on November 24, 2013 Off the track news with 64 comments

There are so many people that have been an integral part of my journey, on and off the track, that it’s impossible to mention them all. I’ve touched on a few of these people in my stories over the past week, but there are some others that made their mark:

Norbert Haug
I bumped into Norbert at the Australian GP in 1997. I had just won the Formula Ford Festival, so I went over with a card and asked him to keep an eye on me. I remember I had just got out of the shower in the two-up, two-down Annie and I had in Aylesbury when the phone rang and it was Norbert, asking me to drive the Mercedes sports car in the 1000km race at the Nurburgring the following weekend. This is six months after I’ve been driving Formula Ford. ‘All due respect, Norbert,’ I said, ‘this is going to be difficult’. So we didn’t actually do that race but I did a test and that started my relationship with Merc. I had a really good time there. Norbert was probably the most human side of that whole programme. Emotions were obviously very high at Le Mans and in the end we had a bit of a tricky parting when I wanted to go and do my own thing but it never affected my relationship with Norbert. He would always come to see me on the grid in F1 and I would always say hi to him. He was a supporter – as he was of lots of young drivers at that time.

Flavio Briatore
A lot of people probably wouldn’t put us together in terms of how they might see us but I can’t say a bad word about what Flavio’s done for me. He’s been incredibly loyal and has always boxed my corner when needed. I don’t talk to him often, to be honest, but his last goal was to get me the Ferrari seat, which was very close. Even up to a few months ago he was still pushing very hard, but by that time I had made my decision. I was disappointed about Singapore ‘08 and how that was played out but I can only judge him on what he’s done for me and he’s always been straight up and down and extremely consistent. I’ve had a contract with him for longer than my F1 career and I’ve never had to take it out of the file to review it. In fact, I didn’t even realised that it was about to expire last year because we’ve never had to question one another.

The beginning of my working relationship with Flavio.

The beginning of my working relationship with Flavio.

Bruno Michel
I can’t talk about Flavio without mentioning Bruno who has been Flavio’s right-hand man all the way through my career and with whom Ann and I enjoy a close relationship which goes beyond the race-track. It’s going to be good to be able to spend a bit more time with him, sharing a few glasses of red wine and looking back on my career. He’s seen it all and has been a tremendous influence throughout

Bruno and I in the F1 paddock in 2006.

Bruno and I in the F1 paddock in 2006.

Adrian Newey
Adrian is a big reason why I continued in F1 for as long as I did. He’s by a million miles the best guy I’ve ever worked with in terms of understanding a racing car. I’ve worked with a lot of people but Adrian’s ability to execute what the driver needs and what the car needs is just phenomenal. People might see him as quite a shy guy, he’s not a profiler, but he’s a bloody competitive guy. I’ve seen him when we’ve been beaten fair and square – and it’s not something he enjoys – and I’ve also seen him when we’ve finished one-two, and his reactions are sometimes not very different. Adrian is very driven, he’s an inspiring guy to work with and he’s a real beacon for the team, too. I can’t talk highly enough about him, really. He was one of the first guys to speak to me in parc ferme after the Malaysian GP this year. He knew how I felt and he wasn’t happy. I believe there’s a lot of respect between us and I certainly have a lot for him. He’s been through a lot in his career – the biggest highs and lows personally, and I respect that.

On the podium after our one-two in Korea last year.

On the podium after our one-two in Korea last year.

Dietrich Mateschitz
Dietrich has been great for me It’s not always easy for him to have his finger on the pulse with absolutely everything because he’s extremely busy. He’s an extremely successful man, a captain of industry, and he’s done a lot of amazing things for a lot of young athletes too. He’s lifted the bar for a lot of them. He always replies and is always available to catch up. He’s never too busy for that side of things and I’m looking forward to working with him in the future. Red Bull’s certainly a very slick and well-run operation.

Alan Webber
I can’t imagine what Dad was thinking when he sent me round Bathurst in a Formula Ford at the age of 18! There wasn’t a lot of maturity on my side at that point. He was so supportive then, just as he is now. Without him, I would never have left Australia. No doubt about that. Dad’s very philosophical as well and very calm. He’s been tested over the past few years, I must say, and it takes a lot to stir my Dad up, so you can read into that what you will. He’s a quality guy that hasn’t got an enemy – he’s one of my biggest heroes.

