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Mark Webber bows out of Formula 1
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Posted By: James Allen  |  21 Nov 2013   |  11:33 am GMT  |  249 comments

This Sunday in Brazil, Mark Webber bows out of F1, after a 12 year career featuring 215 Grands Prix starts and nine wins. He’d dearly love to make it ten, with a third victory at Interlagos, but F1 is an unsentimental business and his team mate Sebastian Vettel is in no mood to give him presents.

Memories will be fresh for both men of the start of last year’s race, where Webber took an aggressive stance in the opening corners towards Vettel, who was fighting for the world championship. In the ensuing sort-out Vettel and Bruno Senna tangled, sending Vettel to the back of the field.

The extent to which that rankled with Vettel became clear when Adrian Newey spoke about in it in a recent BBC Radio 5 Live special. There will be no love lost this Sunday at the start.


Webber cast himself as “not bad for a number two driver” after his famous win at Silverstone in 2010. This was at the height of Webber’s competitiveness and therefore of the tension between the two drivers, after they had collided in Turkey. Red Bull’s decision to give Vettel Webber’s front wing in Silverstone without telling him, was one of the worst decisions made by an F1 team in terms of the negative impression it created to the public, which still endures to this day. Vettel was – and always has been – good enough to compete without that kind of advantage and it colours the fans’ view of him and the team still.

In reality, Webber was in his prime in 2010 and since then, as he has aged, it’s been a difficult job to hold onto Vettel, who has developed significantly, especially with the exhaust blown diffuser cars, which require a certain technique to maximise the performance. Just latterly, Webber has been performing very well, taking pole in two of the last four races, but his race performances have been slightly further away from Vettel than his qualifying.


Nevertheless he is leaving on a high and would love to walk out of the Interlagos paddock on Sunday night with a winners’ trophy. The Red Bull should be the form car there so qualifying will be important and from there we’ll see if Webber can raise his game to deny Vettel a nine race winning streak.

Webber’s great strengths are his speed, particularly in high speed corners and his aerodynamic sensitivity. He’s always qualified well and raced well particularly when there is a challenge, like coming through the field on a multi-stop strategy. His feel for grip on a track was highlighted in the days of single lap qualifying, where he excelled; nailing the time on the one and only lap available.

Newey has paid tribute to his aerodynamic sensitivity and it’s one of the main reasons he is still at Red Bull, where Helmut Marko would have loved to get rid of him years ago. His feel for the aero balance of a car perfectly complimented Vettel’s feel for tyres and control systems on the car and between them they have tuned the Red Bull cars in to every track. You never hear either of them say the set up was wrong, for example. Without Webber, the less experienced Vettel of the last few years might not have had such a good car on race day.

“I think it has been one of the strongest pairings in Formula 1,” Vettel said in Interlagos on Thursday.

“We obviously didn’t have the best relationship on a personal level but in terms of working professionally together for the team it has been very strong. Both of us have tried very hard to improve the car and surely the fact that he will not be around next year will be a loss for the team, a loss for myself, because it has always been a huge challenge.

“I have learned a lot from him and I can stand up straight and say that there were many, many times, many places where I have benefitted from him.”

The Pirelli years haven’t been too kind to Webber, his advantage in the high speed corners is there for qualifying (as we saw in Austin) but in the race it hurts the tyres, so he has to rein it in. He has also struggled to feel the car on worn soft tyres towards the end of stints, where he loses time. But, as he says, it’s the same for everyone. It’s just a shame that it takes away a lot of what being a “racer” is all about. Just ask Lewis Hamilton.


Webber and his family, have always been a pleasure to deal with; he is as straight as he seems on TV and always seeks to help people he trusts to understand the sport better. He was a huge help to me when I wrote the 2007 biography of Michael Schumacher, “The Edge of Greatness”.

That doesn’t mean that one should gloss over his weaknesses; he is an emotional character and sometimes that comes to the surface, which has harmed his competitiveness in some races. Despite his huge experience he is also still quite nervous at the start of races and his start performance stats are among the worst of the top drivers. This has cost him many points over the years, as he dropped places off the line after qualifying strongly.


The highlight has to be the way Webber ran Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton close for the 2010 championship.

Going into the final round at Abu Dhabi that year Alonso had 246 points, Webber 238, Vettel 231 and Hamilton 222. Webber didn’t get the most from himself or the car in qualifying and the race and ended up 14 points behind Vettel, who clinched his first world title.

Webber has been handing out T Shirts to be worn this weekend in Brazil with #mademymark on it and it’s a fitting send off for a popular driver. There is no-one coming through who is like him, no-one who will speak his mind like that. It’s a loss to the sport.

“Not bad for a number two driver” – is his own self penned epitaph and the one people will remember. It’s tough, but truthful (like him).

But he was so much more than that in F1 – as a driver and as a man.

* Although he’s not taking part himself, the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge will take place at the end of this month, billed as the “toughest in the event’s history”. The running, kayaking and cycling challenge in the wilds of Tasmania has been a pet project of Webber’s for ten years and raises money for charity.

The stars in the event, which starts on November 27, include Olympic gold medallists Emma Snowsill and Kenny Wallace, triathlete Courtney Atkinson, seven-time surf champ Layne Beachley – and Mad Max stuntman and former ironman Guy Andrews.

Webber’s protege, GP2 racer Mitch Evans, will take part in the event, “He’s given me a bit of advice,” said Evans. “He thinks I will be fine, as we train together most of the time he has a good idea of where I’m at. I have high expectations in terms of it being seriously tough mentally and physically. I can’t wait to test myself.”

The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge supports Whitelion and the Save the Tassie Devil appeal

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249 Comments
  1. James says:

    Have never personally bought into the honest and tough talking Webber who can politic with the best of them.

    With that said, he’s had a great career and will ultimately go down in history as a very good F1 driver who unfortunately found himself teammate to one of the all-tine greats.

    1. Ravi says:

      I cannot disagree with James and most of the world enough. Mark has been FAR from honest and straight talking. Extremely politically motivated, with double standards and not very clean intentions is how I perceive Mark. He does a great job playing to the galleries and the press and does well to deceive them all.

      For 4 years he has hit below the belt trying to gain an advantage, but his tough luck that “vettle the kid” has a stronger mind than Webber.

      1. brunom says:

        I do not agree with your comments, but even if they were true, perhaps that’s how you would have to act when in a team that obviously favours the other driver.

      2. MISTER says:

        I disagree with you and the fact that Mark is liked by alot of fans should raise a question mark with you. And like brunom said above, Mark got the short end of the stick quite a few times from RedBull.
        RedBull will lose a fair amount of fans once Mark is gone.

      3. Ravi says:

        Its a matter of perspective, that said – wanting to form a co-relation between who is “liked” with who is honest and straightforward has no logic to it.

        Senna, Schumacher, Prost were all massively liked and had fierce loyal fans – does that make them honest and straight-forward ? I mean think a bit about what you are saying.

        And he plays to the galleries and well is proof enough if what you said were to be true i.e – Mark liked by lot.

        Anyway, honest and straight-forward mark is definitely not. Liked maybe…

      4. Jimmyboy says:

        Ravi, everyone is entitled to their opinion but your comments clearly reveal your bias against Mark. If you had been watching Mark throughout his career you would know something about him. I Think you have created some fictional character and branded him as Mark Webber. Now have a listen to what James has to say about Mark and you may learn something. What James has said is absolutely 100% on the money. I would take James’s character study of Mark over yours in a heartbeat, because unlike yourself James knows Mark personally.. Do yourself a favour, next time you right something about F1 drivers, make sure you know what your talking about.

      5. Allan says:

        The truth is somewhere in between. Mark is political, and does play to certain themes that resonate with a subset of fans.

        However, I think he is basically honest, though emotional. He has given as good as he gets and I think he drove well for Red Bull and at the same time, Red Bull gave him a lot of success.

      6. Jimmyboy says:

        Mark, has at times been political, sure. But there was always a reason for it and who is to say he was deliberate and calculating about it. I see it more as a knee jerk reaction or perhaps a cry for a bit of sympathy when he has felt he’s got a raw deal from within the team. I think it would be a different ballgame with Marko out of the picture, his bias against Mark has been obvious and it must have been demoralising for Mark to have to put up with Marko’s divisive comments and actions over all these years. Marko may be a good talent scout and advisor but he is lousy when it comes to managing people and their personalities.

    2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      This Sunday in Brazil, TORNILLO AMARILLO bows out of F1…

      So boring, mate!!!

      1. Andrew M says:

        We’ll all miss you!

        “Not bad for a No. 2 poster.”

    3. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Not a huge Webber fan but have enjoyed watching him race and listening to his decent interviews. Sure he’ll enjoy the freedom at Porsche and more fun tyres, away from the more silly Red Bull politics such as Markos magazine article, Brazil ’12 excuses and the Multi21 dealings farce.

      He won’t miss nonsense like the Brazil ’12 blame that was unjustly thrown his was for Sebs mistakes. Looking at Brazil, Webber from p3 was well ahead of Seb from p4, at turn 1 and Webber had a Ferrari stuck on his outside with the usual field steaming down on them. For the team to expect him to have done anything else was a joke, he cannot park his car at turn 1 on lap 1 of the race! Seb should have tucked in and passed him at the end of lap 1, without swiping across Senna of course. The way Horner etc use this as a trade off for Seb hitting Mark in Turkey or Sebs Multi 21 backstabbing is out of order.

