After more than a decade as a driver on the Formula 1 grid, Mark Webber will still be in the paddock this weekend as a new season begins, but as a VIP guest.
But the Australian warned the sport’s regulars not to expect to see his chiselled jaw too often now that he has switched to Le Mans with Porsche.
“I didn’t stop Formula 1 to hang out at race tracks all the time,” the 37-year-old told Fairfax Media.
Earlier on Wednesday, Webber touched down in Melbourne, where he will spend the weekend as a guest commentator for host broadcaster Ten.
He insisted: “It’s something I won’t be doing a huge amount of, that’s for sure.”
For instance, Webber won’t even stick around for the race, having told Ten he will leave a probably rainy Melbourne late on Saturday bound for his holiday home on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
“I don’t want to be a spare part,” he said. “I did my thing, mate, now I have other things to do.”
According to Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, Webber quit at precisely the right moment, after even the lightest drivers like Lewis Hamilton had to dramatically lose weight over the winter months to prepare for the much heavier 2014 cars.
“With Sebastian (Vettel) and Daniel (Ricciardo) we will reach the (weight) limit by the skin of our teeth,” Newey told the April edition of the Red Bulletin magazine.
“Mark Webber would really be at a disadvantage this season.” (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.