemplified the current situation of Britain's only F1 drivers (currently) Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. While Hamilton finished most 2008 races at least one lap before his fellow countryman, the roles are now reversed during the first few rounds of the 2009 schedule. And, according to Webber, it's not like Button turned into Superman in a matter of months.
“The car is incredibly powerful, there's no question about it. Jenson got lapped so many times last year and now he's lapping people and he hasn't changed anything. I think we're all pretty gifted and talented at what we do, but as Lewis is finding out, you need the opportunity and the car to drop the lap times in,” argued Webber.
“It's like the 50m (swimming) final at the Olympics. The guy in lane 8 is a phenomenal swimmer. The guys in lanes 4 and 5 are two - or three-tenths down the road [quicker] and it's the same in our business. For the past three years, Jenson has had to swim 60 metres, so he is never going to do anything - now he has to swim 45! This is uncharted water for him but he has coped fantastic.”
“These are the things that people in our industry understand but it's very hard to explain it to Mr and Mrs Jones. Is there a Drivers' World Championship? Or is it just a car Championship? I think Jenson had one top-eight finish last year and now he could be World Champion. That's incredible,” added the 32-year old Australian.
However, Webber did admit that, no matter if you have an impressive car to compete with or if you're very close to your rivals race after race, the pressure on an F1 driver is practically the same. So the driver has to be given credit for his results either way.