Mark Webber has hit back at suggestions that he may retire from Formula 1 at the end of this season.
The 33 year old Australian arrived in the Melbourne paddock today with stories swirling around him thanks to an intervention from Lewis Hamilton, who suggested that he might retire at the end of the season, ”I don’t know how long he [Webber] plans to stay in F1, but I get the sense that it’s one of the years if he wants to finish on top and perhaps call it a day,” he said.
But Webber said, “I’m very motivated, enjoying my job and looking forward to a great season. I have no intention of retiring whatever kind of season I have. It’s Lewis’ opinion and he’s free to have that. I’ve not got a big problem with what he said. I’m very happy at the moment. It’s a good situation for me.”
There have been suggestions that Kimi Raikkonen’s relationship with Red Bull in rallying may bring him back to F1 with the company’s F1 team. Team management sources have downplayed this, but it remains an option for both parties. It is a story which will hang in the air all year and will only intensify if Webber doesn’t perform.
Hamilton’s interjection comes on the back of his own assertion after the forst race that Red Bull had a huge advantage over the rest and McLaren boss Ron Dennis’s suggestion last week that the real reason why Sebastian Vettel had to slow down in Bahrain was that the Red Bull team was concerned about running out of fuel, “The lap times dropped so rapidly that one can imagine the electronic control unit switching to a conservative programme to save fuel,” he said. “The problem with the Red Bull could be design. It could be the fuel tank is too small, or the fuel consumption is higher than they expected.”
What is interesting about this comment is the first sentence and the decision to refer to the ECU, which is manufactured by McLaren at Woking. It is hard to imagine that Dennis would have access to information on the Red Bull ECU.
Red Bull is a bit mystified about why McLaren should be talking so much about them at this time.
Meanwhile Webber said that it would be “beautiful” to win his home Grand Prix, “The car is working well and we have the best opportunity to have a crack at it,” he said.