Has Mark Webber signed for Porsche and sportscars?

David Hobbs

No sooner had the Chinese Grand Prix finished than Twitter was abuzz that Red Bull driver Mark Webber had signed a sportscar deal with Porsche from 2014.

The F1 driver had just endured a miserable race on Sunday, having retired after a wheel came loose and then being handed a grid penalty for next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix. This came three weeks after he was robbed of victory at the Malaysiam Grand Prix by his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who disobeyed team orders in the closing stage of the race to pass Webber for the win.

Vettel quickly apologised to Webber and to the team but looked to have changed his tune in China when he said that he would do the same again and that Webber didn't 'deserve' the win. The incident has soured an already difficult relationship between the two drivers, leading to much speculation about Webber's future. Indeed, he said after the Malaysian GP that he would be thinking hard about what he would do next.

But it looks as though Webber may have already found an exit from F1 thanks to Porsche, which is returning to sportscars in 2014. Motorsport News tweeted:

"After a disastrous #chinesegp would Mark Webber be better off in sportscars? Talk of #porsche LMP1 deal circulates for 2014"

while the official Le Mans 24 Hour twitter account issued this teaser which included Webber's Twitter handle:

"Mark Webber at the 24 hours 2014 with Porsche ...May be ... #LM24 @AussiGrit #mission2014"

Of course, rumours are legion in F1 and it may just be coincidence that this speculation has surfaced on the same weekend that the FIA World Endurance Championship kicked off at Silverstone but AOL CArs would like to think it's true.

And to give us more confidence in the Twitter fever, we asked Derek Bell, a four-time Le Mans winner with Porsche, what he had picked up.

"I hear he has gone," the sportscar legend told us. And we liked the emphasis in his voice.