Webber confirms F1 exit to join Porsche WEC team

2013 F1 season

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

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

  1. David-A (@david-a) said on 27th June 2013, 10:44

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

  2. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 27th June 2013, 10:49

    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

  3. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 27th June 2013, 10:58

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

  4. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 27th June 2013, 11:00

    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.

  5. Hairs (@hairs) said on 27th June 2013, 11:01

    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.

  6. thatscienceguy said on 27th June 2013, 11:06

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

  7. Nick (@npf1) said on 27th June 2013, 11:11

    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.)

  8. retroholic said on 27th June 2013, 11:16

    +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.

  9. zoom (@zoomracing) said on 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.

  10. Traverse (@) said on 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.

  11. katederby (@katederby) said on 27th June 2013, 11:30

    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.

  12. Metallion (@metallion) said on 27th June 2013, 11:33

    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.

  13. TMF (@tmf42) said on 27th June 2013, 11:42

    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.

  14. sumedh said on 27th June 2013, 12:20

    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.

    • Traverse (@) said on 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…

  15. bad_whippet (@bad_whippet) said on 27th June 2013, 14:33

    +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.

    • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 27th June 2013, 15:19

      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.

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