CORRECTED-Motor racing-Webber wants drivers to stand up for the big guys

Thu Oct 3, 2013 6:38pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

YEONGAM, South Korea (Reuters) - Formula One's smaller drivers should stand up for the big guys to prevent the larger men being frozen out of the sport because of their size and weight, lanky Australian Mark Webber said on Thursday.

The regulations are changing next season with the introduction of a new V6 turbocharged power unit with energy recovery systems which will weigh considerably more than the current V8 engines.

At present the car and driver - in overalls - must weigh a minimum of 642 kilos but while that will go up to 692kg next year to compensate for the new unit, some drivers argue it is not enough and gives the lighter men a significant advantage.

They would like a further 10kg to be added on to the combined weight.

"Everybody's been asking me why I look so skinny but you have to be skinny because it's to your advantage to be as light as possible," Red Bull's Webber told reporters at the Korean Grand Prix. "It's a car performance advantage.

"The lighter drivers should be pushing as well (for an increase in the minimum weight) but they don't because obviously it's nice for them," added the Australian, who is leaving Formula One at the end of the year and whose triple-champion team mate Sebastian Vettel is considerably shorter and lighter.

While those weighing 60kg will have the car at the optimum weight and have scope to use ballast to maximum effect, others - such as Sauber's German driver Nico Hulkenberg who weighs in at around 78kg - will be at a considerable disadvantage.

Hulkenberg's physique is already believed to have counted against him for a drive with top teams such as Ferrari and McLaren and that has made the subject a talking point in the paddock, particularly among German media.   Continued...

Red Bull Formula One driver Mark Webber of Australia speaks to media at the Korea International Circuit before the Korea F1 Grand Prix in Yeongam October 3, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji