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Webber gets a new deal for a fifth season with Red Bull
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Jun 2010   |  11:52 am GMT  |  112 comments

Mark Webber will be Sebastian Vettel’s team mate for 2011 after the Red Bull team confirmed today that it was extending his contract. It will be Webber’s fifth season with the team.

It was expected anyway, but it seems that the furore over the collision between the pair last week and the reaction to it may have hastened the confirmation.


Webber, 33, is in the form of his career, leading the world championship with four poles and two wins this season. “It was an easy decision to remain with Red Bull Racing,” he said. “We began talking very early this year and were in a position to sign by the Barcelona Grand Prix. The decision to extend for a further year was a mutual one; it’s widely known that I’m not interested in hanging around in Formula 1 just for the sake of it and at this stage of my career, I’m happy to take one year at a time.

“I continue to feel very comfortable here – I have a fantastic relationship with the whole team and the factory at Milton Keynes feels like home. It’s been incredible to be part of the team as it’s moved forward from a mid-field competitor to one that is challenging for the Championship.”

Red Bull is based on the old Jaguar team, which was a serial failure in F1. Webber committed himself to them in 2003, but it didn’t work out and he went to Williams in 2005, just as the relationship with BMW fell apart. When presented with a chance to go back to Milton Keynes to what was now Red Bull in 2007 he took it and the team and he have risen up together. It doesn’t happen all that often in F1; Schumacher did it with Benetton and the Ferrari team of the late 1990s, Button did it last year but there aren’t many examples. Most of the winning is done by the established teams and newcomers don’t often get a chance to break into that dominance.

Webber speaks of a collective desire to win the world championship rather than a personal one. “I hope we experience more success together in the future and achieve our ultimate goal of winning the world championship, ” he says.

As a rule, F1 drivers’ income is 70% retainer and 30% bonus, based on podiums, wins and championship position. My sources suggest that Red Bull operates slightly differently with more like 40% retainer and 60% bonus. Vettel and Webber get around €3.5 million each in retainer and so they could more than double that on current trends of results this season. Next season Webber would expect to have a good car again, so he has a chance to earn very well.

The announcement comes ahead of what are likely to be two of the toughest races of the season for Red Bull. With long straights and no high speed corners, Montreal will be tricky, as will Valencia to a lesser extent.

Meanwhile Red Bull consultant Helmut Marko has been interviewed on Italian website 422.com and he confirms that Red Bull will not use the drag reducing F duct rear wing.

Here is a snatch of the Q&A with him.

What is now your position on the accident?
“The accident is over. We had the meeting in Thursday and
everything is over and solved, also for the drivers.”

Will it change anything in the way you manage the drivers in
the next few races?

“It will change nothing in our policy for the next few
races. The two drivers can still freely battle, but they
always have to let through each other. That was the
conclusion.”

What do you answer to the criticism that you are favouring
Vettel?

“We don’t favour anyone. Clearly we have two drivers who
have the same rights.”

The second answer is the interesting one. It has obviously been decided that in a situation where one team mate decides to have a lunge for a pass, the one in the lead has to let him through. That should make for some interesting situations as the championship reaches its conclusion.

It’s good that Red Bull takes this attitude and wants its drivers to race. They have a lot to lose potentially, but I think that the fans will respect them for letting the drivers race, especially now that the whole area of the team allegedly favouring Vettel has been aired and put away again, which is a positive. And before you ask, there is no chance that this new deal for Webber is some kind of sop to let Vettel be the favoured runner for the championship. He would not have accepted a deal like that.

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112 Comments
  1. neil m says:

    So if Mark takes a punt down the inside Vettel will let him through? I’ll believe it when I see it.

    1. TM says:

      “It’s good that Red Bull takes this attitude and wants its drivers to race”

      Hmm… not so sure I agree that letting each other through if there’s a lunge is ‘racing’, rather it’s just, well, letting them through. They could pull any old speculative move that no way would stick normally, and the other has to let them through.

      Telling them to give each other enough room and not take each other out; fine. But pure submission and racing are mutually exclusive. It’s a charade of racing, it’s Red Bull treating the fans as idiots.

      1. EM says:

        TM,

        Lunge is from James’ interpretation not the good doctors words.

        I suspect in translation he means give each other room, don’t punt the other off the track. He says they are free to battle which is fair enough by me.

      2. TM says:

        I might agree with you if this was McLaren, but I’m inclined to agree with James’ interpretation on this one.

    2. TM says:

      Sorry Neil M, I meant to comment to the main article, not to your post! Anyway, i agree with your comment!!

    3. kowalsky says:

      even worse the other way around. It’s a lose-lose situation there as i see it.

    4. Chris R says:

      Lets hope Mark is in that position sometime! It was my first thought when I read about the overtaking rule.

      It may make things very interesting. I mean it’s the opposite of the team orders whereby the driver behind is told not to try and pass his teammate. Here it’s “sure you can overtake, but if your teammate tries anything on you, give him plenty of space”.

      Will that make the chasing driver more inclined to overtake? Is that at odds with a team not wanting drivers to take too much risk.

      I hope we see more wheel to wheel action from the two!

