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Mark Webber says F1 title race too close to call
EXCLUSIVE: MARK Webber says it is impossible to pick a winner for the Australian Grand Prix.

The Australian driver also says the Formula One world championship looks likely to be the closest on record, with four or five teams capable of claiming the prize.

Webber admits Ferrari and McLaren should continue at the front, after battling to the last race last year for a driver's title won by Lewis Hamilton by a point, but believes they will be joined by as many as four other serious contenders when the action opens at Albert Park this month.

And he thinks his Red Bull team is a serious threat.

"I think it is too close to call," Webber told the Herald Sun from his home in Britain.

"There is no question about it. The first time we are going to find out the real pecking order will be in Melbourne.

"I cannot remember another off-season in winter testing which is this close. We've just had another week at Jerez (Spain) and it is really difficult to read who is doing what."

Webber said the surprising parity among the top teams was even more of a shock after the biggest rules change in recent F1 history.

Teams have had to totally redesign their cars to cope with major aerodynamic changes - including smaller wings intended to make passing easier - as well as the return of slick racing tyres and the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems.

"I can't believe that, after a massive regulation change like that, we're still all tonking around within a tenth (of a second) or so of each other," Webber said.

"What I just cannot believe is, after the biggest regulation changes in 20 years and with all those boffins at all those teams beavering away for so many months, the cars have produced pretty close lap times.

"That's what is really fascinating. How that has happened, I don't know. But it has."

Webber said the one-lap times produced by many of the teams have been close but it is the pace over a "race distance run", usually about 40 laps, which has been more of a surprise to him.

"It is literally us, Toyota, Williams, Ferrari and BMW. We have all, at certain times, done the business. And the Renault as well.

"There are a lot of people in it. You would expect McLaren maybe to have done a bit more, going by the testing over the last few years.

"But apart from that, we all know they are more than capable of turning up in Melbourne and spanking everyone."

Webber said he has settled into his new Red Bull-Renault RB5, which has the roomiest cockpit of any car since he joined the F1 grid with Minardi.

"It's the most comfortable car I've been in, to be honest, in terms of seating position," he said.

Webber is also comfortable with his testing times.

"I feel I'm driving well. I've still got a bit of work to do with the balance of the car. But I've been around long enough to know there are no points for driving in November to January.

"I feel very happy with my consistency. That is the key for me. I've never been overly concerned about the pace because I know race weekend is when it matters," he said.

Webber said his team has not decided if it will run one of the high-tech KERS systems, and expects only a handful of cars will use the new technology.

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