Despite scoring podiums at Marina Bay, Mark Webber has never (in his own words) really threatened for a win on the Singapore street circuit. As a Monaco specialist, Webber is keen to remedy this issue, but admits aspects of the track were never a snug fit with his particular driving style.
“I think maybe because of the repetitive nature of the circuit, with a lot of 90 degree left and 90 degree right-hand corners – a bit like Abu Dhabi but a different time of the day” Webber explained on Thursday evening in the Singapore paddock. “Monaco on the other hand has a bit more rhythm and speed. I wouldn’t say it’s easier or harder, but I’ve done what I can prep-wise to have a good result this weekend and understand how to get the best out of this circuit. It’s frustrating because you can only take a Formula One car around a first-gear corner at a certain speed!”
When quizzed on the ingrediants required to squeeze a lap time out of the track, Webber was straightforward both in his analysis and appraisal of his peers’ ability to extract performance on the tricky surrounds of Singapore. “The positioning for braking and entry is very important” said Webber. Fernando and Seb have been particularly good in the last sector. Lewis too. But it’s having the ability to get the car into a good position on the apex to get good exits and that’s easier said than done when juggling the bumps and the ride.”
The controversial turn 10 at the Marina Bay circuit has finally been replaced with a flowing left-hand corner rather than the high kerbs that have graced the landmark since its inception. Webber applauded the move to reconfigure the section in het interests of driver safety.
“It’s (turn 10) looking pretty good. It was more from a safety perspective” Mark clarified. “If you were to arrive at that corner with a failure it was good to not have to jump the kerbs. We saw in the GP3 race in Monza what can happen when you hit those kerbs, but the corner’s in better shape.”
Since announcing his retirement, Webber dismissed conjecture about his motivation, suggesting that his decision had in fact made him more composed than complacent and what using the opportunity to make the most of his remaining races in Formula One; citing opportunities to jump on the top step at Suzuka and Sau Paulo were still very much on his agenda.
“I’m probably a little more relaxed. It was nice to get the decision out so I didn’t have to answer the other question but now I have to answer everything else like ‘it’s your last wet race’, ‘your last dry race’, but I’m enjoying the last part and grabbing the opportunity to get some special memories.”
Image courtesy of Red Bull Racing.