Formula 1

Mark Webber to leave Red Bull on Monday

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Mark Webber will only have to wait 24 hours before starting his new career in Le Mans racing after being granted early release from his F1 contract.

Normally most drivers have to wait until the end of the calendar year before moving on but in the case of Webber his Porsche duties will begin straight after the Brazilian Grand Prix.

“We are very lucky that Mark will join us one day after the Formula One race in Sao Paulo,” Porsche chief executive Matthias Muller confirmed to reporters.

“I met him last week when he had the seat fitting. We are very happy to have him,” he said.

It is believed the early release is linked to a new personal sponsorship deal between Webber and Red Bull which will see the pair’s partnership continue into his new venture.

As a result it is now expected the Australian will get his first taste of Porsche’s LMP1 car several weeks earlier than expected.

“I suppose it is in December,” Muller said.

Certainly it will be a busy weekend for the 37-year-old in Brazil as he signs off a 12-year career, of which seven have been with the Austrian energy drink giant, but his nemesis for the last four years Sebastian Vettel has not promised a final win.

“Mark is a sportsman and he doesn’t want a win handed over to him,” said Vettel.

The German did however have this tribute to his current team-mate.

“People tend to forget how successful we have been,” he added. “We’ve been one of the strongest pairings in F1.

“Obviously we didn’t have the best relationship on a personal level, but both of us have tried very hard to improve the car.

“The fact that he will not be around next year will surely be a loss for the team and a loss for myself.

“I’ve learned a lot from him and I can stand up straight and say that there have been many times and places where I’ve benefited from him. You could say the same thing the other way round,” added Vettel.

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