Porsche have denied they have agreed a deal with Mark Webber for the Aussie to switch to sportscar racing in 2014.
The 36-year-old’s future at Red Bull, and in Formula 1 in general, beyond the end of the current season was already uncertain even before the explosive events of the Malaysian GP last month when Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders to beat Webber to the race victory.
Although initial suggestions that Webber might even quit Red Bull immediately proved well wide of the mark, reports in the German press nonetheless suggested that he was already in talks with Porsche and considering a switch to sportscars from next season to spearhead the legendary car maker’s return to Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship.
Those rumours went into overdrive on Sunday following the Chinese GP, with suggestions emanating from France that the nine-time grands prix winner had even already signed a five-year deal with the car maker.
However, Porsche themselves have insisted Webber has signed no deal with them, although are not ruling out ultimately hiring external drivers to their 2014 programme.
“Mark Webber has not signed a contract with Porsche,” Porsche’s motorport spokesman said.
“In 2014 Porsche will return to Le Mans and the Sportscar World Championship WEC in the highest class LMP1. Our ten factory drivers are an excellent basis for our driver line-up. If we will add additional drivers will be decided later this year.”
As has been the case in recent seasons, Webber’s plans beyond the end of the current campaign currently remain unknown owing to the fact that he has for several years only been on a rolling one-year deal.
Speaking about his plans post-2013 on the Thursday of the Chinese GP, Webber had insisted he never makes decisions on the next season this early in a year.
“Year-by-year [contract extensions], that’s how it has always been for me, so come the summer I will talk to Dietrich [Mateschitz] and we’ll go from there,” Webber confirmed. “We’re only at the third race and I have never, ever made decisions about my career at this point in a season and, although it’s a topic at the moment, I don’t see why I should make any decisions about the future.”