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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. F1’s worst kept secret now official?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Good luck to him in WEC.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. thatscienceguy
    27th June 2013, 11:06

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

  17. 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.)

  18. +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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

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