Formula 1

Webber welcome back to Le Mans, says McNish

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Webber is reported to be on his way out of Red Bull. (©GettyImages)
Webber is reported to be on his way out of Red Bull. (©GettyImages).

Audi driver and former F1 driver Allan McNish has said Mark Webber would be welcomed back in the Le Mans series "with open arms" as speculation over the Australian's future continues.

Webber is expected to leave Red Bull at the end of 2013 after falling out with team-mate Sebastian Vettel in the wake of the 'multi-21' saga at the Malaysian Grand Prix in April.

Early speculation linked Webber to a deal with Porsche to become one of their prototype sports car drivers from 2014 but McNish has declared that he would love to have Webber back at the Le Mans series.

"If Mark did decide to come we would all embrace him with open arms -– until the first corner," Scot McNish, who raced in F1 with Toyota in 2002, joked to the Huffington Post. 

"He wouldn't want it any other way," smiled McNish.

"He's a hard charger, he's intelligent, he's a thinker, he's a nice person, he'd be good in the paddock." 

Webber does have a history at Le Mans having raced with Mercedes in the late 1990's. He was famously involved in a crash where his Mercedes car took off coming over a crest on the Mulsanne Straight and flew into the forest on the outside of the track. 

This year's edition of the famous 24 hour race is due to take place this weekend with Audi again looking favourites to claim victory, the weather in northern France is also set to play a major role after thunderstorms rumbled through on Wednesday. 

Speaking about how the two races compare McNish says Le Mans can certainly compete head-to-head with F1. 

"I think sports cars has offered manufacturers a place where they can develop a technology at a good, sensible cost," he said.

"They can race in a high profile race, Le Mans, which matches any F1 race without question and it's got a world championship.

"Look at Renault -- they've won the F1 world championship for quite a few years but no one knows. They all think it's a Red Bull." 

McNish also believes endurance racing has become a viable option for former F1 driver's who are put off by the role tyres now play in F1. Indeed former driver's Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Sena race in the Le Mans series as does Red Bull reserve Sebastien Buemi.

"It's very odd the way it is in Formula 1 now," he said.

"I was looking at the laptimes from the Bahrain GP and noticed that they were basically the same as our race laptimes there -- for a car that is 300kg lighter.

"I think F1 has tried quite hard over the past few years to become a spectacle, to get the fans to enjoy wheel to wheel racing.

"I think it's positive to do that but they might have gone a little bit too far."


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