There was disappointment for Mark Webber in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang when, for the second Grand Prix running, he was forced to retire from a points-scoring position after his Jaguar R4 developed an engine problem while lying in 8th position.
To top off what had been an extremely trying weekend for Jaguar Racing, the 26-year old Australian had just about everything thrown at him during the race, too! There was a moment’s confusion on the grid when an out-of-position Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan) began reversing towards Mark as the lights came on! Webber was forced to start his launch control quite late but luckily was able to get away cleanly. He then avoided the carnage at the first corner involving team-mate Antonio Pizzonia, to move up several spots in the scrabble and was comfortably tracking Ralf Schumacher.
However, the weekend’s inherent fuel drop-out problem returned to haunt Webber in the run-up to his first pit stop and when he did pit on lap 15, his car suffered a clutch problem which delayed his get-away from the box. He rejoined in 12th position but his problems weren’t over just yet as the car’s fire extinguisher went off in his face! Webber, though, knuckled down to the task in hand and had managed to work his way into 8th position when he was called into the pit garage a lap before his second scheduled stop and retired with an oil consumption problem.
“It was just one of those days,” said Webber as he flew out of Kuala Lumpur back to the UK. “There was some confusion with Giancarlo on the start as he started reversing right in front of me. I had started the launch programme quite late which probably wasn’t a bad thing or else I could have ended up in the back of him, so I was a bit delayed getting away. I survived all that and the first corner incidents. and my first stint went quite well, apart from the fuel pressure issue.
“But then my first stop turned into a disaster as we had a clutch problem which cost us a lot of time (almost 30 seconds). After that – and the fire extinguisher episode – the car was actually quite strong on the track but eventually a small engine problem stopped us. It was a shame we couldn’t finish but I was happy with our pace and we’ll be back!”
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Mark Webber is the Team Principal of MW Arden, a three car team in the new GP3 series supporting European Grands Prix.