Webber’s replacement doesn’t have to be big name, says Porsche

Porsche LMP1 boss Andreas Seidl says there is no reason for Mark Webber’s 2017 replacement to be a “big name”, suggesting that Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber are the leading candidates for the drive.

Webber’s replacement doesn’t have to be big name, says Porsche
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
Mark Webber, Porsche Team
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
Nick Tandy, Porsche Team North America
#911 Porsche Team North America Porsche 911 RSR: Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet, Richard Lietz
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, #1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske Chevrolet

It was announced ahead of last weekend’s 6 Hours of Fuji race that Webber will hang up his helmet after the end of the current campaign, opening up a plum seat in Porsche’s six-strong WEC driver line-up.

Speaking about the German manufacturer’s options to replace the 40-year-old Australian, Seidl was quick to point out the availability of 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winners Tandy and Bamber in its GT stable.

The pair have largely spent 2016 with Porsche’s team in the US-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar series, although they returned to La Sarthe in June to race factory-backed 911s in the GTE-Pro class.

“For sure there’s a lot of interest to join Porsche, but we make the decision about the driver line-up only after the season,” Seidl told Motorsport.com.

“We have the luxury of having two Le Mans winners in the GT line-up [Tandy and Bamber], and these two guys are obviously quite high up in the list, although I don’t want to name one in particular.”

Asked if there would be a further reshuffle of Porsche’s line-up, he added: “We have seen with the decisions we made in previous year – to analyse the season and then make the call – it went pretty well.

“I think part of our success has definitely been the stability we have in the driver line-up, so we will do the same again. I won’t point out any specific driver at the moment.”

Seidl also insisted that, despite the availability of drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya and Felipe Massa as candidates to replace Webber, there was no pressure on Porsche to recruit a well-known name – but didn’t rule out signing a high-profile outsider in certain conditions.

“First of all there’s the performance, which is always important, because it doesn’t help if you have someone in the cockpit who is a big name but he doesn’t perform,” he said.

“With Mark, we had the bonus of him performing and being a big name. We had the same with Nico Hulkenberg [at Le Mans last year].

“It’s not a must to have a big name, but if there’s a quick one who is around, who is committed and suits the project, why not?”

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