    5. JR says:

      So, according to team rules, each driver has to let the other through without hindrance? This could make for some interesting racing next time the two Red Bulls are in a ‘one, two’. Given that lunging down the inside is possible on lots of corners, could we see Webber and Vettel constantly passing and re-passing each other? That could be fun!

      1. Romeo ( MEX in USA) says:

        Maybe this should be a regulation for all teams so we can see some passing and repassing.

    6. Marybeth says:

      So I assume this means that neither or both drivers are told to dial their engines down, not just one of them…?

  2. Red5 says:

    Good for Mark. If next year’s car is a development of the current RB6 he deserves a [second] shot at the title.

    The announcement is slightly earlier than I would have expected, does this effectively stabilize the silly season?

    Assuming Ferrari keep bringing updates throughout the year I guess Alonso will see out his 3 year contract.

    Kubica could be the key player this year.

    1. nik says:

      This means that the only movement we can see in the top 5 teams is:

      * Massa / Kubica
      * Petrov
      * Schumacher – will he continue?

      Otherwise it seems like there will be stability amongst the top 5 teams, which is good – because at the moment the top 9 drivers are in the top 5 teams (Petrov is probably the only driver who doesn’t fit). It is good for F1 when all the best drivers are in the best cars.

      I am very happy for Mark, I hope he takes the title this year and we see the #1 on his RB7 next year.

    2. Rafael L says:

      I’m trying to put myself in Kubica’s shoes.

      While Massa’s Ferrari career is coming to an end ( :( ), Kubica knows very well that he could very easily end up in arguably the most prestigious team in Formula One: Ferrari.

      With that said though, Renault have really, really improved and have admitted that they will gladly shape the team around Kubica. That is an extremely rare opportunity and one which he can be sure will not happen in Ferrari.

      So frankly, I think I’d pass up the Ferrari seat (for now…) and make the most out of Renault. Kubica is still a young guy. He could easily stay at Renault for 4, even 5 more seasons and STILL probably have a chance at getting picked up by Ferrari.

      Although let’s not kid ourselves, racing in red is a dream that many want to become reality. Quite hard to resist…

      1. EM says:

        Oh interesting one, how tempting it would be to stay with Renault and do a Schummie-esque turn the team into winners… And yet you’re right when Ferrari call it would be hard to say no.

        Given the F1 plug could be pulled from Renault in their current form any year he’d be wise to prance the horse.

    3. RickeeBoy says:

      Brilliant that Mark has another contract and lets still consider that the Red Bull has been nothing but harmony for a long time till this incident – so they will get over it. Lets hope Mark is still allowed to race properly.

      It would be fantastic if Renault made it a top 5 with Robert staying at Renault – BUT – with no guarantees about a decent car from Renault versus a Ferrari seat if it was offered (even alongside Alonso) then I cant see him turning down a Ferrari seat.

  3. Peter says:

    However I want to see Kimi in one of the Red Bulls – as I think he still has an unfinished business with F1 and plenty to offer – I think the one year deal is fine with everyone. Mark can be awarded for his strong performance and Kimi can stay in WRC after a learning year. But I would be foolish from Re Bull not to consider Kimi for the future.

    1. Matt says:

      Why are there so many Kimi devotees? It’s disturbing. Is it possible to have a discussion without his name coming up?

      1. Jason Greer says:

        No

  4. Amer Ishfaq says:

    Darn :( was hoping Raikkonen would make a comback with Red Bull for 2011. Still feel he had a lot left in him for F1.

    He does seem to be enjoying rallying so wish him the best and hope he does well there in the coming years.

    1. Kimi signed on for a further 2 years with Citroen only last week, so Kimi might not be back for a while yet (if he does come back)

    2. Brian says:

      He could still take Mark’s place. Remember, Kimi HAD a contract at Ferrari for another year, but he’s not there is he?…..

      1. Amer Ishfaq says:

        yea but i doubt all teams are back stabbers like Ferrari:) selling out their driver for Santander money.

  5. Lewis Jones says:

    So James, is your understanding that Mark has signed an ‘equal No 1′ contract? I still wonder what will happen the next time Mark has ‘saved some fuel’ and wants to make a lunge past Seb for the lead of a GP though………

    1. James Allen says:

      Taken in context of Marko’s interview, yes

      1. shortsighted says:

        It is obvious to me in Marko’s interview that in his opinion, Webber should let Vettel through by drving to one side. I hope he realised that Webber was still fighting for the Drivers Championship and was in the lead. One can see what Mrco demanded is not what happened between McLaren’s drivers in Turkey. Hamilton actually banged wheels with Button when he repassed to take back the lead. Drivers are there to fight and make passing as difficult as possible. In the video, it is so obvious that Vettel suddenly steered into Webber reminiscence to many of Schumacher’s unsporting maneuvers in the past. And yet right afterwards, Webber got the blame from this Marko guy. Offering Webber right now another year does not mean anything about equality. Giving him another 2 years or 5 years like Vettel could be. Retaining Webber for another year is just to avoid RB becoming an unpopular team to the viewing public which will make it a much less attractive team for advertisers.

