Mark Webber says he intends to carry the momentum of a strong end to the 2011 season through Formula 1's winter break as he aims to close the gap to Red Bull teammate and double World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
Following the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, Webber will return to Australia for a six-week rest before returning to test with Red Bull at the start of the 2012 campaign. The 37-year-old Australian accepts that the gap to Vettel has been significant during 2011, but feels he has seen an improvement in his race performance through the year, which he hopes to carry into 2012.
"The momentum is important, the start, say the first half a dozen races are important, there are no big changes on the tire front although the blown diffuser will be different," Webber said in Brazil. "Although it might not have showed, my performances have been better than at the start of the season."
Webber has been caught out by a series of minor issues that have not prevented him from finishing, but have affected his outright pace and results.
"My last grand prix, the race on Sunday was competitive even though I was down 20 or 30 pounds of downforce, on Sundays I have been competitive. So if the tires stay pretty similar, which I believe they will then I should be OK."
Webber also cited his own weight when comparing his performances to those of Sebastian Vettel in 2011.
"I weigh 10 kilos more than Sebastian, it has a big bearing on weight distribution which has a big bearing on starts, which has a big bearing on how the tires hold up. But I have had that for my whole career, I can't be much lighter so we have to work with what we have."
Webber will use his time in Australia to relax and get away from England, where Red Bull's F1 team is based.
"I am looking forward to the break," he admitted. "There are three more important days work with the guys but it'll be nice when the calendar flicks over. I will do some surfing and spend less time in England."