Mark Webber retirement leaves door open at Red Bull
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Jun 2013   |  6:35 pm GMT  |  387 comments

Mark Webber called time on his F1 career today, with the announcement that he is going to join Porsche in sportscar racing, for a crack at the Le Mans 24 hours.

The news comes as little surprise after the story had been rumoured for many months, with Webber never denying it. The path was clear after the Malaysian Grand Prix fallout in March with team mate Sebastian Vettel, where the German ovetook his team mate to win the race, despite team orders to the contrary.

Webber has also been critical of the direction F1 has taken lately, especially with the short life Pirelli tyres and sees this year as the ideal stepping off point, as F1 enters a new era with hybrid powertrains in 2014.

“I think, any sportsman or women comes to that time in their career where they want to call it a day. That’s another small ingredient: there’s going to be big, big changes in this sport next year, so I may as well go and do those big, big changes where my future is going to be.

“The timing is perfect for me. Very, very excited about my new chapter and the new challenge ahead. One of the most famous and most well-respected brands in automotive and motor racing in Porsche, so that’s something which personally I’m very satisfied about taking on. The decision has been there for quite a long time for me actually. So, I’ve known for quite a while, I’ve had a plan and I’ve stuck to it.”

“Dietrich (Mateschitz) has been completely up to speed with my thinking in the last six to eight months, so Dietrich has been absolutely on board and on message with where I’ve been at. He’s certainly encouraged me not to rush my decision when I approached him earlier in the season. I think basically all of the right channels and avenues that we went through to get the message across as subtly as we could in terms of the announcement was done in the right way.”

The news leaves a space alongside Vettel for next season in one of the best cars on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen is the favourite to fill it, but Red Bull also has two young drivers in Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne waiting for their turn. Neither has shown enough yet to justify the chance and with constructors’ championship points at a premium, the team will be looking for the most consistent performer available to fill Webber’s seat. His points after all, have helped Red Bull win the last three Constructors’ Championships. And that championship is the one that is linked to the prizemoney.

Webber is likely to drive with greater freedom in the remaining races, but if he finds himself in a situation where he is battling with Vettel it’s unlikely that he will feel obliged to play the team game, which would make for interesting viewing. Vettel will be mindful of that.

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1

Wake up people and compare apples with apples. MW is not a driver in his prime and SV is. Had Mark been a younger man in the RB5/6/7/8 and in his prime then he may have won a championship. Mark is a great driver, but he is not a a young man anymore and F1 is now a young mans sport. Also Mark is not as good a qualifier as SV, not as fast through the twisty bits as SV and not consistent in his starts. Had he been able to improve in those areas then SV would have been under severe pressure. In ‘the old days’ F1 was any mans sport, its more involved, more technical for the driver now, the driver has to use his head more and instinct less. A young fit driver can handle these demands easily, an older driver is slower and less responsive, less prone to take risks. Thats the reality folks, Schumaker couldn’t cut it when he came back because he was not a young man anymore. F1 has changed a lot, its now a game for young players only. Take all the crap of the steering wheel and turn off the radio and then we will have F1 back to a level where the young and old can compete. Mark has battled all his life to get a good seat, he has just been unlucky to start at RB when SB was came to the team. No doubt about it SB is a fantastic driver, he is one of the best but not the best. He is a more complete driver than Mark and has been lucky to have a seat in the worlds best F1 car at the right time of his career.

Mark is a fine ambassador for the sport and a very good driver, sure he is not the best but why he he have to be? Can you imagine the accidents and DNF’s had Mark been as fast as Seb?

Thats precisely why RB do not want Mark and Seb to be close to each other on the track. They do not want 2 number 1 drivers. Thats not RB being unfair to Mark thats common sense. Its for that same reason (despite Horners deceptive/deflective comments) that Kimmy wlll not be with RB in 2014. One of the Toro Rosso boys will be in Marks seat, 100% guaranteed. Mark has done well all things considered… Ask yourselves has he done any better than any other 2nd driver in any of the other teams? 2nd drivers are there for a reason, they are the back door men, wether they know it or like it, thats a fact.

