For Mark Webber, the shift to the FIA World Endurance Championship has been refreshing, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t kept tabs – partially, anyway – on his old stomping grounds of Formula One.
We thought it appropriate to check in with the Australian here at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he makes his return to the field for the first time since 1999, with Mercedes.
Incidentally, it’s Mercedes’ downfall in the Canadian Grand Prix – which led to Webber’s Red Bull Racing replacement and countryman Daniel Ricciardo scoring his first career Grand Prix victory, and a popular one at that – that piqued Webber’s interest after originally tuning out.
“To be honest, I’ve enjoyed the change in chapter in my career, but I’ve still watched a few races,” Webber told MotorSportsTalk Tuesday. “I watched the start (from Canada) and it wasn’t looking that exciting. A bit touch and go. But then I saw the Mercs have problems.”
Webber can find no fault with how well Ricciardo has done in driving for Red Bull and alongside four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel.
“For Daniel to get his first win was incredible for him,” Webber said. “He hasn’t put a wheel wrong all year so far. There’s been testing regulations, wet qualifyings, and all sorts of stuff that’s been thrown at him. But for him to notch up his first win is a big step for him.”
Webber co-drives with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley in the No. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid in the FIA WEC. The trio finished on the podium at the season opener in Silverstone.