Red Bull driver Mark Webber leaving Formula 1 after the season to race Porsche sports cars

  • Article by: MICHAEL CASEY , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 27, 2013 - 4:35 PM

SILVERSTONE, England — Mark Webber stunned Formula One on Thursday by announcing that he's retiring at the end of the season to race Porsche sports cars.

Webber said at the British Grand Prix that he has signed a multi-year contract and will compete in Porsche's new LMP1 sports prototype at the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the world endurance championship next year.

The Australian has struggled this season, failing to win a grand prix and is fifth in the drivers' championship, 63 points behind Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel. The German is on course for a fourth consecutive title.

Webber first raised doubts about his future with Red Bull after Vettel ignored team orders and overtook him for victory at the Malaysian GP in March. But Webber insisted on his website that the controversy had nothing to do with his decision, adding that "I've had a personal plan. I've stuck with it. This is the next chapter."

Red Bull confirmed Webber was leaving and said it would make a decision on a replacement later in the season.

"I am sure Mark thought long and hard before making what has no doubt been a very difficult decision," Red Bull principal Christian Horner said. "His achievements in Formula One are extensive and I am sure he will continue to push hard and build on that record until the end of the season.

"We support Mark's decision, he has been an excellent addition to the team since joining us in 2007 and we wish him all the best in the next stages of his career."

Horner said he was only called Thursday morning about Webber's decision.

"I suppose an hour's notice is a bit short, but a decision for a driver to retire can only come really from him," he said.

Among the favorites to replace Webber would be Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, who is a good friend of Vettel's. The Finn said he would enjoy racing alongside Vettel but said he "still had no answer about" whether he would remain at Lotus or replace Webber in 2014.

Horner said he simply wanted a "fast driver" to replace Webber.

"We want to field the best two cars we can next year," he said. "We are in a fortunate position where there are quite a few drivers who would like to drive a Red Bull car and we have two talented young drivers (Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo) that we have been developing in Toro Rosso. We don't need to rush into a decision."

Webber said a return to F1 was "highly unlikely" though he acknowledged he did have some opportunities to remain in the series before he settled on Porsche. He said he had no regrets in a career that had its "ups and downs" and would especially miss the camaraderie of fellow drivers and the feeling that comes with driving an F1 car.

"I realize F1 is seen as the absolute pinnacle of motorsport and I've worked with some incredible people, in particular (Red Bull's) Adrian Newey," Webber said on his website. "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."

Since joining F1 in 2002, Webber has won nine races and had 36 podium places during a career that also includes stints with Williams and Minardi. Webber's best season came in 2010 when he just lost a four-way battle for the title that was eventually won by Vettel.

The Australian started strong last season with victories at Monaco and Silverstone but then tailed off and only had two podiums the rest of the way. At 36 and his age increasingly becoming an issue, there was talk that Webber needed a strong start in 2013 to retain his seat and give him any hope of winning a first title.

McLaren's Jenson Button and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, a close friend and rival, welcomed Webber's move to Porsche and praised his long career in F1.

"It's a good time for him, a good opportunity," Alonso said. "He's moving to a very prestigious car brand and probably the most famous race in the world together with Formula One. I think he will have a lot of fun behind the wheel as he is doing now with a little less problems (outside the track) that we have in Formula One."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close