Mark Webber to leave F1 at end of season

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Mark Webber has today confirmed that he will be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season and walking away from Formula One altogether, believing that it is time to start a new chapter of his career with Porsche’s endurance racing programme.

The Australian driver has raced for the team since 2007, claiming nine wins with the team and finishing 3rd in the 2010 and 2011 drivers’ championships, as well as helping Red Bull win three consecutive constructors’ championships.

However, following the Multi 21 fiasco at this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, where Sebastian Vettel overtook Webber against team orders, the Aussie’s relationship with the team plummeted, sparking rumors that he may be set to leave the team. However, not until today has there been official confirmation.

“I’m very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1,” Webber said in a statement. “I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world.”

Webber will join Porsche next season as part of their squad for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other endurance races.

The race to replace Webber is thought to be between Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Kimi Raikkonen.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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