Brides­maid no more

F1 Racing - - TURN 1, SUZUKA AND AUSTIN -

It may sound hard to be­lieve but, leav­ing aside Web­ber’s role in Red Bull Rac­ing’s four For­mula 1 Con­struc­tors’ Cham­pi­onship wins, his vic­tory in the 2015 FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship is his first ever cham­pi­onship/se­ries win!

As fate would play out, the tra­jec­tory of Web­ber’s ca­reer has gen­er­ally seen him progress as quickly up the ju­nior for­mula lad­der as pos­si­ble, even if that meant es­chew­ing the chance to add a se­ries vic­tory or two to his CV.

Web­ber might well have won in For­mula Ford in Aus­tralia af­ter fin­ish­ing fourth in his sec­ond sea­son in 1995 (the year Ja­son Bright won). But he didn’t hang around af­ter that, making what was to prove a per­ma­nent shift to Europe as the quest to forge an in­ter­na­tional ca­reer kicked off in earnest.

Web­ber was run­ner up in the ’96 Bri­tish For­mula Ford Cham­pi­onship and, im­pres­sively, won that year’s For­mula Ford Fes­ti­val. With noth­ing left to prove in For­mula Ford, from there it was straight into For­mula 3 for ‘97.

He was fourth in the Bri­tish cham­pi­onship and third in the pres­ti­gious Ma­cau Grand Prix. Af­ter that, in­suf­fi­cient funds and other fac­tors saw him side­step open­wheel­ers for sportscars, with Mercedes. With Bernd Sch­nei­der as team-mate, Web­ber was third in the ’98 FIA GT Cham­pi­onship.

Back in open­wheel­ers, he was third in the 2000 In­ter­na­tional For­mula 3000 Cham­pi­onship, and sec­ond the fol­low­ing year. From there it was For­mula 1.

It’s cer­tainly been a long time com­ing. But af­ter such a stel­lar ca­reer it’s fit­ting that in fi­nally win­ning a driv­ers’ cham­pi­onship, Mark Web­ber can now call him­self a world cham­pion.

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