Mark Webber, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2013

Webber confirms F1 exit to join Porsche WEC team

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2013Mark Webber has confirmed he will leave F1 at the end of the year to join Porsche’s team for the World Endurance Championship.

Porsche have already tested the LMP1 car (pictured) which will compete in next year’s WEC including the Le Mans 24 Hours.

“It?s an honour for me to join Porsche at its return to the top category in Le Mans and in the sports car World Endurance Championship and be part of the team,” said Webber.

“Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding technology and performance at the highest level. I?m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1.

“Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”

Webber will join former Red Bull development driver Neel Jani at Porsche’s LMP1 team along with Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. He previously raced for Mercedes’ Le Mans team but they withdrew from the 1999 race after experiencing a series of high-speed flips, two of which were suffered by Webber.

Porsche LMP1 test, Weissach, 2013“Mark is without doubt one of the world?s best race drivers,” said Porsche board member Wolfgang Hatz. “He has experience at the Le Mans 24 hour race and on top of that he?s been a Porsche enthusiast for many years.”

Webber’s F1 departure will come at the end of his seventh season with Red Bull during which he has won nine Grands Prix. But he has increasingly come into conflict with team mate Sebastian Vettel, who joined the outfit in 2009 and has since won 28 races and three world championships.

Matters came to a head in this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix where Vettel was ordered not to pass Webber in the closing stages of the race. Vettel defied the instruction and went on to win. Shortly afterwards rumours began to surface that Webber was considering leaving the team.

Webber made his Formula One debut with Minardi in 2002, achieving a remarkable fifth place on his debut in an attrition-hit race. Subsequent moves to Jaguar and Williams brought him closer to Grand Prix success. But it wasn’t until he joined Red Bull that he claimed his first victory, at the Nurburgring in 2009.

His decision to leave Red Bull will leave a vacant seat at the team which has won the last three constructors’ championships.

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Images ?? Red Bull/Getty, Porsche

141 comments on “Webber confirms F1 exit to join Porsche WEC team”

  1. Good luck in WEC, Mark. Thanks for the great memories in F1!

    1. Aditya (@adityafakhri)
      27th June 2013, 11:00

      salut to Mark Webber, the man who finished 5th in a Minardi. all the best for the future, mate.

    2. Bye bye Mark :( thank you…

      People around here know I’m a Webber fan… it’s going to be so sad to see him go.

      1. It’s always a bad feeling when your favorite drivers go. :C

        1. @mike indeed… 2014 will have an empty grid for me :(

  2. One more reason to watch WEC and Sports Car racing :)

    1. Ryan Fairweather
      27th June 2013, 10:40

      I am enjoying sports car racing more and more these days. Formula 1 has become a farce in terms of governance, greed and stupidity. e.g. tyre gate.

      1. Hats off to MW, its a wise decision that he choose to leave pinnacle politics sport, make him less grumble and hatred. In Le Mans, its about moving forward technology enchancement.

  3. Expected this, but still a surprise. Any news at all on who will replace him? Or will we have several months with the rumour mills running at full speed? Given JEV’s recent performance, I’d be surprised if Red Bull were quite ready to commit to Ricciardo.

    1. Well, I don’t see Red Bull having any options other than Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Vergne at the moment…

    2. I think Red Bull are trying to get Kimi to confirm, and either JEV or RIC are a backup plan at max.

      On the other hand, a Kimi – Vettel line-up would mean that they are unlikely to have a clear long term view, because Vettel can end in 2015 and Kimi is also unlikely to sign for a long term. The positive of that is (for them at least) it keeps the pressure on to keep up to pace (or it means that Mateschitz can change marketing strategies and sell the team mid 2015, off course)

    3. 1st. Good luck mate!

      2nd. I think they will try get Kimi, if they fail to get him then plan B should be give JEV or RIC a shot and put António Felix da Costa in the Renault powered Torro Rosso in 2014 getting him ready for a sit at Red Bull if JEV or RIC fail to impress.

      Personally, I’d love to see Kimi in that car.

      1. That would be wonderfull, if Felix entered the F1 team i will be his nr1 fan!!!

  4. Jan (@yancheelaa)
    27th June 2013, 9:20

    Best thing he could ever do !!! Le Mans rocks….

  5. Just saw this on BBC Sport. It will be sad to see him go, as he’s a good man and a great driver. It’s probably for the best though, his rivalry with Vettel was getting a bit to bitter for the good of either party and, given his recent criticism of the state of F1, it’s fair to see that he will enjoy the WEC a lot more than F1 anyway.

    For sure he will be missed. But of course the bigger news is that, at long last, an elusive Red Bull seat has opened up! I’m almost certain Kimi will get it but we shall see. After all, what is the point of Red Bull’s driver development programme if they are never actually going to place one of them at the wheel of the real deal?

  6. It was only a few hours ago that I read my first “will he stay or will he go” stories of the year. I was already preparing myself for another full summer of them. Good timing by Mark, then, to spare us that particular element of the silly season.

    Great driver, thoroughly likeable guy, and a real asset to his team: I fully expect Red Bull to be four-time World Constructors’ Champions by the time he bows out.

  7. I have to laugh, the commentators on the Lemans 24hrs race were talking about this as if it was fact but then hastily added “but that is obviously just speculation at this point…” As long as we do not have a repeat of 1999, but then again, Webber is the master of high speed car flips… ;-)

  8. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey)
    27th June 2013, 9:22

    I’m genuinely upset by Webber’s departure from Formula 1. It’s actually ruined my morning.

