Formula 1

Mark Webber "so close" to joining Ferrari

Webber could have been Alonso's team-mate for 2013 (©GettyImages)
Webber could have been Alonso's team-mate for 2013 (©GettyImages).

Mark Webber has revealed he nearly joined Ferrari for the 2013 season replacing Felipe Massa.

The Australian has entered his final month in F1 with three races to go in Abu Dhabi, Austin and Brazil. However, speaking at Yas Marina he admitted he came close to leaving the team a year earlier.

"So close," he told Speed Week, "that I had to take the phone in my hand and call (Red Bull team owner) Dietrich Mateschitz."

Instead the 36-year-old will leave F1 at the end of this season and join Porsche and their Le Mans project for 2014.

"We couldn't find an agreement with Ferrari," said the Australian, "or I'd be sitting right now in Felipe Massa's car -- also in 2014," he revealed.

"I had set myself a deadline and on the Thursday before Canada last year I made the decision to stay another year with Red Bull," said Webber.

As he prepares for his final few weeks as an F1 driver, Webber told reporters in the paddock that when he completes that 70th lap at Interlagos in a little over three weeks he will leave F1 with his head held high despite not winning the championship.

"It was not meant to be," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport, "but it was a proud and honest career.

"I see myself on par with the one-time champions," said Webber. "Am I a potential multiple champion? The answer is clearly not," he admitted.

Indeed he is even happy to concede his team-mate Sebastian Vettel is better than him.

"Seb is exceptional," he said, "and I have no problem admitting it.

"In some ways I feel like Gerhard Berger with Ayrton Senna -- Gerhard was also a great racer, but not enough for the title."

Another man who's future is uncertain is Felipe Massa, the Brazilian is strongly linked with a move to Williams for 2014 but he too admitted he could be entering his final month in F1.

"I will not accept racing in Brazil with nothing in place for the next year without having a happy ending to my career," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

The Brazilian is confident however his F1 career will continue for another season.

"I have never lost sleep thinking about what will happen next," said Massa.

"I'm calm, just as I was when there was the announcement that I will not continue at Ferrari. I believe that something will happen and I'll find a good team for my future," he added.

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Formula 1

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