Mark Webber comes into the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship as the oldest driver on the grid and on a one-year contract, but two-time Australian Grand Prix winner David Coulthard says the 36-year-old has the talent and performance that could see him race at the elite level for some time.
With the 2013 Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix now just thirty days away, Coulthard said the Red Bull Racing driver is right up there with the best in the sport.
“Had it not been for Sebastian Vettel, Mark would have been maybe a multiple World Champion,” Coulthard told the Australian Grand Prix ‘Keeping Track’ Podcast.
“The future is in Mark’s hands. He’s a great racing driver and has won nine Grands Prix, some of them fantastic like a couple of times at Silverstone and Monaco, two very different and challenging race tracks that show the depth of his talent.
“The reality is that if Mark continues to do what he’s been doing over the last couple of years, there’s no reason why he wouldn’t continue.”
And ‘DC’ can certainly talk from experience. A former team-mate of Webber’s between 2007-8, Coulthard hung up his helmet after almost 250 Grands Prix, aged 37.
The Scot added that Webber’s compatriot, Daniel Ricciardo, may have to wait for an opportunity to drive for the Red Bull Racing team that has won the last three Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship titles.
“Daniel has very good respect within Red Bull Racing,” he said.
“That’s the dilemma Red Bull have. I’m sure Daniel would be entirely capable, but as a team, you want to keep the equilibrium if it’s working. If the cake is turning out good every time, you keep putting in the same ingredients.”
In an in-depth interview with ‘Keeping Track’, Coulthard also explains why it’s difficult to judge Vettel’s career against the all-time greats, why Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes could pay immediate dividends, and offers his view on the future of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
You can listen to the entire podcast here: