Australia’s Formula One driver Mark Webber got a taste of 7.5g’s and 400kph at the weekend — and a grand prix racetrack was nowhere in sight.
Although still under contract to his former team Williams, the 30-year-old was a guest of his 2007 Formula One employer Red Bull at the energy drink company’s ‘Red Bull Air Race World Series’ event in Perth.
Often just metres above the Swan River in the west Australian city, Webber rode in a US-built ‘Edge 540’ racing plane, which can withstand 12G and twist up to 420deg per second.
Having negotiated an early release from his Williams duties, Webber began the journey back to Europe on Monday morning, to prepare for his Red Bull test debut in a Ferrari-powered RB2.
“There is so many teams at the sharp end these days,” Webber, asked about his prospects for 2007, said.
He added: “But we want to punch above our weight and have a good season. I believe Red Bull can be a real dark horse.”