Britain’s The Daily Star is reporting that Red Bull’s Mark Webber is to wrap up his F1 career at the end of this season.
The 36-year-old has been the centre of much speculation recently following on from the controversial Malaysian Grand Prix where Sebastian Vettel ignored the team’s Multi-21 order to pass the Aussie who was leading the race. Post-race, Webber was heard repeating “Multi-21, Multi-21!” to his German counter-part while some predicted his immediate retirement.
Alan Webber, Mark’s father, along with Mark’s partner, Ann Neale, came out in support of Webber to reassure the paddock that he would be back for the following race – the Chinese round – but admitted his place in the sport in 2014 and beyond was still in question.
Now the tabloid newspaper, The Daily Star, reports that he has ‘confided in close friends‘ that he will indeed leave the sport, also saying he is ‘already making plans to leave Britain [Where he lives near Silverstone], to return home to Australia’.
“He has had an unhappy working relationship with his team-mate – and triple world champion Sebastian Vettel. The pair have hardly spoken since their problems at this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, when Vettel ignored team orders to pass Webber, denying him a 10th career win. But that hasn’t played a major part in Webber’s decision, as he simply feels it is time to call time on his 14-year F1 career.”
The most likely path for Webber, should he retire, is into Le Mans where Porsche are setting up a team and allegedly hoping to have the Aussie driving for them in 2014.
If Webber is thinking of leaving the sport, the end of this season is the ideal time to do it. The regulation changes that will accompany the new engines in 2014 will leave drivers almost having to start from scratch – and judging by Webber’s delay in getting to grips with the Pirelli’s, he could face a long, hard season.