Mark Webber’s manager Flavio Briatore believes that the Australian was in the wrong to hide his shoulder injury late in the 2010 season – only to reveal it later via the publication of his book Up Front (reviewed here on Richard’s F1) – and believes that his star client should have either disclosed the injury at the time, or not at all.
In the period between the Singaporean and Japanese Grands Prix, Webber fell off his bicycle (again) and fractured his shoulder, an incident which preceded his fall from first to third in the Drivers’ Championship standings by the end of the season. Webber has maintained that the injury had nothing to do with this slump in performance.
But Briatore – who has continued to manage the careers of Webber and Fernando Alonso despite his temporary ban from the sport for his part in the ‘Crashgate’ scandal and his sacking from the Renault F1 team – believes Webber should have taken a different path.
“It would have been better had he not revealed that; otherwise he should have said that immediately,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
But Flav doesn’t believe that the injury itself cost Webber a chance at the championship title, instead pinning the blame on Webber’s costly spin and crash at the Korean Grand Prix.
“He didn’t lose the title, however, because of that [injury], but because of the mistake in Korea. Otherwise he would have won [the title],” Briatore said.
And as for this star clients’ prospects leading into the 2011 season, Briatore believes that both should be in the thick of the reckoning for the Drivers’ Championship once again, with the Italian predicting a four-way battle for the championship this season.
“It’s early to say. I expect Red Bull to still be strong and McLaren to be competitive once again. I see a four-way battle: [Sebastian] Vettel, Webber, Alonso and [Lewis] Hamilton.”
[Original image via Guardian]