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Webber cracks under pressure - Marko

ESPN Staff
January 10, 2013 « Whitmarsh promises Perez equal treatment | First team commits to Formula E »
Helmut Marko: "[Mark] Webber has on average two races per year where he is unbeatable" © Sutton Images

Helmut Marko believes Mark Webber "has a little trouble" with the pressure that comes with being in with a chance of the world championship.

Webber was leading the championship in 2010 when he crashed out of the penultimate race in Korea before seeing team-mate Sebastian Vettel snatch the title at the final round. Last season he was also in the hunt mid-season, sitting 13 points behind Fernando Alonso after winning at Silverstone but then embarking on a run of six races without a podium to fall out of contention.

Marko told the Red Bulletin that Webber lacks the consistency to mount a sustained title challenge and struggles to pull himself out of poor form.

"It seems to me that Webber has on average two races per year where he is unbeatable, but he can't maintain this form throughout the year," Marko said. "And as soon as his prospects start to look good in the world championship, he has a little trouble with the pressure that this creates. In comparison with Seb's rising form, it seems to me that Mark's form somehow flattens out. Then, if some technical mishap occurs, like with the alternator for example, he falls relatively easily into a downward spiral."

Marko did admit that Webber's slump in 2011 was understandable after he missed out on the 2010 championship, and said having Vettel as his team-mate was psychologically very difficult for him at this stage of his career.

"No driver remains unaffected by this, because the tension is palpable. In 2010, it was particularly extreme. Webber headed into the final race with better chances than Vettel, and he probably carried the disappointment of his defeat into the 2011 season, which is so easy to understand.

"Something that I think is also very important is that for much of his career, Mark was never in a top team, but he was always regarded as a high flyer if he only could get into the right team. Then Red Bull puts him in a car - a possible winner - and suddenly along comes this young kid and he snatches the booty from under Mark's nose. Psychologically it's not easy, of course; this would gnaw away at anyone's confidence. It's more than understandable."