2

Let me date myself. My favorite F1 driver of all-time was Jack Brabham. I’m from the USA so nationality does no affect my opinions. I have a few comments along the lines of the more rational thinkers here.

Many have said that Vettel is the superior driver. But the comparisons must be viewed in context. Vettel is essentially 14 years younger than Mark. At 20, 21, 22,23 your reflexes are far superior to a man 34, 35, 36, 37. So , all things being equal, Vettel should be faster. The real question is where would Webber have been had he been 20,21,22,23 driving the RB car.

Secondly, even now with them at their respective ages , I have a gut feeling that their RB cars are not equally speced. I have no proof. Just a gut feeling knowing that SV is without a doubt favored and catered to by RB Racing. A blind man can see the favoritism.

But however the cookie crumbles on that issue, we can all agree on this. Mark Webber is a class act. Sebastian Vettel is an arrogant prima donna prick.

So to you Mark , I wish you the best in your upcoming Porsche commitment. Le Mans will once again put you in real racing, not the contrived results in the present F1 situation.

3

“The real question is where would Webber have been had he been 20,21,22,23 driving the RB car.”

He would be the crash kid lol!

If you look at historical races, he was a very fast but also a severely temperamental driver. He would post purple lap sectors and on the next sector, he would be off in the gravel somewhere.

He often crash into other drivers at the start as well.

My mates and i use to bet on the “Webber number”. The rules goes, how many laps before Mark Webber retires. The nearest number wins! That was great entertainment in the boring schumacher era.

4
Nigel Houghton-Allen

Happy to see MW leave. I think this is good of him, he’s a racer and can’t come to terms with saving tyres, politics RBR middle management etc.

Webber always has said the Vettel is a pure talent, in a recent article his comments basically said; I would prefer to stay with the best team (RBR) and compete against the best- no excuses, when I do we’ll it’s because I drove well, if I lost only I am to blame. Thats why he didn’t go to Ferrari.

He shows that he is a class act, a team player which will suit endurance racing. The qualy times were the same as race pace. While MW does at times show incredible speed, remember pole to second is usually in the 100ths of a second, I feel his skills will suit WEC.

There is no doubt Vettel is special, but he is such a prick & his one finger salute only makes me wish I could stick it some where else. Sad to be number 1 & no one respects you for only your driving. There is more to life than that.

5

if Kimi doesn’t resign for Lotus he will I think be forced to move away from f1 but maybe it will be forever this time. Red Bull won’t chance upsetting Vettel.

6

Love this guy. He says it like it is, unlike DC at Mclaren and Rubens at Ferrari, Webber was blunt to put it mildly when it came to him thinking he was a good number 2.

Vettel has already said he wants a say on who will replace Mark. I expect him to try and get Verne or Ricardo, he will not want Kimi who will literally take the fight to him and wont get sucked into the political game. As for Mark hope he wins at Silverstone and has a good send of in Brazil. Always a gentleman and very genuine, he will be missed!

7

GOOD LUCK MARK..ENJOY!

8

I had two reactions to this article.

First my logical side meant Hulkenberg was the first replacement that came to mind to me. I’m surprised how many others have had the same thought, as until today I’d seen nothing suggesting he was even on RB’s radar.

Secondly the enthusiastic fan inside me got over excited about the possibilities due to this, “Webber is likely to drive with greater freedom in the remaining races, but if he finds himself in a situation where he is battling with Vettel it’s unlikely that he will feel obliged to play the team game, which would make for interesting viewing. Vettel will be mindful of that.” Could be the making of 2013 as a classic season and I hope it starts on Sunday.

