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Webber: Talking Porsche

In the final part of a reflective interview, Mark Webber looks forward to returning to the sportscar arena after eleven years in F1...
In a series of four revealing articles, Mark Webber opens up to Crash.net's Stephen English on a variety of F1-related topics. In this fourth and final part, the Australian discusses the reasoning behind his return to sportscars in 2014.

While the news that Porsche would return to the top tier of international sportscars in 2014 grabbed the attention of millions of fans worldwide, the hiring of Mark Webber as their lead driver has been an equally important boost for the World Endurance Championship.

Porsche, the most successful manufacturer in Le Mans 24 Hours history, will return to the historic French circuit as a full factory outfit for the first time since winning the 1998 edition. For Webber, it will be his first time back at the Circuit la Sarthe since the controversial 1999 race, when the Australian raced for Mercedes.

Webber spoke to Crash.net before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, discussing his move back to sportscars and how the opportunity to race for Porsche had first materialised. While their agreement was made public at the British Grand Prix, Webber revealed that the German manufacturer had actually started contract negotiations over twelve months earlier. At that time, rumours about Webber's future centred on a much speculated move to Ferrari.

"I came very close to a Ferrari drive," he admitted, "It got to the point where I needed to make contact with [Red Bull founder] Dietrich Mateschitz and let him know, because he's been great to me.

“In the end, I couldn't agree the right scenario with Ferrari. It would obviously have been this year and next year, but it's funny how things move along and things change. I don't regret that decision - there was a cut off and I made a decision and the boat has gone. It was quite close for a couple of months and I made the decision in Canada last year. I made the decision on the Thursday night that, whatever happens from now on, I would stay with Red Bull."

With Webber agreeing to remain at Red Bull for 2013, he revealed that he also turned down the option presented to him by Porsche to join them for this year. Ultimately, Webber still felt that he had much to offer in F1 and that he was not ready to walk away from the sport at that point. Over the course of the last year, however, his mindset has changed.

"Porsche were very interested in getting me for this year, but I wasn't ready for that so, through 2012, I was struggling a bit to look for a change,” he explained, “I've been at Red Bull Racing for a long time, and it's the same with anyone when you work with the same people for eight or ten years. It's human nature to look for a change. I made the confirmation to myself [to retire] around Christmas.

“For me, to go training and do all the things necessary [to remain at the top of F1], I've always been self motivating. It's not easy to accept those demands but, in the last year or so, it's been less, and that was another natural decision in my head - I thought, 'Mark, you're not 19 anymore'."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.10.2013- Qualifying, Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138
22.09.2013- Race,  Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9 on Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F138 car
03.11.2013- Race, Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9
Porsche LMP1 in testing at Weissach

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November 09, 2013 3:05 PM

Oh Richard, Richard, Richard. A team who has been told, 'no' by a driver will always say there was no contact, which is Ferrari in this case. As is the way with the driver-market. You cant have 2 or 3 top drivers in negotiations with one team for the one available seat, and have that team select one driver over the other two without ever knowing there is anyone else on the cards, if they all knew, it creates bad feelings and harder negotiation, so teams play dumb. Its the way it has always been Richard. lol


November 09, 2013 10:34 PM

It completely astounds me that some people on here have the nerve to criticise "Lulu" and his fanboys when these same people act and say the same flavour of comments that are anti-Webber or pro-Vettel. As a side point I say good luck to Webber. He has had a fantastic career as an elite F1 driver and I sure he will have success driving for Porsche also.

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