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Red Bull “let the drivers race”, or do they?
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Mark Thompson Getty
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jul 2011   |  8:39 am GMT  |  388 comments

After last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz articulated his philosophy of why his drivers would be allowed to race each other right to the end and the team would not intervene, “Let the two drivers race and what will be will be,” he said. “If Alonso wins we will have been unlucky. I predict a Hollywood ending. Worst case scenario we don’t become champion? We’ll do it next year.

“But our philosophy stays the same because this is sport and it must remain sport. We don’t manipulate things like Ferrari do.”

He got his Hollywood ending when Vettel went on to claim the title at the final round. Mateschitz wanted to see his drivers race and his attitude looked like a very noble, Corinthian spirit.

Those words look pretty hollow today, however after Red Bull instructed Mark Webber to “maintain the gap” behind his team mate Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps of yesterday’s British Grand Prix.

Webber had ignored instructions from his own engineer Ciaran Pilbeam and was shaping up for a move, but heeded the instructions after team boss Christian Horner intervened.

Afterwards he made his feelings clear in the press conference, where he said he was “not alright about it” as he felt that he should be entitled to fight for an extra place. As he pointed out, if anything had happened to the leader Fernando Alonso, he would have been fighting for the win.

Team orders are now legal in F1, so there is no official sanction here, but the team face serious accusations of hypocrisy while Mateschitz’s credo seems to have been ignored.

One one level it’s not a big deal; it was only for three points. But on another level it’s huge because Red Bull has given up the moral high ground and worse, has shown that its values were fine when Vettel was the one being given a chance, but that it doesn’t apply the other way around.

Was three points worth sacrificing all of that for?

With Vettel so far ahead in the points and unlikely to be caught this season, fans would argue that there was no need for Red Bull to intervene. Team boss Christian Horner said that they had done so because they feared the drivers might take each other off.

“I’m surprised at what he (Webber) did, so it’s something he and I will talk about in private,” Horner said.
“At the end of the day, the team is the biggest thing. No individual is bigger than the team. I can understand Mark’s frustration in that, but had it been the other way round, it would have been exactly the same.

“From a team point of view, there was a big haul of points on the table and it made absolutely no sense to risk seeing both cars in the fence and coming back on a tow truck.”

This rather underestimates Vettel’s intelligence. He might not have wanted to finish behind Webber for the first time this season, but the big picture is that he would still be leading his team mate and closest challenger in the championship by 201 points to 127 as opposed to 204 points to 124 we have today.

He’d hardly be likely to block or collide with Webber simply to alter those numbers. Vettel is a champion, he proved that last year and he’s proved it time and again this year with his increasingly mature and impressive performances. And he is more than capable of thinking like a champion.

He should be allowed to race, because the downside of acting as Red Bull have done here is that they diminish his achievement by making it look manipulated and have needlessly undermined a set of values that they worked hard and took huge risks last season to establish.

The irony of this is that both Horner and Webber had confirmed over the course of the weekend that they were going to renew their contract for 2012, despite the team receiving overtures from some of the most successful drivers on the grid. This is unlikely to derail that, but it has raised all sorts of questions.

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388 Comments
  1. Paul Grainger says:

    Great read!

    1. Just A Bloke (Martin) says:

      Yeah, the bit about having the opportunity to chase down Alonso, especially as Lewis was short on fuel, so maybe Ferrari was in a similar position, makes a mockery of Horners interview.

      Surely the logical thing to do when one car has an issue is to let the faster car by?

      What does Mark need to do to get the team on his side?

      Racing aside Vettel came over really well on Top Gear. :)

      1. wayne says:

        There’s no question that they took the right decision for the team in my eyes. Christian would have looked rather silly if they had teaken each other off.

        However, there really is too much circumstantial and actual evidence that RBR favour Seb to a very great extent indeed. THAT is what leaves a horrid taste in the mouth, the same as at Ferrari really. We all know that only one of the two drivers at each of RBR and Ferrari has a real chance to win the WDC over the next five years. If the other driver if to achieve that goal he must do it DESPITE his team rather than with them which must feel pretty bizarre.

        For me it also brings into question Webber’s ‘integrity’ if he re-signs. Is he now settling for one more year of the big money knowing he will not be given a fair shot at the championship? (not sure if ‘integrity’ is the right word but you see what I am getting at).

        I would personally love to hear Mateschitz have this issue put to him on TV and watch him squirm after the broad statement he made last year and his implied slight to Ferrari.

        What RBR has done is make it clear that it doesn’t really matter if Webber looses the Championship (last year) but nothing will be allowed to get in Seb’s way this year. Oh and Horner also made it clear that he does not think that Webber is a world class driver at the top of his game after saying that having two such drivers in his team (in reference to Hamilton) would not work.

        Poor Mark, being so publically hung out to dry like that….

      2. wayne says:

        Also James, it is nice that this article comes across as you giving YOUR opinion on this matter as all too often, for my tastes, journalists come across so impartial that they convey no passion or soul.

        Many people come here (I imagine) because they value and trust your opinion – they can get the plain boring facts anywhere. More of this sort of thing please!

      3. Glenn says:

        By “two such drivers”, Horner was obviously making reference to the fact that both Seb (the Crash Kid) & Lewis (Captain Chaos) are both prone, or have been prone to crashing out at the expense of team mates and other competitors.
        Just curious, Seb was out of rubber in the latter stages of the race yet Mark was obviously fine. Did Mark look after his tyres better than Seb or was there a significant difference in the age of the 2 cars tyres?
        Good article James.

      4. Sebee says:

        Oh boy, the drama, the conspiracy theories…

        Maybe they just sensed they were having a bad day with the pit stops and didn’t want to add to it?

        I’ll tell you what, I don’t like any conspiracy theories that aren’t made up by me. And I certainly don’t like it when my driver choice of the day is done wrong. That choice was Vettel, and he was done wrong with the pit stop, no to mention he wasn’t blown this weekend like he is usually used to being.

        This Vettel bus sure is bumping and shaking. Everyone is falling off the band wagon. Webber had his chance presented to him on a plate by fate last year. He dropped the plate on the way to the Champions Table. If you have any reservations about why Red Bull backs Vettel, look no further than his performance last year and so far this year. The boy dropped what – 21 points so far? Secretly, most of us have Vettel Red Bull pajamas.

      5. Phil says:

        The only way they would have taken each other out is by Vettel doing one of his Kamikaze moves . See Istanbul last year and every single start where someone comes close to him – his squeezing out can verge on dangerous at times and the stewards should really do something about it.

      6. Daniel says:

        I’m sure Mark would absolutely hate to hear anyone say “Poor Mark”.

      7. stanard says:

        “For me it also brings into question Webber’s ‘integrity’ if he re-signs. Is he now settling for one more year of the big money knowing he will not be given a fair shot at the championship?”

        It’s interesting that since the ban on the off-throttle blowing for next year has been confirmed, it’s been looking more and more likely that Mark will re-sign for Red Bull, whereas for a while the whole Mark to Ferrari or Renault rumours were looking all but confirmed.

        After the quali and dry stages of the Silverstone GP, it is apparent that the off-throttle blowing probably was suiting Vettel more – which is something that many people suspected but could never confirm. Once that was taken away Mark was back on Vettel’s pace – all of this makes me believe that Mark is confident that he can trump Vettel next year once it is banned completely, and now that he is starting to get his head around the Pirellis.

        It must be noted that in no way am I trying to belittle Vettel’s achievements – it’s simply a fact that some regulations and technical aspects will suit some drivers more than others – kudos to Vettel for getting more out of it and the Pirellis than what Mark has been able to.

      8. Mathis says:

        Well Mateschitz was interviewed and he said he clearly understands that Webber wanted to race until the end and he doesn’t see an alternative to Webber for 2012, he thinks there is no better driver on the F1 market that RBR could bring in…

      9. k5enny says:

        Yea…
        they could have done what i saw in the BTCC a few weeks back….

        The BMW team leader let his team-mate through into second to chase the leader…..

        When it didnt work out– they reverted the positions again after the last corner…

        (I dont believe that Webber is disciplined enough to do that!!)

      10. Sebee says:

        If that happened at this race, and these two would have flipped back if it failed I would have been incredibly impressed. That would have meant team above all.

        Classy team racing move, that’s for sure.

        Imagine Webber coming on radio and suggesting this?
        What team principal could say no?

      11. [MISTER] says:

        You are missing the point.
        Webber was in position to challenge Alonso. Alonso was too far ahead and was lapping faster then the 2 RedBull.
        I don’t see Webber lapping 3 seconds a lap faster then Alonso in the closing laps at Silverstone.

        Trying to make Webber look bad? Weak attemp imo.

      12. Midnight Toper says:

        Let’s get this straight, it’s 6 points not 3 and I am sure Horner knew that when he tried to belittle the points difference

      13. devilsadvocate says:

        What math text did you study? 18points for 2nd minus 15 points for 3rd is 3points difference, where didyou get 6?

      14. wayne says:

        what on earth are you talking baout?

      15. Midnight Toper says:

        Engineering at Imperial, seeing as you asked. 18 points for 2nd, 15 for 3rd….think about it.

      16. Sean says:

        Owned. Engineers for the win. Devilsadvocate, as your name suggests, you belong in law school.

      17. DC says:

        no Midnight Toper is correct. ”201 points to 127 as opposed to 204 points to 124 we have today.”

        201-127 = 74 points
        204-124 = 80 points

        The person who is second gains 3 points, but the person who finishes third also loses 3 points. Hence the 6 point difference

      18. wayne says:

        DC, that’s still 3 point difference between the positions in every way that is meaningful. Nobody looses 3 points as no-opne has 3 points to loose until they cross the line.

      19. paul says:

        sad state of affairs when folk cant calculate that-sadder to incorrectly berate someone. Bet devilsadvo feels pretty foolish!

