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Oh no, Mark Webber

A colleague came in this morning and dropped my new copy of MW's book; Aussie Grit (not real happy with that title). Anyhoo, she had mentioned she was going to his book signing, so being lazy, I asked her to pick me up a copy.

Not a good report. Seems that they limited the signings to 1,000; which is a bloody lot. As for MW, he was just a signing machine and did not look up, just kept going. So not much personal interaction going on. Apparently kids crying from lining up to be ignored and unhappy peeps everywhere.

I can understand signing 1,000 books is a very tough ask, but these things are about PR so probably best not to make it look like a chore and ignore the fans. Particularly bad to do it in your home town. Local Facebook is alive with it apparently.


  • Is the book any good? I'm quite enjoying the Alex Yoong one (in spite of some editorial sloppiness by the author, Verstappan, Foenza etc) as I remember those days quite well and it's good to have an inside view. Describes Webber as a fitness guru "someone who does triathlons for fun" and a very, very determined man. Greg Wheeler is quoted as saying Mark was a great qualifyer but not that much of a racer. I guess that was what made the difference between him and Vettel in the end.

    When I revamped this site I rewrote his bio for the page and it's quite something. From being an instructor at Oulton Park, constantly cash strapped, to finally, finally getting into F1. If it hadn't been for Paul Stoddart who knows whether he would have ever made it.
  • I'm only up to the early Formula Ford years. Not very interesting so far, but whose childhood actually is? Actually I can answer that. David Niven's autobiography 'The Moon's a Balloon' is so funny, from childhood, to the age where he wrote it.

    One thing that is very interesting. He uses the lingo, and that will limit the people will be able to read it quite a lot. The narrative is in full on Australian vernacular, and will mystify many. I applaud him for being genuine, but not for commerciality.

    Will see how the rest of it goes.
  • Bought it yesterday, half way through 1st chapter. To an Aussie, it reads easily, but as Lease says, the local lingo might stretch a few of you foreigners.
  • Oh come on, are there expressions which are so Ozzie that a Brit wouldn't understand them? (Dare I even ask that question)
  • This is making me so curious that I am considering to buy it.

    I just found this. That should help. I just found out what a sheepshagger is ;-).
  • I'd be careful using that reference guide Stan. his terms are more contemporary, but I'll leave you to it. Got to the Mercedes bit, and there are some interesting stories there. He is quite self-deprecating as far as his attitude at the time is concerned.
  • Hmmm....that Mercedes relationship did not end well at all.
  • It ended in the shrubs of Le Mans

  • Two thirds of the way through and my advice is either borrow it, or get it on Kindle. It won't be a treasured tome on the bookshelf in hard copy.

    The truth-telling is good to read, but there isn't really much that surprises, because it isn't so different than the surmises (at the time). There was a pun there; did you smoke it?

    He does make the statement that Vettell was a better all round driver than Webber will ever be, and that is much of the honesty and self-examination in the book. Not all is honest however. With the Valencia takeoff and landing, he doesn't actually take responsibility. He doesn't blame the other guy but makes vague reference to street circuits changing the braking reference points.

    Other than that, the book is a blow by blow of the seasons chronologically with a few anecdotes thrown in and a lot of completely boring stuff about his off-track interests, and even his friggin dogs. One thing I didn't know was the Silverstone win where we had the 'not bad for a second driver' was actually done in Vettell's "cracked" chassis. This was the one that was changed out for Vettell after Webber's win in Monaco because it was allegedly cracked. Appears it was not.

    What does come through though for the reader is that even though it is presented quite naively, there is lots to suggest that there may have actually been active participation by members of the team in slowing him down. I find it absolutely remarkable but it does appear to be there. Not favouritism, but deliberate 'things'. On the passive side, there was some silliness about dyno-ing new engines and giving the stronger ones to Vettell, but hints at darker activities too.

    In the end it is is all going to end up as a minor footnote, but a passable read.
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