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McNish: Webber right to make move

Allan McNish says Mark Webber has made the right decision to leave F1 and head for sportscars for the 2014 season
Le Mans 24 Hours winner Allan McNish says Mark Webber has made the right decision in electing to end his F1 career to switch to sportscar for the 2014 season.

Webber confirmed last week that he would leave Red Bull at the end of the current season to join Porsche ahead of its return to the premier class of endurance racing next year; becoming the fourth driver confirmed to share driving duties in one of its new LMP1 machines.

The Australian will be making a return to Le Mans for the first time since the late 1990s as part of the deal and McNish said the 36-year-old was right to look at options outside F1 for the next step in his career.

“I know Mark very well and he would talk a lot about racing; when it became clear that he wasn't having a hell of a lot of fun any longer, around about Malaysia time, then it didn't surprise me that he would look for other opportunities," the former Toyota F1 man told GPUpdate. "If you ask me, the time is right for him to make the move. He knows that there's a big motorsport career and life outside of Formula 1, he's very aware of that.

"If you look at it from his point of view, I'm very sure he could have looked at another team in Formula 1, but it would be a step back from where he is now. On the other side of it, he's got quite a tantalising prospect, which we all have, of Audi, Porsche and Toyota fighting it out for World Championships and for Le Mans victories."

McNish, who took his third win at Le Mans last month with Audi, added that he felt confident that competing in the World Endurance Championship would put a smile on Webber's face and give him enjoyment behind the wheel.

"What I can say is without doubt he will enjoy driving the cars," the Scot said. "They are very powerful, and with the downforce and tyre grip it will be quite easy to switch from a Formula 1 car. In reality, they are very, very similar – the biggest difference is purely the weight. You can see from the drivers that are making the switch across, how effortlessly they drive the car.

"I think the biggest thing for me was the smile on his face. I'm sure he will turn up to the first round of the World Championship next year with a smile on his face."

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July 02, 2013 6:32 PM

Seeing as though the you have to be among the best drivers to make it to F1 anyway, I think there's no shame in being a tier 2 F1 driver. Only a very few can be considered to be the best (technically only one but the way F1 works we never really know who is really THE best) and to be just behind that group is not a disqualification of any sort. It wasn't quite enough to win a championship but winning 9 races including Monaco twice ain't too shabby. I think Mark made a really realistic and pragmatic decision, he could have stuck around in F1 but there's almost no way he would have been able to maintain or improve upon the achievements he already has had in F1 so I think it's as good a time as any to quit now and not be too old to be one of the leading drivers for Porsche in sportscars in the coming years.

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