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Driver market 'unhealthy' - Webber

ESPN Staff
November 14, 2013 « Massa reveals McLaren talks | 'You have to be ruthless at times' - Vettel »
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Mark Webber says the state of the driver market in Formula One is "unhealthy" as money dictates who drives where.

The paddock is in a state of flux at the moment as drivers try to nail down contracts for 2014 and it is looking increasingly likely that some relatively big names will be left on the sidelines.

Lotus is the prime target for several drivers, but after it failed to keep up with Kimi Raikkonen's payments this year it is waiting to secure its financial position before making a decision. If it does not seal a deal to bring in new investment to the team it is likely to plump for Pastor Maldonado, who would bring significant funding from PDVSA. Meanwhile, Sauber is set to give young Russian Sergey Sirotkin a drive after his father and other investors agreed to sink money into the team.

Webber, who will leave F1 at the end of the year to race for Porsche in sports cars, said times had changed since his debut over ten years ago.

"In 2002 I'm sitting on the grid and most of the people around me have been on the podium in Formula One," Webber said. "Most of them have got a lot of experience. You have to give young talent a chance, so it's not saying that you always have to have experienced guys because then there's a bottleneck in bringing young talent through.

"That's also why I don't want to outstay my welcome. It's not a charity, I'm not looking to help youngsters but also I want to get the timing right for me to realise that there's a system that you need the top guys in here that are hungry for it all the time, which I was when I arrived."

"To have a driver say he hasn't made his decision which team he's going to is the wrong way round. Guys are saying I haven't made my decision which team I'm going for, I'm checking which engines are going where and then I'll make my decisions … it's changed a lot in 10 or 12 years. And that makes it quite unhealthy for the driver market. Especially after Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, a bit McLaren, but then it gets … at this level with all of the smoke and mirrors we should have all of the staff members, everyone at the factory, all the drivers, everyone accounted for. The numbers should add up, but it's got itself into a position that there's people that are on the squeeze and that's what the sport needs to address pretty quickly for the sake of everyone."

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