Photo credit: Porsche

Formula One and Le Mans icon Mark Webber’s recent announcement that he’ll retire at the end of this 2016 season felt like a bit of a surprise. He gets along well with his team and his teammates, and he’s still at the top of his game. What brought him to leave his sport? One brutal crash from two years ago.

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Webber explained in a lengthy interview with Daily Sportscar that it was his big crash at the 6 Hours of Brazil that made him think twice about continuing to race:

The Brazil crash (at Interlagos in 2014) was horrible for my wife, that was a really, really hard moment for her and my Mum is not enjoying my racing any more at all. It’s a very selfish profession that we have so I have factored in, 5% here, 5% there and sometimes I have been in the car in the last, while and have said (to myself) “Why am I in the car?”

When you ask yourself that question then it’s time to stop.

That 6 Hours of Brazil accident was particularly brutal, leaving Webber with bruising and a concussion. Webber couldn’t even recall the accident after it happened. He told Daily Sportscar that he felt fortunate to only have those injuries from such a major crash:

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Brazil was… I was very lucky in Brazil, very lucky. It was a gi-normous impact, it was also the longest time for me ever to recover from a crash so that was an eduction to say the least and then you see Brendon at Silverstone [referring to Brendon’s huge flip].

Webber also let a couple other gems drop in the interview, such as the fact that he’s “probably not” looking forward to Shanghai and that the World Endurance Championship could do better with TV deals and making licensing harder for amateur drivers.

Perhaps that’s what I’ll miss the most from Webber as a driver: the ability to speak his mind even in front of the media.