      Time to go and enjoy your racing Mark, let them try and control some other #2 puppet whilst pretending they don’t!

      1. Glennb says:

        That’s exactly how I saw Brazil ’12 too mate. Don’t forget, he also moved over later in the race and let #1 through.

      2. Glennb says:

        I’ve watched this a dozen times and still can’t see where the Webber/Vettel controversy is.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb0zuFmd1kM
        Can one of the more experienced punters talk me through the part where Webber does Vettel an injustice.
        This one is from Seb’s car.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhb6RbGapmw
        Personally I put the blame on Senna but hey, that just me.

      3. James says:

        I would imagine its around the 0.48 Mark when Webber comes across infront of Vettel, allowing Massa around both of them.

      4. Ahmed says:

        Its at the start line up to the first corner. Webber is on the outside,Vettel on the inside. Webber knows exactly where Vettel is and squeezes him forcing Vettel to back off and lose places at the first corner. Any other race that is fine, but with the Championship on the line, he should have given him space and let him through on that corner and then raced on. Vettel would have avoided being caught in the middle of the pack and the incident with B Senna would never have happened. Thats not how you support a team mate going for WDC.

      5. Glennb says:

        Thanks guys. I can see your point of view but think there’s a little more going on than a simple move over. Mark has a ferrari on his right and a force india slightly behind. Then there’s Seb on the inside. Mark is trying to make the apex to fight off the ferrari. If Mark effectively stops on the road, Seb would have made it thru but the ferrari and force india would have all collided with Mark. As I say, I can see different points of view but I dont think anything was done out of bad sportsmanship. Dont forget that Mark lets him thru later in the race. I’m not a fan of giving away a position. I reckon it is more satisfying to earn it. Seb didnt need to win the race on the first lap either. A little patience would have gone a long way.
        Thanks guys for your input. Appreciated.

      6. Horoldo says:

        Ahmed, Classic double standards.
        Webber doesn’t expect any favours in the most important race left in his career. Yet Seb expects favours in one of the most important races of his career.
        See ya later Seb. Don’t write.

      7. Simmo says:

        Disagree that it was Senna’s fault. Turn 4 is always similar to turn 1 in Brazil (i.e. cars all side by side), and Vettel went straight from the outside to the inside, expecting the others to disappear.

    4. Darren says:

      Completely agree, he is another member of the long list including Barrichello and Coulthard of very good drivers in the right team at the right time but with the wrong team mate and the lions share of the bad luck. He threw it away in 2010 with that crash in Korea, a half decent result there and it would have taken a lot of pressure off abu dhabi. I thought we would see a resurgence last year but ultimately not, as for 2011 and 2013 he couldn’t look near vettel, no one could.

      I would dearly love for him to beat Vettel this weekend as a parting gift, it’s a more classic kind of track which should help, vettel seems to be an absolute master of the tilkedrome. Maybe a bit of rain thrown in the mix, when was the last wet race this year? I can’t remember one?

  2. Albert Palmer says:

    Be sad to see Mark go. I’ve been a fan of his ever since the time he came so close to winning the 2010 Championship.

    1. Grabyrdy says:

      He deserved to win in 2010, and would have with a level playing field. We’re going to miss him among the clones.

      1. From a personality point of view, I think Webber would have been more deserving but that’s forgetting how unreliable Vettel’s car had been in the first two races.

        Seb would have been well clear of everyone after the Malaysian race had he not slowed down in Bahrain from the lead to fourth and retiring from the lead in Australia.

        He would have been more present to people’s mind with this extra 38 points missing from the first two rounds.

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        In 2010, if Red Bull had given Webber half the favoring they have given Vettel in 2011, 2012 and 2013 he would have been the 2010 champion.

      3. James says:

        If Vettel’s car not failed 3 times whilst leading, there wouldn’t even be a discussion about Webber.

    2. Kimi4WDC says:

      Hope Korea 2010 wont haunt Webber for long, he got no one to blame but himself for not winning 2010 Title.

      Good luck Mark!

  3. Dai Dactic says:

    Looking forward to enjoying Porsche’s progress in LMP1 . . .

    . . . the real pinnacle of motorsport.

    1. Endurance says:

      I AGREE 100% – LOOKING FORWARD TO THE ‘ENGLISH WEEKEND’ (LE MANS) NEXT YEAR

  4. James McNulty says:

    I accept theres no love lost between Vettel and Webber but wouldnt it be fantastic for Vettels image if he were to help Webber to his first win of 2013. It would be be sporting and honorable gesture, something that Malaysia multi 21 was not.
    Now that Vettel has settled the Championship, broken the records I think it would be great PR for Vettel.
    Im not saying Vettel should gift a win to Webber but should Webber get pole, it would be nice if Vettel said Ill play rear guard.

    1. Nick says:

      I dont think Mark would take it, I’d say he’d prefer to win it competing against Seb to the end, that would be worth more to him.

      Any other way and it wouldn’t mean as much.

      1. Random 79 says:

        +1, well said.

      2. mark roberts says:

        Agreed.

      3. Glennb says:

        Absolutely.

      4. Grabyrdy says:

        If Seb is a gentleman he’d find a way to make it look right, just as Fangio did for Moss in Aintree in 55. Sir Stirling says he’s still not sure. That’s real class.

      5. Wade Parmino says:

        What you say would be true if the multi21 incident had not taken place. Vettel stole that win and owes it to Webber. This is Vettel’s last chance to redeem himself somewhat.

    2. James says:

      It would be embarrassing for all involved to see Vettel cruising around behind Webber knowing full well it’s harder to stay behind than overtake.

      Of course Webber wants a final win, but earned, not gifted. Just as the Suzuka pole was ‘hollow’ in his words as Vettel had no KERS.

    3. Equin0x says:

      RBR did gift a win to Webber at Brazil 2011 when they mysteriously radioed Seb to slow down with a ‘geabox issue’, to be honest Vettel doesn’t have to give Webber anything, Webber has tried to tarnish Seb’s achievements for years out of bitterness and jealousy, yeah fine Webber don’t take it then in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if he finished behind a Lotus or a Mercedes anyway, enjoy LMP1 Mark.

      1. MISTER says:

        Sorry to burst your Vettel bubble, but Mark has twice the number of fans that Vettel has, even with all those achievements that you talk about.

      2. Ravi says:

        And indeed they are all into F1 to have fans and not win.

        To burst your Mark bubble, he is only just good enough for No.2 :)

      3. Tealeaf says:

        Are you assuming those stats or do you have real proof? Real genuine F1 fans would likely to respect and even support vettel, Hamilton and Webber fans will be long gone when those drivers are not in F1 or not competitive anymore.

      4. Glennb says:

        Vettel *did* have gearbox issues. Others did too. Mark could even smell Seb’s gearbox when behind. It was not a gift, just the right thing to do for the team.
        The only decent point you make is Vettel doesn’t owe Webber anything. True. Why would he.

    4. Ravi says:

      Sure play rear guard to a guy who was such a great team mate in Brazil 2013.

      Sure why not !

      1. Bryce says:

        Have another look at the race.

    5. crndl says:

      A win for Vettel will tie him w/Ascari at 9 in a row. Don’t hold your breath.

    6. P says:

      Agreed, and he needs the +ve PR. Probably the least damage to his self-image would be to not chase him down at the end if Mark is leading the race. But if he’s front, no way he will yield for sentimental reasons.

      Vettel’s probably not a bad bloke, but the only way he can turn more fans to his side is soften up a little bit.

  5. wilf says:

    Nothing but respect for the guy. Hope he is around motorsport for many more years to come.

  6. Backhouse says:

    Webber’s consistently slow starts have always confounded me. Surely he has practised and practised these. And surely random probability should mean he got off quickest once in a while.
    James – are you saying it is purely down to nerves which you cannot simulate??

    1. James Allen says:

      No, of course not, but it hasn’t helped

      1. Glennb says:

        in Mark’s own words:

        “But I enjoy the starts,” he added. “I’m relaxed on the grid, I could sing a song to the guys, it not something which… When the lights are on, it’s a great part of the grand prix.”

        Incidentally, this is the first sentence in which Mark has not said “obviously”.

        I’m massively disappointed ;)

    2. MattDS says:

      “And surely random probability should mean he got off quickest once in a while.”

      He did get off quickest once in a while. Just last race in Austin he was quicker off the line than Vettel. As he was in Germany.

      I don’t remember every single start but these where the first that came to my mind.

    3. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      His starts have been bad, even from pole and have cost him dearly at Red Bull.

      Wonder how many were made worse due to the dirty side of the grid. Though at Austin his initial start was not bad but he was done in by the dirty side of the grid, as was p2, p4 Hulk , p6 Alonso, plus not being able to take turn 1 on the racing line as p1, p3, p5 were nose to tail on the outside.

      1. Glennb says:

        That’s true. The dirty side at Austin was brutal.

      2. James says:

        At Austin, Webber was pinched up on the apex of T1 as in his own words, Grosjean was where he wanted to position himself.

    4. AuraF1 says:

      David Coulthard has said Webber engages the Kers too early on many occasions and this ruins his get away. He also said Seb has done this but less often and so the appearance is poor starts for Mark who didn’t suffer as much before KERS was a feature.