      20. noways says:

        what a load a tripe… red bull does it and its fine. Ferarri does it and its illegal. red bull has flex wings and its all good. ferrari does it and it against the spirit of the rules.

      21. kim says:

        FYI the rules were altered after last year to allow teams to give racing ‘orders’ to their drivers.

      22. Maximum Attack says:

        No such thing as the spirit of the rules, only the letter.

      23. Raoul says:

        noways, try and keep up pal. Team orders are now allowed…

      24. noways says:

        @Maximum Attack…. you sure about that?
        ferrari’s was forced to remove their flex floor because it was against the spirit of the rules. It was then made illegal.

        @kim.. my mistake. you right. it slipped my mind.

      25. Aaron95 says:

        When Ferrari did it last year it was against the rules. If Ferrari did it now, I doubt anyone would be surprised or that there would be a fuss. The Ferrari team have set out their stall quite publicly that they will use team orders to favour Alonso when necessary. It’s only the fact that Red Bull so categorically stated last season that they would not use team orders that is causing the fuss here.

      26. Rich C says:

        “…logical thing to do when one car has an issue is to let the faster car by?”

        Words you will *never hear from RBR: “Sebastian, Mark is faster than you, do you understand?”

    2. Dirk says:

      Leaving out some little detail:

      Both RB pit stops favoured webber (pitting him earlier) to keep him in front of alonso.

      Vettel gave up seconds staying out longer to help the team effort, otherwise there might not be a late challenge from webber….

      Dirk

      1. Nigel says:

        Hi James, hot topic as usual!

        Let them race, it is up to the defending driver, in this case Vettel, to decide how hard he wants to defend and retain the extra points. This all stinks of Horner’s favouritism again – lets see if Dietrich has something to say about it as he has been undermined from what he said last year.

        Massa and Hamilton showed brilliantly how much an extra place should mean, well done to both of them.

        Maybe everyone is getting too worried about close encounters as the stewards seem too eager to punish a robust move these days, I am not a Schumacher fan but thought his punishment for the move on Kobayashi was a little harsh.

        I hope Stan and Stu, from your pit stop challenge, have turned up at McLaren today with your video clip, I am sure Button will open the door.

      2. Dave says:

        And of course the other detail being that Vettel should then have had the advantage of better tyres at that time in the race and so should have been demonstratably faster. This was not the case!

      3. Trish says:

        The way i see it, they were defending Vettel with that move, by keeping Alonso behind Webber.

      4. Michael S says:

        There is no way Webber was going slow to help Vettel… why would he ignore team orders at the end… yet, go slow at the start to help Vettel. Webber is not as fast as Vettel, it is not a sin.. it is a fact… same as Massa is not as fast as Alonso… sure there are rare cases where Massa and Webber can bea thier teammates but on the whole they can’t

      5. Dirk says:

        I get the anglo point of view now: one big conspiracy to keep webber down :-)

        Next time i guess he should try to win the start….. but i guess he was sabotaged somehow.

      6. levan says:

        Dirck

        Webber pitted earliar because he had to defend himself from Alonso while for the first Pitt, if Alonso passed him on the pitt, then that would be also a bigger headache for Vettel than pitting one lap latter.

      7. Umar Ali says:

        Dirk, as we have seen ever so often this season that Webber uses his tyres much quickly than Vettel so if he doesnt pit early he would be lapping massively slower as shown in the lap times before he pits. Vettel is very easy on his tyres and always pits the last of the front running pack in almost all the races he had raced thus far and there was no change this time around as well and secondly the last stop was done early for Vettel because of his inability to get past Hamilton….So RB pitstop were never in favor of Webber or Vettel…

    3. Russell says:

      Don’t go blaming Horner too much, after all Vetel is the love child of Helmut Marko who doesn’t like Webber.

      The big mistake was not slowing down Vetel so Webber could pass and not having Webbers points gap to Alonso narrowed putting Webber in a vunerable position.

      Russell

      1. Robert says:

        Can you blame Helmut for not liking Webber? What has Webber done for the past 15 months? He has publicly ridiculed his team, accusing them of deliberately holding him back. He doesn’t like a wing, so Horner makes the decision to put it on Vettel’s car. Now all of a sudden Horner is showing favoritism to Vettel. When Webber takes pole, he says “hows that for a second driver!” Nothing like calling your team out while knowing it would be aired publicly.

        Webber is nothing but excuses. Even when he runs up the backside of Kovi, he blames Kovi. He asks Horner to ask Vettel to ‘maintain the gap’, admitting he doesn’t have the pace of Vettel. Yet when Vettel goes up the inside, Webber squeezes him for as long as he can, keeping Vettel on the marbles. Any driver who has been racing long enough to make it into F1 knows what happens in that situation – there is a loss of grip and the inside driver will most likely slide into the outside driver. Yet Webber did it anyway, putting the teams results in jeopardy. After taking Vettel out of the race, Webber was able to finish a couple of places down – throwing away a 1-2 for the team, which would’ve been a nice points haul.

        Everyone has always maintained (falsely) that Webber has a lot of bad luck. Well, you make your luck, bad or good. Webber seems to always put himself in bad or awkward positions, where negative results are almost certain. He has a tendency to crash into drivers, as that is part of his “defensive” driving traits. Martin Whitmarsh of Mclaren may call Vettel the Crash Kid, but that title is best served by Webber.

        All in all, Webber should be terminated by Red Bull at the end of the year, as he has shown himself to be a terrible employee who can’t follow orders. To allow an insubordinate employee to continue on in the team will prove to be a cancer for the team, much like Lebron James is to the Miami Heat.

      2. Dave the Expat says:

        Jeez Robert – Did Webber kick your dog?

      3. Robert says:

        @Dave – I was a fan of Webber several years ago, as I felt he had potential even while making simple errors. When Vettel came into RBR, I thought, I can fully back this team as I like both drivers. Then Webber started doing exactly what he bemoaned other drivers of doing. Then he started throwing his team under the bus. He caused friction with Vettel, even though at one point Vettel helped him come to grips with the RBR. Now he disobeys a team order and the people focus on the team order – not his insubordinate behavior.

        I own a business, and have for several years. If one of my employees acted in the same way Webber has, it would not take me long to place that employee on the curb, no matter how much s/he brought to the team.

        Of course, it’d be easier to fire Webber than it would be Vettel, as Vettel has actually won for the team on a very consistent basis. Webber folded like a house of cards when a bit of pressure was applied last year, and folded in England when starting from pole.

      4. Divesh says:

        I’m with you Robert, I feel Webber shows his team boss and his team lots of disrespect publicly. If he really feels that hard done by he should not re-sign for 2012.

        If he does then he should shut up about the team favouring Vettel as he knew the score when he signed on again.

        Its very obvious Webber is the journalist/media favourite, they all seem to fawn over him in tv coverage and news publications.

        I guess everyone loves the concept of a downtrodden hero being persecuted by the German/Austrian conglomerate of Vettel and Marko.

      5. Richard says:

        News Flash – Daniel Ricciardo to p** off Robert in a few years time as the next challenger to Vettel

      6. Astroboy27 says:

        Divesh, how would you have responded if you were to sign with a team who’s public creed is to “let them race”, but behind closed doors is anything but?

        How would you feel if you’ve signed a contract stipulating fair and equal treatment, but then have YOUR new wing taken from you and given to your teammate, who’s just damaged his?

        How would you feel if, coming down to the wire in a championship that you’re leading but still fighting neck-and-neck for, you’re told that your teammate is still allowed to attack you, while in another championship in which your teammate is running away with, you’re told you’re not allowed to challenge him and to “maintain the gap”?

        Of course everyone loves the romantic story of the underdog fighting against all odds, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that this IS indeed what is happening right before our eyes.

        It makes perfect marketing sense for RBR to let Vettel run away with the WDC. The European market for their Red Bull products is far and away larger than that of Australia’s. And if by adopting such a malignant approach to fairplay, they lose a few drinkers in Australia, then so be it – for them it’s a drop in the ocean.

        So maybe the thought of a Austro-Germanic conspiracy might be golden journalistic fodder, the reality of one may be not all that far-fetched.

    4. jez says:

      For Dietrich Mateschitz’s words now to be hollow, they would have to have been true last year…

      Webber knows the deal. He may complain (creating a great deal of publicity/ intrigue) but it is a show for the public. If RBR really wanted to slow Webber down, could they not do so via telemetry? How could Webber not be aware of the situation? He has clearly been a #2 since the beginning of last season! Webber is also in business with Horner (GP3 team)so they obviously talk, and are clearly not enemies.

      Drivers at the end of their careers, who get a top car able to compete for podiums (though generaly not allowed to beat his team mate) are considered fortunate. The other option is a slow car, unable to compete with any of the fater teams and a low salary. Given a choice, would you rather end your career as Webber or Trulli? There is only one correct answer to this question – ask Massa.

    5. JuanF1 says:

      Something is going on in RBR behind the scenes that we dont know. After Silverstone team orders, lots of fans wrote in RBR web page against team orders and several comments were banned and taken out from the blog. This shows they dont want to light more fire on the episode.
      If it is only about the team as Horner says, orders should have been ” Seb, Mark is faster than you, let him go”… but as they dont trust on drivers behaviour they decided to show all of us who is considered N1 and who N2. Shame for that. What is really happening there ??? How much Helmut Marko influences team decisions ??? Why Mateschitz says no team orders and Horner goes oposite ??? Who is lying ??? Strange enough…I dont see Mark so upset anyway…but I see Seb very upset sometimes although he is comfortably winning. Very strange.

  2. Emma Whitfield says:

    I was there for the first time yesterday and that team order, as a Webber fan, ruined my day completely. Mark fans see him being treated like a number 2 driver whatever Christian Horner may say and we are all extremely disappointed at Red Bulls attitude. They want to entertain the fans – let the boys rave!!

