Mark previews his final Formula One Grand Prix!
After 12 years and a total of 215 races, Mark embarks on his final race as a Formula One driver this weekend. Interlagos in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is the scene of his swansong; it’s a track that he’s won at twice before and he’s hopeful of another strong result on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t say I feel emotional at this stage of the weekend,” says Mark. “I might feel a bit different about it on Sunday morning, but at the moment I’m treating it like any other race. We had an enjoyable team dinner on Wednesday night and it was nice to get a standing ovation from the guys. But it’s business as usual for now.”
Mark arrived in Brazil on Wednesday morning, after spending a couple of days in Austin after last weekend’s United States Grand Prix. He was the centre of attention throughout Thursday, when he appeared in one of the longest FIA press conferences of the year.
“People are asking me the same questions a lot,” says Mark. “But I understand why; I’m only going to retire from F1 once. I think I’ve had a good relationship with the journalists and photographers over the years. Some of them were there when I tested for Benetton for the first time in 2001 and they’re here this weekend as well, which is nice.”
As for this weekend’s action, Mark is gunning for his eighth podium finish of the season. He outqualified team-mate Sebastian Vettel at this track last year and he’s enjoying a rich vein of form at the moment, having taken pole position in Abu Dhabi two races ago and come within the smallest of margins of outqualifying Vettel in Austin last weekend.
“I like this track,” says Mark. “It’s an interesting challenge, both for the drivers and the engineers. There’s also a great atmosphere because the Brazilian fans are passionate about the sport, and they’re also knowledgable. It’s a great place to end the season, and also my career in F1.”
The weather could yet put a dampener on Mark’s weekend. Heavy rain is expected during Friday practice and Saturday qualifying, with drier weather on the cards for Sunday’s race.
“You always have to factor in rain at this place,” says Mark. “The weather changes very quickly at this place and it’s very rare that we get an entirely dry race weekend. You just have to react to what’s going on around you. It spices it up!”
Rod Farrellon November 22, 2013 Reply
Mark, I hope you have a great week end, thanks for all the Australian F1 memories.
I hope you achieve great things in the next phase of your motor sport career.
Andre Provoston November 22, 2013 Reply
During highs and lows Mark has always shown a lot of class. Will miss you in F1 but will catch you for sure on LMP1 circuit with Porsche. Best of luck today and always. Thank you Mark. Cheers!
Peter maslenon November 22, 2013 Reply
Good luck this weekend and in the future. Another Brazilian win would be great to finish with. We will miss you in F1 with your Aussie grit and total class. Hope we can get some more info on sports prototype next year. Thanks for the open wheeler ride since your Formula Ford days in Aus
travon November 23, 2013 Reply
Ive always admired you MW. Brilliant effort for 12yrs. Your a total Aussie class act.F1 was better for your presence.
Jeane Popeon November 23, 2013 Reply
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi…. will follow you into your new career. Keep smiling mate, good luck for the future.
TRICKOon November 23, 2013 Reply
tears in my eyes watching the press conference,cant help but be moved.A one of a kind kinda guy.will no doubt be fantastic in his new ventures and will try and follow a much as possible,please dont leave blighty yet though lots of support for you here. have a good fun weekend and look forward to that decent break you so deserve.love from a chilly Hampshire.COME ON THE WEBBER !!! and mix it up in Brasil
Carol Tutcheneron November 23, 2013 Reply
Mark, the words don’t exist to describe the high esteem in which you are held by so many people. You are a class act, a true gentleman, a wonderful role model and you have retained your dignity and demonstrated the highest sportsmanship in very trying circumstances that not many would have been able to endure. I hope Red Bull gives you a car in tip top fully functioning condition tomorrow and allow you to race it to the max. It’s the least they could do for your last race, as if it wasn’t for you assisting their development in the beginning, Red Bull would not be where they are today. We have watched you from the beginning and will sorely miss you. Hope they televise the WEC free to air so that we can continue to follow you in what is sure to be an amazing new phase of your career. Thank you for everything so far, Mark, and best of luck for tomorrow and in the future.