Mark Webber says he was “very close” to leaving F1 at the end of 2012 before opting for another year ahead of a switch to sportscars.
Having brought his F1 career to an end at the end of last year, Webber moved to Porsche to join its World Endurance Championship (WEC) programme and scored a podium on debut at Silverstone last weekend. However, Webber said he originally wasn't convinced he wanted to continue in F1 beyond the end of 2012.
“The switch for me from Formula One was perfect timing,” Webber said, talking to Grid1.tv on behalf of Mobil1 and Porsche. “I felt that I was getting towards the end of my career in Formula One which was in my hands. I was very close at the end of 2012 but I thought I'd do another season in 13, which didn't go too badly, but the Porsche return was something I had a very strong eye on.
“We were in contact for a long time, and for me to have that slipstream straight across in something that's super professional, very prestigious, obviously a great brand, and also for me to keep that adrenaline going… You know I want to keep having success in car racing and Porsche give me this opportunity but also to grow with the brand in the future and achieve some really cool things, so there was a natural fit, and it worked out well.”
Webber admits there are some aspects of F1 which he will miss this year, but says the fresh challenge is good for his motivation.
“Formula One has been my life since I left Australia in 95. I raced single seaters all that time, with a few years in sports cars in the 90s, but generally Formula One has been what I think of first when I wake up, in terms of getting myself prepared and being a professional 24/7 for so many years.
“So the mentality doesn't change too much, just your interest in that category isn't what it once was. Used to think about it all the time, while at the end of your career you don't; you start thinking about other things and your motivation isn't what it once was at that level, so you need a fresh programme, an exciting programme, something you can get your teeth into, which I can do that with Porsche, and the timing is perfect for me, so I don't think I'm going to miss it a huge amount.
“I might miss driving a Formula One car at Suzuka and qualifying, obviously, that's a beautiful feeling; some of those raw emotions that I have in the car, but I have to accept that you can't do that forever and you have to let go and jump on another category when the timing is right, and that's certainly the case for me.”
Mark Webber was speaking to Grid1.TV on behalf of Porsche and Mobil 1.
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