Zach Germain
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Mark Webber’s Toughness on the Track Like Nietzsche

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Mark Webber's toughness

Mark Webber’s toughness has kept him on the track after injuries.


From Nietzsche’s 1888 book Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer came the following axiom: “From life’s school of war: what does not kill me makes me stronger.” Australian Formula One star Mark Webber—also commonly known as “That guy who always finishes just behind Sebastian Vettel”—doesn’t need a reminder. Since recovering from a horrific 2008 accident, Webber has been a living testament to Nietzsche’s axiom.

While out riding his bike in November 2008 as part of a charity event on the island of Tasmania, Webber was hit head-on by a car. The result of the accident saw the driver’s fibula shattered, a titanium rod surgically attached to the bone, and a long rehabilitation to get back in time for the 2009 F1 season.

“Getting ready for ’09 was really tough,” Webber told Infiniti in their story chronicling his comeback. “The pain was always there and there were some pretty low moments during that winter. I have to thank the team – and Dietrich [Mateschitz, Red Bull boss] in particular – for the loyalty that they showed. It would have been easy to get rid of me, but they stuck by me.”

Upon his return, Mark Webber finished second (despite terrible track conditions) at the China GP 2009 and racked up his first Formula One victory in Germany—beating his Red Bull teammate Vettel. In the years since the accident, Mark Webber’s toughness has been on display race after race.

“I can’t hide behind that shunt,” Webber said. “And I’ve got no complaints about my career. Everyone would like to win the world title, but it didn’t happen for me. When I left Australia to try my luck in Europe all those years ago, I’d never have dreamt that I would have a Formula One career like the one I’ve had. I can look back at the last twelve years with a lot of satisfaction.”

Nietzsche would be proud. Through Mark Webber’s toughness, he is the hammer. Adversity is his nail. That which didn’t kill him has only made him stronger.