    1. Chris Mellish says:

      Shame on Red Bull and Christian Horner for the hypocrisy. They were so quick to criticise Ferrari in the past for using team orders and have always claimed the moral high ground when defending Vettel.

      Yesterdays team orders were all about Vettel’s ego and protecting him. If it were truly a team result then they would have ordered Vettel to let Webber past – he was clearly the quicker driver at that phase of the race, and the overall result would have been the same for the team.

      Vettel has been gifted this championship with by far the best car on the grid; a team mate fighting with one arm behind his back; and, based on yesterdays evidence, a large part of his speed in the dry is due to the computer manipulating the throttle on his behalf during braking. As soon as that was banned Webber was the quicker driver.

      So yes he will get his second world championship this year but it is already pretty hollow. As with some of Schumachers championships he simply hasn’t had to race anyone with the equipment capable of matching his. Put them all in the same car and Vettel would finish third at best.

      1. Citrum says:

        ‘The team is the biggest thing. No individual is bigger than the team’ If that is that case then why is there not equality?

        Had the same mantra been applied last season When Mark Webber was leading the championship then who knows what may have transpired. Vettel is a fantastic driver in a fantastic car. However Webber was clearly faster and in the scheme of things the extreme 3 points that Vettel was gifted are not likely to matter at all.

        In the words of the great Ayrton Senna ‘If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver’

        I’m pretty sure the gap was there and these are merely attempts to neuter Mark Webber.

      2. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        Well said!

      3. Tyler says:

        Beautifully said, Citrum

      4. pargo says:

        100% agree. CH changes his tune depending on which Red Bull driver is leading the wdc. Webber in a Ferrari next year please!!

      5. Nadeem says:

        Agree totally

      6. john says:

        Imagine Christian Horner trying this crap on Aryton Senna? Yeah right!

      7. Zombie-UrT-BR says:

        Nothing to add… PERFECT!!!

      8. MISTER says:

        Great comments.
        Agree 100%.

        SHAME on RB and CH.

      9. Robert says:

        I don’t understand why people think it was a bad decision on CH’s part – Webber has a long history of causing accidents when people try to overtake him. This common fact is undeniable. Just last year in Turkey, when Webber was slower than Vettel (yet asked the team to instruct Vettel to not overtake him [Webber]), Webber made Vettel’s attempt very difficult, as he forced him to brake on the dirty side of the track. If Webber is so mature, why did he pull that stunt last year? Easy – he was having a temper tantrum in the car, upset that the younger, talented Vettel was about to overtake him and decrease the point difference between the two.

        Any team principle who employs Webber should be asbolutely aware that he is a crash magnet, as the guy is very extreme when it comes to defending his position.

      10. Ronnie says:

        Robert – you’re missing the point here. The reason people are unhappy with CH is the extreme hypocrisy he exhibited. Please talk about that. Secondly, you seem to have forgotten that in Turkey, Webber was instructed to turn his engine DOWN while Vettel was told to turn his UP…

      11. Robert says:

        @Ronnie – How has Horner exhibited extreme hypocrisy? Mateshitz was the one who came out and proclaimed that Red Bull would let their drivers race, damn the outcome. Well, Horner is on the wall calling the shots, in the heat of the moment. Knowing Webber, having watched him make stupid mistakes (Turkey & Valencia) last year, it was best to try and reign him in. Too bad Webber disobeyed the orders, continuing to display a lack of respect for his employers.

        What this comes down to is that Webber is an insubordinate employee who needs to be terminated at the end of the year. He has ridiculed his team for too long, bringing unnecessary publicity to the team.

    2. Jo Torrent says:

      Actually I just read this :
      ——————————
      (Joris Fioriti – Agence France Presse) Mark, you were one of the few drivers who actually defended Fernando Alonso last year, saying that it was normal that there were team orders. Have you changed your mind about that or was your track behaviour the answer to my question?

      MW: No, I stick by what I said last year. Obviously, they had one guy trying to stay in the championship fight – Fernando. Felipe was not having the season that he’s having this year. He’s doing a bit better job. Fernando was much, much quicker, it was in the middle of a grand prix and he (Massa) released him, so this is pretty straightforward stuff.
      ——————————

      Webber defended team orders last year because Alonso was far ahead of Massa but Vettel is far ahead of Webber this year too.
      On the other hand, Christian Horner questioned last year Ferrari move by saying among other arguments that it was against the sport, against what fans want to see. What about what he has just done ?

      As Ron Dennis once said while defending Senna “where is the consistency ?” both for Webber & Horner.

      I guess RedBull gives you flexible wings & flexible judgement too.

      1. MAS says:

        Webber is pretty clear on the distinction he sees between last years’ Ferrari-situation and yesterday’s business. He saw Ferrari’s move last year as necessary and Red Bull’s orders yesterday as unnecessary:

        Felipe was out of the championship last year and Mark wasn’t yesterday. Fernando was only just in the title-race last year and needed the boost while Vettel is in front this year. Also last year the win wasn’t secure yet for Fernando (hence the distinction Webber makes between the middle of the race and the end).

        He reiterated today that his main problem with the team yesterday was that it was unnecessary. So Webber’s view on the matter IS consistent. Whether or not you AGREE with that view is, of course, another matter.

        Horner does indeed contradict both himself and Mateschitz. Even worse, those were statements about principles (“the good of the sport” etc), not on technical/functional considerations where a change of insight is no big deal (whatever works).

      2. Michael S says:

        HA… Mark is further behind the title laeader this year than Massa was last year so that theory does not hold water…. he also said Alonso is quicker than Massa… News flash Mark, “VETTEL IS FASTER THAN YOU, DO YOU COPY”

      3. Nathan says:

        nailed it!

      4. MAS says:

        Michael you are missing the point. Mark’s view on team orders is consistent in that he thinks they are OK when they are given when it’s “necessary”.

        When considering the differences in “necessity” of the (admittedly illegal) Ferrari team orders last year and Red Bull’s this year you shouldn’t just look at the different number of points scored by the team’s drivers.

        What is more relevant is the big picture in regard to the championship. It’s not just that Massa was x points of the lead, it’s that he simply had far less of a chance of winning the title than Alonso because he had a greater points difference to surmount, was not on form and was quite a bit slower than Alonso in general that season. Now when you look at that situation and consider that Alonso, to have a chance at the title himself, needed the points very badly, giving the order was necessary to Ferrari’s campaign alive.

        Red Bull’s situation is completely different: Vettel doesn’t need to overtake anyone in the rankings and Webber is (sort of) in contention for the title. Mark’s view that there was no necessity yesterday for Red Bull is quite valid.

        In making that distinction Webber is consistent in defending Ferrari last year and criticizing his own team now. He states a criterium and applies it consistently on two different situations.

        This quite unlike Horner who said that Team Orders are “bad for the sport” and a form of “manipulation” (note this is aside from the legality issue last year). In this view he categorically rejects team orders so giving them now is inconsistent (though legal).

        The fact that you don’t agree with either Webber’s criterium (“necessity”) or his application of that criterium (WHEN orders are or aren’t necessary) is not the point of what I wrote nor is Jo’s rejection of same the reason I disagree with Jo’s post. The issue is whether or not Webber is consistent, not whether or not he is “right”.

        All that aside there is no question that A. Sebastian is quicker than Mark and that B. given the fact that Mark ignored the orders and Seb still held on to second there is nothing to diminish Seb’s achievement.

        also: cheers Nathan!

      5. Martin says:

        i agree with you, but there is another fundamental point. This year there is a realistic chance of passing, last year Fernando would have needed a significant error from Felipe to get past. Tyre degradation was unlikely to be an issue.

        The Ferrari situation was about the result, the Red Bull one about fighting over track position. There was no on track risk with Germany 2010. The Red Bull situation is one of questioning driver competence.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      6. Jimbo says:

        The point you’re missing though is that Alonso was their only realistic chance of winning the WDC. He was fighting against the RBR and McLaren drivers so needed every point he could possibly gain.

        In this case, Vettel is three race wins ahead of his nearest competitor and RBR have a huge lead in the WCC. He shouldn’t need help from RBR. You cannot possibly compare the the two situations.

      7. Nima Wattinen says:

        Well said, Jimbo!

        It does leave a bad taste. I wonder who made the call… Was it Horner? Or did he get a tap on the shoulder from Helmut Marko?

      8. Jo Torrent says:

        I am not missing it I was for the decision by Ferrari to allow Alonso through even if it is tough for Massa as he lost a victory

      9. MAS says:

        Jimbo is right Jo, you ARE missing a subtlety here: as I wrote above Mark IS consistent in that he states a criterium (“necessary”) for team orders.

        In his (and yours and my own) view last year’s team orders from Ferrari WERE necessary for the WDC campaign.

        In Webber’s view there was NO such necessity for Red Bull yesterday.

        He applies the same criterium on two situations and reaches the conclusion there are important differences that would justify different actions. Therefore he IS in fact consistent and there is no question of “flexible judgement”.

        Horner will apply the necessity-criterium differently of course and consider the risks involved but I don’t think that’s justified in yesterday’s situation for reasons James outlines in his article.

      10. jez says:

        Jo, very tough for Massa (even though it is probably in his contract) as it was probably his last chance at winning a race in F1.

      11. unoc0 says:

        +1 To MAS.

        Agree.

        Simply said team orders are bad unless your supporting the only hope the team has of winning the WDC (which was also the only championship Ferrari could have scored last year).

        With Vettel first and Webber second it wasn’t necessary.

    3. Johnno says:

      I understand that CH made the call in the heat of the moment, but it does seem like Vettel is a “koala bear”; no, he’s not Australian, just a protected species.

  3. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion says:

    A bit of an insight of Red Bull let drivers race policy. Ok, it comes from Marca in Spain, but it makes a lot of sense. Marca said that Vettel was 0.5 sec faster than Webber in qualis because of an special engine map, only available for the fingerkid. After loosing that extra on saturday, Vettel was going extra angrier, cause it was clear that in equal conditions Webber was as fast as him, in fact, he grabbed the pole position.

