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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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’.

  5. +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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

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

    Hope he has great luck and wins Le Mans.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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!)

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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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