      2. Trent says:

        The problem is, (according to Joe Saward) Vettel is Helmut Marko’s protege and he (Marko) holds a lot of sway with Dietrich Mateschitz – far more than Christian Horner.

        On paper the two drivers have equal status, but in reality the top brass at RB would rather see Vettel win. Mark will always be a little on the outer with the teams senior management. A Webber win is better than nothing but nowhere near as good as a Vettel win.

        James Allen’s description of the muted congratulations from the team after Webber’s first win last year was so telling, in my opinion. That’s the way it will always be for him; but it’s still a better situation to be in than a mid-field team with no hope of a win.

  6. Jake Pattison says:

    This is welcome news. I wish the whole team well.

    1. kowalsky says:

      don’t believe everything you hear. They are trying to save red bull’s image after the debacle. They saw the public is very sensitive with team orders, and don’t forget the brand is the most important thing here.

      1. Jake Pattison says:

        Don’t believe what? That he has been given a contract extension – the same extension they were discussing just days before Turkey?

        Are you suggesting that Webber is lying about his contract?

      2. kowalsky says:

        i am suggesting that vettel is still the one the prefer to win the f1 championship. It is a fact he got a one year extension, but he was looking for a two year, and he didn’t get it. Instead they want to give vettel an extension to 2015. And don’t tell me because he is younger. Just look at schumi. He is 41.

  7. BiggusJimmus says:

    I sincerely hope that Webber gets a fair crack at the championship. Would love to see another racer who’s never had a seat in a fast car go all the way. Aussie too. Good on him.

  8. Giles says:

    James – do you mean the use of the drag reducing wing is ruled out for the rest of the season?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, just for Canada

      1. Seems like suicide for Red Bull not to use it in Canada. They must have serious issues with it not to.

  9. james barnard says:

    James, slightly off topic, did you see the Andrew Benson article with the Lewis Hamilton radio calls? What do you reckon to it? Genuine error or conspiracy time?

    I have the utmost respect for webber, i backed him to win at the start of the season when his odds were something like 35-1. Surprising considering he did so well last season, given his broken leg, and he has what was always going to be the top car at the beginning of the season.

    1. nik says:

      link to the Benson article for others:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2010/06/new_evidence_for_hamiltons_dis.html

      I have put money on Mark for 3 seasons now, I might get paid back this year, finally :) Also got great odds.

      1. Robert S says:

        that blog gives so much away. thanks for that. red bull must favour vettel without a doubt. and mclaren clearly needs to sort out its communication

  10. chris green says:

    Horner is again agitating about engines for 2011. He reckons he’s only interested in Renault if they can get parity on engine output.
    The engine seems fine to me. It’s not just about raw power. Driveability and reliability are also very important.
    If I were Renault I’d be a bit miffed at RB’s constant harping about their engine.

    1. James Allen says:

      That may have something to do with the power circuit we are about to visit. Keep an eye on Kubica and Petrov’s straight line speeds.

      1. Carlos E. Del Valle says:

        But don´t high-downforce cars like Red Bull have an intrinsec final speed penalty? That could explain Renault´s better results at the speed trap, independently of engines. For instance, Senna´s HRT was reported to do very well at the speed trap because it has so little downforce

      2. Jon says:

        Yes, I agree Carlos. RB6 is a high downforce car. It’s design for total downforce rather then effeciency. I mean of course.. all cars are aiming at effeciency, but I mean relatively speaking to the other cars, it’s a high downforce car. Also, it is not assured that if you take the downforce off that the car will lots of straight line speed and still plenty downforce. What you could have is a car that is now slow in the corners AND on the straights.

        That is why teams don’t just all throw their F Ducts on, even if they don’t work very well. It always have to gain in overall net laptime in order to be worth it.

        I also think that a team like Redbull does this, because they don’t mind if it makes Renault seem like a bad engine.

        What I mean by that, is that engine companies usually try to design their cars for top speed, because it makes the engine seem better. All the time people quote speed trap times, and it’s always impossible to seperate the drag level of the car, from the engine it is using. So you have people talking up the straight line speed, which in turn makes the engine seem very strong. If you have a quick laptime, and quick straight line speed, it makes the engine company look very good.

        It’s impossible to say how much is drag and how much is engine.. Unless they both have the same engine. For example, it’s easy to see that the Mercedes car is draggy compared to the McLaren. Yes Mercedes are an engine manufacturer, but they only bought the team late, and the car is still essentially a Brawn. The Brawn from last year, was also a high downforce car. High downforce.. but it’s downforce was strongest in mid speed corners. Rather then Redbull’s high speed corner preference. There are so many factors that contribute to whether or not a car is good is high or low speed corners despite how much downforce it is.

        Wheelbase, suspension geometry, weight distrubution, CoG. How the car is setup etc.

        We also see that comparing the Brawn/Merc to the Force India, that the Force India goes for effeciency rather then total downforce. Although they improved that area this season, last season it was really showing.

        Give McLaren and Mercedes the same F duct, and the McLaren is still going to be faster in a straight line. But the Mercedes will be stronger through corners like turn 8 in Turkey.

