Webber began a partnership with fellow Australian Paul Stoddart, at that time owner of the European Racing Formula 3000 team, which eventually took them both into Formula One when Stoddart bought the Minardi team. He also beat future F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso in the 2000 International Formula 3000 season. Webber made his Formula One debut in 2002, scoring Minardi's first points in three years at his and Stoddart's home race. After his first season, Jaguar took him on as lead driver.
During two years with the generally uncompetitive team, Webber qualified on the front two rows of the grid several times and outperformed his teammates. His first F1 win was with Red Bull at the 2009 German Grand Prix, which followed second places at the 2009 Chinese Grand Prix, 2009 Turkish Grand Prix and 2009 British Grand Prix.
By the end of 2009, Webber had scored eight podiums, including another victory in Brazil. His eight podiums in 2009 compares to only two podiums in the first seven years of his career. He added ten more podiums in 2010, including victories in Spain, Monaco, Britain and Hungary. Webber finished the 2010 season in third place having led for a long period, losing out to teammate Sebastian Vettel in the final race of the season.
Webber added another race victory in the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix, as he once again finished third behind champion Vettel and runner-up Jenson Button. Webber partnered Vettel again in the 2012 season, outperforming him in the early season and looked to be a major title contender but fell away with no wins in the second half of the season after two in the Monaco and British Grand Prix. He finished the season in sixth position. Webber was also a long-term director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, the Formula One drivers' union.
On 27 June Webber announced he would be retiring from Formula One racing at the conclusion of the 2013 season and subsequently join Porsche on a long-term deal racing LMP1 Sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Webber is one of six drivers of the Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Webber was born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, son of Alan, a local motorcycle dealer. He attended Karabar High School in Queanbeyan for his secondary education. He began his relationship with sport at a young age, working as a ball boy for premiership winning rugby league team, the Canberra Raiders, during the late 1980s. However, motorsport was where his interest lay, later listing Formula One World Champion Alain Prost and Grand Prix motorcycle racer Kevin Schwantz as his childhood heroes.
Starting out racing motorcycles, Webber moved to four wheels in 1991, taking up karting at the age of 14. He won the New South Wales state championship in 1993, and moved straight into the Australian Formula Ford Championship after his father bought him an ex-Craig Lowndes Van Diemen FF1600. Working as a driving instructor at Sydney's Oran Park Raceway between races, Webber finished 14th overall in his debut season. Continuing in the series in 1995, Webber scored several victories, including a win in the support race for the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide. He finished the series in fourth place but, perhaps more importantly, teamed up with Championship coordinator Ann Neal, who secured him a seven-year sponsorship with Australian Yellow Pages, and would become his manager and accompany him on a trip to England in an attempt to start a career in Europe.
In November 2003, Webber organised and competed in a 10-day trek across Tasmania to raise funds for children's cancer research charities. Starting in Marrawah on the state's west coast, the trek involved 1,000 km of cycling, kayaking and trekking along the southern coast and finished at Coles Bay in the east. Four teams of four competitors each started the trek, with only two teams (including Webber's) completing the entire journey.
Along the way, Australian sporting stars Pat Rafter (tennis), Steve Waugh (cricket), Cathy Freeman (athletics), James Tomkins (rowing), Guy Andrews (iron man), and actor Joel Edgerton completed certain parts of the trek. The challenge concluded with a black tie dinner and auction to raise funds. Webber said he was driven to organize the event after the death of his grandfather to cancer, as well as his experiences with friends whose children had battled the disease. With Webber's switch from Jaguar to Williams at the end of 2004, the challenge was postponed until 2006, when he was able to secure a three-year deal with the Tasmanian Government to hold the event.
The 2006 event (now named the "Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge") was held over six days and covered nearly 600 km. Twelve teams competed in the event, and it raised A$500,000 for children's charities. The 2007 Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge was launched at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne when Webber was joined by sports stars and Kylie Minogue, and Hollywood star Anthony Edwards. The trek was another gruelling physical and mental adventure race about Tasmania in aid of charity but albeit with a new format. Teams competed for honours in two unique categories: the Van Diemen Cup – designed exclusively for corporate teams of four people, and the 2theXtreme Cup – a two person elite team entry. Both categories trekked, kayaked and cycled alongside each other as they covered approximately 450 km through World Heritage wilderness and along the idyllic coast of the Freycinet National Park. It was held from 17–23 November, and for the first time, one of Webber's fellow Formula One drivers, Heikki Kovalainen, joined him in the challenge.
During the 2008 event, Webber broke his leg when his bike collided with a car during the charity race. Talk about no good deed going unpunished! He did not suffer any other injuries, but had a pin inserted into his broken bone.
The event was not held in 2009 or 2010. In December 2010, it was announced that the Challenge would return in 2011. It was subsequently held in 2012 and 2013 as well.
|RACER MARK WEBBER ON "TOP GEAR"|
Mark Webber returns to Top Gear to have another lap in the Suzuki Liana and try to beat the time of his arch nemesis, Sebastian Vettel.
|HOTTIE MARK WEBBER OVERHEATING|
Racer Mark Webber shows the BBC how he prepares for a race and deals with overheating.