      Basically I think Mark suited a simpler racing set up – he’s not great with gadgets and gizmos. He’s only 37 but sometimes seems like he’s from a previous era.

      1. Frique says:

        You need to remember that David is a paid employee of Redbull Racing!!

  7. Feral Racing says:

    Great article and shows perfectly how much Mark brings & has given to the elite sport of F1 and to those in and around it. I think F1 is not gonna be the same without him and Mark and his skills and personality will be sorely missed. Let’s hope he gets that final victory he much deserves to finish with a bang

  8. Josh says:

    The reason I became addicted to F1. The most frustrating yet rewarding Aussie sportsman to watch. I’ll be happy if Ricciardo’s run will be half as fun

    1. Luke Clements says:

      For some reason, I’ve become a follower of many a frustrating sportsman or team…and love them all very much. Waited 30 years for the Dragons to win a title, watched 115 GP’s before MW won, and sadly still await another NSW blues victory after 8 years of pure misery! And before he hit his straps, Steve Waugh was another one to add to the list…but as I say, love them all and wouldn’t have it any other way. It must be boring to be a SV or MS fan ;)

      1. Geoff says:

        Well, soon you will add “when will aussie win the Ashes Test again”…

      2. Eff1osaurus says:

        Try being a Springboks supporter against those blooming All Blacks!!

        last game Rugby Championship…we get 4 tries against them and STILL lose the match in the last 15 minutes…

        France Tomorrow and we haven’t won there in 15 years either…

      3. Step says:

        Perhaps it won’t be too far away before we Aussies win the Ashes back. See the scoreboard on the 2nd Day? Not bad for a number 2 cricket team….. LOL

      4. Glennb says:

        Try being a Rabbitohs fan…

      5. Grabyrdy says:

        Leyton Orient anyone ? Mind you, so far so good this year.

      6. Horoldo says:

        Or Eels.
        At least you have won heaps of Premierships.

    2. Mikeboy0001 says:

      I’m sorry to say, but I think Riccardo will be replaced at Red Bull by Danil Kyat (from Toro Rosso) at the end of 2014
      Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t see him as a top driver in a top team
      He’s seems a good qualifier, but a no more than average racer

      1. BigHaydo says:

        Kvyat will have a lot to prove to get a top ride in year 2-3 let alone 1, so I wouldn’t bet on it. Daniel needs a car that can race as well as qualify because the Toro Rossi doesn’t manage it’s tyres well. I’m backing Daniel to surprise people next year

      2. Mikeboy0001 says:

        It could well be that you’re right
        My reason for saying this, is because Vergne never showed a great deal in F1, and still, Ricciardo never outshined him, except in qualifying.
        And let’s not forget to take into account, Ricciardo has a half a season (25%) more experience in F1 than Vergne

      3. Wade Parmino says:

        This Kyvat has not even got in the car yet. What a ridiculous assumption to make. I hope Vergne outdrives him.

        Martin Brundle believes Ricciardo will be able to hold his own at Red Bull no problem at all.

      4. Mikeboy0001 says:

        [mod]I’ve stated “Maybe I’m wrong…”
        Also, as much as I love Brundle as a commentator, some of his praises/criticisms to drivers have never been that spot on
        In this particular case, what else would a gentleman like him say about a young guy, going to a hot spot anyway?

      5. TJ says:

        Please!!! You’re joking right??? Obviously you didn’t see him mixing it at the front in silverstone (only late strategy decision cost him a top 5 finish). Held off Alonso in India. Had Massa covered in Korea (Only brake failure with 2 laps to go cost him points there). Drove from the back of the field to claim a top 10 in Spa. Held off a bunch of faster cars at Monza. And last year kept a 7 time world champion behind him in Japan in a much faster car (Schumacher in a Mercedes just in case you don’t have a clue……which it seems you don’t.)

        Give the guy a half decent car and I think you will change your tune. The Torro Rosso has been a slow dud yet he continually qualifies it above its potential and has scored points or been in point scoring positions when the car hasn’t justified being there.

      6. Mikeboy0001 says:

        I guess I’ve upset a lot of Aussies with a comment that may prove to be inaccurate, but at this time has a valid point nonetheless!!!
        Just so you know, I’m from Portugal, and Kyvat was given the drive at Toro Rosso, instead of the Portuguese António Felix da Costa, so if I was to be biased, it would be against Kyvat, not in favour
        Ricciardo never outperformed Vergne by a great deal in races, just in qualifying, even though Vergne is just an average driver and Ricciardo has 25% more experience (was in HRT for half season)

  9. Aussie Rod says:

    Farewell Mark.

    I bought one of the t-shirt’s you were selling at the 2000 Melbourne GP ‘Determined to Drive’ to raise funds for your future in F1. I’m guessing the t-shirt sales didn’t help you into the 2001 Minardi seat quite as much as meeting a certain Mr Stoddard.

    I threw many a pillow at the tv in frustration at your abysmal starts and many mechanical retirements, most of which came after you had dragged whatever mid-field car you were driving into a unworthily high position.

    I admired your many blistering qualifying laps and laughed at the seemingly constant stream of classic quotes that came from your interviews.

    I admit I got a little teary eyed watching you take your first pole position and win in 2009. And I admit I nearly smashed my brand new tv in anger when you crashed out of Korea 2010.

    I’ve enjoyed your rivalry with young Seb, even though it has been a little too one-sided for my tastes, and Fernando in particular. Eau Rouge 2011, wow.

    Good luck with your unfinished business at Le Mans, and please feel free to sabotage something on Vettel’s 2014 car before you leave the garage.

    In a few days or so, the news of your retirement may be little more than the following week’s fish ‘n chips wrapping, but your career means a touch more to your fans than that.

    Thanks for the memories!

    1. Luke Clements says:

      Here here! Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s been a mostly fun, sometimes frustrating career to sit & watch at 11pm till 2am in the mornings for most GP’s here in Oz, won’t be quite the same without him, but at least DR will give us reason to keep the alarm clock next year

    2. Michael says:

      Beautiful!

    3. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Sweet post dude.

    4. All revved-up says:

      Farewell mate. I hope you leave your bad luck in F1, and wish you all the best for LeMans 2014.

      Perez’s tyre exploding just as you exited the pits after a fresh tyre change, puncturing your tyre, such that you had to pit again, and then exit with spacial sense deprived Sutil behind you, who late brakes into your car, which then bursts into flames! I’m absolutely convinced your F1 record was blighted by sheer bad luck.

      James – if you get the chance in your TV commentary, it’d be cool if you wished Webber all the best on behalf of his fans in JAonF1.

    5. +10 — and honorably well done !

    6. Greg (Aus) says:

      Couldn’t have said it better.

      Thanks for all the memories Mark, it’s been great watching your F1 career and I’m looking forward to seeing how you go in LMP1

    7. Grabyrdy says:

      Someone should do a Wit & Wisdom of Webbo book. I think you’d do it well. I’d buy it !

    8. ben s says:

      One of the best posts I’ve read here, excellent. If it’s not too late, dare I say that it would not be out of place in James’ 2013 book.

    9. PJ says:

      Well said………Ditto !
      Thanks for the memories Mark and every success with Porsche

    10. Deegs says:

      Great post! Mirrored my sentiments perfectly! Korea 2010…the end of the title fight for me…
      May Dan’s run at Vettel be less frustration and more jubilation!!

      1. Phil says:

        Well said Aussie Rod.

        That 5th place in the Minardi in Melbourne was something else….. bought a tear to the eye.

        You mentioned the German GP 09 – check out some of James’ own posts on JA.F1 about this race and you will see that even way back then, RBR had made their decision as to who their no1 driver would be. Mark was always No2 in 09 and 10 according to RBR. Then along came the Pirelli’s and Vettel went to another level – game over…..

        Regardless, MW’s flown the Aussie flag in F1 with pride and epitomises the Aussie battler spirit – a great credit to him. I hope he achieves great success with Porsche next year and beyond.

        I’ve enjoyed the ride….

  10. matthew cheshire says:

    Webber is also a dying breed as a driver who won his place through the lowest teams and rose up. Finally joining a middle ranked Red Bull team and contributing to its rise to the top.

    2010 was certainly the highlight on the track but his apetite and ability to speak his mind is what endears him to the fans. For Bahrain 2012 he lead all of F1 by saying what no other driver or team principal was willing to admit first.

    We can only hope he has created a void that someone else will be drawn to fill.

    PS. So glad the starts aren’t important at Le Mans.

  11. AndyFov says:

    I’ll remember Mark for his “not bad for a number two driver” line, and it’s a shame that it was said at the time with ferocious irony but has since picked up a more literal meaning.

    He strikes me as a sincerely nice guy. Forthright and genuine. The sport could do with more from the same mould, and it’s a pity his direct manner is so apparently unique.

    At least there’s one compelling reason to follow Porsche next year. I hope he does well with that.

    1. Equin0x says:

      A nice guy? He seems like sometimes borderlined thug in front of the camera, also I admit he’s not bad for a number 2 driver he has at every opportunity to make Vettel look a villain, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ricciardo is more of a match for Seb next season.

      1. Gazza says:

        “He seems like sometimes borderlined thug in front of the camera”

        I am all for free speech but I despair at some of the comments from so called fans.

      2. MISTER says:

        He’s a Vettel fan..go figure..

      3. furstyferret says:

        Thats all your get from equinox, hes never said a good word about any driver apart from vettal. ?