        The problem for everyone when talking about is, is no one knows exactly how much is horsepower and how much is drag. It’s guesswork. The same thing as after winter testing or Friday practice and you are wondering which are the teams to beat. Educated guesses. You can only get a true idea when comparing teams using the same engine.

        Like you said, Renault is less draggy then Redbull but also less downforce and slower overall laptime.

      3. Jon says:

        Like James said though, there are two circuits where it really helps to have a good engine though. Canada and Monza.

        It was no coincidence that Horner started talking about it in the week leading up to this track.

  11. martin_tf says:

    Wonder if Red Bull were desperate to get a deal tied up before this weekend for the obvious PR benefits. Should have helped Webber get himself a good deal (well deserved) if they were.

  12. Matt says:

    Great news for Mark!

    Massa must be pleased with the announcement.

    1. Rafael L says:

      What does Massa have to do with this?

      1. Jon says:

        Ferrari seat speculation with Kubica/Webber talked about as possible replacements in 2011 for Ferrari.

        Like most driver talks in newspapers, it was made up of the writers wishes, rather then any actual facts to base it on.

        On a similar note.. Valentino Rossi broke his leg last weekend in Brno, he will be out 2-3 months and there is speculation in Italian newspapers that he might not race MotoGP for the rest of the season, and focus on a Ferrari F1 drive for next year.

        Ferrari even said that Rossi is welcome to test for the Marenello team, while he is recooperating from his injuries to lift his spirits.

        Notice a theme?

      2. Bastosman says:

        I am prepared to bet $500 with anybody right now that we do not see Valentino Rossi in a Ferrari in the next 5 years. I will bet $5000 that we do not see him in a Ferrari next year.

        Face it guys, it would only happen if they ran a third car as there is no way Ferrari would risk their second seat on such an inexperienced driver, and a third car will NEVER happen. There are enough cars on the grid, and I can’t see teams willing giving up those places.

        It could only happen through a Ferrari B-Team, like Red Bull have with Toro Rosso. I don’t deny that could happen. But until then, stories linking Valentino Rossi to Ferrari are just selling newspapers or gathering page-clicks.

      3. KNF says:

        Webber was rumored to be one of the potential replacements for Massa (the other being Kubica), depending on how “Takingoutyourownteammateandthensuggestingheismental-gate” turned out…

    2. Mr squiggle says:

      Massa won’t be pleased if he is only offered one more year. If that’s all he’s offered by Ferrari, then he’ll know what they were thinking in relation to MW.

      1. Matt says:

        My comment was a bit tongue in cheek.

        Webber going to Ferrari may have just been media fluff – but also – Massa must have had his eye half on Webber’s Red Bull seat.

        Can’t see another front runner having a seat in 2011.

  13. DrPaul says:

    Interesting to read your final comment James. I do however think that it is timed to keep Mark quiet about the whole situation. Far better to keep him within the team and biting his tongue, than to deal with someone who is going to leave the team at the end of the season and who would potentially be very critical about the team favouring Vettel. There is no doubt in my mind that the timing of this contract has everything to do with steadying the boat.

    1. Jon says:

      Definately. It’s hard to see the team wanting to keep both drivers together if they keep crashing. It will depend on the advantage the team has in pace, how they qualify, how often they are close together on the track, and then most importantly how often they try to overtake each other.

      It’s hard to see Redbull keeping Webber next year, if those 2 keep tangling all season long. A one year contract is easy to break. For now though (in full PR mode), “this was a one off incident and we don’t expect any incidents going foward”. If that’s true, Webber will be there next year.

  14. John says:

    “It will change nothing in our policy for the next few
    races. The two drivers can still freely battle, but they
    always have to let through each other. That was the conclusion.”

    Yeah pigs bum Webber will let that sook through!

  15. Mr Spindles says:

    Gotta love that phrasing at the end of the first answer…”and also for the drivers”. Makes one wonder whether this is really behind them and how any future incidents might get dealt with.

  16. Henry says:

    “The two drivers can still freely battle, but they always have to let through each other. That was the conclusion.”

    Funny definition of battle there. It seems that if you read between the lines, Webber has been told that he should have let Vettel through as the young german was faster…Does this not make strategy rather interesting – surely in a scenario where they are racing each other, its going to lead to some dodgy long-shot attempts at passing, safe in the knowledge that the other has to give space.
    Also if you read Andrew Benson’s blog entry on the BBC today there are still lots of favoritism theories winging around…

    1. Jon says:

      You could see after the race that Lewis wasn’t happy about something. It always seemed obvious to me that Button “took advantage” of the situation and tried to pull a fast one on his teammate.

      The biggest thing I learned after Sunday in tight pressure situations, how important it is the for the driver to feel like the pitwall is on his side. The drivers don’t have a calculator with them to calculate how much fuel they need to get to the end, and they can’t see the live timing and everything we can. They need to trust the voice going into their ear. In Redbull’s case it resulted in a crash, and in McLaren’s case it resulted in Lewis being “subdued” on the podium and wondering why he had to risk the way he did in turn 1, after outqualifying and outracing Button up to that point.

