Leading Formula One driver Mark Webber has spoken of his respect for Isle of Man TT riders while reflecting on competing at the pinnacle of four-wheel sport.
Red Bull F1 driver Webber, who was battling for the Driver’s World Championship in 2010, was being interviewed by the Sydney Sun-Herald in his native Australia when he paid tribute to the Isle of Man’s annual motorcycle festival as the ultimate example of concentration and skill.
The 34-year-old Webber, who visited the Isle of Man TT in 2008, told the Sun-Herald newspaper: "There’s a bike race on the Isle of Man and to see what the riders do is amazing. To see what a human can do, the concentration levels while knowing just the smallest mistake could mean you might die, is absolutely incredible.
"There’s just something about people putting themselves in situations where it’s just them … and knowing the only way to go is forward."
In his interview with the Sydney Sun-Herald, Webber was explaining the motivation, determination and work it takes to stay on top in the competitive world of Formula One, and revealing that despite the team structure, driver’s are ultimately on their own as they fight for victory.
Webber was part of a year-long battle with his own team-mate for the F1 World Championship last year, with allegations the team was showing preferential treatment to Sebastian Vettel, who went on to win the crown.
He was also forced to confront the ever-present specter of danger in motorsport at the race in Valencia when, after colliding with a rivals car at about 190mph, his Red Bull car flipped over in mid-air, landed heavily and slammed into a barrier. Amazingly, Webber escaped injury.
The Australian has been a fan of the Isle of Man TT since his visit in 2008, regularly referring to bravery of the riders and excitement of the racing.
Mark Webber says: "I’ve always heard of the TT being hugely unique, but, as usual, TV, ‘You-Tube’ etc doesn’t do justice whatsoever to how special the event and the competitors are. To start with, the course itself is absolutely phenomenal. I’ve been to plenty of race tracks around the world, but to see 37 miles of public roads closed off for racing is just awe-inspiring.
"I’ve been to some of the biggest sporting events in the world too, but standing there with my dad it’s the first time I’ve been blown away as a spectator by such an event. These guys deserve so much more recognition for what they do. People talk about concentration in sport – I would like to see one that rivals what they do!"