Webber worried over Red Bull s late launch

Mark Webber has said that his Red Bull team s decision to launch their new car relatively late could compromise their performance levels. Writing in his BBC column, the Australian, who is recovering from a serious cycling accident, said that the delay might allow other teams to gain advantages over the Milton Keynes-based team.

“Come the third or fourth race would we have preferred to have that extra 600-800km on the car? Some would argue yes.

By way of contrast he pointed to BMW Sauber, who were one of the first teams to exhibit 2009-spec front and rear-wing arrangements, and experiment with KERS.

“They have put a lot of energy into getting on to the start line earlier than some people. That has got to benefit them and we could end up looking back and saying that was a smart decision,” said the 32 year old from Queanbeyan.

However, Webber explained that the reason for Red Bull s tardiness was to fine-tune reliability, which could well be a crucial factor in a season of drastic regulation changes. Adrian Newey, the car s designer, has something of a reputation for presiding over fast-but-fragile machines. But Newey s 2008 effort went some way to redressing that perception, and Webber today paid tribute.

‘There is a lot of stuff you can do now to make sure the cars are reliable – and we had very good mechanical reliability last year.

‘If we can keep that sort of reliability up with this car, then Adrian Newey’s decision to delay the launch to give him more development time to get a bit more performance out of the car could be a good one.”

Furthermore, the February launch of the new Red Bull will give Webber personally a chance to recover fully from his cycling injuries before getting behind the wheel.