      If overtaking in F1 wasn’t a freak occurance, and if team radio was banned.. we wouldn’t see these issues. But F1 is all about micro management of situations, which makes it hard for spontaneous overtaking and racing. The cost cutting engine saving and everything doesn’t help either. The drivers spend have the race “conserving”, and that makes it easier for teams to manage situations to their liking.

      I am not suggesting favouritism in McLaren, just mixed signals and like with Webber, a stubborness in Button to not lie down, like his team wanted.

      The pit radio on the F1.com highlights video made things clearer, but you could always see there was something there. It’s alot easier to smooth over a mess, when your teammates don’t collide though. And take a 1-2.

    2. Jon says:

      You could see after the race that Lewis wasn’t happy about something. It always seemed obvious to me that Button “took advantage” of the situation and tried to pull a fast one on his teammate.

      The biggest thing I learned after Sunday in tight pressure situations, how important it is the for the driver to feel like the pitwall is on his side. The drivers don’t have a calculator with them to calculate how much fuel they need to get to the end, and they can’t see the live timing and everything we can. They need to trust the voice going into their ear. In Redbull’s case it resulted in a crash, and in McLaren’s case it resulted in Lewis being “subdued” on the podium and wondering why he had to risk the way he did in turn 1, after outqualifying and outracing Button up to that point.

      If overtaking in F1 wasn’t a freak occurance, and if team radio was banned.. we wouldn’t see these issues. But F1 is all about micro management of situations, which makes it hard for spontaneous overtaking and racing. The cost cutting engine saving and everything doesn’t help either. The drivers spend have the race “conserving”, and that makes it easier for teams to manage situations to their liking.

      I am not suggesting favouritism in McLaren, just mixed signals and like with Webber, a stubborness in Button to not lie down, like his team wanted.

      The pit radio on the F1.com highlights video made things clearer, but you could always see there was something there. It’s alot easier to smooth over a mess, when your teammates don’t collide though. And take a 1-2.

  17. Glenn says:

    Personally I cannot see this situation working as if Red Bull are running 1-2 at the end all the driver behind has to do is launch a late more up the inside at the end of the GP an hey presto he wins the race. Will it be like a cycle race where no Red Bull will want to lead on the last lap

    1. bouke says:

      Would be interesting to see a that, both trying to get the other in front of them before the end of the last lap!

      … only to be overtaken by a lucky Alonso or Hamilton who managed to avoid the two Red Bulls as they go wide through the last corner in an attempt to be just behind the other :)

      Would serve them right, if they really mean that ‘always let the other through’ stuff.

  18. Stephen Kellett says:

    Sorry, James, but racing is not “just letting the other drive through”.

    “decided that in a situation where one team mate decides to have a lunge for a pass, the one in the lead has to let him through.”

    That isn’t racing. That means you can make any old attempt and you get through. Racing is racing and that means get alongside AND get past. Something Vettel didn’t do last week (he did the first part but not the second).

    I’m not partisan about this. He didn’t make it stick and that is what counts. When you look back at Vettels F1 career he doesn’t have the magic that Schu, Hamilton, Button, Alonso and Webber have – they all know how to overtake.

    1. Jon says:

      I agree with you about the racing part.

      I am afraid there will be more fireworks later in the season, and I believe the blame will be able to be traced back to how the team handled it this time. Backed into a corner by their own comments and too stubborn to admit they might have been wrong.

      Have to wait and see what happens. But under pressure, I do not trust that team one bit.

      There is certain to be high pressure situations going foward.

    2. tharris19 says:

      I agree, he has a history of botching overtaking attempts and defending under pressure since his first full year in formula 1. The consistency of his poor race craft makes me question his skills and psyche driving under pressure.

    3. Rafael L says:

      Mark was unnecessarily stubborn: he knew Vettel was faster and knew he would eventually get overtaken.

      In fact, didn’t he even ask the team to slow Vettel down? Come on now Mark, you’re a good guy but if you’re asking the team to slow your teammate down…just let the guy through. You’ll still get 2nd place and maximize team points rather than cause a collision.

      1. Jon says:

        Read Benson’s blog on BBC website.

      2. Marybeth says:

        This is after Mark was asked to turn down his engine, ostensibly because he was low on fuel; until after the wreck, then urged him to hurry up to try to catch the McLaren’s who were on fuel conservation. He was not running low on fuel in the first place.

  19. Nadeem says:

    Great news for us Aussies. Well deserved. Interesting nite about the retainers since it is a topic that is not widely discussed in F1.

  20. Pally says:

    I can’t see Webber ever following up with this in practice.

    James – any reason you’ve not covered the other big story -Button vs Hamilton battle? Have a look at Tim Goss comments and the F1.com race edit, and then Whitmarsh’s ego comments.

    I read you’ve been accused of Button bias in your past articles but I am sure this is not true.

  21. Mark V says:

    This probably won’t be the only similar comment, but Webber’s signing does bring up the question of all those rumors of Raikkonen coming to Red Bull in 2011 and was there any substance to any of them?

    And it has been said many times that Vettel’s future with Red Bull is ironclad, but then no one thought Button would leave Brawn so who knows….

