Mark Webber helped keep a fellow Australian’s racing career alive.
29-year-old Will Power, who tested a Minardi late in 2004, hit had hit rock-bottom earlier that year.
He met the then Jaguar driver Webber at Silverstone in 2004, where Power was sitting out the British F3 race after running out of sponsorship money.
“It was a make-or-break time for him but I could see how determined he was not to give up and go home,” Webber is quoted as recalling in a report by the Canadian Globe and Mail newspaper.
During Webber’s formative career, he also ran out of money whilst competing in F3 in the 90s, and was bailed out with a $100,000 loan by Australian rugby player David Campese.
“You can have all the talent in the world,” said the 33-year-old Red Bull driver, “but you need to get yourself in a position where you can prove it on a world stage and get the right people to take notice.
“I was fortunate enough to have a few key people support me just at the right time – like David Campese – to keep my dream alive, so when I was in a position to do the same for someone else, I did,” added Webber.
Power was introduced to Minardi’s Paul Stoddart and other key figures, and Webber contributed to his budget for the 2005 Renault World Series.
He also lived with Webber for a time in the UK, and Power’s girlfriend still works in Webber’s management office.
Power progressed to Champ Cars, and now leads America’s premier open wheel series Indycar.
“I can’t tell you exactly why he helped me out, but if he didn’t think it was worth it, he wouldn’t have,” said Power.
“When I am well established and in a strong place financially, I would like to help someone out too,” he added.
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