Formula One driver Mark Webber has been awarded the BRDC Gold Star after a season where he finished third in the drivers' world championship.
The Red Bull man was given the prestigious after Andy Priaulx – who had previous looked destined for the title – lost the points garnered at the Japanese round of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) after it was ruled that the sequential gearbox in his BMW was not within the regulations.
The loss of those points – won on the deadline day to count towards the Gold Star standings – dropped Priaulx behind Webber, who had lost ground to the Touring Car driver following his early retirement from October’s Korean Grand Prix.
In total the Australian amassed 253 Gold Star points from scoring points in 15 races – including 2009's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Priaulx, after the penalty was applied finished on 239.
“Winning the Gold Star was something I was very proud of, so losing it in this way was deeply disappointing for me,” admitted Priaulx. “It was a shame my year ended in this way, but after scoring six victories and becoming the most successful FIA WTCC driver in history with 18 wins, I must not complain too much. I want to congratulate Mark on winning the Gold Star. He is a great driver and I can think of no-one I would rather it went to, as he also had a tough year.”
The decision makes Webber the third Australian to win the Gold Star, after Sir Jack Brabham – who won in 1959, 1960 and 1966 – and Alan Jones, the victor in 1979, 1980 and 1981.