Tag Archives: Retirement

Mark Webber announces retirement from racing

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It was announced yesterday that former-F1 driver Mark Webber will retire from professional racing at the end of the year. He confirmed the news in a joint statement with his current team Porsche on Thursday.

Since leaving Formula One at the end of 2013 with nine victories to his name, Webber has been racing in the World Endurance Championship with Porsche. With three races remaining in the current season, Webber has announced his retirement before becoming a “Porsche representative” next year as follows:-

‘I have arrived where I belong. Porsche is the brand I always loved most and the one that suits me the best. The 911 is iconic — it has got elegance, performance and understatement, and is never intrusive. It is just the right car for every scenario.

‘I will miss the sheer speed, downforce and competition, but I want to leave on a high and I’m very much looking forward to my new tasks.’

Webber won the WEC title in 2015 but missed out on victory at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans on five attempts over his entire career.

Porsche CEO Oliver Blume yesterday in a statement to the media said the following about Webber’s racing retirement as follows:-

‘Mark Webber stands for everything what Porsche implies: sportsmanship, power of endurance, straightforwardness and focused work for success. He is full of beans and always a thoughtful listener. I want to thank Mark for his great performance in the World Endurance Championship and am pleased he will remain tightly connected to Porsche in the future.’

Webber’s career in Formula One spanned 12 seasons with four different teams, racking up 42 podiums and nine victories. He came closest to winning the title in 2010 but was ultimately beaten by Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel. He finished third in the standings three times before leaving for WEC at the end of 2013.

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Magnussen: Button was ready to retire in 2014

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In an interview with the media today, Kevin Magnussen claims that  Jenson Button was preparing to retire from F1 in late 2014 and says he had been assured of a seat at McLaren for 2015.

After a mixed rookie campaign in 2014, Magnussen was dropped by McLaren in a drawn out saga which saw them opt for the experience of Button alongside new signing Fernando Alonso. After a year on the sidelines as reserve driver Magnussen was dropped by McLaren earlier this season but he says he had been led to believe a senior drive was his just a year earlier.

In an interview with Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet today, Magnussen explains that he was told he would be driving for McLaren in 2015 as follows:-

‘I was told that it was my seat [for 2015]. That I didn’t need to worry. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but it was at the end of the season.’

However McLaren’s decision to retain Button was helped by the 2009 world champion’s strong finish to that campaign, which helped the team hold off Force India for fifth in the constructors’ championship. Further on in his interview today, Magnussen thinks Button’s late resurgence came from the mindset he was about to retire. Magnussen added the following:-

‘Jenson had his two best races at the end. He did really well. But he had also hung photos of his entire career in his room. He had a helmet ready to go that said ‘Goodbye’ on it. He was driving only to have fun and enjoy his last two races without stress or pressure, believing 100 percent that he was done in Formula One.’

Button faced similar questions about retiring this year before signing a new deal for 2016, which will see him partner Alonso again. Magnussen finally added in the final stages of his interview that he has nothing but respect for his former team-mate and understands the reasons he lost out on the 2015 drive as follows:-

‘Jenson is one of the best and there’s nothing [negative] between us. We are in the same sport and competing for the same seats. There is full respect. I know why he got the seat and there’s nothing between him and me at all.’

Even though Magnussen was eventually dropped from his reserve driver role at McLaren via an email this October, all you can say is that he deserved another chance in 2015 to build on his performances as a rookie. But even though he did his test driver duties for McLaren this season, the manner is which they have treated him is disgusting and he deserves the utter most respect for the way he has handled the situation in the media.

As for what Magnussen has stated in his interview today, that might have been Button’s plans at that time in 2014. But things are not fixed in Formula One and can change for the good or for the worst which Kevin has found out to his cost. But it is great to see him having the utter most respect for Jenson and is now at peace as to why things have happened to him the way they have and I wish him all the best for his career in whatever he chooses to do.

Susie Wolff announces her retirement from motorsport

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It is sad to announce this morning that Williams test driver Susie Wolff has announced that she will retire from motorsport at the end of the season.

Wolff was appointed Williams development driver in 2012, but she had to wait until the 2014 season before she got a taste of the official Formula 1 action.

