Mark Webber announces 2014 move to WEC

Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber announces his retirement from F1 at the end of the current season.

F1 personnel arrived at Silverstone on Thursday morning to be greeted with the news that Mark Webber is to retire from the sport at the end of the season. Webber, winner of nine grand prix, will race for Porsche in 2014 as the German manufacture embarks on a new LMP1 programme in the World Endurance Championship.

“I’m very excited about my new chapter and the new challenge ahead,” said Webber, speaking to a packed audience in the FIA Thursday press conference at Silverstone. “[Porsche is] one of the most famous and well-respected brands in automotive and motor racing, so that’s something which personally I’m very satisfied about taking on.”

“I’m very excited about my new chapter and the new challenge ahead.”
Mark Webber

The departure of Webber has been mooted for some time with rumours of a move back into sports cars first suggested at the beginning of the year. The Australian today confirmed he made his decision some time ago – though the announcement took most at Red Bull by surprise.

Webber explained that, rather than it being his decision to make announce his retirement at the circuit where he has enjoyed the most success, the timing of the statement was chosen by his future employers. “It was a Porsche announcement,” he confirmed. “I informed Christian [Horner, Red Bull Racing team principal] before the announcement, which contractually I should do.

“Obviously I will talk the [Red Bull Racing] factory at some stage. They’ve been superb for me on the floor there but Porsche were very keen to make the announcement. It was about Porsche and Mark Webber today.”

Coming back to the 2013 season, Webber vowed that his level of commitment remains unaffected. “It doesn’t change a huge amount to be honest,” he said. “I’ve known for quite a while, I’ve had a plan and I’ve stuck to it but in the meantime I’m focused on achieving very, very strong results in my last season in Formula One. I’m fully respectful of the effort that goes in to get the car out there, so I need to keep pushing, for myself and for the team.”