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It takes a big man

NEWS STORY
07/04/2004

At a time when many of us are bemoaning Formula One and continually pointing out all the negatives, it's only right that we give credit where it's due.

How refreshing therefore to hear Mark Webber admit, once again, that he got it wrong.

The Australian has already endeared himself to F1 fans with his fresh, no nonsense approach, his refusal to follow the example of his rivals and purchase the obligatory apartment in Monaco, instead opting to remain in England. "It's not for me, mate" he said of the Monte Carlo lifestyle.

We know from Nav Sidhu that Mark can't stay away from the Jaguar factory, spending as much time there as possible, talking with the mechanics, engineers and quite possibly the ubiquitous tea lady. Then of course there's his willingness to spend the off-season taking part in gruelling exercises to raise money for charity.

After his Malaysian misery, when a front row grid position came to nought, ending in a series of incidents of almost comical proportions, the Aussie was quick to admit that he'd finally spun off after making a mistake. There was no attempt to blame his rivals, the weather, his car, the team or bad luck. Basically he 'fessed up'.

Now, following Sunday's on-track shenanigans with Fernando Alonso, the Australian has once again covered himself in glory - though not in a cynical way - by admitting that he got it wrong.

Viewers watched as Webber fought with Alonso stopping the Spaniard's meteoric rise through the field in its tracks, even throwing in a couple of brake tests for good measure. The Renault driver subsequently lambasted his Jaguar rival only for Webber to admit that he'd got it wrong and that his actions had been due to conflicting information.

"Fernando must have thought I was really screwing him," he said, "but I had two lots of different information coming at me at the same time - the blue flag and the team screaming that I was racing for position, so one moment I was slowing down to allow him to pass me a difficult spot but then the next I was racing him. I apologised to him afterwards."

That he finished eighth, claiming his first point of the season, is some reward, though we doubt if Juan Pablo will agree.

We've grown used to drivers criticising one another, using the media not only to attack their rivals but often their own teammate, while drivers who have long since retired still pop up in the press to rubbish virtually everyone on the grid.

So hats off to Mark Webber who has proved that F1 doesn't have to be cynical and sink to the level of a cat fight.

It takes a big man to admit that he's made a mistake and got it wrong, clearly Mark is a big man.

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