A candid Mark Webber has admitted that he came close to quitting Formula 1 entirely during the 2005 season.
Having impressed many larger teams with some impressive performances at Minardi and Jaguar, Webber ignored his manager Flavio Briatore’s advice to sign for Renault and instead joined the Williams team for the 2005 season – a decision Webber has publicly admitted was a mistake.
While Renault went on to win back-to-back titles with Fernando Alonso taking the spoils in the Drivers’ Championship, Webber ensured a torrid 2005 season as Williams began its inexorable slide amidst the disintegration of its relationship with engine supplier BMW.
“I got pretty low during my time with Williams,” admitted Webber, who jumped ship to Red Bull in 2007, and is now reaping serious rewards in his fourth season with the team.
“I think most people at this level have similar levels of talent and you have to be the one who wants it the most. There was a stage when I didn’t,” Webber added.
The Australian described the feeling as being more than just burn-out.
“I think a lot of people may want to throw the towel in at times,” he said. “I mean it is not like you are in other sports, where you can take some time off, maybe pick and choose your events.”
His interview with Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper also concentrated on the rumours that pointed towards his retirement at the end of the 2011 season, having extended his deal with Red Bull by a single season.
“If I win that world championship, well, that may do me. I’d be a very content man,” he hinted.
[Original image via The Cahier Archive]