LONDON (Reuters) - Red Bull’s Mark Webber raced the last four grands prix of the Formula One season with a broken shoulder after falling off a mountain bike in Australia in October, his partner said on Monday.
The 34-year-old, who still has a pin in his leg after breaking the limb and shoulder in a cycling accident in Tasmania in November 2008, cast light on the latest incident in a book ‘Up Front - 2010, a season to remember’ published in Australia this month.
“I was riding with a great friend of mine. Suddenly, he crashed right in front of me and I had nowhere to go but straight through the ears of the horse (over the handlebars),” he explained in it.
“I suffered what they call a ‘skier’s fracture’ to my right shoulder.”
Webber had been leading the championship at the time but his form then dipped and he ended up third overall with the title going to 23-year-old German team mate Sebastian Vettel.
Webber’s partner Ann Neal told Reuters that Webber had returned to Australia after the Singapore Grand Prix and gone out on mountain bikes for the first time since the Tasmania crash.
She said the driver, currently in Australia, had not told team boss Christian Horner about the fine fracture with only his physio Roger Cleary and the FIA doctor Gary Hartstein in the know.
“He just got on with it,” she said, playing down the severity of the injury. “He knew he could race the car, he just needed a few painkillers. There was never any fear that he wouldn’t be able to compete.
“It was painful for him at the time because he crashed on his shoulder.” Despite the injury, Webber finished second in a Red Bull one-two in Japan. He then crashed out in South Korea on a slippery wet surface and was again second behind Vettel in Brazil after accusing the team of favouring his team mate emotionally before a race in which Red Bull won the constructors’ title.