Mark Webber has revealed that staying in F1 beyond the current season 'wasn't a consideration' after the announcement that he will bring his time in the sport to an end at the conclusion of the current season.
The Australian will leave Red Bull to join Porsche's new LMP1 sportscar programme in a multi-year deal, bringing the curtain down on his F1 career after twelve seasons.
Speculation in the past week had suggested that Red Bull was ready to offer him another twelve-month rolling contract while other teams in the F1 paddock were also said to be monitoring his situation, with many expecting the 36-year-old to move to pastures new for 2014.
However, following confirmation of his new deal, Webber revealed that he wasn't interested in extending his F1 career and was ready for a new challenge, with the 'Multi-21' saga that emerged after the Malaysian Grand Prix having had no impact on his decision.
“No, I've had a personal plan and I've stuck to it,” he replied in an interview published on his personal website when asked if any inter-team incidents had influenced his decision. “This is the next chapter. The timing is perfect to join a fresh programme. It's a sensational challenge and opportunity for my future to work with one of the most famous marques in motorsport.
“[I had options to stay in F1] but since Formula One as a category wasn't on my radar for 2014, they weren't a consideration for me.”
Webber added that part of the reason for his decision was what he sees as 'unfinished business' at the Circuit de la Sarthe after the incidents that saw him forced to miss the Le Mans 24 Hours on his last appearance at the event back in 1999.
Returning to the French classic for a second straight season with Mercedes, Webber's car suffered two huge airborne accidents that resulted in it being withdrawn from the race, with a similar fate befalling the car of Peter Dumbreck in the race.
“I accept that motor racing is dangerous but Le Mans is one of the most famous circuits in the world and to be honest, I still see it as unfinished business and I want to do well there,” he said. “Le Mans can be cruel as we've just seen, but it's incredibly rewarding and that's part of the allure.
“I realise F1 is seen as the absolute pinnacle of motorsport and I've worked with some incredible people, in particular Adrian Newey. I've driven in some of the toughest and most challenging conditions and circuits, and against some incredible drivers, which I'll continue to do until the end of the year.
“Will I miss some of this? Yes, of course, but time doesn't stand still for anyone and it's time to move on to my next challenge.”