ERJ staff report (TP)
London − Mark Webber says the "top-flight edge" has been taken away from Formula One due to the Pirelli tires and hinted he may have retired at the end of the Bridgestone era had he known, reported ESPN.
Webber will retire from the sport at the end of this season to race in the World Endurance Championship for Porsche, and says his career in F1 was prolonged by the cars he's been driving. However, as one of the more vocal critics of the Pirelli tires, Webber admitted their introduction in 2011 has had too much of an impact on drivers for him.
"Adrian Newey's probably still one of the biggest reasons I continue to drive, because to drive his cars are still very, very rewarding," Webber told Sky Sports. "Little did I know what we were in for with the switch in tires from Bridgestone to Pirelli, that was another thing which was again up to the drivers to get your head round that and sort that out.
"But you even see within the same tire family - Kimi [Raikkonen] compared to [Romain] Grosjean − when you have these slight changes in tires how they can really affect the driver's performance, and that's been magnified on the Pirellis quite a bit in my opinion through different drivers' driving styles and different techniques and things like that. So that hasn't helped the top-flight edge of getting the most out of yourself week in, week out, in terms of dealing with that."
However, Webber also said he'd been heavily considering retirement at the end of the 2010 season when he missed out on the championship at the final round.
"I think towards the end of your career you probably find little things that you convince yourself that you're not enjoying it as much as you were. You're not 22 anymore, I'm 37, I've done 215 races at the end of the year so the juice goes out of the tank a little bit.
"At the end of the day I'm still super respectful of who I'm racing against, how I go about it. I'm not blasé about competing at this level, I still respect it at this level, but there comes a time where you've got to get that decision right. Yeah, if I'd won the championship in 2010 that might not have been the best decision if I retired then, but it didn't happen."
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Full story from ESPN