Webber reveals that Ferrari switch for 2013 and 2014 was nearly a done deal

Mark Webber in Abu Dhabi during media session

Mark Webber in Abu Dhabi during media session

Red Bull driver Mark Webber has admitted he came very close to ending his career in a Ferrari.

“So close,” he is quoted by Speed Week in the Abu Dhabi paddock, “that I had to take the phone in my hand and call (Red Bull team owner) Dietrich Mateschitz.”

Webber, who will leave Formula 1 and switch to Le Mans for 2014 after this month’s Brazilian Grand Prix, is referring to last season, when Ferrari was on the market to replace Felipe Massa.

“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.

Mark Webber gets a lift back to the pits with Fernando Alonso

As close as Mark Webber got to being a Ferrari driver

In the end, Webber says he will walk out of the Interlagos paddock late this month with his head held high, happy with his Formula 1 career even though he missed the World title.

“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.

Webber therefore admits that his teammate Sebastian Vettel, with whom he has shared a tense tenure at Red Bull, is better.

“Seb is exceptional,” he said, “and I have no problem [in] 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.” (GMM)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Alonso_is_Slow

    Wow, honest. Good on him. He just earned my respect.

  • spoofer

    That is not what Di Montezemelo said. He stated that Webber was one of a number who contacted Ferrari.

  • Spartacus

    If it weren’t for Vettel I’m sure Webber would have at least one WDC, probably two. That’s not to day Webber is a slow driver; far from it. Just that Vettel is quicker.

    I’d have Webber in my F1 team any day of the week; especially Sunday.

  • Dan

    Webber has earned a lot of respect and deservedly so. He’ll be very sorely missed. F1 needs the human touch SO badly.

    De Montezemolo is just a Ferrari egotist, who like many, likes to think that Ferrari is the most important team in F1. Must suck having those ‘garagistes’ beating you without even trying..

  • Spartacus

    Thinking about it, knowing how much Webber hates to be considered No. 2 driver to Vettel could you imagine him being Alonso’s stooge?

    Somehow I don’t think that would work.

  • Boycottthebull

    @Spartacus – Webber says he couldnt find agreement with Ferrari, I dare say you hit the nail on the head as to why the deal never went ahead. If you have to put up with being No2 it may as well been at Red Bull with a faster car.

  • Taskmaster

    Weber will be missed. His contribution went beyond just driving, specifically as a drivers advocate and director in the GPDA. Its likely he’ll remain involved with open wheel as team principal along side Horner at WM Arden, where they now hold on to 2nd place in GP3. The moving on of seasoned drivers like Weber, Schumacher, and Barrichello, with the influx of pay drivers and teenagers is changing the complexion of the sport.

  • Red Bull Cheats

    @ Spoofer, that actually is what what Domenicali said.

  • ZombieJebus

    Sure it was Mark… but they chose me instead! :P :P :P :P

  • Boycotthehaters

    “In some ways I feel like Gerhard Berger with Ayrton Senna”

    And yet some people keep on insisting that the other drivers don’t respect Vettel’s ability.

  • MightyK

    @Taskmaster
    Said the same thing re: drivers when Webb first announced his departure. Never thought I’d feel this way but the sport is becoming less interesting each new season.

  • lol

    and people still wonder why his car always has issues? The guy hated Seb’s guts and always preferred his “friend” Alonso. Did he honestly think RedBull wouldn’t know he was contacting Ferrari for the switch?
    Look at his starts, horrible. If he does get one right he goes all the way to obstruct Vettel.
    He had no option but to quit. He achieved nothing in the best car so why would anyone want him? For RedBull secrets? Not anymore since in 2014 everything is changing the secrets hold no bargaining value anymore hence only retirement was left.
    Good riddance!

  • TimeLord

    lol: mighty crap all the time.
    what a disgrace for Vettel fans.

  • LotusFan

    @lol Cant keep the venom and bile under control I guess