Mark Webber

Mark Webber, the son of a motorcycle dealer, grew up in Queenbeyan, just outside of the Australian capital of Canberra. He financed his early racing on motorbikes and karts by working as an apprentice plumber. Being born in Australia, the move to European racing was a difficult and costly one but decent results in Australian Formula Ford secured his access to sponsorship to pay for overseas races. Working part time as an instructor at Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, Webber financed his time in British Formula Ford, though it was a long struggle to break through to Formula 3. Webber eventually had to rely on personal sponsorship from Australian rugby player David Campese to continue racing. After a victory at Brands Hatch and podiums at Zandvoort and Macao, Webber was approached by Mercedes about joining their sports car team.

Webber spent two seasons with Mercedes though his career took a dramatic turn when his rear wing broke off at Le Mans at high speed and his car was sent flying into the trees. He was unhurt, though Mercedes withdrew when his teammate suffered a similar accident. The incident opened up a return to open wheel racing, with Webber joining Paul Stoddart's European F3000 team in 2000, lining up alongside Christijan Albers. At the same time, he became a test driver for the Benetton Formula 1 team. Webber won the second race of the F3000 season at Silverstone and took two further podium finishes. He changed to F3000 outfit Supernova in 2001 and finished the season as the runner up. In 2002, Webber finally managed to secure a Formula 1 race seat with Minardi. He immediately repaid the trust Paul Stoddart had put in him with a 5th place during his debut race at the Australian GP, which was Minardi's best results in eight years at the time. The thunderous celebrations after the race, with Stoddart and Webber climbing the podium as if they had taken the Championship, left many with the impression that it was Minardi which had won the race.

Webber left no doubt about his talent, outqualifying his teammates Alex Yoong and Anthony Davidson at every opportunity, and adding another respectable result by coming in 8th at Magny Cours. Webber's performance with Minardi opened the door for a drive with Jaguar in 2003 and 2004. He proved to be one of the fastest drivers in the new one-lap qualifying format, but often struggled to get off the starting grid fast enough on raceday. After two years at Williams, which gave Webber his first podium finish, a seven year stint with Red Bull marked the pinnacle of his career. He won 9 races and departed from pole position 13 times, finishing the drivers' championship in third place three times. After his departure from F1, Webber joined Porsche in the World Endurance Championship.