'Very difficult to time retirement' – Webber
1 January 2013 – Mark Webber says it will be extremely difficult to pick the optimal time to retire from Formula 1, with the Red Bull driver fearful of either 'pulling the plug too early' or spending too long in the sport. The 36-year-old, who has claimed nine Grand Prix victories to date, will enter his 12th F1 season in 2013 and a seventh with Red Bull.
"Timing's very important," Webber explained to the GP International magazine when discussing retirement. "I haven't been there yet, but this is going to be a very, very difficult moment, no question about it.
"I suppose it's just about getting the timing right... not pulling the plug too early, knowing you have more to give of yourself, or going too long and not being quick enough or struggling to do the things you used to be able to do. That can become an issue as well."
Webber went on to explain that the learning process never stops in Formula 1, but admitted that experience alone is not enough to guarantee strong results.
"The thing is, the wisdom keeps carrying on, but the sharpness eventually drops off," the Australian added. "You never stop learning, so a 22-year-old Mark Webber is nowhere in terms of wisdom, but now I have a lot of wisdom it's about dropping that into your whole skill set and performing better. But there comes a point where even that's not enough to keep you at the front. And that's when you need to stop."
Webber signed a one-year contract extension with Red Bull after winning the 2012 British Grand Prix, meaning his current deal will expire at the end of the 2013 season.