    Vettel is very good but as with any pro sports team, he now may be worth more to Red Bull to use in some sort of trade deal, especially now that he is still somewhat of an unproven, unknown quantity, surprisingly being beaten by a formerly unsung veteran driver.

    If Wayne Gretzky can be suddenly traded at the peak of his career, anyone can.

  22. Brent says:

    Interesting that Berger, one of Marko’s finds, is today blaming Webber for the crash. Seems Marko has passed on the job of jabbing at Webber so he can appear neutral. If Marko is still in charge there is still a bias towards Vettel in upper management. It’s funny Mark Hughes quote from Webber’s engineer isn’t getting much coverage today. James what do you hear about Hughes claim of team orders?

  23. Alan says:

    ‘The two drivers can still freely battle, but they always have to let through each other. That was the conclusion.’

    I see Marko is still tripping over his own mouth. This whole episode at Red Bull hasn’t made much sense (with regards to blame) and this just tops the lot.

    How can they possibly be ‘free to battle’ if they have to ‘let through each other?’

    I’m glad to see Mark will still be (hopefully) in a fast car again next year for another crack at the title.

    1. Alan says:

      On a side note, Vettel has finally spoken up about what happened in a relatively long interview:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8725882.stm

      1. Jake Pattison says:

        Thanks for the link Alan. Having just watched it, I am sad for Vettel. He really has a skewed view of racing as well as his own importance within the realm. With a philosophy like that he will never be a great driver.

        Example:

        “I had already passed Mark, and then obviously tried to come back slowly to the right. Obviously at that time I was the leading car, so usually the leader then dictates where to go.”

        He had not passed Mark. One can not be considered to be past another until well clear.

        He did not come back slowly. He slammed into Mark.

        He was not the leading car.

        I suspect the team are feeding his ego, and thus he cannot see the error of his ways.

  24. For Sure says:

    Bulls are obviously playing a totally opposite game of what Ferrari did a few years ago. In return they will win more fans but they will pay for it in championship results. From a sporting perspective, it’s brilliant and I am sure we will all be entertained by that.

    BUT if I am a team owner, responsible for hundreds of jobs and sponsors money, I wouldn’t let the drivers race that way. I would say “if you want to beat your teammate, you do it at qualifying or pit stop overtaking, you don’t overtake each other on the track. That’s one of the reasons why you are paid for”.
    In fact, I rather hire one fast driver and one Rubens who can collect points for constructor championship. Why? Because it works.
    Maclaren had the best car in 2007 and they lost championship for having two best drivers.

  25. Nick says:

    Andrew Benson’s blog says it all with the new evidence. Great for Webber that he has a new contract because Newey will probably still create a brillant car. IMO they still favour Vettel (yes even Newey!).

    James, in all your blogs that have centered around the Webber/Vettel battle since the start of last year, the snippets you have given us viewers shows the favouritism towards Vettel has always there inside the RB garage e.g. Spain 09, the atmosphere was like a morgue because the golden boy got beaten or the lacking enthusiasm within the team when Webber finally won his first race.

    What makes you think it will change from here on when all your blogs have said otherwise?

    1. James Allen says:

      The fact that it’s all blown up into a public debate will mean that it has to be dealt with differently from now on.

      1. kowalsky says:

        james, i imagine you would get inside information on how webber feels about the support he is getting from red bull racing. I am not talking about the equipment, but the moral support. It is looking like mclaren 07, but webber is managing the situation much better than alonso.

  26. parthi says:

    Very much expected, but great news either way, will be good to see Webber in a top car again next year

  27. James says:

    Sounds like a good deal for both parties. If the relationship falls apart, then they can both look elswhere after a year. Also keeps everyone on their toes.
    I find SV’s confirmation that he turned into Webber interesting. It took him a while to actually say he turned into him. With how close the two of them were, I’m very surprised that he believed Webber would have enough notice and time to back out or pull right. Vettel was nowhere near enough past. Nice to have a bit more clarity on the incident though.
    Now, who’s betting on a Hamilton/Button collision?
    Sad to say that it looks like Kimi won’t be back now.

  28. fred.e says:

    Signing for 1 more year was always on the cards – it’s how Mark prefers it. The smart timing is that the questions he will face in Canada will be more focused on the extra year and not that of the relationship between Seb. It is clearly a publicity thing in the timing of this. PR Class 101

    At the end of the day this is great news for Mark, but so many unanswered questions about how fuel, tyres and other bits will be used from pit wall to control the drivers adjustments to the car to potentially “fix” a race to suit maximum points and not the leading driver. But hey that’s F1 – and why we love it !

    Great weekend for Aussies, AEST 2:30 am race and then Aus vs. Germany world cup at 4 am – going to be a long night of sport for the Aussies – GO WEBBER !

  29. Jenny says:

    What about the thoughts that Ferrari will be redoubling their efforts to get Valentino Rossi in the car next season after his big accident has put him out of MotoGP this year?

  30. Jon says:

    Marko’s comment about “always have to let through each other” is lunacy.

    If there are any future incidents it can be pinpointed back to the conclusions after the first one.

    If you say “always let each other through” that means whoever goes down the inside has the right of way.