    I’m going to miss this guy. Great, fair driver who I’d have loved to have seen become a world champion. Very honest, non-nonsense guy who wasn’t rude or arrogant with it. He pulled off some amazing moves, had some brilliant drives and memorable victories. He is also one of the most unfortunate drivers in Formula 1’s long history and has had to suffer more than his fair share of heart-ache and misfortune throughout his long career.

    I’m glad he had the chance to leave the sport on his own terms and wasn’t pushed before he jumped. I’m really hoping he’ll get another victory before the season’s end. Webber’s going to be sorely missed and I think Formula 1 is very much worse for his departure.

    1. +1well said MG

    2. thatscienceguy
      27th June 2013, 10:45

      You could start watching the WEC as well, then you’ll get your Webber fix.

      And who knows, you might even enjoy the racing. It’s awesome.

      1. I love the suggestion that I don’t already watch the WEC…

    3. Drop Valencia!!
      27th June 2013, 10:56

      as Webbers #1 fan since it was him and Lowndsey going for F1, I think he can still be WDC! What a fairytale ending that would be!

    4. Ditto. I guess I’ll just have to shift all the weight of my expectation onto Ricciardo’s shoulders as the lone Aussie (provided he gets a seat next year..)

    5. I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

  9. Glad to see another driver moving up from the WEC feeder series to the real thing. Very best of luck to him, 2014 is going to be a golden year for sportscar racing.

    1. @ajokay I know it was a little joke and I actually laughed when I read your post at first, but isn’t a feeder series something you do really really well, win lots of races, fight for the championship and then move on to a higher category? Of those ex-F1 drivers on WEC, how many are race winners? How many have even a podium?

      Erm, Kobayashi, Fisichella and now Mark Webber? All other F1 entrants are so successful F1 drivers: Sebastian Buemi, Allan McNish, Marc Gené, Anthony Davidson, Antônio Pizzonia, Bruno Senna, Lucas di Grassi, Kazuki Nakajima, Nick Heidfeld, Shinji Nakano, Stephane Sarrazin, Gianmaria Bruni, Olivier Beretta and Pedro Lamy…

      1. Obviously I forgot to include Nick Heidfeld in the category of WEC drivers who scored an F1 podium…

  10. I’m sad to see him go and hope that he wins at least one more race before the end of the year. One doesn’t have to be a Webber fan to enjoy his rivalry with Vettel or his interviews. It’s probably good that Mark is now leaving with his head up high, I think many teams would still be happy to hire him.

    5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Who will be Vettel’s team mate in 2014? Raikkonen seems to be the most likely candidate although I would prefer to see what di Resta can do in that car, then everyone could finally forget about the 2006 F3 Euro Series season…

    1. I think it’s more likely that Red Bull will recruit internally. They want someone who can win championships – Constructors’ Championships. They want someone who can bank enough points to secure the World Constructors; Championship, but not enough to threaten Vettel in the World Drivers’ Championship.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I also think that RBR don’t want another ‘rooster’ but that their second driver needs to be approximately as strong as Webber has been so far. However, I doubt that either Ricciardo or Vergne are good enough to fill his shoes, which is why the Raikkonen story might make sense.

        1. I think Raikkonen would be too much of a risk. They don’t want someone who could potentially upset the established order.

          And recruiting from outseide the Red Bull family is practically an admission that the Young Driver Programme has been an expensive and extensive waste of time.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys

            And recruiting from outseide the Red Bull family is practically an admission that the Young Driver Programme has been an expensive and extensive waste of time.

            But wouldn’t that be just admitting the truth? Yes, Vettel is a superstar now but it is the only success story that the programme can be proud of, which makes me think that it’s rather a coincidence. Buemi, Alguersuari, Speed and Bourdais never returned to F1 after leaving STR, their only F1 team. Liuzzi didn’t have much success at FI and HRT after his Toro Rosso stint either. The team has no clear leader at the moment as well, which means that either both drivers are equally great or equally mediocre (I tend to believe it’s the latter). And that is even without mentioning all the drivers that have been dropped before they got to F1, such as Brendon Hartley or Lewis Williamson.

          2. But wouldn’t that be just admitting the truth?

            Probably. But when you’ve spent as much time and effort as Red Bull have, the truth is just an inconvenience.

          3. The RB Young Driver program isn’t a failure just because it hasn’t created (or identified) a second driver of Vettel’s calibre – he’s a once in generation driver. Buemi is a very good driver – he was on the Toyota LeMans team that finished just finished 2nd overall. You might as well call Webber a failure since he didn’t win any WDCs or isn’t considered one of the greats of this generation – though we can all probably agree Webber is a very good driver. Nor should it reflect poorly on the previous or current Toro Rosso drivers that they can’t dislodge either Mark Webber or Vettel.

            The thing with Vettel, that the other young drivers lack(ed), is that if RBR didn’t promote him, he would have been snatched up instantly by another team (imagine Vettel instead of Kovalainen as Hamilton’s teammate at McLaren in 2009 or instead of Button in 2010?).

    2. This is putting the heat on @ Torro Rosso. It’s been a while since Vettel switched from TR to RB. But this year, the pair is closely matched…

  11. muz (@murray1964)
    27th June 2013, 9:29

    Good luck Mark.
    I will certainly be watching more sports car racing.

  12. CARN WEBBER. Put on one last show.

    1. @dworsley “Carn”?

