Mark Webber has recalled the time his bursting bladder saw him have a run in with the UK Prime Minister’s security detail.
While the people in charge with keeping the Prime Minister and other high-ranking UK officials safe usually focus on much more serious threats, on occasion they have found themselves dealing with misbehaving sportspeople.
English cricketer Andrew Flintoff famously got told to leave after a drunken wander through Number 10 decided to host his own cabinet meeting, going as far as sitting in the Prime Minister’s chair.
And it seems in 1997, the security around Chequers, the official country residence of British Prime Ministers, had to escort a young Australian off the premises after he got caught short.
That young Australian was none other than future Red Bull man, Mark Webber.
The nine-time race winner has been looking back at the start of his career and how a former World Champion played a pivotal role in it.
“I think the biggest influence outside my father was Sir Jackie Stewart,” he told the Performance Hackers podcast. “He was sort of a second father figure and, he probably hates this, but a grandfather figure.
“There was absolutely no reason why he had to take me under his wing. I’ve been with Jackie and as far back as ’97, when he was looking to maybe secure a driver for his team, which didn’t work out for only small little reasons where I was already linked to another team.
“I went to Mercedes [for the 24 Hours of Le Mans] but we stayed in touch ever since.”
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It was in one of those early years that Webber very nearly found himself on the wrong side of the law where he picked a misfortune spot for a toilet break.
“I remember him inviting me to his house in ’97 and I got there an hour early for the meeting. So I was parked outside around the corner for one hour early to make sure I wasn’t late.
“It’s not a million miles from Chequers and I was busting for a leak. So I thought I’d get out and it’s dark, it’s in the winter and I was parked on the edge of this field.
“I got out and just had a leak and then I got back in my car and in the next minute I had two pretty heavy duty individuals come and just check out what I was up to.
“They were part of the Chequers’ security and I’d been parked on their boundary for a while. But I just said I had an appointment quite locally and they knew who obviously I was talking about!”
After easing the security guards’ concerns, Webber made his meeting with Stewart and their friendship continues to this day, even if the sharply dressed Brit is not a fan of Webber’s style.
“He still gets frustrated with my wardrobe, he’d like me to be more polished! I’m not a big fan of uniforms.”