Webber did all he could to make it an unemotional farewell last Sunday, even asking the two people normally at his side, father Alan and partner Ann Neal, to stay at home and, it felt, leave him space to just get through the moment.
A down-to-earth character, with a distain for hype, he played it his way – and his final gesture to remove his helmet as he drove his last in-lap typified his ‘man of the people’ attitude to life – and his love of doing something out of the ordinary.
He was now looking forward to going home, cutting some wood, drinking a bit of wine and eating chocolate, he admitted with a smile in his final press conference Brazil, thinly masking the utter joy he felt at the thought of never having to do one of those in the F1 paddock again.
“It’ll be a relief in some ways for that chapter to be over,” he added on reflection the following day.
But how can a man who has spent more than a decade driving some of the fastest cars on the planet get a buzz out of life now?
Well, a trip to his garage, quickly reveals his grand plan.
The open door reveals two of Webber’s prized possessions. One is a classic Porsche, a unique and rare example of the beautiful bug-eyed machines from decades gone by. The other is a high-end, super-specced mountain bike, which he now plans to put to even more regular use.
The Porsche adventure has always been in his heart and it’s something he’s been planning for a while. The timing just happened to be ideal, allowing him to leave F1 at the end of an era and step into world sportscars, to help build a Porsche works team in a period when the series is gaining momentum with genuine potential to be big again.
Webber’s love of outdoor adventure, however, has been going even longer, nurtured from an early age but stepped up a level in a wild 1,000km race across Tasmania in 2003, which led to the creation of his now annual Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge.
“Adventure is a key part of what I am,” says Webber. “I don’t know how the first year will go out so it’s a case of wait and see, but, I do have an eye on a few events which I don’t have the motivation to do just yet but I’m sure I will once I have more time on my hands.
“I’m looking forward to not having to rush to do things and trying to squeeze them in between my race schedule.”
The Challenge, however, is one event he has had to miss. It began on Wednesday and runs all this week, but the long flight from Brazil, coupled with team commitments and, you feel, complete exhaustion after a long F1 season, are all reasons why he failed to make it out to Tasmania to take part in his event this year.
It’s the first time he’s missed it – and he is genuinely gutted. A blast in the wilderness, after all, is exactly what has always enabled him to freshen up and prepare for the next racing season.
“Adventure is a key part of what I am and so I hope we can continue to grow that event, and maybe others, in the future,” he said, confirming his commitment to expand the outdoors part of his life.
“This year’s course takes a route around north western Tasmania – back where it all began - and it sounds awesome. It’s a beautiful part of Tasmania and I’m actually very jealous of the guys who are going to get to race out there.”
One such guy is Mitch Evans, the GP2 racer who Webber has taken under his wing and, all being well, whose career management will also be a big part of the retired F1 driver’s future.
After nurturing Evans through the lower ranks, this season will be a big one as he targets a place in F1 for 2015. So, in true Webber style, what better preparation than 200 miles of kayaking, biking and trail running in the remote Tasmanian wilderness?
The profile on Webber’s active twitter feed simply states: ‘Drive cars at weekends, huge sports fan and loves the outdoors.’
But you can’t help feel that putting those in reverse order is starting to become more appropriate...