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Webber turned down F1 drives for 2014

ESPN Staff
June 27, 2013 « Webber to leave Formula One for Porsche | Raikkonen an option for Red Bull, but it's in no rush »
Mark Webber did not consider F1 as an option in 2014 © Sutton Images

Mark Webber says Formula One was never an option for him in 2014 and that friction at Red Bull this season did not lead to his decision to leave the sport at the end of the year.

Webber has signed a deal to race for Porsche in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) from 2014 onwards, bringing his 12-year F1 career to an end. On his personal website he revealed he had offers to stay in the category but that his mind has long been made up to leave.

"Yes [I had options] but since Formula One as a category wasn't on my radar for 2014, they weren't a consideration for me."

Asked if the Red Bull team orders controversy in Malaysia had swayed his decision, he added: "No, I've had a personal plan and I've stuck to it. This is the next chapter."

But Webber insisted he was leaving Red Bull on good terms with co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz and paid tribute to technical director Adrian Newey.

"I never asked the team for more work but I've remained in touch with Dietrich Mateschitz over the last six to eight months and he's been absolute quality for me. Going forward I will remain tightly inside the Red Bull family, working with the brand, and watching and supporting fellow Red Bull athletes push the boundaries.

"I realise F1 is seen as the absolute pinnacle of motorsport and I've worked with some incredible people, in particular Adrian Newey. I've driven in some of the toughest and most challenging conditions and circuits, and against some incredible drivers which I'll continue to do until the end of the year. Will I miss some of this? Yes, of course, but time doesn't stand still for anyone and it's time to move on to my next challenge."

In a Red Bull press release, team principal Christian Horner added: "I am sure Mark thought long and hard before making what has no doubt been a very difficult decision. His achievements in Formula One are extensive and I am sure he will continue to push hard and build on that record until the end of the season. We support Mark's decision, he has been an excellent addition to the team since joining us in 2007 and we wish him all the best in the next stages of his career."