She became the first female to take part in a grand prix weekend for two decades when she was handed FP1 duties at the 2014 British Grand Prix and was promoted to test driver for the 2015 campaign, which resulted in a few more Friday outings .

However, in her interview to the Huffington Post today that her dream to secure a seat on the F1 grid “isn’t going to happen”. Wolff stated the following:-

‘I got so close and I fought hard. But my gut feeling tells me it is time to move on to explore new challenges.’

In an official statement on the Williams website, Wolff said the following about her retirement:-

‘I’d like to thank Williams for the opportunity they have given me over the last few years which has allowed me to achieve my dream of driving a Formula 1 car.

‘It has been great to work with everyone at the team, both at Grove and trackside, and I’d like to thank everyone who has been part of my journey at Williams. I am now closing this chapter but looking forward to new challenges in the future.’

In her own statement to the media this morning Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams paid tribute to Wolff, who will quit after the Race Of Champions in London at the end of November. Williams said the following:-

‘It has been a pleasure to work with Susie over the years and see her develop as a driver within the team. Her feedback and knowledge of the car has been an important part our recent development and we will be sorry to see her go.

‘We want to thank her for all her efforts and wish her the very best for her future endeavours. We will of course be supporting both Susie and Felipe [Massa] at the Race of Champions, and hope Susie has a great weekend to mark the last time we see her race.’

It is a sad day for motorsport and also for women in the sport too with the announcement that Wolff is retiring at the end of the year. During her career, she has shown that she is more than capable of getting to F1 and that she is a talented racing driver who has battled through a lot to get to the position that the Williams team have given her.

Alongside this, she has also been heavily involved in promoting other women to compete in motorsport, will always be a role model for women who are still racing in the sport and she has the respect of everyone in the sport for what she has contributed and achieved in her career. It is a real shame that Wolff will not be racing anymore, but we have to respect her decision and I wish her the best of luck for her future. She will be missed.

Button hints at retiring from Formula One

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It has been announced today that Jenson Button claims to have made his decision over whether to continue in Formula 1 beyond 2015, and conceded racing in McLaren-Honda’s current situation gives him little “joy”.

In an interview today, Button has long stated the moment he was not happy at the wheel then he would decide to call it a day, and intimated he would like to make an announcement at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix; which he considers a second home race. Button stated the following:-

‘The joy of being in the car is only there if you are fighting at the front and you feel as though you are achieving something.  If you’re fighting near the back, you’re driving an F1 car, but you can easily get joy driving something else.

‘It’s about fighting at the front. It’s about the possibility of standing on top of the podium. That’s the joy of Formula 1.’

It is clear that Button is not happy with the current situation that he is in and that maybe because of the situation, he is looking sadly to other forms of motorsport in order to find that joy as a driver once again in a more competitive environment.

At the moment, the McLaren-Honda team holds the option on Button’s services for 2016 and has the final say over whether he continues, though it is unlikely to force the 35-year-old to stay if he is set on retiring from F1. Further on in his interview today, Button indicated his mind was made up and added the following:-

‘I have made that decision, that’s the important thing. It is always nice to make an announcement when you are at your home grand prix, but I don’t know what’s happening yet.

‘There are a lot of meetings in Japan, Ron Dennis and Eric Boullier will be there. I’m sure there will be a lot of meetings at the headquarters.’

All you can say at the moment on the situation is that Button knows what his future will be and all we can do is wait and see what happens as he talks through with the key personnel of his team what will be happening as a result of this. Even though as a Button fan myself; it will be hard to see him leave F1; a sport he has loyally served, I understand the reasons for doing so and I will support him in whatever he wants to do in the future.

Button’s 278 grand prix starts (only Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello have competed in more races) have taken him from a 20-year-old rookie straight out of Formula 3 with Williams in 2000, to a stunning ’09 world championship with Brawn, a team that rose from the ashes of Honda’s exit the year before.

He switched to McLaren thereafter, finishing runner-up in the 2011 championship; albeit as a distant second to champion Sebastian Vettel. The last of his 15 wins in the 2012 finale, Button has physically not stood on a podium – his third place in Melbourne last year awarded retrospectively after Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification.

