Mark Webber, Melbourne, 2016

Mark Webber announces retirement from racing

2016 F1 season

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Mark Webber has called time on his motor racing career, three years after bowing out of Formula One.

The nine-times grand prix winner won the World Endurance Championship with Porsche last year. He will remain with Porsche as an ambassador after stepping down from racing.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2009
Mark Webber’s top ten F1 races
“I will miss the sheer speed, downforce and competition, but I want to leave on a high and I’m very much looking forward to my new tasks,” said Webber.

“It was a big change from Formula One to LMP1 and an entirely new experience,” he saud. “But it came at the right time for me. I found I liked sharing a car and the chemistry between Timo [Bernhard], Brendon [Hartley] and me is special and something I’ll always remember.”

Webber’s final race will be the Six Hours of Bahrain on November 19th.

“It will be strange getting into the race car for the very last time in Bahrain but for now I will thoroughly enjoy every moment of the remaining races.”

Webber arrived in Formula One with Minardi in 2002 and was signed by Jaguar the following year. After a two-year stint at Williams he joined Red Bull, where he spent the remainder of his grand prix racing career.

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2013
Mark Webber’s F1 career in pictures
He scored a breakthrough victory in the 2009 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring and the following year he led the championship standings for six races. However he lost the title to beat mate Sebastian Vettel, who went on to win the next three championships in a row. Webber left Formula One at the end of 2013 and published his autobiography last year.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 65 comments on “Mark Webber announces retirement from racing”

    1. Too bad, we will miss you Mark, still young to race but life is more important, good bye.

    2. Good luck to Mark for the future.

      He might be retiring from *motor* racing, but I’m sure he’s just going to divert that competitive spirit into his cycling activities!

    3. No :(
      We still need a Le Mans win. Or a trip around Bathurst!
      Please stay around doing commentary or something, bye Mark.

      1. @mickey18 He just hasn’t got it in him. Always a midfield driver… Nice guy tho.

        1. Yeah, when you see how many wins he pulled off in a dominant car and compare it to what Rosberg has done…

          Always great commantary though, I hope he starts working on TV.

      2. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him do some Bathurst a bit later on, I reckon this is just a retirement from “full-time” racing.

        He’ll do some cameo stuff, like the V8’s enduros or something like that.

    4. I’m as sad as I was happy the day my favorite driver announced he was joining my favorite brand. I have missed him very hard in F1 in the past few years. I have loved his stint in the WEC though not missing one race. Porsche won him a world title he thoroughly deserves. He might not be seen as the best yet there hasn’t been a day since I follow motorsport that he has not been my hero. I’m even more saddened that I’ll never see him at Le Mans.

      Webber brought me into motorsport, he gave me a passion for life and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

      1. @xtwl

        Mark was my favorite too and I think that the reason behind his decision is the year 2010.
        I bet that the title that he lost, most likely because of his own errors, still haunts him.

        1. I’ll never forget his crash in Korea. Had he kept it on the track I’m pretty sure Vettel would’ve lost out in the title race.

          It was the greatest championship battle and Webber had his shot. He was a Massa where he could’ve been a Button, so to speak. Not the absolute cream of the crop but capable of a title challenge should the opportunity arise.

    5. It is interesting that some of the guys, who participated at the 1996 Japanese GP (Barrichello, Lamy, Salo), are still racing, while Webber started his F1 career only in 2002 and has decided to call it quits. It is a pity that he failed to win the F1 world championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans but he ends his career on a high note and will be missed by so many fans around the world.

      1. @girts Yeah but they aren’t racing at the top level. I think MW has got at least 3 years of said top level in him, personally, but I respect his decision. And unlike those you’d mentioned(and many others like Jan Magnussen and Fisichella) I don’t think racing in GT’s interests him

      2. @girts Better than Alguersuari, though.

