Formula 1

Mark Webber: F1 lacking quality

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Webber will leave F1 at the end of 2013. (©GettyImages)
Webber will leave F1 at the end of 2013. (©GettyImages).

The soon-to-be retired Mark Webber has called on F1 to maintain the "quality" in the sport.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's Korean Grand Prix, Webber again criticised the rise of 'pay drivers' in the sport as well as targeting races he claims are unpopular yet stay on the calendar because of the financial gain to Ecclestone.

The 37-year-old told Sky Sports the 'pay driver' culture is not right adding: "We've got to be careful we don't have a bit of a vacuum not having those top boys come through." referring to highly talented drivers that are being blocked from making the step up to F1 because of a lack of sponsors.

Webber then criticised those races he believes should not be on the calendar using Korea as an example.

"I think keeping the quality is important, keeping the quality events," said Webber.

"Korea, there's no one there," Webber complained. "We need to have quality events, quality drivers, quality teams and keep that going."

Indeed with very low attendance figures and high costs, the Korean Grand Prix has always run at a substantial loss since it arrived in F1 back in 2010.

For 2014 the race at Yeongam is only provisional dependent on a new deal with Bernie Ecclestone.

Speaking at the Yeongam track on Wednesday race promoter Won-Hwa Pak admitted he is trying to secure the future of the race but with a better deal.

Asked specifically what the chances of hosting a race next year would be Pak said: "I would say 50-50, but we are very much firm in continuously holding this event."

Should the event go ahead in 2014, the race would be moved forward to April as part of a double-header with the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

Another race only provisionally placed on the 2014 calendar is the Mexican Grand Prix in New Mexico.

The race would represent a homecoming for current McLaren driver Sergio Perez and the 23-year-old is hopeful the race will take place.

"I'm very excited," he told reporters. "It's not confirmed yet, it's just a pre-calendar but I feel there are very big chances now of this happening."

The major factor in the Central American race going ahead is investment by Perez's billionaire backer Carlos Slim Domit.

Slim Domit is investing heavily on bringing the facilities at the New Mexico venue up to standard to host F1 but speaking to Mexico Today he said: "It (Mexico) is a stable country, our economy is doing quite well and we have drivers people can identify with.

"All of the pieces are coming together and I believe the potential promoters are doing a good job in trying to secure something," he added.

Should all the races in 2014 go ahead it would create the biggest calendar in F1 history with 22 races, McLaren's Sam Michael believes however such a schedule would be manageable.

"F1 is about achieving things that are not normally possible, and this is far from the worst challenge we have had," he said, suggesting the financial benefits of an expanded calendar will outweigh the hurdles.

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