Previous F1 Teams:
- 2002 Minardi
- 2003 - 2004 Jaguar
- 2005 - 2006 Williams
- 2007 - 2009 Red Bull Racing
Mark started go-kart racing as a teenager in Australia, moving to cars in 1994 in the Australian Formula Ford series, where he finished fourth in 1995. In 1996 he finished second in the British Formula Ford championship, and also won the Formula Ford Festival. He raced in the British F3 series the following year and finished fourth, before moving to touring cars. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1999 his Mercedes went airborne during a practice session, and it flipped several times, but he was unhurt. Back in single seaters, he joined the F3000 series where he finished third in 2000 and second in 2001.
His Career Thus Far:
If a driver's F1 career was made or broken by the first impression he gave the sport, then Mark's career was surely made at the Australian Grand Prix of 2002. Few drivers have had as auspicious beginnings as Mark, when he joined the Minardi team and finished fifth in his first race, scoring two points. It was also his home race, and Minardi was the weakest team in the sport. Mark held off a Toyota in the final laps of the race, handing Minardi its first points since 1999. They were also to be the only points he or the team scored that year.
The following year Mark moved to Jaguar and scored 17 points, finishing equal ninth in the series with Jenson Button. But after two seasons at Jaguar and little progress at a team about to leave the sport, Mark moved to Williams in 2005. He had finally landed at a top team. And yet although he scored 36 points and finished 10th in the series, it turned out that Williams was on the way down. It lost its BMW engine at the end of that year, and in 2006 it suffered its worst season in decades. Mark scored only seven points and finished 14th in the championship.
A Make It or Break It Year:
Mark outperformed all of his teammates, and in F1 where technology counts for so much, that is usually the key to the success of a driver's career. Yet in 2007 he had to prove himself again as he joined the Red Bull team. For the first time in his F1 career, he had a proven winning driver in David Coulthard as a teammate. In their first year together, Coulthard scored 14 points, while Mark scored 10. On the other hand, Mark frequently out qualified Coulthard and had bad luck. At the Japanese Grand Prix Mark was in second behind Lewis Hamilton, and he had a chance even for the victory. As the cars circled behind the safety car, suddenly Sebastian Vettel, the rookie in a Toro Rosso, speared into the back of Mark's car and knocked them both out of the race. In 2008, Mark outperformed Coulthard. But in 2009, Vettel joined as Mark's teammate, and over the winter Mark broke his leg on a bicycle.
Mark is one of the friendliest and least egotistical drivers. That does not prevent him from speaking his mind, yet when he does criticize it is usually a well measured summation of a situation. Mark is one of those rare drivers with an ability to motivate a team to improve and he easily admits his own errors.