      4. Deegs says:

        Not sure Vettel needs any help in the ‘Villian’ department!

      5. KRB says:

        A thug would have battered Vettel in the pre-podium room in Malaysia. If anything, Webber is too mild-mannered.

    2. ManOnWheels says:

      I remember that before the wing was swapped Webber or his team told the press after FP, that he didn’t feel the new wing was an improvement, while Vettel said he’d think it was better – and when one Wing was broken the remaining one was given to Vettel, who was leading Webber in the championship. Swapping the wings was probably the best decision that the team could have taken in this situation.
      Unfortunate for them, Webber plays politics in F1 very well – I’m pretty sure his complaints about the swap were rather of tactical nature than anything else. I doubt it has served him well though.

      1. Emanuel says:

        +1 I’m still disappointed every time James brings that up again and ignores the fact that Mark’s engineering team didn’t think the new wing worked anyway an agreed in an internal meeting to give the wing to Vettel, which in hindsight proved to be right (after all he was better in determining aerodynamics) I really liked Mark up to that point, but he lost me as fan in the “wing gate” as he was everything but straight forward and showed all his jealousy and spite to be beaten by a youngster.
        Still F1 will loose something with him and I wish Mark all the best for his Porsche adventure.

      2. Grabyrdy says:

        The thing was, he wasn’t asked. Personally I can’t think of any driver in the history of Grand Prix racing over the last hundred years who would not have been incandescent. And if they weren’t, they should have changed their job.

      3. Allan says:

        This is an oft-overlooked detail in the event. The problem was not so much the decision (which made technical sense), but the team’s handling of the situation. Had they involved Mark and asked, it probably would have been no issue, and it would have saved a lot of grief.

      4. Emanuel says:

        Nonsense, Mark and his team of engineers were very well involved in the situation, even the fans knew on Friday night that he didn’t like the new wing. But between Mark, his not quite so straight forward Manager Flavio(I have my drivers crash their car if it helps me make money)Briatore, the scandal hungry British media, and the ready to pounce on RBR British fans, this whole affair got blown up out of any reasonable proportion.
        In fact I was very impressed how a then just turned 23 year young Sebastian Vettel, handled it and did not let the media pull him into a political fight. I know I would not have been that mature at that age.

        I really like you and your Website James, you show really good insight that we usually don’t have, but often you’re too biased and it hurts your reputation.

      5. BigHaydo says:

        I don’t think James is being biassed here at all. The reason, if any, that Mark wasn’t going to run the wing was because a bonding issue was suspected after Vettel’s failed in free practice. Webber’s wing was put on Vettel’s car when it was found there was no problem. Ultimately, the performance difference was negligible, but it showed very clearly how the team intended to conduct itself. If you can show me a named source where Webber didn’t want the wing I’ll recant, but it sure helps to remember what actually happened that weekend.

      6. BigHaydo says:

        Not to mention that this article points out some of Mark’s weaknesses for much of the first half… It sure is looking at both sides of the coin from this perspective!

      7. Bryce says:

        Bias? I think you need to have another good read of past reports (as well as this one). If you still have the same opinion, you had better look into a mirror and ask yourself if the person you see is the one with little objectivity.

  12. Clay says:

    James,

    I’ll be watching from 3 – 6 am here in Aus on Monday morning, and I have to say it will be pretty sad to see Webber bow out and F1 will be poorer for it.

    I’ve watched every race Webber raced in an enjoyed all the pleasure and pain. The way Mark conducts himself shows a sense of the old school F1 which the newbies simply dont have. Came through the ranks driving rubbish cars before he got a good one, not like Hamilton and co. Seriously, imagine Lewis in the 2004 Jag, I’d be able to hear his complaints all the way from here.

    I wont forget the way Mark threw the steering wheel back into the Williams in 06 at Monaco after it blew up, or his first win, or his crash with Fisi at Sepang and Fisi ran away, or the way he used to ring the neck of that Jag! (front row of the grid)

    While yes Vettel maybe that fraction faster in quali and look after his tyres better during the race, Mark can leave F1 with his head held high. In his late 30′s and still on the front row is something. By the time Schuey, Villeneuve, Hill etc finished up, it was just getting embarrassing. [mod] but at the end of the day Aussie Grit has done himself and his country proud.

    1. Equin0x says:

      Really? By similar age Schuey in 2006 arguarbly was still the best driver in F1, blew away Massa without a sweat and imo should have beaten Alonso’s mass dampered car, embarrasing? Hardly, as for Hill he also won the title aged 36 and still won a race for Jordan aged 38, older than Webber is now, who I might add can’t win a race this year in the ‘best car’ to save his life, he needed team intervention at Malaysia and its the only way for him to win Brazil, the team and Seb helps him to, and still he needs to beat the likes of Mercedes duo and Grosjean.

      1. Yago says:

        @Equin0x,

        Don’t you think that diminishing Webber abilities is the same as diminishing the proper abilities of your favourite driver? Just guessing…

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        I’d like to have a go at writing an Equin0x post. These seem pretty easy to do. Here goes…

        ‘Vettel is the best driver who ever lived ever. Schumacher is awesome too because he is looked up to by Vettel. Webber is a terrible driver sent by Satan to challenge Vettel. Helmut Marko is a genius sorcerer who works to guard Vettel from the forces of evil but may find himself drawn to the dark side next season. If Vettel does well it is because he is awesome. If Vettel doesn’t do so well it is because his car has a problem with it’.
        ;)
        Please don’t mod this, it’s just some good natured ribbing. :)

      3. Bryce says:

        Obviously not quite smart enough to realise such things.

      4. BigHaydo says:

        Schumacher was brilliant in ’06, but was a shadow of himself from 2010-12. Hill may have won the title at 36, but by 1999 he was embarrassing himself with the dithering about when Frentzen was in the championship mix. And call Malaysia 2013 team intervention all you want, but Mark made the right call as a driver to ditch the intermediates when Vettel didn’t, reducing the latter to whining about wanting to be let past – something he only managed after the multi21 call and the engines being wound back.

  13. Michael says:

    To your comments on aero sensitivity James; do you think that Vettel in the last four years routinely obtained aero setup data from the other side of the garage? If so do you think that the absence of Webber could impact him negatively in the future, or has he been an good student and learned the art?

    As a proud Aussie, I can say we will all miss Mark in F1 a great deal but we also look forward to the new excitement that Daniel could possibly bring.

    1. Martin says:

      It isn’t car set up but new part assessment. The wings are designed to work so that there’s lots of downforce if possible under pitch (braking) and with steering angle, while shedding drag and downforce to a degree in higher speed corners.

      A sensitive driver can pick up the effects of a part through different speed corners and ride control during braking in a way that is faster than engineers studying data to check loads through the suspension (which need to consider anti-roll bar associated weight transfers). The feel that a car has through transitory states is an important gauge to in allowing drivers to be be confident.

      As the teams get more sophisticated, they will have been able to model their own analysis against the driver feedback. If they have a good correlation then Webber might in effect be replaced by the race engineers. Ricciardo might be good in this area too.

  14. IP says:

    Excellent piece.

    I was at Webbers first race in the minardi and it was epic. So many highs and lows. The Williams years really were such a disappointment.

    F1 needs straight talking guys like him. When Paul stoddart left f1 we lost another just like him.

    Come on Aussies. Thanks for the memories mark.

  15. Alexander Supertramp says:

    His career demands respect, but 9 wins after having a very competitive car for over 4.5 years is just not impressive. Is it because Mark was to limited as a driver? Born in the wrong era? Or Maybe because Red Bull have very much treated him as the No. 2 like Ferrari did to Massa? I guess we’ll find the truth somewhere in the middle. But at the end of the day the ‘Webber situation’ can be highlighted as one of the more important reasons for the borefest that has affected F1 since 2011. With the Red Bull dominance not completely ruled out for the future, Mark leaving the team is not a bad thing. Let’s hope Daniel can mount a challenge.

    Best of luck to Mark in the next chapter of his career.

    1. Athlander says:

      I think his record of wins correctly puts him in that group of drivers that includes Berger and Coulthard: excellent drivers that on certain occasions were untouchable, but who ultimately fell a little short in eras of truly great drivers.

      1. James Allen says:

        And unlucky enough to be around when there were some greats racing, especially in Berger’s case

      2. Robin says:

        Very true and you’d have to put Barrichello in this list as well. Coulthard’s recent comments about not being fundamentally as as fast as Hakkinen especially in qualifying have been quite insightful. You clearly cannot admit this sort of thing to yourself when you are racing, but retirement gives plenty of time for introspection.

  16. alan says:

    Champions have long lasting qualities, of which Mark has many. Pity he was a no 2 in his team!

    1. Snailtrail says:

      Its a shame people under estimate how much a driver can be empowered by having a full teams’ and teams full support behind him.

  17. Spyros says:

    I remember back when Webber was the new guy, the outspoken characters in F1 had names like Eddie Irvine, Jacques Villeneuve, Jean Alesi and Juan Pablo Montoya. Webber was quickly classed as a ‘less controversial’, somewhat outspoken driver… a bit like Rubens Barrichello.

    So the big characters are long gone, and the last of the ‘polite but assertive’ types is going, too. OK we still have the odd gem from Kimi, but beyond that, we are left with the calculated enthusiasm that is part and parcel of today’s F1.

