“So close,” he is quoted by Speed Week in the Abu Dhabi paddock, “that I had to take the phone in my hand and call (Red Bull team owner) Dietrich Mateschitz.”
Webber, who will leave F1 and switch to Le Mans for 2014 after this month’s Brazilian grand prix, is referring to last season, when Ferrari was on the market to replace Felipe Massa.
“We couldn’t find an agreement with Ferrari,” said the Australian, “or I’d be sitting right now in Felipe Massa’s car — also in 2014,” he revealed.
“I had set myself a deadline and on the Thursday before Canada last year I made the decision to stay another year with Red Bull,” said Webber.
In the end, Webber says he will walk out of the Interlagos paddock late this month with his head held high, happy with his F1 career even though he missed the world title.
“It was not meant to be,” he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport, “but it was a proud and honest career.
“I see myself on par with the one-time champions,” said Webber. “Am I a potential multiple champion? The answer is clearly not,” he admitted.
Webber therefore admits that his teammate Sebastian Vettel, with whom he has shared a tense tenure at Red Bull, is better.
“Seb is exceptional,” he said, “and I have no problem admitting it.