      1. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey)
        27th June 2013, 9:41

        Australian for ‘come on’.

        It’s a genuine word, as I can confirm with my Australianess.

        1. Jake (@jakehardyf1)
          27th June 2013, 10:00

          I can confirm this. CARN MATE.

        2. thatscienceguy
          27th June 2013, 10:16

          Being fluent in Ostrayan i too can confirm Carn as an ridgy didge word, by jingo crikey.

      2. @keithcollantine – It’s an AFL thing. It started out as chant among drunken Collingwood Magpies fans (so, most of them), but now it’s become a kind of battle cry, used to rally a side suffering a late-game slump in form.

      3. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
        27th June 2013, 10:52

        Yes Webber, please put on one last show. In your second to last race, take out Vettel to ruin his title chances and in the last race beat everyone :-)

    2. Carn Marky boy, fire up the Webber one last time.

      1. carn the maggies

  13. I am surprised in the sense that I recently read that Dietrich Mateschitz had personally offered Webber an extension for another year.

    On the one hand, I’m sad to see Webber leave, as he’s always been a driver I liked both on and off the track, but on the other hand it will be interesting to see Vettel go up against a different team mate. I think Raikkonen, Vergne, and Ricciardo are all good candidates for the seat. I hope it will be Ricciardo, though he will need to pull out some strong performances to win it. A Vettel-Raikkonen line-up would be interesting, and my guess would be that Vettel will have Kimi covered. There is something about the way Vettel has been maxing out every qualifying and race over the past few years that I just don’t see Raikkonen doing; Raikkonen has been very consistent, but not consistently excellent, imo.

    Back to Mark, if it has been his decision to leave, I wonder to what degree his decision has been influenced by the type of tyres currently in F1. Funnily enough, these days endurance racing is all about driving flat out for hours on end, whereas F1 is about managing the pace…

    I wish Webber a strong finish to his F1 career, starting with a win this Sunday!

    1. @adrianmorse

      I recently read that Dietrich Mateschitz had personally offered Webber an extension for another year.

      According to who? A lot of fiction gets written about driver contracts and offers.

      1. @keithcollantine, grandprix247 ran the story:
        http://grandprix247.com/2013/06/26/webber-offered-new-deal-for-2014-by-mateschitz/

        in which they cite Auto Bild Motorsport, and further claim

        Citing Auto Bild’s report, Die Welt newspaper now reports that Mateschitz has “personally presented the Australian with an offer to extend his contract.”

        However, I did not find any such article on Die Welt.

        1. @adrianmorseBild is a tabloid, like The Sun or The Daily Mail.

          1. At the same time, sport Bild has already brought us several news items first, as it seem they have some connections to the Austrian/German part of the team @prisoner-monkeys

        2. @adrianmorse I’ve never heard of grandprix247, the article doesn’t seem to have a byline, and as you say there’s no sign of an original source. I see no reason to believe it.

          1. @keithcollantine, @prisoner-monkeys

            grandprix247 used to be yallaF1. I sometimes go there because:
            1) I spend far too much time on the internet each day looking for F1 news,
            2) they often have news items originating form the German press that you won’t find on more regular sites like Autosport. I don’t know how reliable grandprix247, or the sources they cite, usually are.

          2. It seems this is the source (autobild.de – in German) for that article @keithcollantine (I have seen it on several sites that redub translated articles from other sources)

            Autobild, while part of the same company that has the Bild Tabloid is a pretty decent and reputable source for motorsport in Germany, they have been reporting some insider info coming from both Red Bull and Mercedes before.

    2. Raikkonen has been very consistent, but not consistently excellent

      1 win and 3 2nd places so far.

      The car suffer on wet weekend on the remaining 3 gps because the rear wing couldn’t generate enough downforce to switch on the wet compound tyre and harder tyre on cooler circuit.

      Consistent but not excellent?? It’s easy to say that when you are driving a car with enormous downforce that’s good on all kind of condition.

      1. I don’t think RedBull has been “good in all kind of condition”: Australia, China, Spain? They were not often the fastest despite “enormous downforce” – so far Vettel has been achieving the maximum results in every race. Something which his other rivals failed to achieve.

      2. I stand by my opinion – and I stress that it is an opinion – of Raikkonen, and I take into account his performances of last year when he was always scoring, but not always heavily. Even this season, I wouldn’t place Kimi alongside Alonso and Vettel when it comes to dragging performance from the car, in particular in Canada.

        1. what you expect him to do in Canada when his rear brake was gone at the start of the race and the team underfueled him couple with 6 sec pit stop?

          Please read some team reports before making your judgement.

          Jeez, never stop to amuse me how people underrate Kimi.

    3. these days endurance racing is all about driving flat out for hours on end

      @adrianmorse I watched Le Mans this year, and seem to remember that Audi’s win was helped by the fact that they looked after the fuel and squeezed out 11-lap stints and not 10 laps as previously thought they’d have to. At the start of the race it nearly seemed like a classic ‘Economy vs Speed’ race which would not have been possible to predict.
      On top of that, Audi #1 had to come into the pits from the lead whilst they spent almost 1 hour fixing the car, thereby losing the lead and handing it to Kristensen/McNish/Duval.
      I’m really not sure where people get this ‘racing is flat out’ nonsense from… All forms of motorsport have a degree of compromise and conservation built into them

      1. @keeleyobsessed, the point I was trying to make is that these days, the driving in F1 is a lot more conservative than the driving in endurance racing, which I find ironic. Perhaps I overstated it a little bit, but even McNish himself said as much in the interview with Peter Windsor the week before Le Mans.