Should Button leave F1 for good at the end of the season, it  will then become in my opinion a straight fight for the vacant seat between reserve Kevin Magnussen, and test and development driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who is also this year’s runaway GP2 leader. But until Button officially announces what is going to happen, all we can do is sit tight and see what happens in the next few weeks.

Button: I do not want to retire from Formula One

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In an interview with Sky Sports F1 today, McLaren driver Jenson Button has stated that he rules out retiring from Formula One at the end of the season, despite his McLaren contract expiring in a few months time. He also stated that he “needs to be in a car that is competitive” at this late stage of his career within the sport.

Having begun his F1 career back in 2000, Button is now the most experienced and second-oldest driver on the grid and after celebrating his 250th race at last month’s Bahrain GP. Even though Button is out-of-contract at McLaren (he joined the team in 2010) at the end of the year has prompted speculation that his future in F1 could be in doubt, particularly since the death of his father and mentor John in January.

However, McLaren are currently in their longest point-less run for five years and toiling in sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship, but Button insists such disappointments only increase his desire to continue in the sport and achieve further success. In his interview with Sky Sports F1, Button stated the following:-

‘I definitely want to be in F1. This sort of season does not make you want to retire. If you do retire, you want to retire on a high and if you have the possibility to do that, then you continue racing to get that high. The problem then is when you do that you don’t want to stop racing either, so you could be racing for many years.

‘But no, I don’t feel I want to retire at the end of this year. I am happy about my future, and think it is quite exciting.’

Even though Button may not have the performance in his McLaren at the moment, it is clear for all to see that the hunger, the motivation, passion and desire to be competitive is still burning strong within him. As Button points out, I feel that even though racing is within the blood, I feel that he knows when it is the right time to retire from the sport and I feel that he still has a lot to give to the sport despite him being in the latter stages of his career within the sport.

Since news of the high-profile remarriage was announced last year, Button has been thought likely to stay on at Woking owing to his past long-time links with the Japanese carmarker. Button drove for the BAR/Honda team between 2003 and 2008, has made clear he hopes McLaren is the place where he wins races again, but admits his age creates a dilemma over that decision.

In his interview with Sky Sports F1, Button added the following when asked his thoughts on the matter:-

‘The biggest problem is I need to be in a car that is competitive, that gives you confidence as a driver as well. I hope that’s here. It is a difficult decision for a driver in my position, with so much experience and so much to give. I’m at the point in my career where I’ve only a few years left where I will be in F1, and I want to be in a position where I can win races or be close to winning races.

‘I would like to think I’ll be here and the team will be competitive towards the end of this season, which will then give me good reason to want to be here.’

You cannot really argue with what Button has stated in his interview today. Of course every driver on the grid would like to be in a position where they can challenge consistently and regularly for race wins. Currently, McLaren are not in the position to challenge for races wins, but I have a strong feeling that 2015 could the year that McLaren could once again start to win races once more.

I will argue that McLaren I feel will continue to try and develop this year’s car as much as they possibly can while getting a head start on the new Honda power unit for next year. With all the success and history between McLaren and Honda, both parties will want to ensure that they start the 2015 with a reminder of why they were successful in Formula One within the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

I do feel in my opinion that Button should stay with the McLaren team in 2015. Button is one of the most experienced drivers on the grid and that experience will be crucial as McLaren and Honda reunite next season. Not only is Button one of the fastest drivers on the grid when he is on form, but he has experience of winning races and has a title under his belt and that counts for something.

As many pundits and fans will argue, the experience that Button has with the engine manufacturer will be crucial in order for the partnership to be successful. It would not be stupid for McLaren not to capitalise on the experience that Button has gained with Honda during the years he drove for the BAR and Honda team and this could provide them with a much needed advantage while looking towards the 2015 season.

Speaking to the official F1 website last month, McLaren’s returning CEO Ron Dennis said that, at present, there was no reason to replace Button. Dennis stated the following:-

‘Anything is possible, but Jenson is doing a great job. He is quick and he is dedicated so there is no reason not to stay with Jenson from any perspective. But we still have a whole season to go.’

Even though it would appear that Dennis is happy with the performance of Button so far this year, anything can happen within Formula One. But at the moment, it would seem that McLaren find no reason to terminate the contract of Button at the end of the season, unless Button himself decides to walk away from the sport which I do not see happening as of yet.

