Webber: Less metal, more pedal
READY FOR ACTION: Red Bull F1 driver Mark Webber has had surgery to remove a 38cm metal rod from his once-smashed right leg.Image: AFP
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
JEREZ, Spain - Australian F1 driver Mark Webber has peace of mind when he puts his foot down now that a 38cm long titanium rod has been removed from his right leg.
The Red Bull Formula 1 driver made light of the surgery, done during the northern winter, after his first day in the cockpit at the Jerez test track but recognised that it was one less thing to worry about.
"I felt pretty comfortable pretty quickly," he told reporters. "The leg's no problem. I'm probably a little bit behind on condition, but not much. I'll be ready to go for Melbourne, I'm clearly on target so that's all fine. I felt better in the car than I thought I would.
"At one point it was a little bit stiff but it's normal, it will be fine. When the adrenalin's going, it's zero problems," added the 36-year-old, who was in the car for lengthy stints on Tuesday; he did 73 laps.
Webber's leg was broken during a collision between him and his mountain bike and a car in Tasmania in 2008. He's had the rod and screws ever since.
RACING IS NO PROBLEM
He said it had not been a concern in the cockpit; drivers are protected in a carbon fibre "tub" should they crash but was more of a worry in his regular routine away from thetrack.
"It never really affected me when I was racing. It affected me when I was doing other sports. Maybe water-skiing or mountain-biking," he said. "I knew it was not going to be beneficial to re-break my leg with the rod in there.
"Now it's out I'm not going to be crazy but it's peace of mind from the recreational point of view."
The Australian, whose contract with the World champion team will expire at the end of 2013, took a few weeks off from his normal training schedule but got back up to speed in January.
He said then that some of the "niggles and pain" he had experienced over the previous three years of training seemed a thing of the past. The memory would stay with him, though.
"The mind is a great thing. It never forgets. I won't forget the pain I had when I broke my leg. I'm actually getting a little bit more wise as I get older, believe it or not."