Mark Webber admits all-too-frequent car issues have made his final Formula One campaign difficult, but he’s taking comfort from knowing his late career form has remained strong.
The Australian Red Bull driver says he’s still keen to add “some very nice memories” in the last three races of his decade-long F1 career – beginning with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Mechanical problems forced Webber to retire from three of the last four races, costing him a bucketload of championship points and a crack at a valedictory win.
The 37-year-old was on track to finish second behind championship-winning teammate Sebastian Vettel at last weekend’s round in India, before bowing with an alternator problem.
Three weeks earlier in Korea, his RB9 car caught fire following a collision with Adrian Sutil’s Force India – barely a fortnight after flames also cut short his race in Singapore.
But that’s not going to stop him chasing some good results in Abu Dhabi, Texas and Brazil before heading into F1 retirement.
“I said to (partner) Annie this morning that the reason I got to Formula One is because I hung in there and fought like hell,” Webber told reporters on Thursday.
“It’s a similar finish actually. I didn’t expect to have the little challenges in my last season as I’m having.
“But for whatever reason, whether it’s fuel, whether it’s tyres off in pitstops, whether it’s KERS and seamless shift in qualifying on weekends when I’m competitive.
“Obviously we’ve got very high standards.
“I’m sure the guys go to a lot of trouble – they want the two cars to do well – but we’ve certainly had our fair share this year which has been difficult for our side of the garage and difficult for us to go through in terms of a lot of results have slipped through the net, but that’s the way that it’s been for whatever reason.”
Despite missing out on a Formula One title, the nine-time grand prix winner said he’s been dealt “a pretty good hand” throughout his career.
“I look back on what I’ve achieved and what I’ve done and I still have the chance to get some very nice memories in the last three races,” Webber said.
“I’m happy my form has not been the problem – that’s something I can take away.
“I think it would be even harder if your form (had dropped off).
“I know some guys completely mess up the timing (of their retirement) but I think the timing has still been okay for me.
“There’s a lot of things out of your control but that’s just the way it is sometimes.”