Former F1 driver Allan McNish thinks the world of Le Mans would welcome Mark Webber with open arms in 2014.
With his Red Bull deal expiring, and the world champions weighing up the candidates to replace him, 37-year-old Australian Webber has been linked with Porsche’s return to prototype sports car racing.
“If Mark did decide to come we would all embrace him with open arms -– until the first corner,” Scot McNish, who raced in F1 with Toyota in 2002, joked to the Huffington Post.
“He wouldn’t want it any other way,” smiled McNish, now a top Le Mans driver for Audi.
“He’s a hard charger, he’s intelligent, he’s a thinker, he’s a nice person, he’d be good in the paddock,” McNish said of Webber, who raced at Le Mans late last century with Mercedes.
The fabled 24 hour Le Mans race takes place this weekend, and McNish thinks the event can compete head-to-head with formula one.
“I think sports cars has offered manufacturers a place where they can develop a technology at a good, sensible cost,” he said.
“They can race in a high profile race, Le Mans, which matches any F1 race without question and it’s got a world championship.
“Look at Renault — they’ve won the F1 world championship for quite a few years but no one knows. They all think it’s a Red Bull.”
McNish also said Le Mans has become a “viable” option for drivers of F1 pedigree like Kamui Kobayashi and Bruno Senna, and questioned whether formula one has taken the right direction with its tyre-dominated racing.
“It’s very odd the way it is in formula one now,” he said.
“I was looking at the laptimes from the Bahrain GP and noticed that they were basically the same as our race laptimes there — for a car that is 300kg lighter.
“I think F1 has tried quite hard over the past few years to become a spectacle, to get the fans to enjoy wheel to wheel racing.
“I think it’s positive to do that but they might have gone a little bit too far,” added McNish.
© RIF | GMM