QUEANBEYAN’S Mark Webber will be leaving Formula One “on his own terms” when he bids farewell to the sport at this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
That’s according to Mark’s father Alan who says it was always important for the 11-year veteran to bow out while still at the top of his game.
Mark Webber will bring down the curtain on his 215-race career on Sunday when he pilots his Red Bull Racing RB9 around the streets of Sao Paulo one last time.
The 37-year-old has already announced he will retire from the sport at the end of the current season to take up a contract with Porsche in next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship.
Currently fifth in the Drivers’ Championship, Webber could finish the season as high as third on the end of year standings for the third time in his career (2010 and 2011) with victory in Brazil.
Last weekend saw the Australian pick up his seventh podium of the season at the American Grand Prix in Austin.
“A lot of the reporters over in Europe have made the point that he’s retiring at the top and he is,” Alan Webber said. “He showed that [at Austin] where he almost got pole and ended up on the podium.
“He’s not like some of the other drivers who’ve been going round for a while to make up the numbers. [Mark] never wanted to be driving around at the back of the field.
“We probably knew four or five years ago he’d retire while he was still competitive and that’s what he’s done. He’s leaving on his own terms.”
Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix will mark the end of a remarkable sporting journey that has seen the former Karabar High student rise from junior karting champion to the pinnacle of world motor sport.
In 1997, Webber – then a cash strapped young Formula Three driver – only had his racing dream kept alive at the last moment by a sizeable loan from fellow Queanbeyan sporting great David Campese
After earning his debut Formula One berth with Minardi in 2002, Webber then endured several seasons in uncompetitive cars before finally landing a spot with Red Bull in 2007.
The rest, as they say, is history.
In 2009, Webber secured the first of his nine race wins to date at the German Grand Prix before narrowly missing out on becoming the first Australian in 30 years to win the Drivers’ Championship in 2010.
He will finish his career as the ninth most capped Formula One driver of all time and having accumulated the sixth most total career points of any driver in history with 1029.5.
He also holds the record for most career points won without winning a world championship.
Alongside four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, Webber has also helped Red Bull Racing to four successive Constructors’ Championships from 2010-2013.
According to the man who knows him best however, those records will likely be the furthest thing from Webber’s mind when he lines up on the grid this weekend.
“I don’t think when he hops in the car he’ll be thinking much about it being his last race,” Alan Webber said.
“But if he’s doing a good job sailing around the track at some stage in the race his thoughts might wander to the fact that it’ll be his last time in the car.
“But I think he’s pleased to be getting out when he is and it’s what he wants to do. It’s certainly the end of a little era for the Webbers though that’s for sure.”