9

All i can see/predict is maybe webber has a go at vettel if he gets the chance durring some X race, and gets replaced the next. If he ends up becoming an actual threat to Vettel with even the slightest chance that he’ll cost vettel with a possible racing incident the title and maybe jeopardize the constructors title as well… now that they know he’s leaving, he’s gonna get the boot before the season ends. I doubt it but if it happens say on this race, it’s quite possible if RB can find a reliable enough temp replacement.

10

Webber is never going to crash into Vettel or anyone else on purpose. He`s a professional doing his job for Gods sake. Furthermore he knows how dangerous a crash can be, and he`s not crazy. I still can`t believe what Senna and Prost did to each other, that could have ended in tears.

Finally there is the reason why Red Bull always rated Mark Webber very highly. He`s fast, he`s level headed and he`s helped giving them a lot of WCC`s. There`s no coincidence both Ferrari and Lotus would have given MW a seat this year if he wanted to. The guy is a top class driver, not a kamikaze-pilot of some sort. You have to look to the Maldonados and the Grosjeans of this World for that.

11

Have a go, as in overtake?

If he does, he’ll be fine. To fire him right after that would damage Vettel’s reputation and prove everyone who ever said that Vettel was protected 100% correct.

Not to mention all the hassle of breaking Webber’s contract mid season…

The only thing Webber could do with serious consequences would be to deliberately take Vettel out of a race via a deliberate collision, but to do that would damage Webber’s reputation beyond repair, and I can’t see him doing that in any case…as much as he might be tempted at times 😉

He’ll race hard but fair, see out the season, and then hopefully next year have some success with the Porsches. Again, best of luck to him 🙂

12

“Webber is likely to drive with greater freedom in the remaining races, but if he finds himself in a situation where he is battling with Vettel it’s unlikely that he will feel obliged to play the team game, which would make for interesting viewing. Vettel will be mindful of that.” Can’t wait to see…

13

I don’t think webber ever adjusted to the pirelli’s the way he should have and it’s proven by the fact that he hasn’t been competitive with his teammate since the 2012 change. A shame if pirelli do go away next season, that could’ve been MWs one final good chance to beat je German

14

I was so sad to hear that Mark was leaving F1, I honesly believe he is deserving of an F1 title, he has been destabalised by the team since 2010, lesser mortals would have completly crumbled under the onslaught of minor minions like Marko and Horner, but at least Mark produced some great results. People dont realise the fine balance between feeling supported and feeling like a second class citizen at the very top of the F1 game and how that would affect performance, and it was obvious that Mark was downgraded to 2nd driver and his achievements look even more impressive considering.

As for the new driver you heard it here first, Hamilton will be at RBR, he has a performance contract at Merc that allows him to exit scott free. Depending on how Merc go this year Hamilton to RBR next year is a bet I’ll take. I’d be surprised if Hamilton hasn’t already asked his management to comb through the fine print and assess his chances. Hamilton wants to win and he couldn’t care less who’s in the other car!

15

I think Hulkenberg will be a perfect replacement for Webber if RBR chose not to select any of the Toro Rosso’s.

16

Long term lurker, longer term Webber supporter. Thanks WEB. Looking forward to learning more about sports car racing. The “entertainment” in F1 is getting close to taking it too far in pursuit of marketing$ and to counter declining audiences due to pay TV deals. Perhaps it is time I return to watching more pure racing instead of the great fabrication that F1 has been for the past 3 years.

17

James,

Do you think Di Resta could have a shot at the seat? He’s consistent and has proven he can beat Vettel so might be the best driver to fill the slot and keep the momentum going towards another constructers title.

18

Di resta hardly beat Vettel. Vettel being the 16 year old rookie while Di Resta had been there a year longer, the teamleader… and Vettel almost beating him still.

19

Huh? Both were in their second year of F3, and both moved to the top team (ASM) in 2006. Giedo van der Garde was their teammate that year too, and he scored 2 poles (to Vettel’s 1). As for the wins, Di Resta’s 5 were all feature race wins (the race from the grid decided by qualifying), while Vettel won 2 features. In the 17 races they both finished, Di Resta finished ahead 12 times.

