Former Red Bull and McLaren Formula 1 driver David Coulthard believes that Mark Webber can still return to his pre-2011 championship-contending form.
Webber went into the final round of 2010 as one of four drivers capable of winning the championship, having picked up four wins during the season, and eventually finished third in the standings behind Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
He was less of a match for Vettel in 2011 however, being regularly outgunned by his teammate in qualifying and scoring his only victory of the year at the season finale in Brazil. But Coulthard is confident that Webber remains capable of being a regular frontrunner in 2012 if he can recapture his old qualifying form.
"We've seen some incredible performances from Mark, and he's a gutsy driver – his pass on Alonso at Spa, going into Eau Rouge... I nearly dropped the microphone in the commentary box, because I thought it was going to be an aeroplane crash," said Coulthard, who serves as a color commentator on F1 telecasts for for Britain's BBC. "But he pulled it off, and he is definitely a great racing driver.
"One of his key strengths in the past was his qualifying, and if you qualify well, it makes your whole weekend so much easier, because within the team you get the prime choice on strategy, you've got track position, and running in clean air is much easier than running in dirty air. Mark just needs to rediscover his mojo for qualifying and he'll be fine, because all the rest is there.
"But there's no question that in 2011 he was not as strong as he was in 2010. You can't hide from that fact, and Sebastian somehow gained in confidence and really grew in his qualifying performances. That was key to him winning so many races and the championship."