    In normal situations the drivers will be ok, but in heated pressure situations like in Turkey.. there will again be alot of room for problems. What if the drivers tries a late dive from a long way back? If they crash, he can just say “I was expecting more room”.

    Are they allowed to defend and block against each other or what? Surely they aren’t expected to yield as if they are being lapped (which is what Marko wanted Webber to do in Turkey)?

    We saw what Webber thinks about yielding in Turkey, and I can’t imagine Vettel thinking any differently either.

    I can’t ever see Vettel yielding if Webber throws it up the inside.

    I read just a few mins ago on BBC site, that Webber didn’t ask Vettel to back off, and that he was only asking what engine settings Vettel was on. And that after Vettel left the circuit, in the drivers debrief, Newey, Horner and Marko “laid into” Webber. Apparently it will all be cleared up in Canada GP weekend.

    There is obviously some conflicts behind closed doors. The only thing I can think is that Webber sees this as a necessary evil in order to get a race winning car. It’s not like he has better offers elsewhere, anywhere else he would have to be #2.. so I guess.. “better the devil you know?”

  31. Bob says:

    On Autosport’s website they have a quote from Vettel, admitting that he turned into Webber, “I had already passed Mark and then obviously tried to come slowly back to the right. At that time I was the leading car so usually then the leader dictates when to go. All of a sudden we made contact and that was the end of the race for me.”

    When asked if he would do the same thing again,”You do at the time what you think is right, and in that case you would do it again because you thought it was right.”

    So, RBR’s new team orders to Webber are to make room otherwise Seb will drive you off the track!?!?

    Is this any way to run a racing team? At least be honest about having a #1 driver, but dont lie to fans and take them for fools.

  32. DK says:

    “40% retainer and 60% bonus …”

    No wonder nobody wanted to yield in the fight for the lead.

  33. Williams4ever says:

    The clowns slap each other and spectator’s blood start boiling. The Clowns quietly go backstage and give other a slap on the back for “Great show”.

    Isn’t F1 really a wonderful circus :)

    A round of applause for the ringmaster and his clowns.

  34. Malcom says:

    Great news Nadeem, not just for Aussies, but for many of Mark’s fans throughout the world. Anybody who receives a drive through, as Mark did at the Nurburgring last year, and still win the race, is a driver that the sport still needs.

  35. Carl 21 says:

    The Kimi Raikkonen come back looks to be all but over for next season then. Unless Ferrari want him to replace Massa. But Kubica will do that anyway.
    The only other possibility is for Kimi to lower his price and take over from Michael Schumacher at Mercedes.
    Either way Webber and Vettel are a strong driver line up.

    1. senzo says:

      I thnk you mean ‘replace rosberg’, how can
      Nico retain any dignity as a top team driver
      by being unable to convincingly beat an
      ageing man who up until this year had not
      turned a wheel in anger for 3yrs, not only that
      Schumacher has beaten him for 3 races in a row now
      despite not having returned to his peak yet

      1. Williams4ever says:

        For Ageing Schumi to beat his team-mate, he had to resort to his trademark trick of forcing team to do away with chassis, that was working well for his team-mate.

        Its not as if he/team has suddenly set the world ablaze with new Chassis, but never the less Nico who was running with Redbull,McLaren before the Chassis swap is now stuck behind the Schumi train…

    2. Carl 21 says:

      Looks like Ferrari must of read my comment.
      They have just signed Massa up till 2012.
      The only way Kimi could come back now is with Mercedes. But they can’t afford him.

  36. tharris19 says:

    I’m somewhat confused; who speaks for Red Bull, Horner or Marko? If Horner is team principal should he be the one who is making definitive statements about team decisions?

  37. Andy C says:

    I think it is a smart move for mark. Even if the current shennanigans with marko and redbull carry on, he won’t find a better car in the pitlane that is available.

    At 33 the last thing he wants is to go to Ferrari in their current form. I can’t see them getting right back on top for a while yet.

    Here’s one for all you helmut marko fans out there. Webber for back to back wdc ;-) ? Highly unlikely but I would love to see it. I think he has rattled seb.

    I am going out on a limb and saying webber or button for the wdc. Bet there aren’t many who would agree but that life ;-)

    James,
    on another note I was Reading the item about mike taking some tech guys he has worked with from force India. On intellectual property it must be very difficult to stop a tech guy from taking what he knows to his/her new team. Surely that’s what they are bringing on board?

    is the fondtech case specific to lotus use of the mock up tyres from force India?

    1. Rich C says:

      You can bet Force India will be studying Faux-Lotus’ cars for the *slightest signs of proprietary features!

      1. Andy C says:

        I think the case was something to do with use of force indias tyres or somethink like that. Not a case of force India leaving an aero model and lotus saying I’ll have that ;-)

        might be wrong. I think lotus will continue to make strides on their own.

        It’s interesting to me that maybe hrt will be overtaking virgin soon

  38. kowalsky says:

    anybody has a link to a video from marko talking to the media about the accident?

  39. Ginger says:

    Good move by RBR. I like many am very pleased for Mark. I just wished that I had backed him at the start of the season. I am sure that he was about 15-1. I thought it represented value then but didn’t get the card out.