    Yes, there are the occasional chinks in the teams’ marketing armour… Ferrari might tweak Alonso’s ear, or Hamilton might, erm, tweet something… but these are nothing but leaks, sometimes intended, sometimes not, to be treated as minor diplomatic episodes, by seasoned staff, employed for this purpose.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Yes, nearly everything we hear from the drivers now will be rehearsed, run through a filter, vetted by their PR assistant, and then probably be skewed by the media anyway.

      Just let the drivers speak their mind again, it’s so much simpler :)

      1. Spyros says:

        Nah, can’t happen. Too much at stake. Better to have 22 parrots.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Yes, for sure I totally agree.

        It can’t happen. There’s just too much at stake I think. For sure it’s better to have 22 parrots :)

      3. ben s says:

        It’s ironic. Professional athletes are groomed for media and public appearances creating the borefest that are interviews these days(the parrots), when I suspect the majority of the public would most likely prefer an open and honest and even emotional response. So it’s actually only the sponsors and the corporate machine who drive this demand to seem like they and everything they represent is shiny, virginal whiter than white while the fan is frustrated and bored by the repetitiveness.

        Maybe if there was more human beings and less parrots there would be more interest from the public with a continual, growing fanbase rather than arguably a dwindling one. Imagine the characters of yesteryear allowed to be themselves in the 21st century media, whether social or corporate. James Hunt, rest his soul, in his prime, on twitter posting pics of last night’s conquest selfie style – wry smile, fag in mouth, blonde sprawled out behind him #poleposition

  18. Sebee says:

    Let’s be honest, we may have picked sides but Mark has given us plenty of enjoyment over the years and memories about which Wiki entries are written.

    It’s been fun to watch the guy. Best memory is still those points scored for Minardi in Oz. Fantastic moment in F1.

    1. Equin0x says:

      Ok I admit that Melbourne debut was a great result for Minardi and all throughout his career from Minardi to Jaguar and then to Williams he looked a faster driver than Alonso but then he couldn’t take that final step and when Seb joined RBR it was the beginning of the end for Webber, Im sure Webber can get the job done at Le Mans if Porsche can provide the car but even that won’t be easy just look at how tough the competition are, Audi and Toyota will probably still be the pace setters, though Webber’s raw speed could make him a contender, I guess thats why Porsche hired him, the likes of Davidson and Kristensen will be looking iver their shoulders for sure.

      1. Drew says:

        Nice to see you put the knife away finally!

      2. Bryce says:

        WOW! I am so shocked, I have to sit down.

        Congratulations on finding some objectivity, it took another VET fan to drag it out. Thanks Sebee.

      3. BRad says:

        Porshe hired him because he’s bringing RBR as a sponsor. Equinox, you’re an idiot.

  19. Luke Clements says:

    Thanks James, very well written in a “Mark Webber” style. Tough, honest and fair. Good stuff

  20. Ant says:

    A great bloke, shame he’s going. He joked about it in Austin, but hopefully he’s right and Bottas will take over the mantle of no BS interviewee who has the talent to be at the pointy end of the grid.

  21. Paul L says:

    His interview at Fuji 2007 was memorable. “It’s just kids isn’t it? Kids with not enough experience doing a good job and then they [stuff] it all up.”

  22. Richard says:

    A true sportsman, and one that would not want a win gifted from anyone least of all Vettel.
    He is also a driver that has spoken out about the tyres, and is one of the things he would change if he had the power to do so. Must be so demoralising cruising to a delta rather than pushing unless of course one is winning.

  23. James Nye says:

    Great article James, I for one will miss Mark lots and will certainly miss his honesty.

    Good luck for the future Mr. Webber.

  24. Lez Martin says:

    When you take the Mark Webber out of F1, you take the personality out of F1, (a bit like when Eddie Irvine retired), Mark has had more than his fair share of bad luck, but, if you believe the hype, its not all down to him, more RBR, he has,on the whole, remained a true sportsman, with larger than life personality, who has shot from the hip. I wish him the best of luck with Porsche, and hope he can show what a true talent he really is.

    1. Yago says:

      Agree about the personality thing. I really like the guy and his personality (as far as I can tell from the TV). However, on pure F1 driving abilities, he has not beem above the average I believe. I think he has been an average F1 driver, but a very good motor sport talent.

  25. John in SD says:

    All the best to Mark Webber & thanks for the memories. Always been a fan. So frustrating to see him lose the WDC in 2010, and the Korean GP crash was a huge factor in that. Have followed him since I started going to F1 races again in 2002 after a break of 18 years. Shame he couldn’t quite follow in the footsteps of Jack and AJ. Anyway I’ll look forward to following his progress in sportscars next year. Go Mark, and gives us a win at Interlagos!

    1. fox says:

      2010 had to be won by Alonso!

      1. justafan says:

        Only if Fred could overtake.

  26. Random 79 says:

    Going to miss you in F1 Mark, have fun with the Porches :)

  27. Michael Thomas says:

    Thanks James..a nice article.

    I guess we all look forward to what Mark can produce in Brasil and hope he can come away with a win. It would be fitting that someone who is as authentic and genuine as Mark would accomplish this.

    The questions will always surround the Red Bull team and the perceived favouritism with VET, which is a shame given the constant rhetoric that the team spout about given equal opportunities to both drivers.

    All that aside, Mark’s eventual path to the pinnacle of the sport is a credit to him and his dedication to his passion of driving. The layman cannot fathom the work required to achieve his position in the sport today. Additionally, its great for fans to see and have people in the world like Mark who, despite the circumstance, pomp and opulent environment that F1 encases, speak their mind in a manner that everyone can relate to. The peoples driver.

    Personally, I’ll be following his career with great interest at Porsche and gain inspiration he provides to me and many others.

  28. John Marshall says:

    Props to Mark. Sort of sad to see him go, but I think it’s time.

    I’ll always feel he should have won the 2010 WDC. If not for his off-track injury, I think he would have. Who knows how much different the last couple years might have been had he won that year.

    I wish him all the best. He seems a good guy. I’d have a beer with him any time.

    1. Bayden says:

      I read somewhere Mark saying he would have retired had he won the 2010 title.

      If this is true, his failure to do so at least means we’ve been able to enjoy his presence for a few more years than could otherwise have been the case.

    2. RogerD says:

      Yep, that about sums it up for me too. He’s just about the only guy on the grid that I have a genuine desire to sit on a beach and have a beer or six with.

      P.S. Eau Rouge 2011

  29. Mark Taylor says:

    Will be strange to not see WEB anywhere on my F1 screens next year. Those three letters have been source of elation, frustration but mostly great times. I’ll miss his grid interviews with Brundle, his quali laps, his brave overtakes, his charging through the field.

    He’ll be missed in F1 but I hope he races long into the future.

    Best of luck WEB

  30. DK says:

    What a guy! Though I am not a fan of Webber, I really want him to win for one last time. He has what it takes to beat Vettel in some races buthis starts often let him down.

    I know Vettel will love to extend his record by one more race and break Shumey’s record of most win in one season, he also has a chance to pay tribute to Webber by racing him fairly in Interlagos.

  31. Ravi says:

    I’m sorry James but I disagree with your assessment of Mark. There is more evidence of body language, behavior on track circa Brazil 2013 and various gimmicks against the team (method of disclosing his retirement and showing the team down by saying DM knew it) and so many more politically motivated examples – to call such a guy Honest and Straightforward would assume an entirely different meaning !

    Sorry , but can’t believe what you have written.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well you are entitled to your opinion, but I take people as I find them and that’s my read on him

      The tricks you mention are just the stuff of pro-sports, a bit of one-upmanship. It’s hardly politics!

    2. Joel says:

      You made your point in a couple other posts. Now, leave it dude. It’s not you alone who has opinions, other too and most of the time opposite to yours; learn to live.
      I don’t agree with you; but I din’t respond to every one of your post contenting it… cheers.

    3. BigHaydo says:

      Given how Marko stole Coulthard’s thunder when announcing his retirement I don’t blame Mark for taking this course of action in the slightest!

    4. Bryce says:

      If the truth bothers you so much, another website might be more appropriate.

  32. audifan says:

    ravi , I notice james has given you the courtesy of a couple of attempts to rubbish mark

    but as I doubt that you have ever sat down and talked to him I know which opinion seems more credible in my eyes

    have you ever met mark and talked to him?

  33. hippyneil says:

    One of the bravest overtakers on the grid and always good for some wheel-to-wheel action. We’re going to miss him.

  34. Nic Maennling says:

    Well, don’t we have a bunch of armchair critics here ! Not very mature. What will they say when Grosjean retires ?

    Let’s all wish Webber well – 12 years at the F1 level. Incredible.

  35. Geoff says:

    Mark, just don’t follow what DC did in his last race. Crashed out his Red Bull in first few laps.

    I hardly forget how stupid is the camera angle on DC’s helmet…..i can only see the rev limiter and gear indicator and blue sky….

  36. ACO says:

    Say goodbye also to:

    - Pic
    - Gutierrez
    - Perez
    - Di Resta?

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Chilton?

      1. shri says:

        Van der Garde ?

  37. Donald says:

    A very fair and well written piece. I get annoyed with a lot of F1 writing because it can be quite unbalanced: lots of superlatives and hyperbole, and it can never really be the whole story that way.

    The good and the bad of this articles gives it a great edge; not filtered, just carefully worded.