      3. Webber had a pretty tough path up to F1. He was delivering pizza at an age when most of his peers were in F1 feeder series. He’s the reason I got into F1 and I hope he gets into commentary because what little I’ve heard is quite good.

    6. Pretty shocking considering that Le Mans has still eluded him and Porsche has been really strong around that track. Wish him luck in life.

      1. @neelv27 Yeah, It’s hard to believe he’ll leave the scene without winning Le Mans. Even worse, they have been the best Porsche there in both 2014 and 2016 but it just didn’t all fall together.

    7. It’s very sad for me to hear. I think MW has at least 3 years at the top level left. I don’t follow sports cars but I’d be very happy if he could add the Le Mans title to his CV

      I’ve been MW fan since the beginning of his F1 career, as I’ve been left with no driver to root for in F1, after Jean Alesi retired. But then came the 2002 Australian GP and I’ve decided this is the guy I’m gonna support. I just wish he had the chance to drive a top level car earlier in his career, but at least he’s got the chance to fight for WDC, something Alesi never had the opportunity for.

      Enjoy everything in your life Mark! You’ve earned it, fair and square. Thanks for all the memories mate!

      1. @montreal95

        Same here, with the addition of Juan Pablo Montoya.
        But what still annoys me a lot is that Jean actually had the chance and he threw it away.
        As I mentioned on another thread a couple of months ago, he had pre-signed a contract with the dominant Williams back in 1991. But, being half Italian, he preferred to drive a Ferrari for 1992. And Williams was forced to recruit veteran Mansell who took the title. And as I said on that post, history of the sport would have been so much different and probably Damon Hill would never had appeared on stage, had Jean signed with Williams.

        1. @sakis With the addition of the 20/20 hindsight Alesi had the chance. The decision where to go for 1991, Williams or Ferrari, had to be made mid-1990 season. At that time Ferrari was fighting tooth and nail with Mclaren for the World Championship, while Williams had won a grand total of 3 races in 2.5 years. Leave aside the emotional attachment for the moment, which would you choose?

          Montoya, yeah, I liked him too. Especially all those occasions where he stood up to Schumacher, both on and off the track. I liked his aggressive driving style too, but I couldn’t for some reason to like him to a level that would make me a 100% his fan. There was something putting me off, can’t put my finger on it really

          1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
            13th October 2016, 17:18

            Montoya is a nasty bit of work- his rant at a camera man after he walked into him accidentally shows what a miserable, bitter bloke he is. He is not even half the man/driver Schumacher was.

            1. @peppermint-lemon This is the thread about Webber so in only a few words. Maybe off track he was a good man, but Schumacher is the dirtiest driver ever to set foot in an F1 car. As soon as he had his helmet on, he became the absolute worst brat. Scratch that, with the way he treated his team-mates, as soon as he set foot on the racetrack he became an absolute worst brat. Montoya is much better in that respect. Aggressive yes, but not dirty. Unlike some other Scum. Great driver, one of the best ever, yet Scum nonetheless. Years of abuse, and crocodile tears on the podium VS that one episode with the cameraman? Please

            2. @montreal95
              After Senna, anyone?

            3. @montreal95, Montoya wasn’t afraid to throw his weight around behind the scenes at times, and not just in a proverbial sense – he once got into an argument with Jacques Villeneuve in a driver meeting that ended up with him having to be physically restrained by the other drivers after he tried to attack Villeneuve.

            4. Nope. More than Senna. Senna hadn’t done half the things Schumacher done.

            5. @anon That’s not what I have problems with. Physical altercations are fine by me. Happens all the time in any sport. Punching someone isn’t half as bad as many things Schumacher had done both on the racetrack and behind the scenes without touching anyone physically. His ruthlessness and pursuit of victory at any cost make Montoya look like an innocent lamb beside him

    8. One of my racing heroes – he just got what it was about. Happy retirement Mark, looking forward to many a year in the UK commentary box.

    9. This surprised me. Even at 40, he’s still a very fit and competitive driver, and I would have thought he’d be in that Porsche for a few more years anyway. Oh well. I’m sure that he’s got lots of fun and interesting pursuits ahead of him.

      1. Not that they were even thinking about it (I have no idea), but I wonder if perhaps he got word that Porsche were going to replace him next year?

        1. @schooner @optimaximal – It would be absurd and outrageous if it wasn’t Nick Tandy. As the man who, on the back of his completely unmatched night-time pace, claimed the first Le Mans win of Porsche’s return. Porsche owe him so much, and yet he has been confined to a provincial IMSA GT drive this year. Assuming Renault don’t allow Hulkenberg to dovetail his F1 duties with a regular WEC drive (theoretically possible given a renewed drive to avoid F1/FE/WEC clashes), we should see Earl Bamber in for a flagging Romain Dumas. If Porsche want to replace box office with box office, I hear Juan-Pablo Montoya is available, and he did test the 919 earlier this year. Saying that, it is unlikely he or Porsche would be interested in him starting a new career aged 41. Realistically, Tandy, Bamber, and, at a push, Harry Ticknell, are the candidates.

          1. From what I’ve heard Bamber is the guy they are after for the drive, which would be awesome add it puts two Kiwis in the car!

          2. @william-brierty Of course picking from their own immediate stable makes sense, but having *another* big ticket F1 scalp two drivers in a row would be tempting – plus Hulkenberg would likely bite at the chance to a) win Le-Mans another time and b) get away from the F1 mid-field he seems confined to.

          3. @william-brierty My bet is on Tandy too. Bamber is doing too good in GT on European soil at the moment and the factory outlet in IMSA is stopping as of 2016 basically freeing up Tandy.

            1. @william-brierty Oh, and let’s not forget Kevin Estre. I love him. Now that Webber is out of the question and do note that you can’t just make any trio for a LMP1 car I think below two would make sense:

              Jani/Tandy/Estre < Killer trio
              Hartley/Bernhard/Lieb

            2. @PorscheF1 I don’t know where you heard that the factory GTLM team was quitting after the 2016 season, but they’ve already said they’ll be back next year, presumably with the new GTE/GTLM car.

              http://sportscar365.com/lemans/wec/porsche-unveils-2017-gte-contender/

            3. @forrest Yes, but not factory supported. I just assumed that would imply less involvement from factory drivers. Or am I not up to date at all? They’re staying in the WEC with the new GTE but I understood they would leave the IMSA as a factory team in GTLM.

              “Some of these victories were secured at the most illustrious long distance classics such as Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans, making the 911 RSR, which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, the most successful GT race car of recent years. Its successor will also celebrate its race debut in the USA at the Daytona 24-hour classic on January 28/29, 2017.”

              I must have misunderstood during commentary or something. I really was under the impression they would not return in 2017 as a factory team….

          4. One of the Porsche higher ups said earlier this fall that Bamber and Tandy would be at the front of the line if a seat opened up in one of the LMP1 cars. You might also want to hold off on the “provincial” remarks about IMSA. The IMSA GTLM class is more diverse, more competitive, and generally has better racing than WEC GTE-Pro.

    10. @montreal95

      Yes, you are right regarding the years. On my original post these were as you say. Just typo from me.
      I don’t know what my choice would have been. What I do know, is that most of emotion based decisions are proven wrong in long terms, as Jean himself later revealed.
      By the way, I still can’t forget that overtake on Senna, Phoenix 1990, which made me his fan!

      1. @sakis Sometimes there’s nothing to fault. Sometimes it’s just pure luck. This is a myth propagated by the media that Alesi’s somehow was influenced by emotion and was at fault for this decision. Maybe he was, but the facts never lie. Ferrari was awesome in 1990, Williams was nowhere. Simple. If anyone who’s not a Sicillian by ancestry, would have to make that decision, there’s no other conclusion he’d come to. But since it’s Alesi then it’s easy for them to say that…

        1. Agreed @montreal95.
          If you haven’t done so, you should read this article https://welshgrandprix.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/explaining-jean-alesi/, just for the record…

          1. @sakis Thanks for the link! Very nice analysis. Although I disagree with a few things there. But this is not the place to discuss them since it’s OT.

