Mark Webber said he made his decision to leave F1 and join Porsche’s LMP1 sports car team “quite a long time” ago.
Speaking in the press conference ahead of the British Grand Prix Webber said the timing was “perfect” for him to switch categories.
“I’m very, very excited about my new chapter, new challenge ahead with one of the most famous, most well-respected brands in automotive and motor racing, Porsche,” said Webber. “It’s something which personally I’m very satisfied about taking on.”
“The decision has been there for quite a long time for me, actually, I’ve known for quite a while. Had a plan and stuck to it but still in the meantime respecting the profession that I have now at this level and focusing on achieving very, very strong results in my last season in Formula One.”
“It was about Porsche and Mark Webber today”
Webber denied the announcement had been made before his Red Bull team were aware of his plans: “I informed Christian [Horner] before the announcement which, contractually, I should do.”
“Porsche were very keen to make the announcement,” he added, “it was about Porsche and Mark Webber today.”
He said Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz had been aware of his plans for a long time: “Dietrich has been completely up to speed with my thinking in the last six to eight months.”
“Dietrich has been absolutely on board and on message with where I’ve been at. He certainly encouraged me not to rush my decision when I approached him earlier in the season. Basically all of the right channels and avenues we went through to get the message across as subtle as we could in terms of the announcement was done in the right way.”
Webber said F1’s impending rules change was one of several motivating factors in his decision: “There’s lots of reason that come in into the pot, I think, when any sportsman or woman comes to that point in their career when they want to call it a day. That’s another small ingredient.”
“There’s going to be big, big changes in the sport this year so I may as well go and do those big, big changes where my future’s going to be. Let’s see how the category is next year in Formula One
“I’ll be interested to watch every now and again and go from there and see these guys do their stuff.”
“It doesn’t change a huge amount”
“Because I’ve known the decision, nothing changes from my approach now. Obviously now it’s out for everybody.
“But in terms of the last few races obviously challenging for the top steps and when you get everything right obviously we want to get wins as well. I don’t see that being a huge, huge difference.
“It’s in my interest to keep the motivation for up until Brazil and work hard with the guys. That’s important. At this level the effort that goes in to get the car out there, I’m fully respectful of that. I need to keep pushing for myself and the team because they put a lot of work in obviously at the factory, Milton Keynes, Renault everyone.”
Asked what his thoughts were on what his successor at Red Bull might experience next year, Webber said only: “I’ll watch with interest.”
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