    There was good and bad to Mark, like there is with everyone. I like that in recent times he seems to have come to terms with Vettel just having the upperhand in this phase of F1.

  38. Andrew Carter says:

    Webber can be “political” when it comes to dealing with Red Bull and Seb as he’s looking to find an advantage or some way to get on terms, but at the same time you never see him going into histrionics or whining about things. From the many interviews with him that I’ve read over the years, on all other subjects he really does comes across as being one of the most honest and straightforward people out there, and very thoughtful as well.

    F1′s loss is most definitely Sports Cars gain, I can’t wait to see him going wheel to wheel with the likes of McNish, Kristensen, Lotterer, Treluyier, Davidson and Lapier next year, the WEC is going to be brilliant.

    1. SteveS says:

      “you never see him going into histrionics or whining about things.”

      Oh, come on. He cried ENDLESSLY about the grid drop he received for getting a lift from Alonso. Then, after whinging about it for weeks, he made some remark about “you have to take it on the chin”!

      That sums up Mark. He’s the biggest diva on the grid but he has the press corp eating out of his hand so nothing but nice things ever get written about him.

      1. BigHaydo says:

        The three strikes rule was bought in to curb the moronic behaviour of the likes of Grosjean and Maldonado. All three of Mark’s ‘reprimands’ were dubious. I’d be annoyed too. But think about it: how much of this ‘crying’ was journalists rehashing the same quotes from Mark because they couldn’t get any soundbites from the other PR sensitive yo yos?

  39. Snailtrail says:

    So James will we ever hear from you regarding what has really gone on with driver dealings in the RB team?

    There seems to have been alot that has gone on that no one wants to write about – including Mark himself: http://www.f1-fansite.com/f1-news/departing-webber-ready-red-wine-vettel/

    People keep complaining about Marks aggressive stance at the last Brazil race – I would say Marks stance resulted from a hell of a lot going on behind closed doors that went Seb’s way.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well a lot of it is internal, of course and they’ve kept it that way. That’s normal in a competitive F1 outfit, in pro-sport generally

      1. Rich In Norway says:

        James do you know if Mark has any plans for an autobiography? It would surely be an entertaining read!!

      2. James Allen says:

        I’m sure he will do one and I’d imagine that Tom Clarkson will write it with him

      3. P says:

        If he does reveal more in a book I’d actually be more interested in what his relationship with Christian Horner was like whilst at RBR. Must have been some testing times for their relationship, especially since Horner has sided with Vettel more often that not as the team (owner)’s favourite.

      4. BRad says:

        Mark will keep RBR sponsorship with Porshe, so it want be his biography that gives the juice on any insider drama I’m sure.

  40. Sebee says:

    We are getting all kinds of fun today from the prancing horse. Thanks for the laughs!

    First, here is Massa:
    Massa said he was not interested in becoming a ‘pay driver’, in the sense that a driver’s services are inextricably linked to his financial backing.

    “I don’t know if this is how I should describe it, because it is a very strong word,” Massa said.

    “But the word is ‘prostitute’,” he is quoted by UOL Esporte. “Not having to do that – pay to drive – is my greatest pride.

    “It is logical to help with sponsors, but I will not be a prostitute,” added Massa.

    And now, for the punchline ahead of 2014, here is Luca once again:
    Having given Fernando Alonso “eight out of ten” for his 2013 season, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo now insists the Spaniard is not the famous Italian team’s number 1 driver.

    “I don’t like number 1, number 2,” he told CNN.

    1. Yago says:

      Yes. But in that same interview he implied that Alonso was better than Lauda, Prost and Schumacher…

      The score to Alonso is to cover the actual technical mediocrity of the team, which he has been doing since mid season.

      1. justafan says:

        It’s true that Prost failed miserably, but Lauda and Schumacher scored many titles for my favourite team (7). How can Monte imply that Fred is better than them?

      2. Yago says:

        Are you asking that to me? You should go and ask him, I didn’t say it.

      3. Sebee says:

        What we are seeing from Massa about Alonso being best is a typical display of Stockholm Syndrome. ;-)

      4. Yago says:

        I was talking about Montezemolo not Massa, as I thought were you.

      5. Sebee says:

        I was just waking up actually. You should see the post bellow. I couldn’t find keys!

        That was Luca who said that Alonso is better than Lauda, Prost, and Schumi? WOW, talk about insulting 3 people in one shot.

        May I just say that each of those three have more skill in their little pinky than… :-)

        And Lauda? I have no idea how that guy can even walk like a normal man. He has [SELF MOD] the size of boulders! I guess Ferrari is still bitter he let that WDC slide to Hunt. Suck it up Luca!

        Schumi vs. Alonso? If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it – right? All I will say is that I recall Alonso saying that he didn’t want to beat Schumi’s record, and he was certainly right about that. :-)

      6. Yago says:

        He hinted that if you read the original interview. He said something like: Alonso is a great, great driver. Lauda, Prost and Schumacher were all great drivers, but Alonso in the races is really, really good… bla bla bla. Or something like that.

        However, if you really want to read Montezemolo saying Alonso is the best driver Ferrari has ever had put “Montezemolo Alonso best driver ferrari has ever had” in Google. One of the first links. He was talking to ‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’, not to a Spanish journalist.

  41. Marcus in Canada says:

    How different would the last 3 years have been if Webber had won the 2010 WDC?

    1. Timmay says:

      Only himself to blame for that one

    2. TJ says:

      How different might his career been if he had gone to Renault in 05 instead of Williams. He was a walk up starter if he wanted the gig given Flavio was team principal and obviously webbers manager. He chose a big name F1 team in Williams that ultimately failed. Would have certainly had race wins 4 years earlier than he did and maybe moved into another top team much sooner. Hindsight is always a wonderful thing.

  42. Paul D says:

    F1 will miss Mark Webber. One of the good guys.

  43. Paul D says:

    I have always seen Mark as the modern day Gerhard Berger.

    Big personality, untouchable on their day, but generally a couple of tenths off the ultimate pace that distingishes a great driver from a very good one.

  44. Fan says:

    Mixed feelings on Mark’s departure from F1. He is a quality racer and I think that he was severely underrated given that 1) he was driving a Red Bull and 2) his teammate was VET. At any many other teams I think he would have exceled. Would have been very interesting to see him at Ferrari. I think many would have been surprised. Will never forget the pass he made on ALO at Eau Rouge. That took a set to pull off. That said I think as others have said the nice guy image is undeserved. I think he is every bit as ruthless as VET if not more so. Will not miss all the backhanded compliments and swipes he took at VET or the on track shananigans. I personally think the reason he is leaving F1 is his inability to take the fight to VET. I think its gutted him and he has lost the fire he once had. Yes, I’m sure the tires played a part, but he is a competitor and to be beaten so completely year after year takes its toll on your psyche.

    1. luqa says:

      Good comments!
      It seems though that is the last few weeks- months Mark has finally accepted the fact Seb is simply faster. It takes a big man to admit that.
      It has also made him a better racer since its taken the pressure and tightness off himself and consequently he has performed better.

    2. Yago says:

      “At any many other teams I think he would have exceled. Would have been very interesting to see him at Ferrari”

      Yes of course. He’s got 46 points less than Alonso on a car a second faster on average since summer break. That has little to do with his teammate. Can you explain how did you get to the conclussion he would have excelled in another team?? The effect of having such a fast car underneath you is to mask your shortcomings, not the other way around. Ask Felipe Massa if you don’t believe it.

      1. BigHaydo says:

        A car that is a ‘second faster’ will do you no good if it either doesn’t finish the race or has it’s aero advantage compromised in dirty air…

  45. Jenks says:

    I found this quote from Mark’s Facebook page quite interesting:

    “I’ve never had any problems in one-on-one battles but I thinking European karting would have sharpened me up a bit more when racing in a pack.”

    Quite an honest comment.

    I’ve been a big Webber fan since his debut in Australia. I like his spirit, and I’ll miss him in F1. Roll on the next challenge Mark. All the best for the future.

    Oh, and please win this weekend.

  46. Sanjog says:

    Hmm.. lets see…
    Not bad for a number 2 driver, britney’s in the wall, first- lap nutcase, the quip about how modern f1 cars make a female look low maintenance,for other dozens of smashing tidbits, for a refreshing and honest attitude, but above all for being a true blue, ballsy and fair racer,a hearty thanks Mark.#TrueAussieGrit

    1. Hendo says:

      “What don’t you understand about Multi21?”

  47. SteveS says:

    “Red Bull’s decision to give Vettel Webber’s front wing in Silverstone without telling him, was one of the worst decisions made by an F1 team in terms of the negative impression it created to the public”

    Then the public needs to wise up, as this sort of thing is done all the time in F1. If any team has one new part they always give it to the best driver/the driver with the most points. There’s nothing remotely unusual about the practice.

    As with ignoring team orders, it was an ordinary thing which was made out to be extraordinary because it involved Vettel.

  48. Sarvar says:

    I was so gutted and pity for Mark that he couldn’t pass Grosjean in Austin during entire race when Seb did it right away in Suzuka after Rocky’s “That’s Grosjean ahead of you..Go get him”
    Good luck Mark this weekend!

    1. Siobhan says:

      That is my favourite quote of this Season!!

