Mark Webber says that taking his helmet off on the slow-down lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix was his attempt to bring 'a different touch' to his farewell to F1.
The Australian, who now leaves the top flight for a return to sportscars with Porsche in 2014, told reporters that he wanted to give the fans a chance to see his face as he waved goodbye to a twelve-year career in grand prix racing, but had forgotten just how much commotion would be going on behind him as he toured back to the pits.
“The cars are bloody noisy with no helmet on,” he admitted, “I know that much, but it was really noisy, all the vibrations - you can hear lots of things that you don't want to be hearing with the helmet on, that's for sure!”
Webber revealed that it had taken longer than expected to prepare for his party trick, but was determined to do it.
“It's not easy to get the HANS device system away from the helmet, so I spent half a lap trying to get the left hand side off,” he explained, “It was good to get [the helmet] off, obviously, [for] the marshals, the fans, to see... In this sport, it's not always easy to show the person that's behind the wheel. We can in lots of other sports but, in F1, we've always got the helmet on, so it was nice to drive back with the helmet off.
“The only time you're seen with the helmet off is on the podium - if we have a good day - so it was nice to get it off. In the last sector, I got it a little bit jammed, so I think the marshals were a little bit worried that I couldn't turn left but, in the end, it was fine. It was a nice moment to come back [like that], a little bit of a different touch to bringing the car back.”
Webber appeared a little teary-eyed as he bade farewell to the passionate Brazilian crowd on that lap, but insists that he wasn't emotional…
“It was the wind,” he claimed.
With his Porsche programme not due to start immediately, the Australian admits that he is looking forward to a little time away from racing.
“I'm going to have a few weeks out, for sure, doing nothing,” he confirmed, “I love putting the fire on at home, chopping some wood, maybe a bit of red wine and chill out with some chocolate.
“For sure, there is some Porsche stuff in the background and, obviously, there is a chance I can do some stuff with them before the year is out, which Red Bull have been very good with. Then it will be a steady loading into January as it will be for all of us.”
The veteran's only regret is not being able to get back 'down under' for his annual adventure race.
“My Tasmania Challenge starts on Wednesday, but I just can't get to Tasmania from here,” he conceded, “It's just too busy to get to my own charity event, so I hope that it goes well for everyone taking part. It just been a relentless year - and quite difficult - so I'm looking forward to having a bit of a break.”