Mark Webber stunned commuters in Westminster this morning, as he fired his Red Bull Racing F1 car around Parliament Square. We caught up with the Australian afterwards to get his take on the event...
That was an interesting way to kick off a Friday morning! Did you enjoy it?
Yeah, it was really good! I really enjoyed that. Unique – as usual with Red Bull – doing things a little bit different. To drive an F1 car around Parliament Square, with Big Ben in the background and the boys practicing a few pitstops. It was really cool.
What's it like to drive an F1 car on public roads?
It’s good, but we don’t have tyre blankets and the car can only be as close to race spec as you can get it and there are a lot of key ingredients missing for me to go absolutely flat out. Also, there are no barriers and safety is key, so you’ve got to keep it within margins. The manhole covers were a bit bumpy too!
How about overtaking black cabs on the streets of London in an RB5?
There was only one out there I think, but it seemed like there were about 30 of them, because they always seem to be in the way don’t they? It was good to have the cabs and motorbikes out there. I saw the motorbikes and had a bit of a giggle to myself – yeah, it was fun.
As an Formula 1 driver, how important are the pitcrew to you?
Crucial. They’re the difference between winning and finishing second. They need to get everything right under pressure, the boys, and I’ve got to do my job by putting the car in position and they’ve got to do their job by making sure we perform as a team.
Trying to do pit stops in under three seconds is a huge challenge for them and we’re very much part of each other’s race, so it’s really important that they’re on fire. They did very well for five in the morning I must say!
'To drive an F1 car around Parliament Square.. it was really cool' – Mark Webber
How have the rule changes altered Formula 1 racing?
Strategy is a bit more straightforward now. It used to be a lot more multiple stops in seasons gone by because we had to put fuel in the car, but now we’ve got to go off with one load of fuel and so we’re just coming in for tyres and our strategies now are based mainly on that.
And you're feeling 100 percent now after Valencia?
I feel good. I’ve pulled up well. It’s good to get back in the car and get back into it.
It's the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next week. After the Red Bull 1-2 last year can you possibly do it again?
Absolutely. We’re keen to go out and get a phenomenal result again if we can – at every race we try to do that, but obviously this is a home race for the team and all the guys are pushing really hard to get the best result possible. Both Sebastian [Vettel] and I are very keen to try and get a similar if not exactly the same result as last year.
And is Silverstone one of your favorite tracks to drive?
It’s a sensational track to drive at, really good. The fans are really knowledgeable and there’s a lot of history there and it’s one of the blue riband events to win the British Grand Prix – it’s one I’d love to have.
You're off to the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. Are you looking forward to that?
Definitely. It’s always a very good event. It’s always well supported, with an amazing array of cars and bikes as well. I’m a big motorbike fan so you get to see two and four wheels – over fifty or sixty years of generations of cars and drivers and riders. I’ll be taking the F1 car up there and yeah, it should be great day.
Watch the amazing video of Mark and his crew taking over Parliament Square: