“It’s a drug for you” – Why did Mark Webber reject Ferrari to continue at Red Bull in 2013, before retiring at the end of the season?
Ferrari is a dream come true for any driver, ask Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz about it. No one in his right frame of mind would reject an opportunity to race for them. But that is what precisely happened in 2013, with Mark Webber deciding to stay on at Red Bull.
Why would he do that, despite calling it a drug to race for the Ferrari fans? The answer is two-fold, at least on face value.
Firstly, Ferrari was not winning like they used to, having last won back in 2009 before the Red Bull domination kicked off. Secondly, he was offered a 1+1 contract instead of a full two-year one.
This anyway would have come to naught, considering he retired at the end of the very season in question, mostly down to his squabbles with the reigning champion and teammate Sebastian Vettel. The teammate then went on to join Ferrari himself, a not-so-happy experience.
Mark Webber says Daniel Ricciardo “dodged a bullet” by not joining Ferrari. pic.twitter.com/lSBQCN7bq1
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) July 10, 2020
Webber spoke about the reasons for not accepting the dream move, and how achieving success with Ferrari is so much more special than all the 4 constructor world championships he won for Red Bull.
“I don’t regret not going there. In the end, I would have definitely signed very quickly about a two-year fixed contract with Ferrari but it was optioned one-and-one. In the end, I decided to stay at Red Bull.”
“I think the passion, that’s the biggest thing, it’s that Italian fans, somehow it’s a drug for you, that you would love to go and represent them and drive [for] them. To have success with them, it must be like no other team in the world. It’s like an old stately home. Red Bull have had a great success but that’s a ‘new build’.
“Ferrari have been around forever and to have your name etched in their history, if you have big results with them, is special. But I don’t know how sentimental they are.”