Ann Neal
It’s impossible to put into words what Annie has done for me. We left Australia and she believed in me probably more than I did myself. It’s intimidating coming to Europe but she pushed down a lot of hurdles and gave me the trust and belief that I could make it. She’s a perfectionist but was also very ready to hand the reins over to Flavio when she knew the time was right. OK, did we do everything perfectly? Of course not – that’s the way of the world, that’s how it goes. But did we do a lot of things right? Absolutely, yes we did.



  • Paul Davoren
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    I met you many years ago at Bathurst at a simulator stand,I was at Melbourne for your debut Heart in hand as Mika Salo was chasing you down at a great rate,I”ll be watching your last race on telly ,Have only missed 3 races since Adelaide 1985 !!Love the sport and LOVE YOUR WORK ,Thanks for the memories Mate WELL DONE !!

  • Galen
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Great for us to have this insight into your career and life Mark. You will be missed in F1 but I look forward to following you in the next stage of your career.

  • Michael Johnson
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Well written and heartfelt article. Out of your seven, I think I have three. My girlfriend is phenomenally supportive, and my stepfather is the one who got me interested in motorsports. My current team owner, Chris Mitchum, is inspiring and motivates me to do better every time I’m on track. Now I need my own Adrian, Bruno, Flavio, and Norbert. Actually, I think I need a sponsor before I can get those.

    I look forward to being able to fill out my own significant others article in the coming years. Now where did that potential sponsor list go? =-)

  • Hayden
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Hi Mark, it’s been brilliant reading all of your #MadeMyMark posts and gave me a real insight into the struggle it has been for you to make it to the top. It would have been all too easy to stay at home and race V8s, but you have blazed your own trail and made it right to the very top – and even given kids like Ricciardo and Evans a real shot. And credit where it’s due – even with these amazing people around you, it all came down to yourself once you belted yourself into the car, and I reckon most of these people are rightly proud about seeing their faith repaid in spades. I’ve been to the last 9 AusGPs and been waving your colours from the grandstands. It’ll be tough to do it without you next year. Thanks for the memories!

  • Erika
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Mark, you are a true gentleman. F1 will not be the same without you. Have a great last race. Kind regards from Mexico.

  • Christopher Schrader
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Thank you Mark for providing so much entertainment as you persisted over the years in your sport. You are the definition of a “class act”. Best of luck in your future both on and off the track.

  • Johnty
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    It’s been awesome watching you race for so many years in Formula One. So many drivers have come and gone in that time, so thanks heaps to the above people who helped and supported you along the way!

  • Lloyd Port-Louis
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Mark your Monaco win in 2012 will always stay close in my heart. My then 7 yr old son snuck out of bed to watch the race with me late at night. With my boy under my arm cheering you on for the win will be my most memorable and emotional F1 experience.
    Thanks mate for the memories.
    Perth, Australia

  • Steven Gillette
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    These have been the best reads I’ve had in years. Thank you for your honesty through your years of racing. When you see two crazy Texas boys at the front of the autograph line at WEC (good choice on a legendary team btw) in Austin next year, again thank you. My best friend and I have tired of F1, and after my experience of WEC in person, I’m sold. Aussie V8 was may favorite until coverage went to crap in the US. Hope to see you a few times next year in person.

  • jaime marina
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Congratulations Mark. Also to your partner and family. Have enjoyed to watch you since Minardi and always a pleasure to know that you gave all and maintained that sense of character from your home. You got to F1 on talent and stayed there due to talent. No greater testimony. Well done and many good years ahead for you and Ann.

  • Mark jones
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Brilliant mark nice to hear about all of your relationships with these key people , this made my mark is genius thanks

  • Ben Mercer
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Straight shooting directness & honesty. Something F1 can ill afford to lose. Mark, cheers to an amazing career & a million memories!

  • Nathan
    on November 24, 2013 Reply

    Congratulations on a great career, despite all your successes my best memory of your career is the brilliant 5th in the Minardi holding back Mika Salo’s Toyota. I yelled that afternoon, all the best with Porsche

  • Troy
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Followed your career since form ford days and have spent many very late nights staying up to watch you race thankyou for your tenacity. I will look forward to seeing your porsche form.More late nights ahead then.

  • Jill and Brian
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    What a wonderful career you have had Mark and it’s been an absolute pleasure to support you. Looking forward to supporting you at Porsche. Emotional day for us all. Good luck champ, all the best to you, Ann and all your family, a true champion.

  • Brenda Bogtstra
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Have followed your career and admire your integrity. You will be missed but I wish you all success in the next phase of your career……good luck Mark!