    Ahhh, hypocrisy is a main part of Formula 1

    1. **Paul** says:

      You can’t change engine maps between qualifying and the race, as implemented in Valencia. Marca are well known for stiring things up.

      1. MISTER says:

        He didn’t said that engines maps were being changed. He said that Vettel benefited of a special engine map (in qualy and race) that Webber didn’t get.
        That’s what I got from Roger’s comment.

      2. Celeste says:

        I don´t think Red Bull will risk a different map between both or their drivers… Said whatever but is certain of how fast Sebastian is on a flying lap… he has always been… Both their drivers are specialist on this subject…

        Marca is very partial to Spain sportsmen, so is not surprise that they will love to said that the fact5 that Vettel is still leading to their home hero is because of something technical and not because or talent…

        If anything I wouldn’t call Marca a great source for F1 information, they are mostly a soccer newspaper (owned by Real Madrid owner).

      3. Nicky Santoro says:

        There’s no ‘owner’ of Real Madrid. But there is a president, who is elected by members of the club.

        I don’t know about it, but, even accounting for the WDC factor and the tyre factor, I find it (very) strange MW is so consistently off the pace of SV this year, while last year they were fairly even, a tenth up or down the most repeated distance between the two…

  4. Keith says:

    Like I said in the other post….

    Tell me this Mr Horner, if it was reversed i.e. Webber in front of Vettel would you say “maintain gap”…. I think not!

    Very frustrating for Mark and for F1 fans like me and hypocrisy is an understatement.

    1. Uhm says:

      You seem to have missed Turkey 2009, Vettel was told to back off and not pass Webber a couple of laps before the end while Vettel was muhc faster.

      1. AJ says:

        Yes I recall that, but things were different then. Red Bull hadn’t built its brand round Seb yet, plus the message was something like “Turn your engine down”

      2. Rampante says:

        @ Uhm: Oh, so RBR admit using team orders in 2009 eh? I recall they ware banned then, just like in 2010. :)

        And then last year afeter German GP, RBR were saying things like: “…we let our two drivers race…” and “…we don’t manipulate things like Ferrari do…”

        So, here we are now after the British GP and “Mark maintain the gap”.

        So you see the hypocrisy?

    2. **Paul** says:

      Keith, the problem is we have no evidence to suggest that Horner would do anything of the sort. It’s purely media talk and given Seb is plain old quicker than Mark it’s unlikely we’ll see that situation much.

    3. KK says:

      they did in Turkey 2009. Selective amnesia is the problem with Vettel detractors.

      1. Umar Ali says:

        lol…Brilliant

      2. Celeste says:

        Bravo!!!

    4. Rishi says:

      Call me naive but if the situation was reversed (Webber ahead of Vettel in the last few laps of the GP with the German catching him) then I do believe the message would have still come through to hold station (to Vettel).

      The hypocrisy relative to last year is Red Bull’s mistake here. I thought their stance last year was guilty of either naivety or moral high ground opportunism (possibly both) and it seems they discovered the difficulties of keeping this stance on Sunday. If anything, I would argue their specific mistake was to claim the moral high ground in the first place – because to claim “we will let them race all the time” is going to be nigh-on impossible to 100% achieve.

      So for what it’s worth I think they took the right decision yesterday, despite a straight fight all the way to the flag being better for the fans. Okay the probability of a crash is small but the track was still damp off line in parts and that still made a collision a very real possiblity for me.

      Doubts will still linger about equality overall between the two drivers and maybe one day we will learn that these issues were very real in 2011. However, at this stage I still feel Mark has to look closer to home in discovering how to beat Vettel; he’s demonstrated a tendency to really come alive in the closing stages of races this year but needs to try and find some more of that speed earlier on in the race. Admittedly this is sometimes down to traffic but that’s part of the challenge for him to overcome I think – to get into a position whereby he avoids traffic.

  5. Simon G says:

    Watching the F1 Forum on BBC after the race coverage I was very unhappy, only Damon Hill saw the situation from the fans perspective . . . all credit to him for that.

    I watch F1 to see RACING . . . I want Webber to race Vettel . . . I want Hamilton to race Button, they are in it for the Drivers Championship.

    If team mates are not allowed to race then it’s time to get rid of the Drivers Championship and just have the Team Championship . . .

    1. Uhm says:

      Damon Hill, who demanded in Spa driving a Jordan that Eddie should give team orders to Ralf to back off or Damon would ram them both off the track?

      Yeah, so consistent Damon Hill is. And so is everyone whining about this.

      1. KK says:

        Awesome mate, that’s a fitting reply. Team orders were always there and will always feature in F1. It’s about how you deploy them that differs. Mark was given the undercut twice to get ahead of Fernando and that ate into Seb’s 7 sec lead as well. I don’t think Mark has any right to drive for Redbull now that he has blatantly ignored the team.

      2. Robert says:

        Let us not forget that RBR pit crew cost Vettel the victory in this race. They had problems with the rear of the car, which stalled Vettel in the pits, not allowing him a quick stop – something both Webber and Vettel enjoyed during every other stop in the Red Bull garage on Sunday.

      3. Simon G says:

        That was 13 years ago . . .

        What is Formula 1 without racing ? it’s not “tag racing”, or “relay F1″, the fans want racing, this is why there is so much discussion about Red Bull today when really the discussion should be about Ferrari and Alonso doing a good job.

        Team orders are a BAD thing, the FiA didn’t have the guts to sort it out last year, they will continue to be a problem and will continue to hurt F1.

      4. jez says:

        Nonsense. The FIA realised that imposing a ban on team orders was impossible to enforce.

        As long as there are more than one car per team, there will always be team orders.

      5. Ian Roke says:

        You mean this?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykI39M27y10

        I didn’t hear anything about ramming each other off the road.

      6. Michael S says:

        HA.. that is classic….

      7. Maximum Attack says:

        EJ has said on BBC coverage (last year I think) that he took Damons comment as a thinly veiled threat to do just that – take them both off. How EJ can claim to know that DH meant it that way, I don’t know, you’d have to ask EJ.

        Maybe it speaks more of EJ, and the way he presumed unsporting behaviour, than of DH who was possibly just giving a warning against a close dogfight in a race with an already proven high rate if attrition.

      8. Rick J says:

        This is completely inaccurate. Listening to Hill’s communication He made no such demands or threats. He did point out the possible consequences given the weather conditions and let it be known he would fight to maintain the lead. How can that be faulted? The team stood to lose its first victory – and a one/two finish as well for Pete’s sake! This tangent has no relevance to James’ topic.

  6. Jaco says:

    I think it’s precisely because it’s only 3 points difference that it’s ok. From Mark’s point of view the best possible outcome is only 3 points better but from the team’s point of view the worst possible outcome loses them a heap of points. At the end of the day the drivers are employed by the team and they should follow orders.

    1. Chris Mellish says:

      So switch the drivers round if you can’t trust them to race. Webber was clearly faster and the points would be the same for the team had they finished three two instead of two three. This was all about protecting Vettel’s ego, and it cheapens his achievements massively because it makes all those little stories about inequality and special engine maps for one driver but not the other that little bit more believable.

      1. Jaco says:

        So instead of asking them to hold station and bring the cars home in the last 4 laps they should tell Vettel to move over? Are you nuts?

        RBR let them race until the last 4 laps – nothing wrong with the team asking them to stay put and bring the points home. You’re employed by the team (at very high salaries) – you should follow orders.

      2. MISTER says:

        Asking Vettel to move over for Mark is at nutts as asking Mark not to overtake Vettel.
        That’s how I see it.

        The teams employed the drivers with the money from fans. Without fans there will be no Formula 1, no teams, no drivers.

        RB are the champions..Vettel is the champion. Assuming they are gonna crash undermines so much the team and the drivers.

        Ohh and we all saw Vettel’s racecraft when he has to overtake someone. Isn’t it sad that after 9 races and 80 points lead, we still have doubts of how good Vettel is?

        Alonso and Lewis best drivers of this generation.

      3. jez says:

        I have no doubts that currently Vettel is as fast or faster than anyone out on the track.

    2. ChrisK says:

      Over the years, much of the risk has beentaken out of F1. Are you saying that the teams are entitled to take the little bit of risk left away?

  7. goferet says:

    I guess this is just another case of some people being more equal than others.

    Infact am now beginning to think that if it was Vettel that was leading the WDC last year then Webber would have been asked to move over at races like Brazil.

    Anyway this just goes to shows that when at the top (like Ferrari where in the Schumi years), things change pretty fast for there are too many considerations to take into account (sponsors & whatnot) & it’s pretty easy to sit on your high horse when you’re a back marker/mid field runner.

  8. Tim says:

    Is anyone surprised?? It reeks of the favoritism Webber has had to deal with for over a season now. Nothing new here. RBR have a lot to learn about PR and working to win fans over instead of consistently causing problems for themselves with hypocrisy and inconsistent policies.

    1. Luca says:

      +1

      overall it wouldn’t be an issue, but given how RBR was so righteous over team orders when ferrari used them to place their drivers + the fact that vettel is probably go down in history as the WDC with the largest ever lead means 3 points shouldn’t matter… still we’ll see.

      Just glad Ferrari are now rattling the RBR cage and the updates are finally working!

  9. Farina says:

    Like you say James, it’s not that they have done anything wrong, or that other teams haven’t done before them. It’s the hypocrisy of what they were preaching last year against Ferrari, who at the time had more reason and need to make sure the stronger driver collected the maximum points to enhance their chances of winning the championship. Apart form the fact they have apparently changed their whole ethos about racing, it being a sport and what will be will be, there was simply no need to apply team orders to assist Vettel. It will be interesting to see Marks reaction in coming races, will it spur him on or will his mojo have taken a knock.
    Now that the cold blowing issues have been resolved I’m expecting Vettel to once again dominate Mark, seeing as he seems to be faster in that configuration.

