Mark Webber wants to test Red Bull’s new ‘harmony’
Torrential rain almost wiped out Friday's two free practice sessions for the 2011 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Last year's British Grand Prix winner Mark Webber was a strangely unsurprising leader on the weather-skewed time sheets in his Red Bull, with Felipe Massa's Ferrari heading a drastically wetter second session.
It was 12 months ago around Silverstone that Webber's team radio cry of 'not bad for a number two driver' summed up the stresses inside the Milton Keynes outfit, as the Australian and team-mate Sebastian Vettel went full throttle for the drivers' championship.
Webber felt second best in his bosses' thoughts – hence his frustration – while Vettel went on to win the big prize.
This season the atmosphere has seemed more convivial, with team principal Christian Horner even claiming there was 'harmony' in the Red Bull garage.
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However, with Vettel having won six of the first eight races this season, Webber is clear why that is the case.
'That's because I'm not beating Seb,' chirped the former Attleborough-based racer. 'The harmony is perfect when the results are like this.
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'Hopefully we get both: me winning again and still having the harmony.
'I think I'm not the only guy fighting against him. All of us are and we have got a lot of races to go, and lot of good opportunities. I'd love to start winning, but I am not the only guy.'
As far as Webber is concerned, the 'other guys' in contention around Silverstone include McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button – with the added drive of their home support.
'They could win at the weekend, they could win here – that's what their press release says anyway,' quipped Webber. 'They obviously love competing in front of the English fans.'
While the action on the track may have been limited due to the terrible weather, the temperature was somewhat warmer during an extraordinary 45-minute FIA press conference – where McLaren and Red Bull team principals Martin Whitmarsh and Christian Horner confronted each other over this weekend's rule changes.
The arguments surround new regulations designed to limit how much engines can burn fuel even when drivers do not have their foot on the throttle – a system called engine mapping, which helps the car go quicker around corners thanks to extra downforce generated through a diffuser at the rear of the car.
The rules start for Sunday's race and were expected to hurt the front runners more than most, especially Red Bull.
Whitmarsh's unease stemmed from news – midway through a practice session – that their rivals' engine supplier Renault had successfully argued for a lessening of the rules.
As for Horner, he claimed McLaren's Mercedes engine was heading for an unfair advantage if things remained the same.
On what is a hugely complicated issue at the best of times, Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes conceded: 'I don't understand anything those two have just said – god knows about all the spectators over there.
'I just think things need to be simpler, and that can be done.'