  49. f1fan says:

    Webber is nothing more than a mediocre F1 driver, and the numbers are there to support this overwhelmingly. He is (and has been for years) not only a distant second to Vettel, but also 3rd to Alonso, 4th to Hamilton and 5th to Kimi. He has been given hands-down the best car on the grid and has only managed 5th place this year, even behind that turtle-slow Ferrari car (which however is in the hands of Alonso). His race starts are terrible, he can’t manage a race, he crashes out too often and makes poor decisions in key moments. He is quick, that is true, but so are the majority of F1 drivers. And all of the above were reasons that none of the other big teams wanted to sign him when they could have, because the knew he cannot deliver the results they needed, even he had the best car on the grid.

    1. Yago says:

      If we are to believe journalists, Ferrari approached him in 2012. If they did so really considering signing him, I think it is a proof of something going wrong at the absolute top of Ferrari management. I think since Todt left and Domenicali stepped in, Montezemolo takes a big part on management decisions of the Scuderia, which should be competition of Domenicali. And in my view he has not enough F1 knowledge (or whatever you want to call it) to do that, he has other competences.

  50. K says:

    So much rewriting of history…again.

    Webber did not like the new 2010 Silverstone wing during the practice sessions. In fact he said it is slower and he could not work with it on Friday interviews. Also confirmed by a leading mechanic in RBR after the weekend.

    When Vettel’s broke because of reliability issues Adrian took the decision to put the last one on Vettel’s car because unlike Webber, Vettel had been very positive about the new wing because he thought it would be faster. Adrian wanted to test it more and gave it to the driver that was willing to test it more.

    This was all reported by non-British media at the time. For some odd reason, the British media forgot to mention this and went with the “Webber is being mistreated, the GERMAN Vettel stole his wing” story. It was only after Vettel got the wing that Webber started making a fuss out of it, he did not even want the damn wing initially. Which is why RBR was surprised by his public act, and yes it was an act.

    Also, 3-4 times Webber decided to ignore team orders and he did not get chastised for it but treated as a hero by the British media and fans, including in 2011 Silverstone when Webber attacked Vettel’s car which was wounded, had no KERS, worn tyres because of it, and a wrecked pitstop.

    Turkey 2010 was another example. RBR gave him teamorders to let Vettel pass because the 2 McLarens were too close and Webber could not go faster. They told Webber to save fuel which as we all know is a teamorder to let his teammate pass.

    Vettel thought he had gotten the green light and tried the pass, thinking Webber would let him go. Which he did not, so Vettel turned in thinking Webber would not be there.

    Glad this cuddle bear of the British media/fans is gone. Although he is replaced by yet another. Webber would do well in acting. 10 bucks says this comment won;t be allowed, if it is allowed I will donate 10 bucks to a child charity.

    1. James Allen says:

      Get your cheque book out

      1. BigHaydo says:

        I thought you only permitted quality comments, James?

      2. Bryce says:

        I would much rather donate 20 to have rubbish like that placed in a suitable bin.

    2. Luke smith says:

      You might do well at writing fictional stories?!

    3. dufus says:

      Even this website sometimes lets through uneducated and biased views so dont feel so special.

      1. James Allen says:

        We try very hard not to, but there are so many comments >100k this year – that’s 2k per week!

    4. TimF says:

      I’d have donated money not to have had to read your drivel!

  51. Wellbalanced says:

    All good things come to an end, but it is rather sad that Webber is stepping out of the sport, nonetheless.

    By 2002 I was firmly hooked on this sport, and that year’s Australian GP is easily the most memorable GP I have watched (funnily enough). Ralf Schumacher’s enormous crash, Rubens’ chipped helmet, DC briefly leading, Salo spinning in the new Toyota, and Webber’s amazing fifth in the wonderful passionate Minardi team. It felt like watching the local driver clinch a world championship in his first race. And it’s extraordinary to think how time flies, and how his full and extended career is now over.

    NB I think I’m right in identifying Button as the only driver to still be in the sport from that race

    1. Bayden says:

      Don’t forget Kimi!

      1. Wellbalanced says:

        I knew I was forgetting someone! Funny thing is Jenson and Kimi still feel like relative newcomers, not the grizzled men of experience they are

  52. Dante says:

    James,
    Is Briatore still Webber’s agent?

  53. Timmay says:

    Mark should have retired after his epic fail in Korea 2010. Ever since then he has just been spanked by Vettel and his starts are just horrendous too. I don’t care what anyone says – if Vettel is winning 8 in a row and more than 10 in a season and Webber can’t even scrape together many second places let alone a win of his own – then he shouldn’t have been racing the best car in the first place.

    1. Yago says:

      As tough as it sounds, I totally agree (in 2012 he did ok, but globaly I agree).

    2. ben s says:

      Couldn’t it also be that deep down, motivation would be a factor in his relatively low-key results this season? Mark’s decision to retire must surely not demoralise, but certainly de-motivate.

      I know if I hand my notice in to an employer, I’m not that keen to work as hard as I may have before in my final week at the office. I remain professional but my mind is elsewhere.

      I have no doubt that the sportsman within him is still there burning fiercely, but I also imagine it’s hard to maintain the same degree of focus when your heart isn’t in it as it once was.

      1. Timmay says:

        Noone is stopping him from retiring mid season. His employer even employs his future replacement already.

      2. ben s says:

        True, though he’s not really the quitting type. I couldn’t see him just dropping it mid-season.

  54. Rob Newman says:

    “Without Webber, the less experienced Vettel of the last few years might not have had such a good car on race day”. Some strong words there. The same goes the other way. Without Vettel, the much experienced Webber wouldn’t have got many pole positions or won many races.

    So much has been said about Vettel letting Webber win. But for that to happen, Vettel should be 1st and Webber 2nd. Anything can happen in Brazil on Saturday and Sunday. I think Hamilton will be on pole and Grosjean will win the race.

    If at all a driver needs to move over for his team mate in Brazil, then it has to come from a Ferrari driver.

    1. Wellbalanced says:

      Agree, especially re Massa

  55. Richard says:

    Hope he’ll be around the F1 paddock next year, if Porsche allows him.

    1. Geoff says:

      Its possible if Porsche became SC sponsor and Mark is driving one of it..

      Sounds impossible..

  56. Bayan says:

    Good article James. I will miss watching him during grandprix weekends. Even though many think he was completely mistreated by RB, i suspect he wansn’t entirely innocent in some of the issues they had. Nonetheless, a classic personality that F1 will really be missing next year.

  57. dufus says:

    Thanks for the memories Mark.
    Not really into Le Mans but ill keep my eye on you.
    Its time for Daniel to step up now.

  58. F458 says:

    I remember Melbourne 2002 like it was yesterday. It all started with a bang with that 5th place in the Minardi.

    I feel I should repeat something Ted Kravitz said about how people feel about Mark Webber; “Most of the drivers are boys but Mark Webber was an adult” Enough said.

  59. Mike222 says:

    So who is the Mark Webber guy anyway?

    Well a couple of years ago my kids contacted “all” of the F1 drivers asking for a signed photo for their Dad as they wanted to chear him up after aclong and very painful divorce.

    Yes I received a photo from most of the F1 grid’s PR departments along with the appropriate laser printed signature. But guess what,
    ? one letter was different, yes it had the requested signed photo but this time it wasn’t just a laser signature it simply read “Sorry to hear about your troubles Mate, keep your chin up, you’ve very luck to have such great kids, Best regards Mark”.

    Says it all about Mark Webber and a hell of a lot about the other drivers.

    Thanks Mark, your a Gentleman in my book, thekids and I will miss your presence in Formula 1.

    Mike, Sam, Jess and Natasha

    1. Mario says:

      Great comment!

    2. ben s says:

      I’m a bit of an emotional so and so, and that brought a little lump to my throat.

      Nice kids fella. Must be proud.

    3. PK says:

      That is awesome.
      Rate that more than any of his wins.

    4. BigHaydo says:

      Brilliant story, and sums up the type of bloke Webbo is. F1 needs people like this and sadly has very few of them. Hope this bought some better luck your way, too.

    5. dufus says:

      Wow thats brilliant.
      Will be sad when he steps out of the car and has one last glancing look at his car.

    6. Paul D says:

      Absolutely fantastic, thanks for sharing.

  60. F1 Badger says:

    I’ll be very sad to see Mark go. Great racer and better character. I agree he is honest and straight talking not least because those in the know with F1 say so. Those people like DC, EJ and James Allen know more about the workings and politics that go on behind the scenes in F1 and are therefore much better judges of who is honest. Although I don’t agree there’s no one else that will speak ther mind…we still have Kimi…it wil just be said in less words and minus the emotion. #i was doing a s&&t
    Good luck Mark, it’s been a pleasure!

  61. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – Whilst both drivers have speed under the right circumstances, I believe the Malaysian incident was a calculated effort by Vettel to establish a psychological advantage over Webber early in the season so as to get the team’s backing once leading the championship.

    Vettel detractors claim that he is only winning because he has been in the best car. Yet he has beaten Webber by a significant margin this year. Whilst I appreciate the car might not have suited Webber, great drivers can work around this (eg as reported about Alonso and also Schumacher in his prime).

    My theory is that the current RB car has a lot more speed than they’re showing. By sandbagging the car, they prevent a change in the tyre rules back to how it was (ie a disadvantage to RB). Therefore, could it be that Webber’s true pace this year has been a lot worse than is reported? After all, we are seeing one car faaaaar out in front and the second (Webber’s) being routinely beaten by Renault and Mercedes which are arguably worse cars. If we assume the two RB cars are equal (perhaps debatable), then the difference has to be Webber?

