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”

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  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:

        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 ( – 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 :)

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