Mark heads to Brazil this weekend for the final grand prix of the year.
He has always been fast at Interlagos, taking a dominant win at the track in 2009 and finishing second in ’10, but it was also the scene of one of his biggest accidents in ’03. “I like coming here,” says Mark. “The track is a good challenge and it’s a circuit at which our car has gone pretty in the past couple of years. It’s old school. I hope we’ll be competitive again this year and can end the season on a high note.”
At 4.309km, Interlagos is the shortest permanent circuit on the F1 calendar. It was built on the side of a hill in the 1920s, giving it lots of undulations, and there’s always a special atmosphere due to the passionate Brazilian fans. “You feel like you’re performing in an amphitheatre,” says Mark. “The Brazilian fans love F1 and they are always very vocal in their support of the Brazilian drivers. That gives the race a carnival feeling and the drivers really like coming here, even if the facilities are a little cosy compared to some places. “In many ways the track reminds me of Brands Hatch in the UK because it’s hilly and the spectators look down on the action and can see most of the circuit from one vantage point. It’s good to have the final race of the year here in Brazil.”
Mark enters this weekend’s race on the back of a consistent run of form. He’s finished third or fourth in the last five races and his fourth position in Abu Dhabi last time out was achieved with 20-30 points of downforce less than the norm, due to accident damage. “Each weekend you do your best,” says Mark. “If you have problems, as I did in Abu Dhabi, you bounce back. You have to do that. I’ve been pleased with my pace on Sundays this year.”
This weekend’s race will be Mark’s 176th F1 start, tying him with double world champion Graham Hill and six-time race winner Jacques Laffite. Let’s hope Mark can achieve his 10th podium of the year!
Mark Webber is the Team Principal of MW Arden, a three car team in the new GP3 series supporting European Grands Prix.