  • Randusff
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Watched you arriving at Interlagos with tears in my eyes. F1 will never be same again now I don’t have you to scream for every other week? C’mon – get on the podium!! Farewell to the the nicest and hottest guy in F1. Now how do I get tickets for Porsche racing? Love ya, Mark! xx

  • Debbie England
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Dear Mark,

    Thank you for the wonderful seasons with F1-we admire your integrity.
    All the best with your new ventures!

  • Andrea H.
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Mark, we like you as you are! Please remain who you are now! Enjoy your future with your companion.
    All the best! 🙂

  • Troy Sawrey
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Its the standard GP Race day, late Sunday night, early Morning start here in Darwin. Lights out, racing, Marks away in his last F1 race. Thanks for the ride Mark, your a champion and true inspiration. AussieGrit

  • Edit Novothny
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    It’s great to see such a genuine and honest personality. I’ll be missing you from F1. Congratulations on your career,and wishing you all the best in the future,
    Edit from Hungary

  • Paola
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Great last F1 race! Mark. Thank you for your great races. With you out, there won’t be much fun watching. Have a prosporous life.

  • Louis Brown
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    It will be weird not seeing you on the 2014 grid for F1. Thanks for all the racing memories you’ve produced and staying up to all hours to watch you race has been worth it. Good luck with Porsche for next year and all the best.

  • Carol Tutchener
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Congratulations Mark on a brilliant drive in your last F1 race. Thank you for being such an amazing, inspiring man. We will miss cheering you on every couple of weeks, but hope they will televise WEC next year so we can continue to follow you in what is sure to be another successful phase in your career with Porsche. Wishing you happiness and future success. You have done Australia proud.
    Thank you.

  • Dmitry
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    I’ve been watching F1 for only 4 years, and that was enough for me to become your genuine fan. I’ll miss you when the new F1 season starts.
    Wish you a good luck in your new racing challenge.
    Thank you Mark!!!

  • Lisbeth and Bengt
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Hey. We will miss you at formula one next year. You have been a favuorit at the race and we whis you all luck at porche and we will whatch your future races.

  • Sue Bellhouse
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    What a player…its been such a pleasure watching you race, and will miss you greatly next season, F1 won’t be the same without your input ,however, am now tuning into Porche and am looking forward to seeing how this great sportman performs in the new discipline…All the Very Best to you.

  • Marianne
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    You did great today Mark really enjoyed it! Thank you for all these years in F1 you will be missed. Have a great time at Porsche and I hope to see you drive at Le Mans. Good luck!

  • erica
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Nice run, Mark. You’ve been fun to watch in F1, great finish today, and I wish you all the best for the future! Give the dogs some belly rubs for me!

  • Maureen Murray
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    I might be an old grannie, but I have been an ardent supporter since your 1st drive in F1. You were robbed of being champion when your team mate crashed into you and refused to take the blame, that should have been your winning year! You have great strength of character, Mark, and you will be greatly missed by all your fans, F1 won’t be the same without you.
    Good luckx

  • Eddie & Judith Kimbell
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    To Ann & Mark, from working with Ann, providing bacon rolls during Formula Ford, we have intently followed your amazing career. Congratulations and all good wishes for your future and good luck with Porsche racing.

  • Ann
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Well done and good luck! Missing you already x

  • Liam
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Congratulations Mark and good luck with the Porche!
    You’ll be greatly missed.
    Well done!

  • Ann
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Well done. Enjoyed watching you. Missing you already.

  • Celina Robinson
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Thank you Mark you have been amazing and today is a sad day. Best wishes for your future and I will still love you xxx

  • Doug Groat
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Something that few fans have mentioned yet…
    Just how much class you have. Your input into F1 safety and running will be sadly missed. All the very best wishes for this next stage in your amazing career. Enjoy!!

  • Robert Russo
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    You superstar enjoy the rest of you career

  • Wojciech Markiewicz
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Thank you Mark! I’m a great F1 fan, buy I was also your fan. Next F1 season will be strange without You. Good luck and all the best.
    Regards from Poland!

  • Jim
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Looking forward to seeing you race some more, at COTA!

  • Pete Cella
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Good Luck for the future

  • dw45
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    My 5 year old son Thomas is going to miss his favourite F1 driver 🙁

  • Dani
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    You are a true legend Mark and I absolutely love you! You make me proud to be Australian. Will miss you in F1 but looking forward to seeing the next chapter in your amazing career! See you next year & all the best!!

  • Linda and Michael Cadwallader
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Formula one will not be the same. A real star has left the stage. See you at silverstone in April.
    P.s. We have been watching gp since 1970, you did not have the same car as the boy wonder !!!!

