9 Wins, 36 Podiums, and 11 Poles for Mark Webber
Mark Webber’s days in F1 are slowly counting down, following an announcement from the F1 veteran this morning. Webber has signed with Porsche’s new LMP1 program for 2014, a team with 16 wins at Le Mans. This marks the end of a fruitful career for Webber, but more importantly the end of a strained team dynamic with Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Webber began his Formula 1 career in 2002 for Minardi, followed by stints at Jaguar and Williams, before settling in at Red Bull for the 2007 season. This marriage brought Webber his first Grand Prix win at 2009’s German Grand Prix. Webber has been revered by insiders and drivers alike, as fiercely competitive but remarkably fair during his career in F1. This honest approach to competition was strained most recently during the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, when teammate Vettel disobeyed team orders to overtake Webber and win. This just the latest in a long history between the two drivers.
The move to Porsche couldn’t have been an easy one. At 36 years old, Webber has previously alluded to the fact that he is growing too old for F1 and no longer satisfied with team dynamics at Red Bull. “I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.” Webber has raced twice at Le Mans for Mercedes in 1998 and ’99, vowing to never return after two nearly fatal accidents.
What a fitting time for Mark to announce his F1 retirement… just days before the British Grand Prix, which coincidentally was his last grand prix win (2012). Can Mark make it a repeat? I sure hope so, the intrepid Aussie may be heading towards the door, but I’d put money on the fact that he won’t be slowing down any time soon (currently 5th in the points).
For me, it’s a sad day. I respect Mark’s sporting persistence and down-to-earth simplicity. There is not one other driver on the paddock who represents themselves quite the way that Mark does. He’ll be missed on Sunday, but next year we’ll watch him slug it out for 24 hours. Now who will replace him at Red Bull?…
Best of luck Mark, let’s see a win this weekend!!!