    Poor form by RBR, they really have shown a very different side to themselves this weekend, from trying to manipulate the cold blowing regulations to this team order hypocrisy.

  10. Jo Torrent says:

    Great analysis James, spot on from start to finish, not a single wheel spin. Webber always perfect in interviews, if he had a bit more speed, he would’ve been a legendary driver.

    1. Kristiane says:

      If Webber had a bit more speed? Or do you mean if RBR had given him more a bit more support and equal footing?

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        He’s not the quickest out there for sure and I don’t think he’s as quick as Vettel.

  11. Noel says:

    James, I’m probably drawing a long bow here, but if they’re now prepared to openly manipulate races, is there a possibility that there are other sorts of manipulations going on behind the scenes? I’m thinking subtle variations in specification between the cars, to put it kindly.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, teams don’t do that. It makes no sense at all

      1. Noel says:

        Thanks James. I’m glad to hear you say that because it’d finish me with F1 if that sort of thing ever started happening.

      2. Yo! F1 says:

        Ok, then why is it that 9/10 times when a Redbull car has a problem, it’s almost always seems to be Webbers car. This coincidence (if that’s what it is) only seems to apply to the Rebull team and no other team i the paddock

      3. Robert says:

        Did 2010 not happen?

      4. Maximum Attack says:

        Schumacher had the same ‘champions luck’ during his Ferrari days.

      5. Andrew Myers says:

        Flavio seemed to think so when he spoke prior to Monaco.

        Kovaleinen seemed to get 2nd best at McLaren. I wouldn’t say it does not happen

      6. Peter says:

        what about the previous comment on engine maps for qualifying that give Vettel a .5 second advantage for quali over Mark. Is there anything there or is it just a wild theory?

      7. Here's Johnny says:

        James, how can you just dismiss such a claim as nonsense? I haven’t seen any evidence which leads me to believe that Vettel is consistently 0.5 secs per lap faster than Webber.

        Also, since the qualifying map ban things have closed up quite a bit wouldn’t you say… Lets give it a few races more and revisit this topic.

        I have a feeling you will be changing your mind unless you start claiming that Vettel lost his mojo.

      8. Chris Mellish says:

        Unless the team is run by the marketing department, and that is why Red Bull are in F1. They’re building Vettel up as a brand and having him beat Webber by a large margin this year is a better story for him than the two fighting it out like last year. It makes Vettel look like he’s stepped up a gear and is a more complete driver, whereas there’s a growing picture forming that Red Bull are making Webber fight with one arm behind his back.

        It’s interesting that this was the first race where Vettel was without special qualifying maps and off throttle blowing of the diffuser, and it’s the first race where Webber’s out qualified him and was faster in the dry stages of the race.

        Vettel’s championship this year is far more about a car designed exactly to his requirements in all ways, including the software and aero philosophy that follows from his driving style, and the emasculation of his team mate, than it has been about his real ability. If you were to stick all the drivers in identical cars do you honestly believe Vettel would win the championship?

      9. Miha says:

        This year? Yes, I do. He is still the most consistant, makes less mistakes than others.

      10. Kristiane says:

        I totally concur.

        Or stick the current top 5/6 drivers in the same car as Vettel, Vettel would probably end up merely ahead of a Merc / Renault even.

      11. jjtg says:

        All this talk about “if you were to stick all the drivers in identical cars…” is rubbish. You might as well get them out of their cars and run around the track! That’s “equal machinery” surely. But it doesn’t prove anything, does it?

        It’s car + driver that wins championships. And the relative contribution is 90% car and 10% driver – for example, over the last 20yrs, the team that won the WCC also won the WDC nearly 90% of the time.

        So, forget about ranking driver ability. Only wins matter.

      12. Michael says:

        It’s been said that the engine mapping benefited Vettel more than Webber but that’s not the same as there being a conspiracy to manipulate race results. It’s likely that the car has been designed around Sebastian and Mark is just having to fit in with what he’s given but I’m sure that’s as far as it goes.

        It’s not good marketing to have one of your cars getting regularly beaten, however well the other is doing. The competition in this sport is too close for such a fine grained level of manipulation. You give out any slack and McLaren and Ferrari are right there to take it up.

        Also, they must be aware of the popular opinion of team orders. They don’t need Red Bull to become one those nasty, controversy-laden teams. If you want to build loyalty, it’s more important to fight fair than to win.

        I put this whole thing down to Christian Horner being spooked over the weekend’s earlier controversies. If Ferrari were to suddenly start winning everything, Vettel would need every last point he could get. Remember the tension of watching the initially dominant Brawn GP clinging desperately onto their lead? That must be at the back of his mind. I don’t think it’s a valid concern but then, I’m not running an F1 team.

      13. AuraF1 says:

        The only difference I can see in the car is the slight compromises Adrian Newey admitted will always be needed to accomodate a driver of Mark’s height and weight. Vettel suits the jockey-like weight and size requirements of any F1 team better these days.

        The idea that RB would deliberately sabotage Mark’s car is pretty unlikely – they want him to come second as much as possible for the constructors championship.

        The only issue is one of hypocrisy regarding team orders and how they are applied – the whole RB retort following last years PR disasters (if you recall Mark Horner’s shockfaced red bull website interviews where he’d aged about 10 years in a weekend) was that the lead driver got the new parts when there was only one but in terms of drivers racing, it was up to them.

        I agree with James – I don’t think Seb Vettel needs this mollycoddling (and I’m not really a fan). He’s turning into one of the great drivers – he is genuinely the new Schumacher in that he is super-fast and not making mistakes. He may not be the most thrilling driver – but technically at least, he’s just not putting a foot wrong. Using team orders is insulting to not only Webber, but at this stage, Seb is being made to look spoiled.

        The only question you have to ask is – if Vettel were behind and catching Webber, would he have been told to hold the gap on this occasion? I don’t think so on balance. The most likely story is Webber would have gotten the call to allow Seb through safely.

      14. ACr says:

        Front wing?

      15. DMyers says:

        I can think of situations where teams have been run to the detriment of the other driver – most notably at Benetton in 1995. Johnny Herbert was routinely two seconds off Schumacher’s qualifying pace. At the time, Damon Hill said in an interview to Autosport that there was something strange going on at Benetton because, “Nobody is two seconds quicker than Johnny Herbert.” Were the cars in different specifications? Nobody will ever know, but it’s not impossible. One race that sticks out for me is that year’s Belgian grand prix. Everyone remembers Schumacher winning from 16th on the grid. Herbert qualified fourth, but he finished seventh. At his last stop, the team ‘accidentally’ put too much fuel in his car and he was passed by the lighter cars and almost lost seventh to Salo’s Tyrrell on the last lap.

        Remember also that Schumacher stopped letting Johnny see his car’s data from the middle of the Argentine grand prix weekend after Herbert’s fastest time was 0.013 slower than Schumacher’s. In short, Schumacher realised Herbert was a threat and used the team to neutralise him. It happens.

    2. Sergio says:

      Mark Webber chances to win a Championship were close related to zero, and less than zero from the beggining of this season. The super organized Red Bull Team don’t repeat same mistakes as they did last season. Sorry Mark, no chances named “struggling with tyres” but ocassionally and suddenly the aussie is able to manage better his rubber, specially if he depart from 18th place of the grid. About Team orders, you have Mark “chances” to win World Championship with more points than his team mate. In that ocassion Red Bull “dismissed” them for the “sport” and equality. You know.

      1. Dave the Expat says:

        Unfortunately for Mark – and I say this as a proud, Aussie, Webber-supporter – Mark had his best chance last year for the WDC and blew it in Korea. That rookie driver error costing what would have been a win after Seb’s engine went “BALFANG”. Those points would have given him the title. This year, Seb is driving brilliantly, in a car that suits him better than it does Mark, so the writing is on the wall. It’s a pity thaough, as it’s been far too long since an Australian has taken the biggest Driver prize in F1.

  12. Troy Brisby says:

    What I fail to understand is after all the talk about being “different to Ferrari” and putting sporting values above results, they trip up as badly as this. If Horner was concerned about Vettel being impulsive and defending too hard: Or Webber being brash with an overly aggressive overtake, why didn’t he just get on the radio and say to both drivers “Mark, Seb is in trouble on tyres. If you are going to have a go make it clean.” Likewise updating Vettel that “Mark is quicker and will be attacking. Defend your position but nothing desperate”

    1. Paul H says:

      I’m tempted to think it is a result of Vettel’s lack of racecraft. Many people have the opinion that he can only win races as a result of having the fastest car and leading from the front. He does have a history of hitting other cars during overtakes afterall. Horner didn’t want him doing anything stupid as Webber overtook, but due to the number one status couldn’t tell him to switch places so told Webber to stay behind instead. With regards Vettels skills i view him as a great driver, whereas I view Alonso and Hamilton as great racers.

      I get your point about the hypocrisy of what they say about Ferrari but this uproar about what happened is just silly. Team orders have existed since F1 began. Last year they were illegal so there was some justification in the upset but this year they are legal so they are to be expected, especially in a team like Red Bull or Ferrari where there is a clear number one driver. So they didn’t trip up, they just did what they deemed necessary to get the result they wanted.

    2. Robert N says:

      Spot on, and I think looking back at all of this, Horner will wish he would have said something along those lines.

      But as many of the other readers have pointed out: RBR are no longer special. They are an F1 team like any of the other 11.

  13. Thandz says:

    I am all for two drivers in the same team racing each other but it’s Christian Horner’s job to make sure that his team get the maximum points on Sunday. Judging from what happened between these two drivers last season, I would have done the same thing if I were Christian Horner. Webber should understand team dynamics and it was in the best interest of the team for him to maintain his position with two laps to go.

  14. Adron Gardner says:

    For who? “Big haul of points?” Horner had too many Red Bulls.