        1. @adrianmorse McNish’s last (and only) year in F1 was 2002, over a decade ago and my first year of watching F1, I’m not willing to take his opinion on how F1 currently is. I’d be more inclined to take Buemi, Kobayashi or Senna’s advice on the differences between current-F1 and current-Le Mans…

  14. Webber is my F1 hero, so I am very sad to see him go. I supported him from when I started watching in 08, but I am pleased he is going from his own decision. And I have been wanting to get into endurance car racing but have had no-one to support… I do now. Does anyone know how much is shown in the UK?

    I hope he has an amazing season, F1 simply wont be the same without him.

  15. F1’s loss is WEC (considerable) gain.

    1. Traverse (@)
      27th June 2013, 11:11

      I wouldn’t go that far.

      1. Then stop right here, :)

      2. Bernie is WSC’s ( the ancestor of ILMC and WEC) biggest predator.

  16. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    27th June 2013, 9:49

    Well, I’m not gonna lie, I fully expected this. It just seemed to fit together nicely, with Webber, one of the world’s fastest drivers, a driver with Le Mans experience, could go to a team as an inevitable #1 driver and face some real success instead of being brow-beaten by a kid in love with his own image. Saying that, it doesn’t detract from the sadness of not having one of the most genuine, pukka, lovely blokes in all of F1 not in the paddock anymore. That aside though, it was the right decision. He was not going anywhere in F1, and at Porsche he will receive the support his talent so deserves.

    Regarding Webber’s replacement, I simply cannot envisage Raikkonen going to Red Bull. Why would Raikkonen leave a team that is a) providing him with a great car, b) not putting any pressure on him to do things he doesn’t like and c) is definitely getting the best out of him? Why would he leave that team to go to a high pressure commercial environment, if, in all reality, that team does not have an all that greater chance of taking the title in 2014 when the influence of the new engines come into play than his former team? Raikkonen’s only motives are a) cash, and b) the aerodynamic efficiency of Newey’s cars, something that’ll be of reduced influence next year anyway.

    Personally, I think this whole “We want Kimi” thing has all been a show, and has simply been a way of juxtaposing the Red Bull mentality to the whole Ferrari “we don’t want two cockerels in one hen-house” philosophy. But this is just folly, because Red Bull have an established #1 driver in Vettel, they don’t need another one. What Red Bull are really looking for is a #2, and I personally think they have Nico Hulkenberg, or maybe even Paul di Resta in mind. Ever since Red Bull claimed they were after Raikkonen, they have inadvertently admitted the failure of the Toro Rosso squad by not putting either of them in the frame. If Raikkonen can be linked to a Red Bull seat, I see no reason why Hulkenberg can’t be either.

    1. @william-brierty FINALLY! Someone else gets it.

      There’s far too much politics at play at Red Bull for Kimi’s liking. Just because Kimi likes a drink and partying and Red Bull brand themselves as a ‘party’ team doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole lot of corporate and political stuff at play when you actually bother to look beyond the image the team present. Helmut Marko being a prime example.

      Why Kimi, who having left F1 because he was sick of all the politics and returned to Lotus because they don’t make him do a lot of the things he hates to do, want to leave them? It’s not like Lotus aren’t in contention for race wins. He’s third in the championship…

      1. Glad to see others get it as well, I’ll go he for tiggy if Kimi joins RBR (more Aussie slang)

    2. The reason why Kimi would be glad to join Red Bull is if
      a) Lotus cannot provide him with a car that can win races
      b) cannot pay him what he now gets

      Both reasons are related to money, more specifically financial situation of Lotus.

      Even if there would be some more PR work, I think Kimi would still prefer driving a race winning car than driving a possible mid-fielder or finding himself without a seat, in case Lotus just runs out of money.

    3. Agreed. Let’s not forget Kimi has had some terrible times with Newey designed McLarens as well. I highly doubt Kimi is amongst those who think Newey is a demigod.

      1. @npf1 which were mostly down to politics (2003) and gross Mercedes unreliability? Times have moved on, Kimi has seen what Newey has been doing since 2009. He would have to be pretty thick to let his 2002-2006 stint at McLaren cloud his judgement.

        1. I don’t remember the MP4/18 being a failure and causing McLaren to miss out on the fruits of their labour due to politics. Don’t forget he suffered multiple parts failures through the years as well. While the most famous one was his own fault, things like this and this happened as well. We all know Red Bull’s KERS issues have been attributed to Newey’s search for Aerodynamic gains, so it’s not like Newey’s designs have become infallible over time. I’m not saying Newey would be his ultimate reason not to sign, I’m saying it could be an argument amongst himself.

          Then there’s the 2015 rules, which are likely to put a damper on aerodynamic influence on design. That would probably influence the length of his stay, if he goes, though. I’d imagine Kimi would be amongst the drivers who would sign for a team to be able to win a championship in one of two years, then continue.

          1. @npf1 When I refered to politics I meant that Kimi was on course to win the title in 2003 and then came the Michelin tyre ruling which switched the table in Ferrari’s favour.

