ASTON Clinton F1 star Mark Webber has laughed off rumours he plans to hang up his helmet at the end of this year.
Webber will hit the accelerator on his 11th season at the pinnacle of the sport next month, when F1 2012 gets underway in front of his home fans in Australia.
And while he is under pressure after being comprehensively outperformed by team-mate, Sebastian Vettel in 2011, the 35-year-old told the Australian press that he is ‘not contemplating’ retirement anytime soon.
“Not at all, (although) you know, I’ve been through enough on and off the track to know that nothing is forever,” he said.
“(According to the media) I was supposed to be replaced by Kimi (Raikkonen) four years ago!”
Despite talk of Webber planning to put the brakes on a life in the fast lane, The Stag at Mentmore co-owner is honest enough to admit 2011 was disappointing.
“I clearly got outperformed last year, there were areas where I could have done a better job,” he added.
“It was a tough start to the year I think, that makes it difficult to roll out of that mid-season and come to the end ... but, again, it’s those old lessons of operating at this level, you know you just have no choice, you’ve just got to get back on the horse, and get on with it.”
Finishing with victory in Brazil at the end of the last campaign sent Webber into the winter on a high and he says he is feeling the benefits.
“I think it’s one of the best breaks I’ve had. It was just a really good break and you know sometimes they don’t always go like that.
“Obviously, on the back of 2010 when I didn’t win the championship that was a different sort of winter getting your head around that, and then the previous winters before that I was having surgery on the leg.
“So this was a real first nice winter, saying, like, let’s pull it all together and come back refreshed, you just feel refreshed, that’s the most important thing,” he concluded.
Although feeling rejuvenated and fresh-faced ahead of the curtain raiser in Melbourne on March 18, Webber admits he slightly is less enthused by the look of his new RB8 car.
With new rules introduced this season, the F1 cars have taken on a distinctly different look with stepped noses proving all the rage.
But Webber thinks the noses are plain ugly.
“F1 cars should look beautiful.
“The stepped nose is not very desirable in my opinion but that’s how it is and that’s okay.
“Aerodynamically the concept is a bit different for sure.
“But I feel comfortable in the car and it goes, so we’ll see,” he added,
You can keep up to date with Mark Webber on Twitter. Go to www.twitter.com and follow