Webber to leave Formula 1 at end of season
27 June 2013 – Red Bull driver Mark Webber has confirmed that he will be leaving Formula 1 at the end of the this season, with the 36-year-old Australian taking up an offer from German manufacturer Porsche to compete in its new LMP1 programme.
Webber's decision to retire will bring a 12-season spell in the sport to an end, seven of which have been with current employers Red Bull. He described it as "an honour" to sign for Porsche and is excited about the new chapter in his motorsport career.
"Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding technology and performance at the highest level," he said. "I'm very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in F1. Porsche will undoubtedly set itself very high goals. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sportscars in the world."
After making his Formula 1 debut with Minardi back in 2002, where he famously finished fifth, Webber moved on to race for Jaguar the following season. He spent two years with the team, before switching to Williams for a same-length spell. After moving to Red Bull in 2007, he has enjoyed the most successful phase of his career, claiming all nine of his Grand Prix victories with the Milton Keynes-based team.
However, Webber's time at the outfit has become increasingly strained. After a series of incidents in recent seasons, his relationship with team-mate Sebastian Vettel was pushed to breaking point at this year's Malaysian Grand Prix, during which the triple World Champion ignored team orders and made a successful pass for victory.
With Vettel's future secured until 2015, the search for his new team-mate will now begin. Kimi Räikkönen is one man on the list, with team boss Christian Horner explaining that the Finn "would have to be an option, if he were to be available."
The Toro Rosso pairing of Jean-Éric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo are also being assessed by Red Bull chiefs as they contest their second full Formula 1 campaigns.