Mark Webber has revealed in his book, that there were contracts ready for him to sign in Maranello that would see him race for Ferrari in 2013.
“There was now a very real chance I would be joining the Prancing Horse team. Flavio, Stefano, and Fernando all wanted it to happen; contracts were sent but they were for one year plus an option, instead of the two years we were pushing for.
“I just wasn’t interested in switching to another F1 team for 2013 when in July of that season they might tell me my services wouldn’t be required the following year”.
Red Bull got wind of these discussions and according to Webber, “were having a bit of fun talking to other drivers too, Lewis in particular, as they had clearly got wind of the Ferrari approach, so there had been no dialogue about extending my contract.”
The out of the blue, just days after his win at Silverstone, Christian Horner came up with a new one year deal to retain the Aussie driver at Red Bull Racing.
Webber claims Alonso begged him to wait before agreeing his new Red Bull deal, as Ferrari were presumably flexible on the length of the contract term they were prepared to offer Webber.
Always regarded as someone who knows his own mind, Webber concludes, “my gut was telling me Ferrari wasn’t right for me.”
Bernie Ecclestone had originally poo poo’d the idea of Webber driving for Ferrari, however, following Mark’s announcement in June 2013 that he was to quit F1, Ecclestone approached Mark: “he asked me if I was comfy with my decision [to leave F1] and said he believed we could still make the Ferrari deal happen for 2014.”
“It would have been a change of scenery to go to Ferrari: it was also nice to feel a little bit wanted”, Webber reveals – yet his decision to leave for sports cars and be offered a top line drive with the returning Porsche team was too much to resist.
Of course all this pre-dates Ferrari’s eventual recruitment of Kimi Raikkonen – which at present despite assurances to the Finn that he is no number two driver – is looking no better for Ferrari than when Massa was driving for them.