    Alonso had it bagged. There was no reason for Mark to back off. Glad he had a go of it.

  15. Simple says:

    I was pretty disappointed with the call for webber to maintain the gap. On a day when vettel seemed anything but dominant, it wouldve been nice to see the result decided on the track and not on the pit wall.

    As a fan of webber its been hard enough watching vettel dominate him this year and now harder still to accept that he really is the number two driver. Silverstone last year was bad enough, this has just topped it off.

    Sadly webber probably only has one season left. If he stays at red bull he will just be relegated into the history books with the likes of coulthard, barrichello etc. Blokes who couldve won it all, but never had a real chance.

    1. james b says:

      Oh come on!! Barichello had his chance in 2009 and Couthard in 2000. Both times they came up short as they always have done when they play victims. Like Mark they are good drivers but just not good enough when the pressure is really on.

  16. BA says:

    Guess who’s behind all this? Helmut Marko :P

  17. Simon says:

    The Red Bull brand associates itself with a lot of extreme sports – they are all about pushing it to the extreme and this approach has worked well for them.

    The team orders didn’t reflect well on the team or the brand this weekend, they pretty much have both championships in the bag already and could have afforded to drop some points and would still comfortable cruise to win both championships. Granted it would be a bit embarrassing if the drivers took each other out, but at least that way they could come out as the noble ones saying they let their drivers push it to the extreme and stick to their ethos of what will be will be.

    Instead the team came out looking like hypocrites, and a lot of neutral F1 fans angry at them – yes team orders are legal now, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and when the whole point of the Red Bull team is as a marketing tool for the drink, they should think about how this bad taste reflects on their brand.

    1. Swanny says:

      Great post Simon. Red Bull is in F1 for the brand image. To have their drivers racing wheel to wheel at the top end of the grid is a wonderful image. I wouldn’t be surpised if Dietrich Mateschitz has a quiet but strong word to Christian Horner.

      The problem for Red Bull is that we tend to remember the stuff ups very clearly. Whether it’s Vettels crashes with Webber & Button, Hamilton’s recent theatrics, Ferrari’s team orders or bad pit call at Abu Dhabi. Look even further back at Schumacher’s run ins with Hill & Villenuve & the Monaco qualifying; or Senna running into Prost. The bad decisions are very memorable.

  18. Ohm says:

    Good to see this story getting its exposure it deserves..Cheers James.

  19. Holly says:

    RB has shown his true colors, they are not the holy knights of rightness like they want us to believe, they are like Ferrari and McLaren, nothing more nothing less.

    Horner is a complete joke, it was sad to watch him on the BBC forum trying to defend the indefensible, they choose 3 sad point over Webber, do they really need 3 point when they have such a big lead over Webber’s “happiness”, this shows how much they care about his number 2 driver and pretty sure that there is a lot of stuff that we don’t know behind the scenes.

    I’m glad that Webber is a driver that will not bow all the year before the almighty Dietrich Mateschitz, he will be out of the team but he will expose RB.

  20. Matt tanner says:

    I was thoroughly disappointed. Red bull are well on their way to building a good fan base by being a real race team, not a corporate toy. This appears to be a big own goal because it strikes against some very commendable ethics.

  21. AdrianP says:

    This all seems to be a bit of a storm in a teacup to me. After all the hand-wringing about team orders last year, the position is now crystal clear – teams are perfectly entitled to give team orders.

    The order given was also utterly unsurprising – no team in their right minds would want the possibility of its drivers knocking each other off in the last laps of the race.

    The same order would probably have been given if Webber had been in front. Even if the opposite order had been given if Webber had been in front (i.e. Webber asked to let Vettel past), that would still be understandable in the championship context.

    1. Emma says:

      Totally agree – I don’t understand what the controversy is at all.
      Other drivers have been given instructions not to race each other in the last laps when there is nothing to gain but everything to lose; this is no different, and I don’t remember such an outcry about it.
      Webber is not being victimised this year, Vettel is not being given advantages. He is so far ahead in points because he is driving better than Webber this year – James did an analysis back in June that showed Webber is losing the most ground of anyone at the start – this is a much more likely reason for his lack of success than Red Bull tinkering with his car to help Vettel…

      1. ikkida says:

        Emma & Adrian:You are missing the point here. No one is complaining that RBR issued team orders. Everybody is reacting to the way RBR took a dig at Ferrari for issuing team orders and doing the very same themselves this year. Last year if Mr.Horner had responded to the media saying “We dont use team orders because they are illegal, no one would have been bothered about this incident”. But instead he said at RBR we let drivers race against each other, we are racing team etc..(not political like Ferrari or McLaren… OOPS)..

      2. Swanny says:

        If you primarily follow a team, then team orders are fine. If you primarily follow a driver, or simply enjoy the sport, then team orders destroy the enjoyment every time they are deployed.

    2. Emma says:

      And as an Australian, I am a Webber fan, too… would love to see him performing better but Vettel is just too good this year.

      1. Ronnie says:

        Vettel may be too good this year, true. However, even if Webber raised his game over and above Vettel’s level, it would be useless since his team wouldn’t let him shine.

  22. DriverN1 says:

    Ok. So do you think Red bull is bad because of team orders? But so can you say about Ferrari? So can you say about this italian team won using helping from FIA and change rules in the middle of season? Is it normal that Todt helped Ferrari won in Britain? Is it fair or right? I think doings of Ferrari + FIA are much more awful than redbull’s team orders

  23. J says:

    Horner: “I can understand Mark’s frustration in that, but had it been the other way around it would have been exactly the same.”
    We all know thats completly redbull…[mod]

    One BIG black spot on IMO the greatest race so far this year

    1. Andy T says:

      Eh I take it you didn’t watch the Canadian gran prix then! Silverstone was good but it didn’t touch Montreal for the best race of the season.

  24. Stu says:

    Frankly I think Red Bull are guilty of total hypocrisy. To come out with a stance of letting drivers race last year, and we art thou holier than Ferrari and then say something like that yesterday is a joke.

    I tell you what is also a joke, I spent £200 on my weekend ticket, and probably another £100+ on other bits. I got soaked head to toe on Friday in practice, spent all of Saturday stood on the corner at Vale/Club and then got up at 6am on Sunday to sit at the track in my spot so I could get a good view of the race. Therefore, I want to see people race to the end, not line up into a procession 2-3 laps from the end!!!

    Sort it out!!

    1. Andy Carr says:

      Very good point. It begs the question:

      F1… Business or Sport?

      The two can’t be equal, one of them takes priority and in this scenario it’s Business. And in my opinion, Bad Business.

      1. Stu says:

        Business can be affected in the wider scope of things by bad sportsmanship. I realise team orders are legal now (doesn’t make that right, incidentally) but it’s a bit rich for Horner and RBR to denounce team orders at the Germany 2010 incident, and then again after they were made legal (in the Telegraph I believe) if you ask me.

    2. jez says:

      Red Bull have around 690 million into this sport. I think that entitles them to make some driver decisions -don’t you?

      1. Simon G says:

        Nonsense !

        They have to comply with the rules just like all other teams. They are bringing the sport into disrepute with actions like this . . . as you can see from the reaction on this very page.

        Take your Vettel tinted glasses off for a minute . . .

      2. jez says:

        I don’t think RBR breached any rules?

      3. Simon G says:

        “I don’t think RBR breached any rules?”

        Bringing the sport into disrepute is still against the rules . . .

      4. Stu says:

        Ask you ask me, no it doesn’t. The clue is in the title of motor racing, not motor procession. They are professional drivers and should be able to race cleanly against each to the end of the race, even if they are in the same team. It’s a 52 lap race, not 49. If you want to sit behind each other in formation, then that’s what the parade lap is for.

      5. jez says:

        Fair enough. But you surely must be used to team orders by now, they have always been a central component of F1.

      6. jez says:

        It could be that the clue is similarly in the word team.

        Still, fair enough it would be a boring world if we all thought the same way.

      7. Simon G says:

        “It could be that the clue is similarly in the word team.”

        OK, so its a team sport . . . the logical conclusion is that F1 is formally made into a Team sport, get rid of the Drivers Championship, just keep the Constructors/Team championship.

        Do you see the problem here ? the two Championships cannot co-exist in their current form, the demands for each Championship are contradictory, one is Individual based forsaking all others, the other is Team based.

      8. Stu says:

        @jez – I may be used to team orders but I certainly don’t agree with them. I gave up watching WWF(E) as it’s all made up, I don’t want to see the same in F1.

        But as you say – each to their own :-)

        @Simon G – touche!!

  25. Jo Torrent says:

    off topic McLaren / Hamilton
    **************************

    I was always critical of Hamilton flirting with RBR and being vocal about his car shortcomings, but after Silverstone, I am starting to feel for him.

    Ferrari is criticized regularly for lack of speed the last couple of years, besides it’s an easier target for some Brit media.
    But the fact is Ferrari has probably produced the fastest car in 07 & 08 with McLaren benefiting from better drivers. McLaren on the other hand hasn’t come with the best car in more than a decade.
    Another worrying aspect of Macca performance is the fact that they’re no longer able to over-power rivals in the development race. Twice last year & this year Ferrari is gaining on them from mid-season on & RBR is keeping the gap. This year Ferrari had the windtunnel issues which slowed them, McLaren didn’t & yet race after race developments brought to the car aren’t proving efficient on the track.
    On the other hand, Ferrari in the last few weeks has consistently brought satisfying developments.

    That is worrying as McLaren can’t point out an area where there are obvious issues, it seems to be rather a lack of efficiency.

    This year is over already but for next year, there is nothing suggesting they can achieve what they didn’t in a decade without major change.

    I think that Hamilton is understanding that & started already to worry for his legacy if he was to carry on with this team. Sadly for him, no short term solution is available.

