Mark Webber to bow out of Formula One after 2013
Posted by: Cal on 28/06/2013
Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber has announced that he will quit the F1 circuit next year, leaving his position on the Red Bull team to join Porsche for the Le Mans 24 Hours and the sports car World Endurance Championship.
"It's an honour for me to join Porsche at its return to the top category in Le Mans and in the sports car World Endurance Championship and be part of the team," said Webber in a June 27 statement released by Porsche.
He'll be hopping behind the wheel of the German manufacturer's new LMP1 sports prototype, a challenge he says he is looking forward to after a Formula One career stretching back to 2002.
"Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world," he said.
Webber has already competed twice at the famous 24 hour Le Mans race, coming in second in 1998, and will join current Porsche drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in 2014's event, which the manufacturer has won a record nine times.
Wolfgang Hatz, board member for Research and Development at Porsche AG, was very pleased to have secured Webber's driving expertise.
"Mark is without doubt one of the world's best race drivers, he has experience at the Le Mans 24 hour race and on top of that he's been a Porsche enthusiast for many years," said Mr Hatz.
Webber has had a mixed year so far in the Formula One Championship. He placed second in Malaysia and third in Monaco, but was forced to retire in the Chinese Grand Prix after one of his Pirelli tyres came off in the 17th lap, following a slight nudge on a fellow driver on the prior lap.
The Malaysian result was the most interesting given the news that he is now set to part ways with Red Bull Racing.
In that race, he was on track to win when teammate Sebastian Vettel disobeyed orders and overtook him to take the chequered flag himself.
However, in a recent interview on his official website, Webber denied that this incident or other moments of friction with teammates had contributed to his decision.
He simply said that he had a personal plan and moving on from Formula One represented "the next chapter".