Horner: Webber gave me minutes' notice
27 June 2013 – Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says he had little warning over Mark Webber's decision to leave Formula 1 at the end of the season, with the Australian keeping his plans private until shortly before an official announcement was made.
On Thursday morning, it was confirmed that Webber, 36, would be joining German manufacturer Porsche from the beginning of its new LMP1 programme next year, thus bringing to an end a 12-season career in the top echelon of single seater racing.
However, although Webber's Formula 1 future has been the subject of much scrutiny over the past few months, the news caught many, including Horner, by surprise.
"I had a call from Mark this morning at about nine o'clock," said Horner. "I spoke with him and he said he's reached this decision. In many respects Le Mans has always had a great appeal to Mark, it's where he came from before he came into F1. He's made no secret of the fact that he'd like to go back.
"He's obviously decided that the timing is right for him to make that step in his career, and all we can do is wish him the best of luck for the future and thank him for what he's done for the team in the last seven seasons."
Earlier on Thursday, Webber was quick to brush aside claims that he had attempted to aggravate the team with the timing of his announcement, but Horner reckons the situation could have been handled better so as to keep staff members fully aware.
"He's obviously decided to take things into his own hands," Horner went on to explain. "The guys at the factory are a bit more disappointed that they read it on the internet rather than heard something directly, but that's the way things are sometimes.
"Mark has decided early on, which I think is a positive thing for him and for the team. He has counted himself out as far as next year's [line-up is] concerned. He's committed himself to sportscar racing, and the challenges that go with that."