    He won’t be invited to join Ferrari for sure & RBR doesn’t look keen to let him fight with Vettel maybe for the best but probably for the worst.
    So all he can do is have a better contract for himself which means less PR duties, an easy exit clause & more freedom to sign his own sponsors. A little more money won’t harm either.
    After all, he is the one in the strong position as the team lets him down more than he does.

    Martin Whitmarsh is under pressure for sure & he is more & more rare at the BBC microphone. The pressure is getting to him from the lack of efficient developments plus the series of bad tactical decisions either in qualifying or in the race & now the mistakes as well.
    Many journalists today pointed at Ron Dennis heavy presence in the garage & Martin was defensive in his answers. As they say in Football when a president has to back his coach, that’s when you know he is going to be fired.

    1. Zombie-UrT-BR says:

      “Bad tactical decision” = “Let Alonso go to keep Hammy”. THAT was a *HUGE* mistake (Ron’s mistake). Like it or not, Maca lost a second after Alonso’s departure.

      1. Anthony says:

        They won the championship after Alonso’s departure.

      2. Zombie-UrT-BR says:

        Nope. Ferrari’s lost.

    2. Femi Akinz says:

      I never thought I’d hear you be so candid and sympathetic towards Hamitons plight.

      I know people always said Macca was uptight and that Martin coming has brought a breath of fresh air but what this is showing is how difficult it is to alter the DNA of an organisation.

      Macca is wired to be thorough and efficient and place enormous pressure on themselves to win. The new org is anything but that.

      Previously they looked like a team that lost because they trust data too much which was endearing in its own way. Now they look like a team that lose because they don’t trust data at all and want to be cool which is just …well.

      Jenson probably wouldn’t have been able to stand Macca under Ron because the neurotic approach wouldn’t have suited him but Lewis cant stand this environment either.

      Lewis needs the pressure and intensity which is lacking at Macca right now.

      James and everyone else, what do you think?

    3. Damian J says:

      Jo,

      We are only half way through the season so your comments to start crowning Ferrari as the team for making improved performance within season may be a little premature. The off throttle regulation changes at Silverstone will mean that Silverstone is a one off.

      Also to bear in mind that Ferrari have not produced a strong car at the start of the last two seasons whereas McLaren has been the team that has taken the fight to Redbull this year and in the first half of last year!

    4. Damian J says:

      It’s only the half way point in the season so perhaps a little premature to start crowning Ferrari as the team for making improved performance.

      The off throttle regulation changes at Silverstone will mean that Silverstone is a one off.

      Also consider that Ferrari have had poor season starts whereas McLaren has been the team that has taken the fight to Redbull this year and in the first half of last year!

    5. Paulo Miranda says:

      Nice to see you so kind to Lewis ;)
      But you are spot on, today Lewis complained about the marketing duties that let him with less time to rest and prepare. And he already mentioned his next contract will be different, so well done here.

      As for Ferrari having better development, last year was true, and this year its seems so. Even if Silverstone can’t come to the equation, the Ferrari pace in Canada was very good in qually, and both drivers (massa too ;) was very good. And in Valencia alonso was driving at very good pace too, compared with vettel. I expected that Mclaren could do again a 2009 development, but even if this car isn’t as bad as the 2009 car was, they can’t keep up, and i fear that from here to the end, Mclaren will only defend his 2nd position in the WCC, which is only possible if they put all the 4 wheels in the cars.

      About Martin, i noticed that too, and the Ron presence can’t be good, but i still prefer have Martin talking less then to have Stefano do whatever he does :P

  26. CGM says:

    MW & CH are both VERY intelligent people with a solid working relationship both at RBR and at Arden. Quite possible that this is all just a game that they are happily playing with the media to extract publicity. Don’t ya think that it’s odd that MW never seems to get in any particular trouble for all the mouthing-off and OTT body-language that he has done last-year and this-year? Particularly when it would be VERY easy for RBR to simply drop him and toss-in another driver who would just shut-up and drive? Just seems odd that MW & CH are always best-of-mates VERY quickly after MW has done his post-race mouthing-off and/or body-language displays.
    Maybe MW is quietly happy to play the game knowing that he will get well-rewarded by RBR after he retires in a year or so…. time will tell I spose.

  27. vitaly says:

    they didn’t really let them race last year, and they didn’t treat them equally either, so saying they did was hypocrisy from the start. webber has been surprisingly slow this year, whether or not this has to do with his own performance or unequal treatment i don’t know, but it sure prevented them from having certain problems.
    i think this is not about points, but mainly about the fact that vettel can’t handle being beaten by his teammate. they don’t want him to loose focus and start making silly mistakes.

  28. AlexD says:

    I GUESS HYPOCRITE IS THE RIGHT WORD.
    I see no issues with Red Bull asking Webber to do what they did and the same was I saw no issues last year with Alonso and Massa. The reason for this is because I try to understand the bigger picture and both Alonso and Vettel are better drivers within their teams.
    You could argue that Vettel has a super comfortable gap unlike Alonso who was in chase the whole season.
    But we all know where the problem is – last year many believed what Red Bull was saying and being a soft drink company, they need to have a good image. Considering their marketing strategy and their products, philosophy of the brands and what it stands for, the equity is a lot more important that winning in case of Red Bull…and that is why last year is was clear why Red Bull said what they said – PR.
    This year, they have done completely the opposite and no words are going to turn this back.
    Yesterday it was sensationally clear that Vellet is a clear number one and that never in life Weber was or will be treated equally. I will say more, Ferrari was always about the number 1 driver and the world was gutted, but not surprised. There was not hypocrisy and what Ferrari has done, but the Red Bull story is different. It is legal this year, however this is a major contradiction to what they claimed their values are.
    Red Bull now understand that when you have a chance of winning, you become greedy and all other virtues die.

  29. Rang says:

    James, I agree to the point that Red Bull indicated something before where they say that they would allow the drivers to race, but did not allow it to happen yesterday. I do not agree with your view of gaining 3 points or losing it. No one wants to collide – but it just happened in Turkey last year. Your article focusses more on the 3 points, what about the situation when both collide and lose out. It is 50-50 chance.

    btw – do you think Mark really ignored the messages, I thought he receded at some point.

  30. RBR are certainly starting to make McLaren under Ron as a bunch of saints. =)

    Ant Davidson pointed out on the BBC 5 Live F1 Chequered Flag podcast that there must something going on behind the scenes for Webber not to sign a new deal quickly with the fastest team on the grid. Maybe he’s got a point there.

    Once again you are spot on with your reading of the situation. (Excellent memory mate!) Can’t wait to see you this Wednesday on RPM.

  31. bearforce1 says:

    Poor Mark. He’s not good enough to be a Number 1 driver and he’s no Number 2 driver.

    1. Andy Carr says:

      Does that make him a 1.5 Driver then? :-)

  32. 69bhp says:

    James, why do you say that Webber heeded the instructions after Christian Horner intervened? It looked to me like he was trying to overtake all the way till the last corner but just couldnt make it stick. And he admitted himself in post-race interviews that he had ignored the instructions. If he had backed off because of the instructions I am sure he would have said so.

  33. **Paul** says:

    I’m starting to think F1 fans are a suffering from a bit of brain fade.

    Red Bull had a whole load of points in the bag with a couple of laps to go, so why let them race? Remember that the same situation wouldn’t be allowed at Ferrari (if FA was in front) and McLarens generally don’t race each other after the final pit stop. Why should Red Bull be different, other than a throw-away comment by Dieter 9 months ago. If you want to see hypocracy then I’m sure you could dig something up on most of the team bosses over a 9 month period.

    Red Bull got absolutely slated for their handling of the Turkey affair, and that is what happens when you let people race. McLaren have got lucky in the past allowing it, as we’ve seen Lewis bounce off the side of Jensons car a couple of times (but not 2 laps from the end of the race because that would be stupid…hint hint).

    Additionally one has to look at the Championship, yes Seb has a big lead, but it’s in the interests of RBR that they take both titles as soon as possible and the drivers title will take longer to secure (if at all) with Webber. So again from this perspective the team made the right decision.

    And finally let me re-iterate one of Horners points: “At the end of the day, the team is the biggest thing. No individual is bigger than the team.” This mantra is the same used by not only F1 teams like Ferrari, but also other massive sports teams (note TEAM!) like Manchester United who decided to sell both Beckham & Ronaldo, because no individual is bigger than the team and sometimes you have to annoy a member of a team to do the very best for it.

    On those grounds I entirely support Horners decision, although it’s worth noting that I think Mark ignored it completely and didn’t back out of anything as per the suggestions about. On the last lap at one point he was 0.1s behind Vettel. That was after Horners message and was also about as close as he got to the German. Ergo he was still trying to pass Vettel on the final lap. It looked like he’d dropped back at the end but I’d hazard a guess that was more a result of a failed overtake/too much dirty air from running so close to Seb around the backend/Stowe area of the track.

    1. Alex W says:

      They didn’t get slated in Turkey 2010 for letting them race, they got slated for saying it was Webbers fault.

      The team orders are only bad because of the hypocritical nature of them.

  34. Mintee says:

    Should have been a message to Vettel – ‘Mark is faster than you’.

    1. Zombie-UrT-BR says:

      8-)

  35. Alan says:

    Listening to the comments after the race from CH and MW, it was clear MW will not be there next year…

  36. Dino says:

    Christian Horner said something to the effect of “we told Webber to back off to protect the points for the team”. Well, what’s no-one is saying is the Red Bull finishing with Webber 2nd and Vettel 3rd would have brought home exactly the same points haul.

    Vettel was suffering from a KERS issue (we are told), so why not let Webber past if he’s clearly in a faster car. “Webber is faster than you!”

    Regardless of whether Webber heeded the instruction to “maintain the gap”, surely the fact that he was told 3 or 4 times and Horner intervened would have taken the edge off his attacking moves?

    Honestly, with Vettel now 80 points clear of his closest rival (who is now his own team mate) and the team 110 points clear in the constructors table, did anyone really think this was going to affect their season?