            I know fairly well that Newey’s designs can be fragile, Vettel himself lost quite a few victories due to unreliability. However we haven’t seen anything like Hockenheim 2004 or Nurburgring 2005 happening to Red Bull, have we? I just think that there are many better arguments against a Kimi to Red Bull scenario :)

            Regarding the 2014 regulation changes, don’t forget that the same should have happened in 2009, and it was exactly in that circumstance that Newey’s genious showed itself. It might level the playing field more, however, I’d bet my last penny that Lotus would still be behind Red Bull when it comes to aerodynamics. Furthermore, Red Bull’s and Lotus’ engines are the same, which will throw the balance between them completely towards the aero and mechanical design.

          2. @guilherme I can tell I’m not sleeping as much as I’m used to. I didn’t think of the tyre rules and got the year on the new regulations wrong. Sorry for that. :P

            Again, I did not intend to make a big point out of it, but wanted to say it could be a consideration for Kimi. I know it would be for me, and I’ve always believed (I don’t recall Kimi himself ever mentioning it) Kimi left McLaren because he was ‘done’ with multiple elements from that team.

            Lotus has improved as far as design goes from 2012 to 2013, but I can’t argue that the Red Bull will probably still be better. However, we’ve seen stranger teams than Lotus/Enstone innovate and win, and more successful teams than Red Bull lose significantly. I’m keeping my options open as far as that’s concerned and am only speculating, in that regard.

    4. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      27th June 2013, 12:29

      @magnificent-geoffrey @funkyf1 – Précisément! I think people are getting carried away in thinking that the party driver and the “party team” (more like “political party team”) are a match made in heaven, especially if you consider Vettel and Raikkonen’s good relationship and that Raikkonen had Red Bull sponsorship during his WRC days. However whilst that could be an acceptable case for most drivers, this is not most drivers, this is Kimi. It simply makes no sense that Kimi should leave F1 to escape politics and PR, return on the proviso that he has minimal PR duties, only to jump ship to Red Bull and spend his days grunting, “Geox! The shoe that breaths!”

      @anssi – I think you’re not exactly up to date with the scenario at Lotus. Lotus are a team that have produced two race winning car in the same number of years, and they also have a household name and megastar onboard in the shape of Kimi Raikkonen. They are a team punching above their weight. Put simply, they are an investor’s dream. I give it less than a month before a major investment deal comes the way of Lotus, a deal that will probably remove any long term financial issues the team has. And let’s face it, Kimi Raikkonen is a F1 world champion and X20 race winner, he doesn’t need to blow the world away again as he did in his early years, he’s here because he has nothing better to do. Being a world champion with Ferrari has its other advantages; wonga, and plenty of it. I highly doubt Kimi is banging his fists on Lopez’s desk saying “I want x million per year”; it’s not as if he needs the money! And if Lotus went down the pan, I strongly suspect that Kimi would quite happily call it quits on a career to be proud of, not wanting to enter into the contractual negotiations he so hates. Also next year the aerodynamic advantage that Red Bull currently have will be substantially less influential, and I imagine the difference between the Renault powered Red Bull and the Renault powered Lotus would be rather minimal.

      @npf1 – Great point, didn’t think of that.

    5. If Raikkonen can be linked to a Red Bull seat, I see no reason why Hulkenberg can’t be either.

      Well, Kimi won 20 GP’s, is the 2007 World Champion, and the 2003 and 2005 vice-champion.
      Also, Lotus isn’t giving Kimi the car that can win championchips + Lotus often makes pit-stop blunders + Lotus is running out of money.
      The budget of RB is 4 times bigger than of his current team so RB is very likely to have a better car next year than Lotus.
      I think Kimi prefers doing a little more PR work and driving for the best team than driving a car that will get him no higher than 3rd place in the World Championchip.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        27th June 2013, 14:21

        @paeschli – Kimi, the 2007 World Champion, will only be in F1 for another few seasons. A Hulkenberg and Vettel line-up would give Red Bull some longevity, as both of them are still young. And whilst Raikkonen has been successful in F1, Hulkenberg’s junior career is one of incomparable brilliance, something he has compounded in a brilliant first few seasons in F1. Regarding the Lotus budget, it has produced a car only marginally off the pace of the Red Bull. Pound for pound, Lotus are F1’s best team, and if that doesn’t attract serious investment, I don’t know what will. Also Red Bull’s main advantage, the aerodynamic brilliance of Newey’s cars, will be of a lesser influence in the engine dominated 2014+ era. I also think you have rather misunderstood Raikkonen’s aims when he returned to F1. To put it simply, there were none. It wasn’t like Schumacher in 2010, “I only want the title”, he frankly had nothing better to do. He’s a competitive guy and of course he wants to win, but he’s not looking to set the world on fire like Schumacher was. Why would Raikkonen enter into stressful contractual negotiations just to get a marginally better car in 2014, and a whole load of PR? He won’t.

        1. You seem pretty sure that Kimi won’t go to RB but he admitted considering it. Also he was twice vice-champion with an Adrian Newey car so I think he has good memories of his McLaren time.
          Also you say that he doesn’t want the fastest car (or at least that he is OK with a car which is slightly off the pace) but why swapped he McLaren for Ferrari in 2007? Because he thought that Ferrari could give him a better car! Every driver wants to drive the fastest car available and Kimi isn’t different, IMO.
          Also, RB is a lot more than Adrian Newey, I strongly believe they will be in the top 3 again even if the cars relie less on aerodynamics.