      2. Yeah that overtake on Senna was awesome. I was at that particular corner when it happened. My friend who was a racing fan for years, knew where to get tickets on a circuit, where as I and another friend had no clue. Almost all the overtakes at Phoenix happened there. Not to mention, the next year those seats went up in price. At that time I was an Alesandro Nannini fan but really respected Senna. I became a Senna fan after Sandro’s helo crash ended his F1 career. :(

        1. @jabosha So, you were one of the few to prefer the GP to that ostrich race? hh

          Seriously, lucky you! I didn’t watch that live at all, since I was less than 6 at the time. Started watching in 1994. But I saw the recording of that race about 5 times since

    11. Well done Mark,
      a great career.
      superb in junior formula
      superb in f1 junior years – minardi, and those amazing qualifying laps showing his outright speed with Jaguar.
      Great in Red Bull, though fairly beaten by Sebastian Vettel (which he acknowledges) – had great wheel to wheel battles with Fernando Alonso in the great Red Bull era.
      Just a superb driver and sportsman.
      He hasn’t won the F1 title or the Le Mans race, but he doesn’t need to… he is a champion. (and he did win the WEC title).

      1. In his prime Mark Webber would beat the Mercedes drivers comfortably.

        1. Different team, different time. Ultimately he didn’t beat Vettel, though the team kind of made sure of that, we can never know how he would have fared against Hamilton.

          1. Let’s drop the sour grapes. The team did nothing to prevent Webber from winning; he just didn’t have it in him at that point in his career against Vettel.

            Best wishes to you Mark, and thanks for the memories!

            1. Not according to Webber’s autobiography, but I admit that is not an entirely objective source of information. Anyway although I am sad to hear this news I haven’t really followed him in the WEC, no coverage of it in Australia, so it leaves less of a gap than it should. Here’s hoping Webber shows up for the V8 enduros, that would be awesome. His career was ‘not bad for a number two driver’.

    12. Given the noise about him moving to WEC, i’m surprised he only spent 3 years there.

      That said, who do we think is going to fill those boots in the #1 car (heh, assuming they retain the title)? Hulkenberg, maybe?

      1. @optimaximal What about Webber making way to his long-time friend Alonso? So Alonso could see how Porsche AND McLaren perform in 2017. If he likes the McLaren, he stays: If he doesn’t, he switches to WEC and Button returns. Or given the way the things are going on in Ferrari, and their unthankful attitude against Vettel (who tries as much as he can in that good red car with bad strategists), saying he has to “earn” his seat in 2018… well, stranger things have happened in F1.
        So 2018:
        Alonso to WEC
        Vettel to McLaren, even if the car is not improving.
        Perez to Ferrari, alongside Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton (money can break contracts)
        Hulkenberg to Renault (in 2017) so he keeps going on Renault in 2018.

        Just my crazy daydreaming of the day I guess.

    13. It’s a great shame that he is bowing out without having another crack at Le Mans, but he has 9 F1 wins and an FIA world championship to his name, so all in all he should be proud of what he has achieved.

    14. A decision made a few years too late. Nevertheless I wish him luck whatever he decides to do next.

      1. @huhhii No, it’s way too early, not late!

        1. Nah, 3-4 years too late. Would’ve preferred Webber to make F1->WEC move around 2010-11 and then retire.

          1. @huhhii Uhm, the “WEC” as it is now only came into existence in 2012. And where was he supposed to go? Toyota?

