Aussie Grit: Up Close and Personal
In a Formula One career spanning 12 seasons, Mark has been in his fair share of media scrums, press conferences and post-race interviews. In doing so, he’s answered almost every racing question imaginable. You name it, he’s discussed it!
In the second part of the ‘Getting to know Aussie Grit’ series, Mark tackles questions that he’s not so used to answering and lets us in on everything from his funniest F1 moments to his future plans.
What is the strangest press question you have ever been asked?
MW: “It was the year when Fernando, Sebastian and I were going for the championship. There were about three races left and we were all quite tight. Then in a press conference one of the German journalists asked us what gift we would give each other. That has to be up there with one of the most ridiculous questions I’ve ever heard. I don’t think I answered. We just looked at each other in disbelief.”
What is your funniest F1 moment?
MW: “There have been so many but one stands out. I was in a hotel in Shanghai and after a quick gym session, I planned on chilling out in my room. I was sweating like hell but my door key card wouldn’t work. Therefore I used the floor phone to ring reception to get someone to come and let me in which they did. I was still pretty hot and so decided to cool down. Therefore I sat in the room with nothing on.
“After a while I went to the bathroom and unexpectedly everything had been cleaned. Then I couldn’t see my wash bag, so went to the wardrobe to see where some of my clothes were, and there was nothing there either. I honestly thought our room had been broken into.
“Suddenly the penny dropped that I was actually in the wrong room stark naked. I quickly got dressed, rang reception and explained the situation. I remember getting into the lift with the television control in my hand. Don’t ask me why! In the end, it was a real close shave. Some poor person didn’t have a TV remote but it could have been even worse…”
Who are some of your best friends you’ve met through sport?
MW: “I’m lucky to have made some really good acquaintances in sport. James Tomkins, the multiple gold medal-winning Australian rower is multi-talented and someone who I have a lot of time for. Triple Speedway world champ Jason Crump is a top bloke. The adventure racer, Richard Ussher, is a really down-to-earth guy and I also get on well with Mick Doohan and Layne Beachley. I don’t get to see any of them often but it’s nice to just chill out and catch up when I have the chance.”
When you’re back at home, what are your favourite television programmes?
MW: “I like things like Have I Got News for You, A League Of Their Own and The Graham Norton Show. I like a bit of fun but also really good interviews. I used to watch a lot of Parky and that kind of stuff. I am also quite keen on documentaries.”
You are also a bit of a Tweeter. Who are the best people to follow on Twitter?
MW: “Valentino Rossi is pretty cool. I also like Jeremy Clarkson because he shoots from the hip and he’s not totally PC which is refreshing. It goes without saying that I like to follow people and things I’m interested in – that’s one of the strengths of Twitter. Some of the weekend warriors out there with no agenda are really good value. I do think you have to be careful though, some people flog their own profile a lot.”
You must work up quite an appetite from all your training in between races. Is Aussie Grit handy in the kitchen?
MW: “I’m pretty useless in the kitchen to say the least. However I’m good on the barbecue, I’ve got plenty of experience in that department. In the kitchen I stick to things like pasta with pesto and toppings like cheese. It’s very straightforward but if you cook some chicken with it, it’s nice. I also make a pretty mean omelette.”
You often listen to music while you are training. Do you have hidden vocal talent?
MW: “I’m not much of a singer. Saying that though, the other week when my niece was in the UK for a bit of a break, I did break into atrocious lyrical format. I was singing about her being here and how it was great to have her here. Being a teenager, she was super embarrassed but it was all good fun. In terms of my music taste I’m not into stuff like jazz, hip hop or heavy metal. I can’t understand most of it. I like Feeder, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Imagine Dragons, so you might see me listening to them but not singing along.”
It was your birthday earlier this week. What are some of the worst presents you have ever received?
MW: “Definitely clothes. I’ve been given some horrendous items like brightly coloured ties and belts made from stuff like snake skin. You’re just not going to see me wearing that!”
What’s on Aussie Grit’s agenda for the future?
MW: “I really want to discover New Zealand’s South Island. I also want to go to sporting events that I haven’t managed to get to while I’ve been racing such as the State of Origin in Australia, the Chili Bowl in America and the Indy 500. The Australian Open tennis is another I’d like to see. I always get invited but can’t go. Add to that lots of helicopter flying. Currently I get out a couple of times a fortnight but I’d like to do it more often.”
Like what you’ve read? Keep checking markwebber.com for the third instalment in the ‘Getting to know Aussie Grit’ series.
By Jonathan Campkin
No reproduction permitted without prior written consent
Annie Lamberton September 3, 2013 Reply
Dont ever change! we love you just as you are. x
Jill and Brianon September 3, 2013 Reply
Great stuff Mark, keep them coming. You know how to keep us smiling, can’t wait for next installment. Good luck Mark.
Pattyon September 4, 2013 Reply
Thank you for sharing. It was neat reading cool stuff about you on but mostly off the track.
Rick Plummeron September 4, 2013 Reply
Mark, will you keep this site updated when you are with Porsche next year?
Mark Webber Site Manageron September 4, 2013 Reply
Hi Rick – yes, definitely! We’ll have a revamp of the site which we’re excited about and hopefully there’ll be even more to share next year!
adam mathison September 4, 2013 Reply
Whats the best meal you have had on your travels in the last few years? Any restaurant recommendations?
Seldoon September 4, 2013 Reply
As a loooong-time supporter, I’d just love to see you serve it up to the finger-boy before you depart RBR…:)
Stuarton September 6, 2013 Reply
Mark, Will you be able to attend the entire MW challenge event here in Tasmania more often with you new race commitments?
Chrison September 7, 2013 Reply
You will be sadly missed in f1 but I wish you all the very best with Porsche. A true, honest, honourable sporting gent.But please get one up on finger boy before you go!
Grant Orchardon September 8, 2013 Reply
If you’re going to the South Island make sure you STOP in Picton. Don’t just pass through.
Good luck this Sunday/tomorrow, keep up the good work.
Johnny the foxon September 12, 2013 Reply
I hope your going to stick finger boys finger where the sun don’t shine the arrogant German t***
Michelle gillieson September 21, 2013 Reply
Good luck tomorrow here in singapore mark, we’ve come from Scotland / Darwin, our 3 and 5 year old are big fans 🙂
Francis Keoghon October 9, 2013 Reply
I’m sad to see you leave F1 Mark, but glad you’re going to race on with Porsche. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but I could see you as an F1 team manager down the track a bit. They need to be very level headed, competitive and in the know, which I think describes you well. Just a thought. Good luck in Japan.
jenny Kingon October 12, 2013 Reply
Not easy I know, but don’t let the horrid Little German Boy get you down. You’re worth 10 of him. Very good luck for the rest of the season
Suzanne Finchon October 14, 2013 Reply
Mark are we going to be able to see you racing next year for Porsche on Aussie TV, and if so how often do you race. A lot of your Aussie fans want to be able to keep watching you. Are there any ways the RB team hasn’t thought of to stop you winning a race! You are the true winner of 2 races this year I my estimation. All the best for the rest of the year. I flew down from Brisbane to Melbourne in March this year to watch you race and I’m so glad I did.
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