    6. I 100% agree.

  17. Sad to see him go. Mark Webber and Rubens Barichello are the drivers who we all would have loved to see as an F1 Champion

  18. Very happy with this news. Though Red Bull has given him a car that is able to win since 2009, the environment within that team was intoxicating. He could have gone Barrichello and move to a back-marker team, but this move shows he simply wants to race at the sharp end of the field, and if Formula 1 can’t give him that, why not go somewhere else?

    The World Endurance Championship is probably a place where he would feel at home: the racing is fair, collegiality between teams and drivers is as good as it gets in motorsports, PR is much less of a thing and the racing is pure in comparison to Formula 1. I’m so happy this rumour turned out to be true for once!

    1. and the racing is pure

      I can only think of Webber, McNish, Jarvis, Loterrer, Lapierre and Sarrazin all on track at the same time. That’s smarts, agressiveness, consistency, technique, wits, experience. True driver qualities split between six guys that can all go flat out at any given moment, in very competitive cars.

      I think we’re about to witness the best 24 Hours of Le Mans in years, maybe even decades…

  19. I’ve said it back when it was just a rumour: smartest career choice, no doubt. Mark, just like McNish or Wurz, is one of those drivers who I always thought they somehow fit endurance racing more than Formula 1.

    If Porsche are in it for the long run (and it certainly looks like it for the moment), I can see him going for the same kind of success McNish has with Audi. Seriously, I’m predicting by 2016 Mark will have won the 24H once, at least.

    Here’s hoping for a Webber-Bernhard-Dumas trio in one of those cars. That would be a massively threatening line-up for everyone on the grid.

  20. Makes me sad hearing this, regardless of the fact we sort of knew it was inevitable either this year or next. All the late nights staying up watching him struggle through the Jaguar and Williams days, before seeing him crack that first win which was like lifting a whole country of pressure off his back with Red Bull.
    We’ll miss you in Formula One, Mark, you are a breath of fresh air compared to some of the PR robots patrolling the paddock.
    I remember watching your first pole position and your first win (which wasn’t difficult because they were on consecutive days!), and I remember your first podium.
    You’ve done a nation proud, and I hope your career with Porsche continues in the rich vein that your Formula One career has been.

    Cheers, mate :)

  21. I bet Red Bull will wait till the last minute to make the decision. Can’t wait for the desperation in the Vergne/Ricciardo battle. I hope they really turn up the heat, though there’s no reason why they would have slacked off since the joined F1.

  22. As an Australian, Mark was one of the reasons I started following F1 as a youngster. It was hard to watch sometimes when his williams kept breaking down and he had all that bad luck, but his time at Red Bull has been great to watch, especially 2010 when he came so close. I hope he finishes the season strongly and doesn’t fade away, another 1 or 2 wins would be a great way to finish off his F1 career.

    And now it begins, for the first time since 2009 RBR’s driver line up will change. I can only see 3 drivers in contention being Kimi, Dan and JEV. Being an Aussie I’d love to Ricciardo get the seat but Vergne has been great in monaco and canada and the current standing between the 2 toro rosso boys is about level after Dan’s stronger start to the season. It all depends how much faith Red Bull have in their young drivers program.

    If Kimi goes to Red Bull that will leave a seat (or maybe 2 if Grosjean doesn’t lift his game) open at Lotus and maybe Dan or JEV might have a chance at a seat there if they want more experience over Valsecchi.

  23. F1’s worst kept secret now official?

  24. With Force India giving a statement that they will not stand between their driver and a potential transfer to a new team, I keep wondering if Redbull is trying to rope Di Resta in. Also, FI has decided to give their third driver some Friday practice experience midway through the season. Surely all these statements coming out on the eve of Webber’s anouncement can’t be a coincidence?
    Di Resta to Rebull, anyone?

    1. Why Di Resta? He’s nothing special in my eyes

    2. It’s difficult to say, last year Kovalainen was widely expected to join another team, there were rumours about talks to Ferrari and McLaren but he was left without a drive after all and the same thing could happen to di Resta this year as well.

      That said, I would love to see di Resta driving a Red Bull, he would finally get the chance to fight Vettel in the same machinery. Even though I doubt that di Resta would beat him, I think that Paul deserves the chance.

      1. I agree, and after one year mister “i would beat them all” would finally shut up. Di Resta is the most annoyning guy in current lineup.

        1. Annoying, but one of the better drivers nonetheless. FI will be losing a huge talent if he leaves.

  25. A solid F1 career for Mark Webber always said it how it was had showed good speed and determination. Good luck in the future and in Le Mans F1 will lose his Aussie Grit.

  26. Good luck to him – I can’t wait to see how the new Red Bull driver gets on against Vettel.

    It won’t happen but I think Red Bull should go for Kobayashi! Come on Red Bull, make it happen!

    1. As much as I’d love for it to happen, I don’t see Red Bull taking a driver who will likely have missed a full season of F1 racing by the end of the year.

  27. Good luck to him in WEC.

  28. Now, the question is who is his replacement? Honestly I’m skeptical it will be Raikkonen but who knows…

  29. To this day I still believe that 2010 should have been his….

    1. Maybe if he didn’t bin it in Korea or Valencia…

      1. @david-a

        or, sad to say, “choke” in Abu Dhabi. What’s kept me from being a big fan of Webber is that after 2010, he blamed not winning the WDC on the team for not supporting him as their “#1” (some comments after Brazil 2012 support this and even his comments leading up to Brazil 2010) as opposed to taking responsibility for his own performance.

  30. It’s a sad day for F1 world. It was expected and i really hope the best for him.
    With his departure a seat at the RBR will be open. Like others here, i’m not seeing that Kimi will be that pilot.