  • Phil Davies
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Mark, watching your final race today was such a moving moment. You’ve been absolutely fantastic in F1, and your personality and spark has certainly made me one of your biggest fans. You are the most fantastic driver and I’d like to wish you every success in the future. I look forward to extending my support into your Porsche career. All the best Mark, and If you ever fancy a cuppa and a chin wag- just drop us a message.

    Phil Davies & Sarah Shepp x

  • William orsler
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Some walk a bought Mark….jolly well done a pro….. And gentleman …thank you……

  • Lady McLean-Smith
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Hi Mark -So sad to see you go. Fell in love with you early on, handsome guy, then realised you are younger than my son!!! Good luck sweetheart.

  • Bryce
    on November 25, 2013 Reply


  • Pauline
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the memories Mark. You have done we Aussies proud, enjoy the next phase of your career and if you have a team mate I hope they are a true team mate prepared to share. P

  • Alejandro garcia
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Really emotional farewell from formula one, thanks for the thrills in formula one, I wish you the best whatever endeavor you take lots of love form a mexican fan and a big hug.

  • victoria
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    Will miss the class, respect and sense of fun you always bring to the sport! All the best!

  • AlanRamsay
    on November 25, 2013 Reply

    sad to see you leave F1 mark, would liked to of seenyou in a redcar . Good luck and scotland will be behind following you still in the future.

  • lee corbett
    on November 26, 2013 Reply

    Mark your a Flamin Legend mate!!
    Thankyou for the memories your the only one who told it as it was. Have no regrets about anything in F1. You are a Champion in us Brits minds. Bet your glad now you away from BabySchumi. Good Luck at Porsche – not that you’ll need it. Any chance of a Schumi like return when you’ve had enough of tintops??
    Go on I dare ya

  • Barbara Taylor
    on November 26, 2013 Reply

    Mark I am not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears last night when you crossed the line. F1 will go on but it will be poorer without your true sportsmanship. We have often held you and Jenson up as examples to our son. Don’t change. Looking forward to watching you next year driving for Porsche. Good luck xx

  • Jac
    on November 26, 2013 Reply

    You are the reason I became hooked on F1. After seeing your good looks and lovely smile and hearing your straight talking, I have never missed a race. F1 will not be the same without you. Good luck and stay safe.

  • Shane Compton
    on November 26, 2013 Reply

    I’ve enjoyed your successes so very much Mark, congratulations on a superb F1 career. You’ve done yourself and Australia proud, and will keep on doing it I’m sure. Go for it mate, well done indeed!

  • enrico
    on November 27, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for all the emotions you gifted us and for your style in being a F1 driver and a man – a true person. So rare in modern F1. Thanks a lot again and good luck for your new adventure!!

  • Lindsay
    on November 27, 2013 Reply

    I have always followed motor racing from a young age in South Australia. Mark, your involvment in Formula 1 has me hooked on the sport. Pity you didnt have more reliable cars in your earlier days. Will miss you and look forward to watching the sports car series. Regards Lindsay

    on November 28, 2013 Reply

    Mark, many thanks for the memories. We’ll miss the aussie gentleman on the track from now on.

  • Gordon Brownlie
    on November 29, 2013 Reply

    Mark, for the sheer pleasure you gave us for these years we are truly grateful. We also loved your honest answers in interviews. Straight to the point and 100% honest. You are going to be sorely missed by fans, such as myself, globally. Good luck at Porsche and we will support you there. Race on

  • bruce
    on November 29, 2013 Reply

    Again Mark, what memories your taking with you into the future. People who don’t follow F1 ask why I like it, well the answer is simple, watching men do things I could never do. That is the difference between the average person and an outstanding athlete. Not many man could overtake at 190 mph around a bend wheel to wheel and some times in the rain! a live to talk about week after week.

  • stuart atkin
    on December 3, 2013 Reply

    mark, nice to feel your emotions for those who were and still are contributors to your career and your person. looking forward to continue the great ride with you and Porsche. go webber

  • Adrian Hood
    on December 3, 2013 Reply

    We will miss a “real” face in F1. Good luck for the future Mark.

  • Paul White
    on December 12, 2013 Reply

    I have been very lucky to have had the chance to work with Mark and Anne on
    the Mark Webber Challenge which will always hold brilliant memories for me. It is rare to work with such honest and straight forward people in F1 and that is the Mark that the family has left with me.

  • Petra
    on December 25, 2013 Reply

    Merry Christmas Mark and All the Best for 2014 !
    A big hug from China

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