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.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”