  31. Interesting development, Mark was decent character, but I can’t wait to see who comes in at RBR. Hoping for Raikkonen, but who knows…

  32. The WEC is where grown-ups go to race.

    Shame Webber didn’t nab the world title in 2010. He wouldn’t have been one of the great champions (he’d have followed Hamilton and Button as one of the weakest and luckiest) but what a great promoter and ambassador for F1 he’d have made. Instead F1 gets the invisible, spoilt little brat of a champion that it deserves

    1. @tomsk – A young champion who is a GPDA director is somehow “invisible” and not an ambassador?

      1. The ‘spoilt little brat’ argument is like Godwin’s Law of F1: it’s when someone has no actual argument to make, and wants to end the thread on a sour note. A pitty-man’s argument if you will.

      2. To the outside world, I mean. We’ll see in a couple of weeks, but he’s not even filling the stands at the German Grand Prix.

        1. Well, I struggle to see how Webber would have been such a great promoter, if Vettel supposedly isn’t.

  33. Pitty to see him go but I think he’s going to add a lot over at Porshe. Thanks mate and good luck!

  34. I knew it was inevitable that he’d someday leave but, wow I’m actually quiet gutted. I hope he can nab a win or two before the end of the season and gets a proper send off unlike Rubens did.

    I wish him all the best.

  35. A big loss today for f1. Webber may not always be ranked as the fastest man on the track but he’s an awesome driver on his day, and an awesome presence in the paddock.

    I got as much pleasure from his fierce, dominant wins as I did from watching him unleash a withering brutal piece of sarcasm on a deserving target, and refreshingly he was never prepared to spare someone’s blushes just because of their position or power.

    To win races at all in an era with drivers of the quality that surrounds him, where technical retirements are a rarity I think is an underappreciated achievement. Beating Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel or Kimi isn’t an easy thing to do. Doing it against a backdrop where your teammate has limitless power and some very senior management are openly sabotaging you is amazing.

    Without injury, I think he would have come closer to Button in 2009 than vettel did. Even being in the car was an achievement that year. In 2010 he was within a hair’s breath of the title and again could have had it without the crash in Korea and the shoulder injury.

    But most of all, it’s very clear that with the exception of his fellow Aussie Ricciardo, none of the upcoming drivers have his mental strength, personality, honesty, integrity or humour. A bunch of bland, tedious, corporate robots that probably don’t have an interesting thought to share even if they had the guts or wit to say something other than what the pr tells them to.

  36. thatscienceguy
    27th June 2013, 11:06

    Further proof that F1 has become the official feeder series for WEC.

  37. Have to say I’m a little saddened, I’ve been a fan since his first race, I remember being intensely happy for him and minardi. It’s a shame he spent a long time at the wrong teams and when he finally was at the right place, he got one of the most talented young drivers as a team mate who swooned the team over as well.

    I would have loved to see him at Ferrari with Alonso for a final season, but seeing him go to one of the most promising teams in another one of my favourite sports is nearly as good.

    Hope he manages to win another race or two, and I hope he doesn’t do anything silly concerning team orders. (Same goes for his team.)

  38. +1 you said exactly what i thought. I’m going to miss this brave heart and a real man (an ultimate bicycle rider as well)) a lot.

  39. zoom (@zoomracing)
    27th June 2013, 11:19

    Too bad, a really nice guy and driver, probably RB finally broke his F1 soul this season. Let’s hope he wins one more race.

    1. Traverse (@)
      27th June 2013, 11:26

      Let’s hope he wins one more race.

      He’s got two hopes :P

  40. Traverse (@)
    27th June 2013, 11:22

    I understand the sentimentality but let’s not go too far here, when was the last time Webber had an amazing race? Seeing as most people believe that the RBR drives itself and is the best car by far, his performances have left a lot to be desired (recently). I’m not going to be insincere and wish him luck for the future as I don’t believe in luck, your destiny is in your own hands and whether you achieve your full potential is on you. He’ll be a good addition to the WEC but the F1 world will move on and be stronger following his exit.

  41. Thanks for the memories, been some incredible highs and a few lows but F1 will be all the poorer without the dedicated, determined Aussie.
    A great future in WEC and at Le Mans beckons and I shall be supporting Mark all the way.

  42. Sad to hear that Webber’s leaving. I’ve always liked him, remember watching him in his F3000 days just before he came to F1. I had really hoped for more success for him, but at least he got to enjoy some good victories and spend some years in the fastest car on the grid which is something that few drivers get to enjoy.
    Excited for his new career, I hope he does well in the WEC.

  43. Quite a bombshell in terms of timing and the message itself. I expected a decision at Monza and honestly I thought Mark would give it 1 more try with the new engine formula.
    Too bad, gonna miss him.

  44. I think it is fitting he announced this at Silverstone.

    2010 Silverstone – with the front wing change – is when the first cracks in the Webber – Red Bull partnerhsip arose.
    2011 Silverstone – “Maintain the gap, Mark”, the cracks became wider.
    2013 Silverstone – The relationship finally ends.

    1. Traverse (@)
      27th June 2013, 13:33

      2014 Silverstone – Vettel smashes the Silverstone lap record by 10 clear seconds.
      2015 Silverstone – Vettel (now a 4-time consecutive WDC) destroys the field once again despite only having one wheel attached to his car for 35 laps.
      2016 Silverstone – People vaguely remember a driver that used to drive for RBR called Max Wedder…or is it Webber…I’ve already forgotton…

      1. 2017 Silverstone – @hellotraverse launches his first book ‘Don’t even dare to think of Webber: Sebastian Vettel – an unauthorized biography’.

