EARLY YEARS #MadeMyMark
Watching F1 in the 1980s invariably meant getting up late at night because of the time difference. It was a bit of a running battle in the Webber household as the next morning was usually a school day! The compromise was that I would go to bed early and dad would wake me up at around 11.30pm for the formation lap. I really used to enjoy sitting up late with dad watching the races although quite often he would fall asleep!
The first GP I watched on TV was when Nigel Mansell crashed going up the hill in the rain at Monaco in 1984.
The first GP, in fact the first car race meeting I ever attended, was the Australian GP in Adelaide in 1987. Dad and I drove there – just the two of us – and it took us 14 hours. I sat on the front straight and watched pre-qualifying on the Thursday and I couldn’t believe there was actually someone sat behind the steering wheel driving the cars; they were that quick. The noise was deafening and seeing my heroes; Prost, Senna, Mansell, Berger, Piquet, in front of me was something I never forgot. But, having seen them in action, I didn’t think that I ever wanted to be like them and race in F1; it wasn’t until I started karting that the dream began formulating in my mind.
In fact, my first intro to motor racing was a million miles removed from F1. The kind of racing I used to enjoy when I was very young was dirt bikes, and sprint cars and midget car racing on the local speedway at Tralee. I remember going on Friday and Saturday nights and sitting on dad’s shoulders watching the likes of Steve Kinser who had come over from the States to race the Aussie stars like George Tatnell and Garry Rush.
Scott Flackon November 18, 2013 Reply
So then what was it that made you truly want to go after the F1 dream?
Peter Wisharton November 18, 2013 Reply
I remember having to wait for Alan Jones to win the championship before TV telecasts of F1. Trying to get news in Perth before that was very hard. Seems too easy today with all the media available. Went to Adelaide five times and loved everyone of them.
Grahameon November 18, 2013 Reply
Thanks for that mark, you brought back good memories. I use to travel as a teenager a few hundred k’s to Whyalla every year in the late 80’s and early 90’s to watch the America vs Australia super sedan challenge at speedway.To this day some of the best motor racing Ive ever seen. Good memories. I couldn’t do that now with the curfew on teenagers driving at night. I wouldn’t get home to about 3am
Alexon November 18, 2013 Reply
You should write a book, Mark! Really! Good luck in Brazil and beyond!
Alex, Russian TV
Rob Freelandon November 18, 2013 Reply
Glad to get an insight into how your dream came to fruition. Next life chapter about to start well done Mark an inspiration to the next generation.
Ira Fehlbergon November 18, 2013 Reply
Cool story, I also used to get up & watch the F1’s in the 70’s & 80’s and also in Canberra where my dad raced at Tralee! Pretty spun out to think that Mark Webber could have been one of the other kids there…
Ann Robertson November 18, 2013 Reply
Love the little boy pic. Watched you avidly in F1 and hope to continue when you race with Porsche. Good luck in your new career.
Jeanette Bendeichon November 18, 2013 Reply
Congrats on your career in F1. It has been brilliant having an Aussie to support in the field.
Use to love watching the Max Dumesney, Jack Hewitt battles as a little one at Parramatta Speedway.
Good luck and Thanks for making F1 more exciting for all Australia!
Layne Wildayon November 18, 2013 Reply
Sounds exactly like my life right now. Watching the F1 races late at night or the morning and my dad would always fall asleep as I cheer on my man Mark Webber!
Mohammad Owaison November 18, 2013 Reply
Thank You so much for sharing your story, it is so inspiring and “puts a face” behind the steering wheel of F1.
Garth Foxwellon November 18, 2013 Reply
I can even recall Tasman series, those early – in fact all Adelaide years including my first sighting of this amazing young FF driver. Yep you Mark! A true believer, I still have the photos and the ‘Yellow Pages’ cap! Have loved and been enthralled by the F1 years. All the best in last race, I’m all set for the Porsches. (Nearly ‘forgot’ the cap in Austin.-LOL)
maria jesuson November 18, 2013 Reply
mucha suerte en tu nueva etapa, siempre te apoyaremos,eres especial.
Jacky Robinsonon November 18, 2013 Reply
Great insight Mark – strange how life turns out ! Hope your final F1 GP goes well for you and look forward to following you in the next stage of your career . All the best ,and congratulations on your grit, determination and exemplary sportsmanship . xx
Peteron November 18, 2013 Reply
Mark, I will never forget the day in 2002 when you first raced in F1 in Melbourne. My dad promised to take me to see the first Aussie in F1 for many years, but unfortunately he was very sick, so I had to watch the race from the hospital TV. Later that Sunday night, he passed way. All us Aussies are very proud of your accomplishments in F1, and in my opinion, you have officially joined the list of true Australian motor sport legends. Well done mate.
Johan Lundströmon November 18, 2013 Reply
What a wonderful insight of the early years 🙂 I’m from Sweden and I’ve had the pleasure of following you through F1. It’s been a joy. Although a Skandinavian you have always been my favorite! For your good sportsmanship and very symphathetic appetance. I had the pleasure of being in Hockenheim lasy year watching the whole race weekend. I like when big stars like yourself let the fans get to know more about you. I may make it sound like it’s the end of a wonderful career, but I realize it’s just the end of one part of it and I’m looking forward too keep following you in Porsche. Best of luck! (I do ask you to oversee that my english spelling may be somewhat incorrect).