  62. Ellen says:

    And he’s gorgeous. Will be gutted this Sunday. Have to find a new favourite.

    1. Random 79 says:

      May I suggest Ricciardo? :)

  63. Nick4 says:

    Thanks James. I really enjoyed this article and your summation of the one and only Mark Webber. You have brought us as fans great insight into F1 and long may this continue. It says a lot of Vettel that in spite of the personal issues between the two drivers he is still able to credit Mark for his role in his own success.

  64. Aussie Gus says:

    Mark! Best of luck, we will be, I wil be cheering you on one last time. Go for it, bring it home in number 1 one final time, 10 is an awesome number!

    Your honesty, colour and unquie Aussiie flair will be sorely missed in F1. Congrats on a fantastic care you have certainly done Australia proud.

    All the best with Porsche in 2014.

  65. Steve JR says:

    Of all the drivers on the grid, Mark Webber is the one I like the most. Of course, I don’t know the guy, but he comes across as a friendly Aussie who you’d want to come to your Sunday arvo BBQ.

  66. Yev says:

    Mark Webber is my least favorite driver..

    Over many years his “none shall pass” mentality, where he would crash in to anyone who tried to overtake him, was ridiculous. Unfortunately it was usually the other car that came off worst.

    Thank goodness he can’t start.

    Completely out classed and out performed by Vetel.

    Goodbye and good riddance,

  67. Adrian Nolan says:

    Thanks James, a nice article. It would be a pity if he was remembered as a “number two”. I think he was better than that.

    I will always remember James Hunt commentating and saying about Berger something along the lines of “He is the perfect partner for Senna. He is a genuine number 1, so he pushes him. But he’s not a top flight number 1 like a Mansell or Prost, so he won’t cause friction.” It was an excellent comment on Berger and perhaps the same applies to Webber and Vettle (but with some friction).

    I’d be interested to know where you’d rank him among drivers without a World championship, but at least as many wins as him, Moss, Coultard, Reutemann, Barrachello, Massa, Peterson, Berger.

    Thank you and I enjoy your pod casts.

    Adrian Nolan

  68. Sam says:

    Farewell to F1′s last true character.

    Great article JA!

    I’ve been immensely proud watching Mark progress through F1 the tough way and I think he can look back and be nothing but proud of his career. Was gutted in 2010, but that’s life. I hope he gets the opportunity to enjoy his final years of driving with Porsche.

    They just don’t churn out drivers who are like Mark anymore.

    1. Gary says:

      I think Kimi Raikonnen certainly qualifies as a “character”, as does Mark. Paul DiResta, e.g., not so much.

  69. Luke smith says:

    Ill be watching the race this weekend with much sadness. Many late nights and early mornings over the last 12 years following the highs and lows of Marks f1 career. A sportsman whose character I really admire.

    I’ll certainly be watching next year with much interest, but I feel f1 will lose something with marks departure.

    1. Wellbalanced says:

      It’s sad, but it’s the right time.

      Up steps Ricciardo

  70. Geoff says:

    As an Aussie, thanks for giving us reasons to stay up and watch F1 and cheer you on (with more than occasional outburst if frustration too).
    You`ve given us great highs (Melbourne 2002, any time you put that Jaguar through qualy, Germany 2009, almost all of 2010, around Alonso at Eau Rouge in 2011, and Monaco and Silverstone 2012) and we`ve shared some of your epic lows (Williams in 2005 and 2006, Suzuka in 2007, Valencia 2010, Korea 2010, Malaysia 2013 and any race on Pirelli tyres), but most importantly thanks for keeping it real!
    #mademymark

  71. TBP says:

    Thanks James. Always enjoy your interviews with Mark before the race on Channel 10 in Australia.

    Followed F1 for a long time now. Cheered Mark on as well as other drivers. Hated Shumacher in his winning years and then found myself cheering him on during his comeback years.

    F1 has been great. It’s stories like Vettel and Mark that makes it fun to watch. All the drivers on the grid have interesting stories to tell of the hardships they have had to endure to get to where they are. Some are lucky and get a bit further but put it all together and you have F1.

    Will miss Webber next year. Will still be looking for the yellow circle on his helmet.

    Good luck to his future pursuits and bring on the next generation in the ever evolving F1 story.

    Cheers to all previous posters (Marks fans and non fans). Took me ages to get to the bottom of the page.

  72. Sebee says:

    OMG! Everyone is trying to stoo the Red Bukk domination by trying to plant seeds in brains. Ferrari in Vettel’s, Cuo sailing in Newey’s, and control of FOM in Horner’s. Knock it off people! 2014 WDC to focus on! 5 in a row.

    http://www.planetf1.com/news/3213/9035338/Ecclestone-Horner-Would-Be-Ideal

  73. Dean V says:

    As a relatively young Australian F1 viewer, Mark was the biggest factor in getting me interested in Formula 1. I’m going to miss the hard fought yet fair racing between Mark and Alonso. All the best with Porsche Mark!

  74. RogerD says:

    …and I think he probably gave the best interviews on the grid – something the myriad F1 scribblers and talking heads will miss.

    Amazingly enough he seemed to always actually answer the questions he was asked rather than wheel out the predictable, corporate, boilerplate responses.

    Absolutely :)

  75. Mr Squiggle says:

    James, I couldn’t resist coming back, thank you for this article.

    I’m reminded of something I read in Autosport when Denny Hulme retired, it had words to the effect, ‘he retires with health and humour intact’.

    In an era when Dan Wheldon died and Dario F has been told not to race again, it is no small thing to leave the sport intact, especially given some of Mark’s efforts at passing other cars.

    Silverstone 2010 will always get a mention, but for me the pattern was set in practice for Turkey 2010. While Seb was given new end plates for three practice sessions, Webber was only given access to them a few minutes before qualifying. He promptly set pole.

    The 15 points he lost in Turkey when Seb ran him off the track might have seen him as champion in 2010, even allowing for the self inflicted crashes in Korea and Valencia.

    Many comments here say MW is political. Of course he is, how else do you stay in a team when a junior driver is being managed into leading positions all the time. A pattern than continued ’11, ’12 and ’13 but without the same visibility.

    MW retains Deitrich M as patron, so there will be no tell-all book after his time in F1.

    I just wish him well, he has some notches on his belt that very few can lay claim to.

  76. Dave Aston says:

    It was amazing just seeing him get to F1; I believe at 18 he was delivering pizzas in Queanbeyan, quite a different career path to most of his contemporaries. He was just another driver Australian trying to make it in Europe, and pre ‘net, reading about each setback – funding, Le Mans, funding, aborted test contract – in Motorsport News or Auto Action made me wonder how long he’d stick it out. After some good performances at Minardi and Jag, then turning down Renault, it looked like Red Bull would have been a few more years in the midfield. Who knew how successful they’d be? This coincided with getting a teammate who may break every record in F1… I’d also like to say, I hope Ann Neal gets some coverage this weekend, she’s a genuine racing person and a huge part of his career.

  77. james a says:

    Very sad its webber last race in f1, hes been at both ends of the grid and really worked his way up . Super quick and always told it how it was . Carnt help think with abit of lady luck on his side he would have clinched that 2010 title and that would have pushed him on these last couple of years, instead it kind of knocked the stuffing out of him . All in all a very very good racing driver and all round good bloke , sad to see him go .

  78. Jason says:

    It is interesting people talk about 2010. As much as I like Webber, let’s not forget he threw his chance away. In that same race, Vettel’s car broke down!! If Vettel didn’t have reliability issues that day, no one would have got so worked up thinking Webber had a chance going into Abu Dhabi.

    I am not a Vettel fan the way he conducts himself at times but he is one hell of a quick driver. It was his speed that broke Webber in Korea. Mark should have just let him go. He could have at worst collected 18 points and at best, 25 when Vettel’s car broke down. Instead he got a big fat 0 while Alonso won.

    Not bad for a number 2 is true. He is a number 2. For all the talk that he “destroyed” all his previous team mates according to Horner, he really didn’t. His qualifying pace has always been wow but he has been prone to allowing his race pace to cause him to go backwards.

  79. grahame says:

    As a result of how Mark was discriminated against because he was not European, i will always support who ever is racing against redbull sponsored car. in any form of motorsport. That includes Daniel riccardio.

  80. German Samurai says:

    I always felt Webber comes off as a little rude and frosty. Always moaning about something, has a bit of an attitude to the media. Kimi does too, but I think Kimi is a rude brat.

    Webber aas always one to play psychological games with his teammates, but it failed miserably against Vettel. Then there’s the whole ignoring team orders at the British Grand Prix 2011, making life as difficult as possible for Vettel at Brazil last year, but milked the public’s sympathy for all it was worth when the shoe was on the other foot in Malaysia.

    When people call him straightforward maybe they mean in terms of intelligence because what he does seems transparent to me, but I don’t see him as this honest straight shooting guy. He’s honest when it serves him and that’s about it.

    1. Tom says:

      I pity you German Samurai

  81. Marty says:

    Thank you James for the well written article. Outlining Webber’s strengths and weaknesses of the last few seasons has helped me understand some of the missing pieces. Aside from Vettel being the brilliant talent that he is, I thought Webber would have had more success in the dominant Red Bull car.

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