MW’s Ultimate F1 Track

on October 1, 2013 Off the track news with 7 comments

In his Formula One career to date, Mark has competed in 209 grands prix (that’s a staggering 10,666 laps) and raced in 22 different countries across five continents. Therefore it’s fair to say he knows a thing or two about F1 circuits.

In the third part of the ‘Getting to know Aussie Grit’ series, Mark picks out his favourite sectors from the F1 tracks he’s raced at to put together his ultimate F1 circuit.

First sector

MW: “I would start the lap with the famous first sector at Suzuka. What a lot of people don’t appreciate is the very steep downhill entrance to Turn 1 which makes the first right-hander very fast. Then you start to climb into Turn 2 and you are generally climbing all the way up to Turn 7, the long left-hander. I have to choose it because of the accuracy required, the sensational undulations and its very technical nature.

“I have a few great memories from there especially the year I was going for the championship in 2010. It was a battle for pole between Sebastian and I, so we just kept ramping up the pace. It was a super rewarding session. I started second on the grid and finished a few tenths behind him in the race. I was just trying my hardest to force him into making a mistake. In those days we didn’t have DRS or KERS which would have been nice.

“My fourth place for Williams in 2005 was also a very strong race for me in a car which probably didn’t deserve to be there. It is an awesome feeling to know you’ve got the maximum out of the car.

“Obviously Spa has also got a pretty tasty first sector thanks to its famous long straights which give you an amazing sensation of speed but for me Suzuka just beats it.”

Second sector

MW: “Given I would be looking for a bit more topography, it would have to be Imola. After Tosa you’ve got a left, then you go downhill to Acqua Minerale and then you’ve got a double right before an uphill climb to the top chicane. There is nice elevation change and you’ve got to be really accurate.

“I loved driving there and I actually finished on the podium there in Formula 3000, which was my first race back in single-seaters after two years out. In the 3000 car, it was a very physical race.

“I also qualified the Minardi there which was quite an achievement. It’s something that my team-mate didn’t manage. Driving the Minardi round there was a bit of a handful without power steering but you could still appreciate then just how good the track was.

“Obviously the sport has some very bad memories there. 1994 was absolutely tragic for motor sport so it isn’t full of great memories to say the least but without doubt it was a nice little circuit. More than anything I think it’s the atmosphere. The Italians are always so passionate about motor racing.”

Third sector

MW: “Although I’ve been lucky enough to drive at some phenomenal last sectors, the one that stands out for me is Malaysia with its long straights.

“The main reason is Turn 14, the penultimate corner. The reason I love this tight right-hander is that it’s wide on the way in, which allows for passing moves and it’s technically a very tough corner for car set-up and driver technique because the apex and the exit are very narrow. It is also a super important corner because you need good momentum for the long back straights. It is extremely rewarding and challenging.”

Like what you’ve read? Keep checking for the fourth and final instalment in the ‘Getting to know Aussie Grit’ series.

By Jonathan Campkin


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  • Sandy Panton
    on October 1, 2013 Reply

    Have enjoyed watching you in F1 over the years Mark. I will miss you and good luck with the Porsche racing. I’ll be looking for you in sports car racing.

  • Jill and Brian
    on October 2, 2013 Reply

    Loved your “Getting to Know Aussie Grit” series Mark. Will you think about doing some more next year when your settled into WEC? I’m sure it is something we would all look forward to. Good luck for the rest of the season Mark.

    Note to Site Manager – any chance Mark would do an “idiot’s guide” to WEC. We will be there cheering him on but not sure about the in’s and out’s of it all!!!

  • Petra
    on October 3, 2013 Reply

    Very interesting Mark, I love the way you express your feelings for the track.
    It’s got so much passion.
    Cheers from China

  • anne
    on October 4, 2013 Reply

    great career you’ve done in f1 mark sometimes you have to turn the page I followed you and I would always f1 fan in your new career good luck for the future …..

  • Tim Nichols
    on October 5, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for being so honest and passionate in F1. iI honestly feel that your ultimate strength as a driver is yet to be realized. I look forward to following your work with Porsche. It takes a special strength to drive endurance and you have it!

  • Silvia
    on October 13, 2013 Reply

    Hey Marc! Your the most sympatic, down to earth and honest person! Going to miss you and wishing you all the best with Porsche…Cheers!

  • Alister Robertson
    on October 15, 2013 Reply

    Hi Mark We had a fantastic night at the Rodney Crick night thought we missed out on the tickets when we got back from Singapore great stories about your dear mate. my son won the Bernard Fanning tickets had to hold my wife back from Bidding on the USA Gp fantastic result there was some very heartfelt moments everyone enjoyed it we wish you all the best and hope you get a few more podiums or maybe a win on your final few races.

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