  45. +1 to pretty much all the comments here, MW will be missed greatly.

    Apart from his very fair (if not always as fast as others) wheel-to-wheel racing, I loved his honest attitude toward the press. Always spoke his mind when others dragged out the usual PR charm offensive.

    I’m ever so slightly curious to see how he’ll behave himself around SV now… I think it’s safe to say that SV can expect absolutely no help whatsoever from MW for the rest of the season (not that I’m suggesting he’s helped with SV’s points haul thus far)!

    In fact, I’d probably go as far as to say MW may even ‘accidentally’ hinder SV to make his 4th title a little more difficult, given half the chance!

    I’m not saying I advocate it, but I wouldn’t be too upset ;-)

    Not bad for a number 2 driver, not bad at all mate.

    1. I’d probably go as far as to say MW may even ‘accidentally’ hinder SV to make his 4th title a little more difficult

      He certainly did his best to make SV’s third title more difficult. Which is why I find the praise for his “character” to be so off the mark. MW has been both a much better driver and a much worse person than most here are willing to admit.

  46. Already there were few drivers on the grid who were reliable (not clipping front wings and launch over rear of car ahead!) and fair in their overtaking ,one gone from 2014.
    The biggest fear is when all alonso ,vettel, Hamilton are gone and the grid will have maldanado’s,grosejan’s and perez’s.

  47. Brian Leveque
    27th June 2013, 14:46

    Great luck to you Mark Webber! I am very sad to see you leave F1! You sure brought a great deal of class to the sport and I am sure will bring just as much to WEC! Too bad some of your class didn’t rub off on Vettel! I wish they would broadcast more WEC races in America! I guess I have to pick another number one driver (and now a new team as I can’t stand the little sawed off punk Vettel, and if RAI comes aboard RBR will be my team to loath!) I hope you win Silverstone this weekend! Cheers Mate!

  48. Why Mark! why!!
    Today was going to be a good day.
    Now i’m sad.

    Hope he has great luck and wins Le Mans.

  49. Very interesting (although not entirely surprising). Webber is probably the first F1 driver to willingly convert to sportscar racing in a very, very long time.

    It’s not uncommon for a driver to race in the WEC because they couldn’t find a place in F1, but for a top driver to choose sportscars over F1 is definitely rare. And to be honest, I would be surprised if more didn’t follow him. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Mark’s friend Fernando dropped the same bombshell in a couple of years time…

    1. @jackysteeg

      Webber is probably the first F1 driver to willingly convert to sportscar racing in a very, very long time.

      Which I think is good to see. I find it slightly embarrassing when older drivers with glorious F1 careers stick along for too long and ends up being forced out of the sport because they aren’t good enough anymore. Here, Webber made the choice before Red Bull made it for him.

  50. His points finish on first race is still one of my best F1 memories.

    At least he has a spine and after that total jerk-off in Malaysia he understood where he stands in RedBull.

  51. It is the correct decision with the new regulations and this offer on the table. I echo most people’s sentiments in wishing him all the best in the WEC. He has been part of the F1 furniture for 12 seasons, and has impressed many with his speed. Just a level-headed, down-to-earth guy, whose honesty is refreshing. Let’s hope he can sign off his F1 career with at least a win this season.

    Regarding his placement: I honestly don’t see Raikkonen replacing him. Red Bull will want a clear number 2 driver, and Raikkonen wouldn’t really fit the bill. I know he has had Red Bull links through his WRC stint, but that isn’t significant enough. I see Webber’s replacement being one of Ricciardo, Vergne, and Hulkenberg. The better performing Toro Rosso driver at the moment is Vergne, but that could change and it will be interesting to see who gets the upper hand overall. Hulkenberg has never had Red Bull links (to my knowledge) but he’s very talented and could be just right for Red Bull. This seems to be the start of silly season.

  52. Sad to see him go, but it seems like the right time for everyone.

  53. He will be missed! Good Luck in WEC Mark. One of few drivers who made it big in F1 after starting from the lowest of teams.
    (P.S This is my first comment on this fabulous site. Keep it up Keith!)

  54. I think a fair sendoff would be putting Van Der Garde, Grosjean, and Vettel in a fighting ring at the end of the year and he just goes at each of them, bare knuckles boxing style.

    Would give plenty of money to watch that happen.

  55. Sergey Martyn
    27th June 2013, 20:14

    Wake up, folks!
    The responses are ridiculous – is this funeral mourners and wailers forum?
    Isn’t it a bit early to shed tears onto empty grid places, carve the tombstones and write the grave epitaphs?
    I wish Mark all the best in the WEC!
    But most of all I’d like to see him further in the season to disobey some team orders so some driver at the end of the season deprived of WDC title will be found wandering across the pitlane mumbling some strange words, kinda muliti21 or whatever.
    Good luck, Mark!

  56. I thought that he would have liked to race the new 2014 cars. They might suit his style I don’t know.

  57. I am sad but not surprised to hear that Mark Webber is calling it quits at the end of this season.
    With Webber going so then does some of my interest in F1.
    He is a true hero to me.

  58. Looking forward to some great WEC action but please dont make me message you concerned after another Merc flip session! Thanks for all the F1 memories…hopefully Richardo can carry our flag!

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