    Lewis for the win this weekend…..

  40. Eric Weinraub says:

    I am happy for Mark. He deserves it. I am frankly shocked by some of the comments about driver movment. Firstly, Schuey is going nowhere. He knows next year’s car will have strong input from him and he should be fully on pace. Kubica is staying put. The Renault is getting stronger and stronger. He’d be nuts to move. Massa presents a fast driver who will not get in Alonso’s way. I expect the top teams to remain static for next year.

  41. Jon says:

    Agree Ginger, Lewis will be near unbeatable this weekend.

    1. Marybeth says:

      He won’t have Kimi to run into on pit road & take them both out again.

      1. Carlos E. Del Valle says:

        Hey the light was red. It was not Kimi´s fault at all

      2. Marybeth says:

        I know that the light was red. Kimi handled it with class, grace & aplomb. He got out of his car, went over and put his arm around LH’s shoulders, and just pointed to the lights. No yelling, no swinging, etc.. :)
        Jon had said that Lewis will be near unbeatable this weekend. I agreed that it will be easier for him because Kimi won’t be there for him to run into and take them both out. Of course, there will still be many others to run into. :)

  42. Nick H says:

    What price now Vettel leaving, perhaps to Mercedees if Schumacher decides to abort his comeback attempt?

  43. yos says:

    Good news to Webber he will have another year to fulfil his WDC aspirations as i guess RB has already costed themselves both titles this yea, they have already been caught by mclaren and soon by mercedes and ferari.

  44. Darren says:

    In the immortal words of James Hunt, “And all I can say to that is… Bullsh*t”

  45. leukocyte says:

    Well deserved, long anticipated and sensible contract renewal.

    There seems to be limited comment about Mark’s most important value to Red Bull, that is his close relationship with Adrian Newey and his genuine talent for car development. Webber has always been a top-10 driver but not one who is naturally, instinctively talented, however he possibly stands alone with Schumacher in terms of car analysis and feedback.

    Newey is a genius no doubt, but Webber’s contribution to the RB6 should not be understated. He has, in effect, helped develop the car around himself over the past 4 or 5 years, and this is likely a huge (but little-referenced) factor in the success he is finally achieving. It is not hard to imagine that this might contribute to Vettel’s unease at times also.

    Whether Mark is officially equal, number one or number two driver at Red Bull, Christian Horner knows well that continuity of car development is best served by maintaining the Newey-Webber axis as long as it continues to be productive.

  46. cheers says:

    What a great move by Webber. Leads the championship, gets pay equalisation he didn’t have before (that is money out of Vettel’s pocket in this budget cap world), and Marko at least talking equality of opportunity and feeling like he has to slither around more quietly from now on and always now being fearfull of getting caught.

    Can’t wait to see Webber’s next trick, this one was a beauty!

  47. Rich C says:

    For a guy with no apparent position on the F1 team that guy Marko sure runs his mouth a lot.

    Wouldn’t a *real team boss say to him “stfu I’m in charge here?”

    1. Andy C says:

      Marko reports to redbulls owner detrich doesn’t he. So horner would be in no position to veto…

  48. matt says:

    Two thoughts-

    1.without an f-duct this weekend RBR are screwed.

    2. Vettel’s interview with the BBC- complete lack of contrition, no regret about the crazy sign, stated he was in front and it was his right to dictate where to go- what a p**k!

  49. dans says:

    Sounds like they didnt want to risk letting #1 go to another team in 2011..

    Plus who else are they going to put in the seat? Better the devil you know.

  50. Daniel says:

    I love this blog, so many great comments.

  51. Sebastian S. says:

    As a team owner, you CAN basically do whatever you want with the team. You can have a preferred driver, you can mouth off to whoever you want, you can blame one or the other and you can say the complete opposite to the press. It’s your team, you own it.

    If MW was told he’s second in the team, but we will say different to the world, that’s his job description basically.

    It all depends on team philosophy, how you want to be perceived and what you want to accomplish.

    I don’t get RB at all, they have shat their own pants and don’t know what to do about it. Either they are trying to make things better by appearing as an open team, perhaps they are afraid of FIA scrutiny, they are afraid of splitting the team having it pulled from two sided and thus trying to act diplomatic after the fact.

    They should have come clean straight away, they should not avoid questions like they are. They should cut the crap, tell things straigt and don’t act so bloody defensive. We don’t like defensive drivers and we don’t like defensive answers. That just means you are afraid of the real answer. RB are doing the same mistake as SV. Thinking they only have one chance, going for it, messing up, loosing control and blaming anyone but themselves.

    Enjoy the race weekend!

  52. Jim says:

    I have to have a slight maon at one comment in that post “Red Bull is based on the old Jaguar team, which was a serial failure in F1″. Ok, from Jag on yes, I agree, but if you look at it When Jackie made it, it consitently punched above it’s weight. Tell’s us a lot about Jakie and something about the importance of a decent man at the helm. I’m not at all convinced by Horner, this teams sucess rests squarely on Newey’s shoulders I think. Can’t help but wonder if a stronger manager wouldn’t be able to reign him in a little and make him build a bit more strength into the car…

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