Mark Webber’s autobiography has been in the making since the mid 1990’s. Originally penned during his eventful climb up the motorsport ladder with the intention of being a motivational piece, once Mark got the drive in Formula One with the Minardi team he thought it best to hold off and wait until he’s had a career in the pinnacle of motorsport before releasing the book.
It’s a good thing he did wait to include his twelve years of Formula One life. And what a life it was!
Mark holds no punches with this book, and is very upfront with the detailed stories of his time in Formula One. Even if you’re not a fan of Mark Webber, any F1 fan should read this book to get an unbiased look into the real political and challenging world of this great sport. No sugar-coating here, and no holding back with names and stories that made some of his time in the paddock and cockpit difficult and fun.
The most surprising insights for me in the book, are about his time with Williams and how unbearably difficult it was working for Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head. And he also opens up about life at Red Bull and how Helmut Marko looked Mark in the eyes and told him he will never become world champion because Vettel was Helmut’s driver, and Helmut is best mates with team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
As much as it looked like a well-oiled relationship at Red Bull for Mark, he goes into quite some detail about the bitter atmosphere during most of his time there. Suffice to say that neither Helmut nor Horner’s names make it onto the acknowledgement page of people who helped Mark’s career.
Christian Horner was apparently just a puppet being manipulated by Helmut, and had no strength to defend Webber in any case. When Vettel was leading Mark in a race, Mark could not race, but when Vettel was second behind Mark, then Vettel could race.
As for working with Williams, like his thoughts on Helmut, Mark is yet to find anyone who had an enjoyable time working under Sir Frank and Patrick. Both dictators who had a closed door policy and never let any staff or driver make suggestions or give opinions.
Mark goes into great detail about his time with Mercedes sports cars and his two near death experiences at Le Mans. Again he also goes into detail about the personalities of motorsport bosses such as Norbert Haug and how Mercedes treats their drivers.
Written in typical Aussie bluntness and humour, one feels that they are sitting at the pub with Mark, listening to him recount his highs and lows from being a kid from an obscure country town in Australia, to becoming one of the most revered racing pilots of the 21st century.
A thoroughly enjoyable and the most insightful book about F1 life, politics and personalities I’ve yet to read.