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Webber’s choice familiar to Blundell

In my last column here on the Motor Sport website I talked about stepping down from racing with United Autosports this season. At that point the reason was very hush-hush but, as you may have seen in the news recently, I’ve started a new sports management company with Theo Paphitis and Ian Childs.

mark blundell opinion  Webbers choice familiar to Blundell

MB Partners will represent a wide range of professional athletes, but of course my focus will still be on racing drivers. 2MB, the old business, will be absorbed by the new one. It’s great to be working with guys like Theo and Ian, who have both been immensely successful in business and know the sports world. That’s why we’re doing this, a shared passion for sport.

It’s a shame that I couldn’t carry on racing, but after a few very unlucky races and bad crashes for my team-mates Richard Meins and Roger Wills – who are recovering very well, by the way – I had to prioritise. United are challenging for the British GT Championship with Matt Bell and Mark Patterson so there’s no doubt the team can get the job done and I’ll support them all the way.

Mark Webber’s move to sports cars

Since my last column, it’s been confirmed that Mark Webber will be leaving Formula 1 at the end of the year for a factory Porsche drive in the World Endurance Championship. It’s never a decision a driver wants to have to make, especially when he knows he’s still got the speed to be in a Grand Prix car. Not only that, Mark’s walking away from a front-running team with Adrian Newey behind the drawing board.

mark blundell opinion  Webbers choice familiar to Blundell

I think he must be tired of the politics of F1. As good as driving for a world champion team can be, he hasn’t had an easy ride there and after this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix it’s become clear that he’ll never be given the upper hand, no matter what his contract says.

I can understand his dilemma. When I left F1 after the 1995 season I was pretty disillusioned. I had an agreement in place – with a team that’s still in F1 today – and thought I was all set for the next year, but then it was decided that I was surplus to requirements and I was out on my ear. I was fed up with all the politics so I went to America and raced for PacWest in CART. It was a big change, but it was an exciting time in my career and a new chapter for my family. I won three races in 1997 and I can look back on that time fondly.

But is it Formula 1? No, and even though CART was a great series it was always in the back of your mind that you’d come from racing the best drivers in the world, in the best cars and on the best circuits. Once you’ve been in that arena, you miss it.

Looking on the bright side, it’s not like Mark won’t be doing something worthwhile. Sports car racing’s on the up and up, and who better to jump back in with than Porsche? He’s got unfinished business after his ill-fated attempts at Le Mans with Mercedes and Porsche have more wins there than any other manufacturer. The company will expect to do well after a short period of time and he’ll be spearheading the driving side of the operation.

A successful season for Conway and Paffett

With the new business I hope to do great things for new clients, but my existing ones are doing very well for themselves at the moment. Mike Conway made his debut in the American Le Mans Series recently at Mosport, taking P2 class pole (fourth overall) and racing to fourth (third in class). After his IndyCar win at Detroit and a strong showing at Le Mans it’s turning out to be an interesting year for Mike.

mark blundell opinion  Webbers choice familiar to Blundell

Meanwhile, Gary Paffett’s having another strong season in the DTM, winning at the Lausitzring. Both guys have dealt well with everything thrown at them and it goes to show that drivers can still be successful in different types of racing.

Mark Blundell, in partnership with:

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To read more from Mark Blundell, click here.

mark blundell opinion  Webbers choice familiar to Blundell

Add your comments

14 comments on Webber’s choice familiar to Blundell

  1. Bill, 9 August 2013 16:28

    “after this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix it’s become clear that he’ll never be given the upper hand, no matter what his contract says.”

    Yeah, that ‘multi 21′ call was really to have Webber move over for Vettel, and later on there was absolutly no controversy over Vettel for ignoring a direct order to let Webber win, was there?

    When it comes to Webber and his relation to Red Bull, it seems the pundits have a very, very troubled time portraying the facts, but make up things just to suit their dreamed up version of events. Is it so hard to admit Webber made some mistakes himself too? For instance, Brasilian GP 2012?

  2. Nick, 9 August 2013 16:53

    A bit shocked that a columnist of such a reputable magazine has to include not one but four sponsor logos at the end of his column. Money rules the world, at least for some ex-racing drivers it seems. Lets hope his multiple sponsorship deals allow him to remain impartial.

  3. Tomsk, 9 August 2013 20:18

    McLaren? I seem to remember the end of 1995 saw a tug-of-war between them and Williams over David Coulthard’s contract – so they could have stuck with Mark if that ruling had gone against them.

    Or possibly Sauber. I’d be amazed if it was Ferrari, but you never know!

  4. PeteH, 9 August 2013 21:30

    Reads like an advertorial. Particularly considering the ‘in partnership with’ B-S.

    Not what one expects from an esteemed a tome as Motor Sport.

  5. rob, 10 August 2013 14:58

    So nothing really like Webber’s sit uation. Not dropped by F1 team at end of seaon. And not heading to for couple mediocre years in indycar

    Never unerstood how Blundell got into F1 anyway.

  6. professorskridlov, 11 August 2013 10:20

    Mark Blundell! A never-wozzer if ever there woz one.
    And I assume that this was ghost-written given that it’s roughly grammatical.

  7. alan burden, 11 August 2013 11:10

    well I have to say that article came over more like an advertisement for Mark Blundell’s new partnership.

  8. John Read, 12 August 2013 01:19

    G’day Bill,

    It seems we are going to agree to disagree once more.

    Webber certainly made some mistakes (as they all do) and some of his on-track work may have been a bit aggressive towards Vettel (who was no saint himself in the same department), however it is clear that Webber definitely received the rough end of the pineapple in comparison to the Chosen One at RBR.

    Let me put it this way. I don’t think Mark will be inviting Helmut to his end of season BBQ.

  9. C C, 12 August 2013 11:52

    Come on Motorsport. We expect more insight than you’ll find in this article. File it somewhere else please. As an article on Motorsport offering real insight – it ain’t.

    Takeaway the promo about his new business or his drivers and what are you left with? Just a bit of ‘cut and paste’ stuff on the Webber situation.

  10. Ray In Toronto, Canada (Ray T (The other one)), 12 August 2013 12:45

    Ouch! There are some really nasty and personal comments directed at Mr Blundell here!

    C’mon gentlemen, we’re better than that! Aren’t we?

    I mean, not every F1 driver is going to be a multiple Grand Prix winner and, for them, there surely *must* be a proper racing and/or other ‘life’ after F1. Non?

    In addition, it may seem a little odd that four sponsors are accompanied alongside Mr Blundell’s name…but, i’m sure, it was approved by Motor Sport Magazine and, in the end, a site does need extra advertising revenue in order to keep going.

    Lastly, my criticism of Mr Blundell’s article will be limited to content. It, to be fair, is a little “thin”/lacking “meat”.

    PS

    Mark Webber was given a very good seat over four-and-a-half years. He won a bunch of races and was legitimately allowed to challenge for championships in 2009, ’10 and ’12 (2011 being a bit of a white-wash having little to do with RBR giving him poor treatment.)

    Webber was allowed to run ahead of Vettel and was NEVER told to move over and give up a win or podium for the other car. (Unless someone can prove other-wise). His tally of 9 wins during that time is 5th only to World Champions Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and Button.

    With all due respect to Webber, Vettel and RBR, the German has been the faster, more consistent driver. Webber had two cycling injuries and he’s been the taller/heavier driver. These may have been factors in him not being faster.

    The Aussie should feel no shame in coming off second to Vettel.

  11. Bill, 12 August 2013 13:07

    Hi John,

    MBlundell mentioned Malaysia GP becoming clear hed never get the upper hand, no matter what contract. What kind of rough deal did Webber get from Red Bull there? Thats all im asking.

    No, just one more question: Webber trying to sabotage his own teammate for the wdc in Brasil 2012, what other driver in any other team wouldv been allowed to stay on do you reckon? Id say Webber was lucky not to get fired on the spot.

  12. John, 14 August 2013 16:27

    Some very nasty comments here, not sure why. Don’t attack the man, attack his message if you disagree with what he says. Common courtesy goes a long way.

  13. Rich Ambroson, 14 August 2013 22:46

    While I didn’t find this article to be the strongest I’ve seen on the site here, Blundell was a fine enough driver in my book. Was he Alain Prost or Nigel Mansell? No, but the man could drive. Write? Maybe more for a PR firm than as a columnist.

  14. Jackal, 18 August 2013 13:52

    Mark Webber made his own bed when he attempted to ignore team orders and pass Vettel in the closing stages of the 2011 British GP. Webber caught Vettel in the final laps and mounted several overtaking attempts without success.

    The Australian said he had received “probably four or five” messages from the team asking him not to attack Vettel, but declined to follow them.

    Asked how he felt about the team orders, Webber replied: “I am not fine with it, no. That is the answer to that.”

    “If Fernando [Alonso] retires on the last lap, we are fighting for the win.

    “Of course I ignored the team because I wanted to try and get a place. Seb was doing his best, I was doing my best. I wasn’t going to crash with anyone.

    “I try to do my best with the amount of one way conversation I was having – I was trying to do my best to pass the guy in front.”

    Now he (and the pundits) is bitter about Malaysia? Utter hypocrisy in my opinion.

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Mark Blundell

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