Jill and Brianon November 18, 2013 Reply
Great story Mark, love the photo. Just to say it’s been amazing over the years watching you in F1, been to a lot a races to support you. You have been F1’s most memorable assert in many years and it is going to miss you desperately. So to a new chapter in yours and our lives, so looking forward to supporting you in WEC, got our Le Manns trip booked, now waiting for Silverstone and Spa tickets to go on sale. All the best for Brazil Mark, really hope you go out on a high. All the best mate.
Lauraon November 18, 2013 Reply
Now you are the one many children look up to. And that’s something you should be proud of. Congratulations champ!
Roy Wallaceon November 18, 2013 Reply
All the very best for the future Mark and thank you
Joanneon November 18, 2013 Reply
Will miss you in F1 but wish you success in Porche
Thanks for the excitement over the years
Chilluson November 19, 2013 Reply
John Kneliason November 19, 2013 Reply
Well Mark I’m 40 myself and have been following F1 since my early teens. You have given me great joy to see you enjoying your great Monaco wins and all the great friendships you have with all the other drivers especially Alonso. Well Done Mark on a great F1 career can’t wait till next year to follow you in Le Mans.
Nikkion November 19, 2013 Reply
Thank you for the memories (and many late nights). F1 just wont be the same to watch without you. I will cheer for Daniel but while hes in a red bull I don’t hold out much hope for him.
Best of luck with your new career and lets all hope for no umm… breakdowns or strategy weird things. We all know you could have been World Champion at LEAST once if it weren’t for red bull
Donovan Stevenson November 19, 2013 Reply
Mark awesome F1 career really well done. Dad and I came from Melbourne to COTA to see you one more time. Thanks for making the podium we appreciated it and will never forget it. The way you have handled yourself has been so professional and and inspiration to all young men growing up, thanks for all of the memories over my many lost hrs of sleep on Sunday nights downunder!
Jacqui Larkinon November 19, 2013 Reply
So is that Alan’s legs we see up the ladder/ or hiding behind the plant? Is that a Pee Wee 50 or 80 Mark?
Gary Kelletton November 19, 2013 Reply
Just want to wish you all the best in your next sporting career Mark. Thoroughly enjoyed watching and supporting you in F1. I admire your no bull—- way of telling it like it is in the ever increasing world of F1 media/corporate control. I can’t help thinking your attitude would have been far better placed in the F1 climate of the 80’s-90’s. shame your just a young’un eh!
Aïshon November 19, 2013 Reply
Remember all this at this moment is sad…
I need to tell your dad thanks for having introduced to racing… Thank you,
You have left good teachings on the track and beyond.
I am going to miss you in Formula 1 but you still have a lot of career ahead and we are going to support you forever. I wish you the best for the last race of Formula 1 for your new stage in WEC and your whole life.
I wish you had more time in F1, but it is your decition and I respect, admire and applaud. You are a legend, We Love You!
Pedroon November 19, 2013 Reply
The fact that you take the time to share these stories is really fantastic.
Any chance you’ll get that haircut back? 😀
Fingers crossed for the win at Brazil.
starskremon November 19, 2013 Reply
Eh Mack stellar riding boot mate!
starskremon November 19, 2013 Reply
He he I wrote 64 instead of 63 eh encased it didn’t process stellar riding boots
Giovanna Crestoon November 19, 2013 Reply
when a dream comes true is always a nice thing. I’m sorry that you have decided to abandon the F1, but I’ll follow you into your new experience although it will be more difficult. Best wishes for your future and thanks for the great races that have made us see. kisses
Lois potteron November 19, 2013 Reply
We will all miss you. You are a good man and deserved more, f1 will not be the same, I hope you have a happy and successful future , all the very best x
Stuon November 19, 2013 Reply
thanks for the great excitement and entertainment over the years Mark. I started following F1 rather late but it was because of you and your reputation for speed above a car’s capability that I became interested. You have made all Ozzies very proud of you and I wish great things with Porsche. Will be watching with great interest and secretly hoping for a little F1 comeback one day a-la Schumi but more successful! Go Webberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
Christoson November 19, 2013 Reply
Mark we are going to miss you|! Thanks for the memories…
Jonathan Youngon November 20, 2013 Reply
Mark, drivers like you only come by once in a life time. Your maturity, leadership and talent is what makes you a driving legend. F1 will not be the same without you and will be sorely lacking in the class you bring to the track. I suspect I’ll be watching a little less F1 and a little more Porsche racing!!
Liamon November 20, 2013 Reply
I was at the 1987 GP in Adelaide too Mark, surprised I didn’t see you there, haha. The Crowded House gig afterwards was my first live concert.
Jim Cronshawon November 22, 2013 Reply
I was bored one Sunday while dad was watching some race on TV. Turned out to be F1. I found out there was a lone Aussie in there and I kept watching out of fascination. It’s been a lot of fun watching your journey. Now I’m going to have to get into this new series as I follow you there. Have a great last race.