Under the leadership of Dennis, McLaren are undergoing a restructure in order to get back to competitive ways as quickly as possible. With the team having ousted Sergio Perez after just one season to promote young Dane Kevin Magnussen to the seat alongside Button, McLaren have a second high-rated youngster on their books in Stoffel Vandoorne, who is signed to the management stable Button co-owns, with the Belgian winning on his GP2 debut last month.

There is also speculation around the paddock that Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso continues to be linked with a shock return to McLaren, despite being under contract to Ferrari until the end of 2016 that still will not go away. But in my view, I do not see Alonso returning to McLaren and I would be very surprised if he did return to the team in 2015 or even 2016.

But at the moment, it would seem that both McLaren and Button himself would like their partnership to continue for as long as possible and long may it continue. As we would expect, the start of the “silly season” within Formula One has begun and will continue as the season develops.

There might be speculation regarding the future of Button, but until an announcement has been made from either Button himself or McLaren, it looks likely that Button could be retained for the 2015 season in order to use the experience he has with Honda. The partnership of McLaren and Button I feel still has a lot of potential to give to the sport and if they continue, the future does indeed look bright for both parties.

Do I think that Button will be retained by McLaren for 2015? Absolutely and with the return of Honda, you could say both parties could be once again fighting for race wins or even the title in 2015? We can wait and see what happens but I really hope that Button’s future within the sport is confirmed sooner rather than later.

 

 

Ross Brawn ‘retires’ from Formula One?

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This evening it was announced that former Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn will not be returning to Formula One and considers himself ‘retired’ from the sport. This news will shock Formula One fans who will no doubt have been expecting Brawn to return after his six month sabbatical and was heavily linked with returning with the McLaren team.

Brawn who has managed within his career within the sport no fewer than 16 world title successes with Formula One teams such as Benetton, Ferrari and then his own team Brawn GP stepped down as Mercedes Team Principal at the end of last season and said he would decide about his future in the sport in the summer.

But now it seems that Brawn’s sabbatical from the sport will be longer. While at a fishing event this week in Scotland, Brawn stated that ‘I’m retiring- it’s not tongue in cheek.’ Also, on Wednesday at the Motor Sport magazine ‘Hall of Fame’ awards in London, he denied he would take up a role at the McLaren team, but he did also admit that he could be persuaded back into the sport.

Brawn said the following on Wednesday at the awards ceremony:-

‘Come the summer I may take stock and things may change,  never say never- but it’s not my plan. What they didn’t realise when I was invited here was they had a scoop because the world’s press was trying to find out if I was retiring or not. This is the busiest time of the year for Formula One and I said I would come along and open the River Dee. If they had put two and two together, they would have realised I was definitely retiring. ‘

However, many fans like me are properly thinking is Brawn retiring or is he not retiring. Brawn as also said to the media that this year he is:-

‘ [I’m] going to take a year to enjoy the fishing and then see what life brings. I’m looking forward to it but I’ve got no other plans.’

This comment from Brawn seems to suggest that he may not be with the McLaren team as he was heavily linked to over the past few weeks. And that is a shame for us fans. I think we all expected Brawn to come back after his six month sabbatical back into the sport and take on a new challenge.

And I personally would love to see Brawn back in the near future within the sport either as a Team Principal or even as an official within the FIA. Brawn has had a successful career within the sport since starting as a mechanic in the 1970’s with Williams. Brawn has achieved eight drivers and Constructor’s championships- seven of which in partnership with the great Michael Schumacher at Benetton and Ferrari which is a remarkable achievement.

However, Brawn took some time off from Formula One in 2007 and came back into the sport with the his own team in 2009 with Brawn GP and achieved the Constructors and Driver’s championship of that year with McLaren driver Jenson Button and has with his time with Mercedes team achieved their best ever Constructor’s Championship finish of second place in the 2013 season.

As I’m sure Formula One fans will be saying, it would be a massive shame for the sport if Brawn has officially ‘retired’ from the sport. In my view, Brawn has a lot of experience and success throughout the sport. He is well liked and respected by the teams and the drivers on the grid currently and his honesty will be missed by the fans this year.

