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Normally when one thinks of cryogenics, one thinks of Mr Burns being put into cold storage until a cure can be found for all that ails him, when he can be 'thawed out', treated and allowed to continue enjoying his money and terrorising Homer Simpson and the rest of Springfield.
However, cryogenics isn't simply about the storage of billionaires and their loved ones, as Red Bull driver Mark Webber can confirm. In his determination to get fit in time for next week's test at Jerez, where his team's 2009 contender will be launched, the Australian racer has turned to the controversial treatment.
"I've been doing it for three weeks now," he revealed to the Daily Telegraph. "You go from a normal, ambient room temperature into a chamber of -50°C for about 30 seconds and then for another three minutes into -130°C.
"It's very good for your general wellbeing, your immune system and apparently it's good for cellulite," he continued. "Not much of a worry for me, but it's very good for the whole body."
Apparently, the therapy helps to boost blood supply, which is critical when it comes to healing an injury such as the fracture Webber incurred during a charity cycle event late last year.
"The results over the last few weeks have been incredible," says the Australian. "We had a really good week last week, so we're really positive. Dare I say it, we're probably a little bit ahead of schedule."
In addition to the cryogenic treatment, Webber has been doing gym and pool work, though he admits that he will not be able to accurately gauge his progress until he steps into the cockpit of his car.
"Driving is not like playing tennis," he said. "A tennis player can practise before actually playing a game. I need to get in the car and go and do it to find out about things like the vibration jolts. Although I may do some karting beforehand."
"I've really worked hard to get in this position," he continued. "There's been some stuff in the press that I won't be 100 per cent fit for Melbourne, which upset me. I will be 100 per cent ready to do my job."
This season, Webber is partnered by Sebastian Vettel, the young German who has impressed ever since his debut for BMW at Indianapolis in 2007, when he finished 8th, and then hit the headlines with a sensational win at Monza last year in the Toro Rosso.
While Webber has tended to dominate his teammates over the years, the Australian knows that in Vettel he will have a real fight on his hands, hence the need to get in to the Red Bull as soon as possible.
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