20

No.

21

CH just mention that on the list are KR, DR & JV.

James, but is NH still in?

22

Why?

23

Di Resta is not Red Bull material, driving skill wise and especially Red Bull marketing wise.

He is not a likable guy and has the a self entitled arrogant ego and attitude.

He has zero appeal.

24

Mark Webber is a champion that never was. Along with Stirling Moss, Jackie Ickx, Gilles Villenueve, Rubens Barrichello and even Felipe Massa.

I hope he can go on to have as much success in Le Mans as Ickx.

25

well, who knows what in next year to anticipate, it could be a shadow year for Vet Alo and KR because of thechnical changes and LH and NR on top of the game..

26

Sad to see Mark go, one of the good guys.

27

He probably jumped ship to get a better company car to drive home in !!

28

What RB should do is pay Mark out early and stick the two young fellas in for a few races each to see how they fare.

People seem to have formed the opinion that neither is good enough to take the seat as one hasn’t really dominated the other. There’s two possibilities if that’s the case:

1) They are both rubbish

2) They are both very good

Without a benchmark to compare them against and in an uncompetitive car that will never give them the opportunity to star like the RB chassis, Ferarri powered STR that Vettel drive how could you know?

29

I agree with Horner in that Webber should have told the team first given Milton Keynes isn’t the otherside if the world from the F1 circus at the moment.

He may have issues with the RBR management but he has shown a stunning lack of respect to the rest of the team that has given him so many wins.

I look forward to the next chapter of his life, no doubt full of pot shots at RBR, Vettel and F1 in general and how it isn’t as good as in his day.

30

He did tell RBR management, namely the guy that owns the entire company, who he has personally negotiated contract extensions with…

He just chose not to tell his team principal until 30 seconds before the news broke.

31

Sorry I mean the rest of the team, the ladies and gents in the factory that build his cars. I can understand him not telling Horner but he really should have had the decency to make the short trip to Milton Keynes first to tell the people who have been building his cars for years. It’s just a mark of respect.

32

@ JA,

Did Mark get any offer from Ferrari 2014??

33

Not as far as I know

34

Porsche,

Isn’t that for rookies? I learned driving with a Porsche Junior aged 5. Then when being tall enough a Lamborghini with 8, a Renault when 11, a Mercedes when 14,…..

But i always wished to be 18 and finally allowed to drive a car and not a tractor 😉

http://i.auto-bild.de/ir_img/1/0/2/7/5/1/4/Walters-laengste-Runde-644×363-41ced44684d4e3e8.jpg

35

Say what you like about Mark Webber, but he walks away from a decade of F1 on his own terms.

He takes with him a lot of respect, a swag of trophies and a handful of great wins.

We all know how fickle and cut-throat F1 is, so it’s not bad for a guy that was only signed for a few races in a backmarker team.

Good luck Mark and thanks.

36

for all the comments re raikonnen i am still not convinced that he is as good as a lot of people think he is?

yes, he is fast, he is doggedly tenacious but so are a lot of others. he has only won one world championship and that wasn’t at all crushingly positive over the season.

personally i would love to see ricciardo get the drive. he is fast and has developed very very well. his results to date do not take into account events beyond his control. he has racecraft and that is important in carving out a successful career in F1.

vergne is good, he is fast but i fear that he is another grosjean in the making!

’14 will be a watershed year for all. the new cars will need some extremely different driving techniques and i fear that some of the ‘older’ drivers will not be able to adapt as readily as those that have still to forge a distinct driving signature. i’m probaly wrong on this but it does bear sme consideration.

37

Next year will see the following teams imo

Red bull – Vettel and Kimi

Ferrari – Alonso and Hulkenberg

Mercedes – Rosberg and Hamilton

McLaren – Button and Perez

Lotus – Massa and Di Resta

38

And that’s the end of Redbull reign for somtime.

39

LOL so Webber brought them all the DWC and WCC very interesting.

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