Formula One needs people like Brawn in the sport, who will no doubt use their experience and knowledge gained throughout a long and successful career in order to make improvements for the sport in the present that will also carry on into the future.

However, there is no doubt that Brawn will be asked by some teams currently on the grid or even by the FIA to come back into the sport sooner rather than later. However, I do believe that Brawn will back into the sport at some point in the future, in a role that is best suited to his skill set and experience, but only in whatever capacity he feels is best suited to him. And I am sure that many fans will be waiting for this day sooner rather than later.

Tribute to Mark ‘Aussie Grit’ Webber: His Best 10 Races to Date

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As you all know, Mark Webber has decided to leave the Infinity Red Bull Racing team for 2014 to move to Porsche. I decided to pay tribute to Mark’s years in the sport by analysing his best 10 races of his Formula One career to date. All I want to say is a big thank you to Mark for making the last few years for me amazing and great especially as a McLaren fan by providing some great wins and memories for me as an F1 fan.

It has been very hard to even judge the best ten races Mark has done. But I have managed painfully to do it. The countdown begins now in ascending order…

10. Spanish Grand Prix 2010

Superb win for Mark. A brilliant and dominant race. Mark at his absolute best. A cracking race win for him! 

9. British Grand Prix 2010

Mark wins his first British Grand Prix in a dominant display in front of the British crowd. We all remember this race when Vettel attempted to force Mark off the track on the approach to Corpse corner, but Mark held on and Vettel made contact with Hamilton. This was his third victory this season and what a drive. [No video avaliable]

8. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2013

Mark took Pole Position away from Vettel with an amazing lap time. I could not believe it. Mark showed all the skill, determination, speed and commitment to produce one of the best Pole Positions I have ever seen him do. And he drove solidly to claim second place in the race! [No video avaliable]

7.  Monaco Grand Prix 2010

Great drive from Mark to win the Monaco Grand Prix since Sir Jack Brabham since 1959. And it was all the sweeter when Mark took the lead of the Driver’s Championship of that year. 

6. Monaco Grand Prix 2012

Mark’s second victory at Monaco was amazing. This victory created a new record for the sport as there had never been six different winners of the opening Grand Prix of the season. He also became the first multiple Australian Grand Prix driver to win multiple victories of the circuit. Well deserved. 

5. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2009

Mark battled his way to second place in the race and holding off an attack from newly crowned World Champion Jenson Button in the final lap. Mark once again showing the ‘aussie grit’ and determination that we all know and love. [No video avaliable]

4. Brazilian Grand Prix 2009

The second win of Mark Webber’s career. The opening lap was separated by three different incidents. The first was Kovalainen making contact with Vettel coming out of the Senna ‘S’. The second took place two corners later with Sutil trying to pass Trulli out of the fifth corner. Both cars were eliminated. The third took place in the pit lane Kovalainen was released from his pit box with the fuel hose still attached to the car, took it with him and a spray of fuel. Luckily no one was hurt, the Brawn mechanics got the fuel tank release off his car. Barrichello led the first part of the race. Mark Webber took the lead as Barrichello struggled with the pace and took the win. Also, Jenson Button was declared the World Champion and Brawn GP. But Mark fully deserved this victory! 

3. British Grand Prix 2012

Mark wins the race ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Just a brilliant drive from Mark to take away victory from Alonso in the latter stages of the race! His second race win at Silverstone. And what a win! [No Video was avaliable]

2. Australian Grand Prix 2002

This of course is Mark Webber’s debut race in Formula One. Mark was driving for the Minardi team on a three race initial contract. He qualified 18th and was 1.4 seconds ahead of Yoong. Mark managed to bring the car home in fifth place and become the fourth Australian Grand Prix driver to score World Championship points and the first points for Marc Gene since 1999. 

And Finally 1. German Grand Prix 2009

Mark’s first Formula One win. I have never wanted any other driver to win so badly. Mark finally tasted victory after 130 race wait which is the longest any driver in the sport has taken to score his first win. And what a win! Mark Webber had finally entered the winning circle. 

I wish Mark every success in the future. He will be missed by everyone in the paddock and it has been a privilege to seen him drove and mature into what I think is one of the most respected and well loved drivers by the paddock and fans of the sport.