Michael Bailey: A favour for Mark Webber and tribute to Dan Wheldon

I don't know how Mark Webber feels about it, but I certainly felt patronised for him on Sunday morning.

Maybe it was the fact I was still in bed, having got up at 6am, and spent three hours watching a grand prix on an iPhone screen – for anyone unsure how big that is, look at your credit card (assuming you haven't paid it off as Mr Cameron asked).

Or maybe it was the fact television doesn't always broadcast the drivers' responses on the team radio. The long silence following team principal Christian Horner's 'thank you' to Webber for helping Red Bull bag the constructors' championship felt apt – whether it actually existed or not.

As said in this column a few weeks ago, I want Red Bull to put their efforts into ensuring Webber is second in the drivers' standings now the priority of earning Sebastian Vettel back-to-back titles has succeeded. There should also be scope for the Aussie to pick up a first race win of the season in either India, Abu Dhabi or Brazil.

With Vettel off in the distance again like Road Runner trying to maintain a gap from Wile E Coyote, you would have thought Webber was Red Bull's primary focus in Korea. But what did they do? Bring in their number two for his final pit stop at the same time as Lewis Hamilton, effectively blowing Webber's best shot at second and another Red Bull one-two.


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It's not a mistake you imagine Horner, Newey and Co making had it been Vettel on the brink of the drivers' crown – so it's a shame Webber had to suffer in Yeongam.

As the one-time Aussie in Attleborough has said, he doesn't mind if the season finishes with the 'beautiful feeling' of wins or second in the championship, something he hasn't done before. In truth, the former would bring the latter close.

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And Webber's relationship with Vettel has been fine this year – as you would expect given the gap between the two drivers.

Therefore the least Red Bull can do is reward Webber's part in that harmony with some serious help in the remaining three races – and I mean more serious than Sunday.

• It may have happened 6,000 miles away but no doubt there was a profound sense of loss around Yeongam as those at the Korean Grand Prix were told of Dan Wheldon's death in Las Vegas.

IndyCar's profile – both over here and elsewhere outside the United States – feels quite modest at times. Yet becoming involved in motorsport, you often found Wheldon's name would crop up – and for obvious reasons.

What Wheldon did Stateside few from this neck of the woods can equal. Only Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Dario Resta brought the Indianapolis 500 title back across the Atlantic.

And only Scottish racer Dario Franchitti – cousin to Paul di Resta – and Wheldon have taken the iconic event twice; putting them in a group of just 18 drivers in the race's 100-year history to earn multiple Indy 500 victories.

Nigel Mansell took the World Series title too – but that's about it. Quite simply, few can match what Wheldon did. No doubt Formula One's draw outside the US has something to do with that – had Wheldon's family been able to finance a career through Formula Three into F1, the 33-year-old from Berkshire would have almost certainly joined his Formula Ford and karting contemporaries – the likes of Jenson Button, Mark Webber and Anthony Davidson.

But they couldn't, and that is understandable – Formula One has been a world where money comes before talent for too long.

So Snetterton's Van Diemen outfit, for who Wheldon raced successfully in 1998, put the wheels in motion to get him a seat in America – where talent alone could earn you a drive on the next rung of the ladder.

Finally given the opportunity to show what he had, Wheldon flourished into a racing driver this side of the Atlantic could truly take pride in.

Perhaps the greatest irony in Sunday's horrific 15-car accident was that Wheldon had been testing Dellara's 2012 IndyCar between races – one designed to be the sport's safest yet. Dallara have since confirmed that car will be named after Wheldon.

Like many, Wheldon learnt his trade at Snetterton, while his karting skills were honed by Norwich man and Ayrton Senna's early nemesis, Terry Fullerton.

But Wheldon's death? Well, that was felt across the entire racing world – which in itself says a lot about how few fatalities we see today in such an inherently dangerous activity as motorsport.

Whether it could have been avoided or not – be it through better track or car safety, adding an enclosed cockpit, the suggestion fewer cars should have been on the Las Vegas 300 track or similar logic – that is all for another day.

For now, it should be about a driver well regarded as a lovely guy, a talented man and a truly great British export.

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