            1. @xtwl What I meant was he should’ve moved to endurance racing couple of years before. All he did was whine about the state of modern F1. Why did he continue doing it if he didn’t really enjoy the way the sport was progressing? We also lost some potentially great title fights with Webber sticking too long at RB (as I think WEB never was nowhere near fast enough to deserve WDC-capable car). For example ALO/VET in 2011 or 2013 at RB would’ve been a treat!

              Endurance racing existed before WEC you know. Surely there would’ve been takers for Webber.

            2. Gotta wonder what Jean-Eric Vergne’s career would look like if Webber had retired earlier.

    15. He has started to struggle versus Hartley and particularly versus Bernhard this year, and when Porsche cannot find seats for a talent of the quality of Nick Tandy, it does make sense for Mark to step down. That said, arguably Dumas and Leib have done even less to justify their retainment. Could a freshly laid-off Colombian (who this year tested a 919 in Bahrain) also be a fit for Mark’s replacement?

      Porsche politics aside, I will miss seeing Mark Webber at the wheel of a racing car. A handful of days a year, there was none on earth who could touch him; had he been able to extract that remarkable vane of raw speed we so often saw on tracks like Silverstone, Monaco and the Nurburgring, and translate it into pace on less favoured tracks, he could have achieved so much more. As his career went on it was almost as if his performances tailed off around the “Tilkedromes” out of partisan disapproval. That said, in his third-to-last race, he did claim pole position at “the carpark”…

      1. I am not sure that he struggle versus Hartley and Bernhard,but lets be honest they have a little bit of edge over him,and on different tracks drivers have different strengths and weaknesses.Also Mark has a little better traffic management than other two(remember hour long battle with Lucas de Grassi at Mexico). Still He is pretty fast for 40 years old!I think he have a couple of more years in racing but…One of his statements said that he is retiring because of his family not going younger,and his mother and wife are not feeling pleased of him still racing after the big crash at Brazil.Either way he is about to step down and leave a spot in number one crew (I hope they are going to retain this number) I found Nick Tandy best suitable replacement for Mark (I felt in love of his driving at Le Mans 2015),and just imagine: Timo,Brendon and Nick! Also Bamber is not bad pick either,but i think Montoya is not on their (Porsche) list. Probably at the end of the season we will have couple of more changes in the driver line up.Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb are not in their best form and Porsche also not feeling comfortable with them so…that leaves one spot open if Porsche decides to go for 100 % shake up in their weak spots! Probably rookie test Gustavo Menezes is viable option?

    16. shame to see him go. By “beat mate” I assume you mean team mate. So many articles per day seems to make your brain go mushy @keithcollantine

    17. I’m not a huge fan but he’s still got many good years in him for WEC. I understand his sentiment though, hopefully he miswes it too much.

    18. Mark Webber is one of my favorite drivers of all time for sure, and has always been. A few years ago I found out about his wife (he’s been with her since forever and she’s much older and, no offense meant, no trophy wife) and it didn’t surprise me in the slightest. Not knowing much about their relationship (apart from the fact she’s his manager since he was a teenager), that says loyalty, dedication and true love, if such a thing exists.
      I hope that they stay happy and together and that Mark has all the best, I really do.

    19. Mark is one of my favorite racers of all time. His skill and personality should be the bar for other racers to try and achieve. Plus, I love a straight shooter. I’ll miss you.. you tough ol’ Aussie!

    20. Not bad for a #2 driver will probably be the tag line if ever a movie gets made on his life.

      Starts were his biggest Achilles heel at RBR, I think. He is a better at overtaking than Nico Rosberg. 2010 was his best chance at the title. Unfortunately it wasn’t supposed to be his nor his buddy Alonso’s.

      Did good in the WEC. Great guy on track and a great person off it (from what I have read mostly).

      Well done, AussieGrit!

    21. Have followed Mark’s career since Yellow Pages formula ford days.Will miss him greatly.Feel he represented the sport and Australia at the highest level.Would love to see him race at the Bathurst 12 hr in a Walkinshaw Porsche so that his many fans could say goodbye.

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