This morning, just before the start of the British GP weekend, Mark Webber announced he would be leaving Red Bull Racing and Formula One at the end of the season. After 12 years, 7 of them with Red Bull, he’s moving across to drive with the new Porsche LMP1 team, who are planning an attack on the Le Mans race.
The BBC reported Webber’s press release remarks:
“Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding performance and technology at the highest level.
“I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”
The move has been widely rumoured, especially given the rivalry between Webber and Vettel. Webber’s decision now opens up one of the hottest seats on the grid and no-one knows how quickly the replacement will be announced.
Kimi Raikkonen is probably the favourite, but if that happens, where does that leave the Red Bull Young Driver programme? If Vergne and Ricciardo, racing for the sister team Toro Rosso, are not deemed good enough to come through to the senior team and provide a solid points scoring partner for lead driver Vettel, does that mean the programme has failed?
If they don’t announce the replacement this weekend however, expect weeks and column inches on the story about Webber’s replacement! Who do you think it should be?