Formula 1

Mark Webber opens up on decision to quit F1

Webber claims his motivation for F1 has dwindled (©GettyImages)
Webber claims his motivation for F1 has dwindled (©GettyImages).

Mark Webber has spoken for the first time in real detail about his decision to leave Formula 1 at the end of the season.

The Australian is entering his final two races of his F1 career before switching to Porsche and Le Mans racing from 2014.

So far his record will read 9 wins and 40 podiums in a career where he’s often played second fiddle to one of the greatest driver’s of his generation Sebastian Vettel.

The always outspoken Webber admitted earlier this year following his announcement that the decision to quit had been made at Christmas last year.

"Porsche wanted me for 2013,” Webber told reporters, “but I said that I wasn’t ready yet.

“But during that year (2012) I started to think about a change. I had already been at Red Bull for a very long time, so you do think about doing something else. That’s human nature,” he explained.

The 37-year-old even tried to attract a move to Ferrari for 2013 but then he began to think seriously about his future and in-particularly his motivation.

“A lot of people have trained with me,” Webber told Speed Week, “but most are gone after less than two years. I never had to be motivated to keep fit.

“But over the past year the urge went away. So I had to ask myself why. Then it becomes clear – ‘Mark, you’re not 19 anymore!’

Then he also began to think about life away from F1 and the need for a fresh challenge.

“In my case, the reasons are very personal,” said Webber. “I want to spend more time with my family, my partner, my friends. Suddenly there are things on the radar that weren’t there before.

“I had often heard other sportsmen and woman talk about the problem of their motivation going away, but I always thought to myself, ‘What?’

“But the fact is that it does go away!” he admitted. “Also, when you’re 36, you think differently to when you’re 25, and that doesn’t just go for drivers. As an athlete, you put so much into
your career.

“I wouldn’t say that we make sacrifices, but if you start thinking that, then maybe it is time to do something else. You have to believe that it’s all worth it.

So while Webber had realised his passion for F1 had gone, he admitted he could not consider the prospect of leaving motorsport altogether.

“I’m enjoying the summer in Australia and then suddenly you have to go to Jerez for winter testing and you think, ‘Hmm…’

“But I also knew that I wouldn’t be happy if I stopped racing completely. You have to find a balance, something that stimulates you and I’ve found that with Porsche.

“I know we have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but it will not be like Formula One. Next year there will be 20 grands prix again and if you’re in a top team, it’s pretty exhausting,” he said.

“I want a different balance in my life and the timing is right, and that (finding the right time to retire) is not easy for an athlete. Look at Roger Federer, look at Valentino Rossi.

“I have the feeling I’m going pretty well at the moment, even if I don’t have the results to prove it, for reasons that we both know,” he told correspondent Mathias Bruner.

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