Mark Webber’s last F1 start was the 200th time he’s seen the red lights go out at a Grand Prix.
Webber took a long time to get to the top of Formula One but now has nine race victories to his name and came close to winning the championship in 2010.
Here’s a look back on his career so far in pictures.
2002-2004: Minardi and Jaguar
After finishing runner-up in Formula 3000 in 2001, Webber was signed by fellow Australian Paul Stoddart to race for Minardi in 2002. He scored a dream debut result at home in Melbourne, coming home fifth after a first-lap shunt.
That prompted Jaguar to hire him as a replacement for the departing Eddie Irvine for 2003. But a front-row start at Malaysia was one of few occasions when the green cars showed the potential to challenge the front runners.
A move to BMW-powered Williams for 2005 promised to be Webber’s first shot in a car capable of challenging for race victories. He duly scored his first podium finish in Monaco but the team’s form dipped as the year went on and the relationship between chassis builder and engine supplier was severed.
This was a galling blow for Webber, who’d passed up a chance to join Renault. During his Williams tenure Renault wrapped up both constructors’ championships and took Fernando Alonso to the drivers’ titles.
Meanwhile Webber failed to make it to the podium during 2006, though he was in the running at Monaco until his car let him down.
2007-2009: Red Bull
The writing was on the wall at Williams so Webber opted for a return of sorts to a previous team. Jaguar had been taken over by Red Bull and new team principal Christian Horner had successfully lured Adrian Newey away from McLaren.
Webber was back on the podium at a rain-hit race at the Nurburgring. But while running second in Japan he was taken out by Sebastian Vettel, who was making his sixth start for Toro Rosso.
The two would soon get to know each other much better. Vettel joined Red Bull in 2009 and gave the team its first victory in China, Webber finishing second just three races after breaking his leg in a pre-season cycling crash.
Webber’s wait for a maiden Grand Prix triumph finally ended at his 132nd race appearance in that year’s German Grand Prix. It was soon followed by a second win in Brazil.
2010: Red Bull
The 2010 season was Webber’s most competitive to date, though it ultimately ended in disappointment for him. Back-to-back wins in Spain and Monaco tied him and Vettel at the top of the points standings, but at the next race they controversially collided in Turkey.
Webber added a third win at Silverstone despite having to give up a front wing upgrade to his team mate who was heading him in the points standings going into the race.
Win number four in Hungary came amid more internal rancour. Vettel led early on but received a drive-through penalty after being asked to hold up the field during a safety car period to assist Webber.
Despite clashing with Lewis Hamilton in Singapore, Webber retained the lead of the championship heading into the Japanese Grand Prix. But another cycling accident left him with an injured shoulder, the details of which he kept to himself until after the season.
A crash in the wet Korean Grand Prix was a major blow to his title hopes. He went into the final round behind Fernando Alonso in the points yet in a stunning upset neither of them claimed the title – Vettel grabbing it instead.
2011-2013: Red Bull
Relations between Vettel and Webber have hardly improved in the years since. Vettel was in crushing form in 2011 as Webber found the handling characteristics of the RB7 with its powerful exhaust-blown diffuser less to his liking than his team mate.
Webber enjoyed a better 2012 following the banning of the technology, winning twice and leading Vettel in the points at mid-season. But poor luck with unreliability and collisions later in the year held him back as Vettel scooped title number three.
The 2013 season had barely begun when hostilities between the two, fired by further skirmishes in the previous season, spilled out onto the track. In Malaysia Vettel disobeyed an instruction to stay behind Webber and passed him to win.
In the light of the increasingly fractious relationship between the pair, it remains to be seen if Webber will stick around for another season at the team with which he has enjoyed so much success.
Webber reached his 200th start in the same race as another driver: Fernando Alonso. See his career in pictures here:
- First pictures: Drivers join new teams as Abu Dhabi test begins
- 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in pictures
- Sebastian Vettel’s Formula 1 career in helmets
- 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying day in pictures
- 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice in pictures
Images ?é?® Ford.com, BMW ag, Williams/LAT, Red Bull/GEPA, Red Bull/Getty, F1 Fanatic, Andy Lees (In Focus With The World), Boris 1964