Mark Webber has cited a lack of motivation over the last few years as a principal reason for his decision to leave Formula One at the end of 2013.
Webber, who will join Porsche in 2014 as the famous marque returns to Le Mans, has admitted in an interview with F1 Racing magazine that in recent years his motivation for Formula One has waned.
The Australian explained that he simply lacks the “fire in the belly” to go through the build-up of another Formula One pre-season.
“I’ve been on the edge with F1, motivation-wise, for the past couple of years”, said the 33-year-old. “You have to be driven. You turn yourself around each winter and the fire in the belly is not quite what it was when you were 24.”
Webber added that he had doubts over his decision, stating that he was possibly leaving F1 “a year too soon”, but that the opportunity presented to him by Porsche to lead their assault on endurance racing in 2014 was simply too good to turn down.
“I still enjoy being belted in the car and driving down the pit lane, which is a bit disappointing, but I’ve spoken to some really good sportsmen and women who have been at the crossroads where making the call was not easy and they messed it up.
“I’m probably leaving F1 a year too soon but with the [regulation] changes next season [the introduction of turbo engines with a fuel limit] and the opportunity to join Porsche, it’s the best move for me.”
The 9 time race winner confessed that his loss of motivation was not something that had happened suddenly, but which had built up over time, with doubts slowly beginning to creep into the Australian’s mind.
“I remember hearing something about sportsmen and women years ago. They were saying that as long as they could keep their motivation, they would keep going.
“I could never work out what that meant. How could you lose your motivation? But questions keep coming to me more and more often that were never there in the past.
“It’s not about driving or racing, it’s about keeping my own F1 programme going for 11 months of the year. And it’s just got to the point where it’s like, well, I’ve achieved a lot of things.”
The 33-year-old acknowledged that many of the aspects that make up the job of a Formula One driver had begun to become a chore, which had made the prospect of joining Porsche, with a more relaxed schedule, very appealing.
“Travel and hotels, and probably the repetitive nature of the job,” he said. “A bit of media – Lots and lots of small things that you’re happy to deal with when you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
“But it does, in the end, force you to ask yourself the question: ‘Do I have to be here, doing this?’ And when Porsche came along, I could look myself in the eye and say: ‘Well, you know what, I probably don’t have to do some of those things any more.”
Webber is set to be replaced at Red Bull Racing for 2014 by fellow countryman Daniel Ricciardo.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic