Webber to leave F1


Mark Webber has announced that he is to retire from F1 at the end of the season and head to Sports Car where he will spearhead Porsche's latest challenge.

"I'm very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula One," said the Australian ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix, and event he has won twice in the last three years. "I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world."

While the decision to leave Red Bull isn't unexpected, especially in the wake of this year's Malaysian Grand Prix, it was widely thought that the Australian veteran might take his experience to another team.

Having made his F1 debut with Minardi in Melbourne in 2002, finishing 5th on his debut, Webber has competed in a further 202 Grands Prix, thus becoming (by season end) one of the ten most experienced drivers in the history of the sport. Along the way there have been 9 wins, 10 poles and fifteen fastest laps.

Though most of his success has come with Red Bull, for whom he has raced for seven seasons, he also spent two seasons with Jaguar, which became Red Bull, and two with Williams.

As the FIA press conference, asked what he will miss most about F1, Webber said: "I realise F1 is seen as the absolute pinnacle of motorsport and I've worked with some incredible people, in particular Adrian Newey. I've driven in some of the toughest and most challenging conditions and circuits, and against some incredible drivers which I'll continue to do until the end of the year.

"Will I miss some of this? Yes, of course, but time doesn't stand still for anyone and it's time to move on to my next challenge."

A no-nonsense, much liked inhabitant of the paddock, his Twitter name 'Aussie Grit' just about sums him up.

While Toro Rosso drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne must be quite high up the totem pole when it comes to choosing Webber's successor, only yesterday Sebastian Vettel admitted that he would be happy to have Kimi Raikkonen in the other Red Bull. Indeed, Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has made no secret of his admiration of the Finn.

While there is a question mark over whether the Austrian team and Renault will continue its supremacy in 2014 when the new formula is introduced, Red Bull must be on just about every driver's wish list. As a result, expect Horner to be under siege from various drivers and their managers at Silverstone this weekend, with Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg no doubt heading the queue.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 27/06/2013
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