    While the British GP was good for the racing fans, it only confirmed what we already knew – that Red Bull & Vettel are this year’s champs and whatever they do to the rule book isn’t going to change that. So, good luck to the rest of the drivers and teams fighting for 2nd and I’ll see you all in 2012 :)

  37. Stuart Bate says:

    Quoting Christian Horner…..

    “At the end of the day, the team is the biggest thing. No individual is bigger than the team. I can understand Mark’s frustration in that, but had it been the other way round, it would have been exactly the same.”

    Would it have been exactly the same if it were the other way round? i don’t think so. Lets hopefully find out sometime this season and see if their words here are as hollow as Dietrich Mateschitz’s philosophy on letting them race to the end????

    I can’t get enough of your reports James keep it up mate.

    1. john says:

      Well Christian you just made Vettel bigger than the team! Whatever way you twist it always ends up the same answer.C’mon do you think people out there are really stupid?

  38. **Paul** says:

    OOps I meant Dietrich… Monday morning blues!

  39. Marc says:

    Red Bull are starting to learn what being a top team is all about. The amount of slack Ferrari had to endure from Red Bull, for what?… for nothing!

    1. James Allen says:

      That is precisely the point

      1. Dirk says:

        There is a big difference in quality: Massa was asked to yield position, Webber to hold it. For me thats a world of difference, the later happened very often, incl. Damon & Ralf, which makes Damons statements rather crooky…

  40. jmv says:

    Finally the naive Red Bull has matured into a proper F1 team!

    I would say: Welcome (finally) to our “sport”!

  41. Gate 21 says:

    I’d like to know where Horner’s “maintain the gap” directive was when it was Webber leading Vettel in Turkey last year. After all, they don’t want to take each other out…

    1. Citrum says:

      I would suspect that this is their justification of doing this.

  42. Akiiki Bedeau says:

    The comments made by Dietrich were made under last years rules banning team orders and were more to put ferrari down than a true reflection of his thoughts I think.
    Also I suspect maclaren would have done the same regarding Lewis and Jensen as Jensen would have caught Lewis at the end.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not correct, they were made after the Brazilian GP in November which was after the FIA hearing which made team orders legal.

    2. Kristiane says:

      “Jenson” with an “O”. =)

  43. Rick says:

    ‘No, teams don’t do that. It makes no sense at all’

    It makes perfect sense. If you have the fastest car by a long way yours cars will mostly finish 1-2. If both cars and drivers are equal they will be fighting it out 20 seconds ahead of everyone else and risk taking each other out.
    Or…..you give the fastest car to the golden finger and give the ‘no.2′ driver a slightly slower car which is still good enough for second but not quick enough to catch the fastest car and risk a collision.

    Lets face it, yesterday the engine mapping had to be the same on both cars for the first time this year, look how quick Webber suddenly looked and how average Vettel looked.

    1. 69bhp says:

      I think Vettel was slower only because he had KERS problems. For the first 2/3 of the race he was way ahead of Webber.

      1. Rick says:

        So how do you account for Webber beating Vettel in qualifying ?

      2. 69bhp says:

        er perhaps Webber (for once) did a better lap than Vettel? what makes you think it had anything to do with engine mapping?

      3. Charlie B says:

        The rain. I’m sure they both could have gone quicker, but that session told us nothing about ultimate pace.

      4. Nathan says:

        i heard the same but Webber was catching him at around 1sec per last. i don’t think KERS was worth that much?

    2. Jewel says:

      And the other forgotten factor is that it is Silverstone. One of Mark’s best resulting races from the past. A bit like Massa and Turkey, I think.

  44. Matt Shaw says:

    Great read and spot on.

    Most of all I was disappointed we were denied a cracking end to that part of the race.

  45. Dave says:

    Great read, and absolutely spot on, James.

    The issue I have is that I find it incredibly difficult to believe in Horner’s assertion that “had it been the other way round, it would have been exactly the same.”

    I can’t see that, myself, no matter how much Horner might state it to be the case.

    1. Dayton says:

      I totally agree.

      In fact I hope Webber flirts with the idea and at some stage makes it appear Vettel is catching him on track just to see what is said over the radio.

  46. Werewolf says:

    Red Bull did nothing illegal and I am a little surprised at the furore because I do not think any other team would have played it differently at that stage of the race. Yes, a race to the flag would have been nice but it was never going to happen.

    I do get the point about Mateschitz’s words appearing hollow but I think Goferet has hit the nail on the head above with the point about success. Alternatively, there may be behind-closed-doors conversations between Mateschitz and Horner as well as Horner and Webber.

    On a tangent, did anyone else notice the difference in Webber’s overtake of Hamilton on the Wellington Straight and Vettel’s handling of the same situation? Vettel repeatedly followed Hamilton’s move to the left whereas Webber dived right and got the job done in one.

    1. irish con says:

      vettel was going onto the wetter parts on the left handside of the wellington straight to cool his tyres from being in the hot air behind hamilton around the lap. and when webber pasted hamilton lewis wasnt on full power from having to fuel save massively so there is no real comparison with the 2 situations.

  47. Lewis J says:

    To my mind, this all just seems so unnecessary. It appears as though Christian doesn’t believe Seb would let Mark past in a ‘sensible way’, hence his comment about both drivers ending up in the fence.

    Seb is miles ahead in the Championship and he will win it. So, it just seems terrible PR to try and crack down on inter-team rivalry at a track where all the team’s families etc are attending. Plus, as I said earlier, it seems to reflect a lack of confidence on the part of Christian that Seb knows how to race (as opposed to leading from pole to flag). Silly RBR is all I can say!

  48. Peter So says:

    The worst thing in the latest scenario was bad PR. On one hand, we have Horner saying we want fairness and treat them equally, yet the manner, time and again, was on the opposite.

    I found the Ferrari situation, at Schumacher era, is different that the second driver is always known and obedient. Webber is not.

    Although RBR would have pocketed the same amount of points, regardless of the 2nd and 3rd order. The negative publicity, in my view, proves it is a loss to the team.

    They tried to forge the condition in the mid 90s in Ferrari. However, this is done ten times worst.

    I am sorry Horner, you are simply a bad principal.

    1. Peter Cas says:

      Right to the point. RBR take the high ground in 2010 and the Horner gives this astonishing, unnecessary team order. Clearly illustrating that he has no understanding of how fans feel,or what his brand stands for. Does RBR have a PR department? For sure it is not briefing Horner correctly.

      Secondly his public presumption that racing between his two drivers will inevitably end in the fencing. The drivers ought to be pretty upset at that suggestion, and if he believes it he is pretty dumb to be paying them what they earn.

      You look like like hypocrites when you could have been heroes – good work Christian!

      Get out out the paddock sometimes and open your mind.

  49. george says:

    James , if they were willing to swap the nose cone last year, right in front of Mark, then why wouldn’t they do things behind his back to give Seb an advantage ?

  50. Mario Senna says:

    James, as a fan I demand an explanation from Red Bull on how yesterday relates to their philosophy.
    And they’d better be careful in how they do it/what they say, to not insult (further) our intelligence. Because more than wings, Red Bull gives nausea right now.

  51. LoudHoward says:

    Any comments on Turkey 2009 James? The situation was nearly identical but with the roles reversed, the team acted in the exact same way then as they did here (just had to use ‘code’ then).

    No doubt nearly all the team bosses are hypocritical and apply different standards to themselves than they do to other teams, that’s part of the game.

    When it comes to the question of ‘would they hold Vettel back’ in that situation, the answer has to be yes doesn’t it? Because, well, they already have.

  52. For sure says:

    I think this is the worst team order in the history of f1. The reason is that I think Seb has virtually won the championship. If you don’t allow your drivers to race at this point, it’s an insult to the fans who basically paid to watch that Red Bull..[mod]

    1. Nathan says:

      nothing will beat Austria 02

      1. Maximum Attack says:

        To be fair, Rubens made that look as awful as it ended up being. Schumacher compounded the problem with his silly podium gesture.

  53. Kalle says:

    “…and worse, has shown that its values were fine when Vettel was the one being given a chance, but that it doesn’t apply the other way around.”

    You and many more has forgot that the very same order was giving to Vettel in Turkey 2009 when he closed in on Webber for 2nd place with a few laps to go. Afterwards Webber explained that there was no point racing each other and risk taking each other out. Yesterday when the positions was reversed and he wasn’t the one being benefited by the order he had a very big issue with it. So you could discuss who is being hypocritical in that team.

  54. Bluey says:

    James, your article hit the nail on the head. RBR used some very poor judgement in terms of the overall Championship. MW clearly had better pace in the last few laps of the race. It would have been no big issue if MW had passed Seb and 2nd & 3rd places were reversed.

    Seb would have been still the clear Championship leader and MW would have been in a better 2nd place position. As it stands now, MW has Alonso breathing down his neck for 2nd in the Championship.

    It’s clear that Seb has the Championship rapped up for this year, the race is on for 2nd – which looks between MW & Alonso.

    Observations –
    (a)i watched the pre race show on One and the interview with MW. MW was asked about contract negotiations, MW played it very cool and poker faced – I’m thinking that Flavio may have a Plan “B”, just in case.

    (b) i understand (from a fans perspective) that Alonso & MW are friends, there always seems to be more congratulations between MW & Alonso , than between MW & Seb ? I think MW would look good in Maranello Red to finish his career.

    Prediction 2012
    MW to Ferrari
    Massa to McLaren
    Hamilton to RBR

    Great to see your regular reports on the F1 coverage and on RPM.

    Sign of with this – don’t know how accurate ?
    Quote of the day: Daniel Ricciardo when asked how he feels about being touted as the next big thing – “It’s better than them saying I’m a …[mod]or a dud.” Classic!!

    Gotta love a straight talking Aussie !

    1. Sebee says:

      You think Massa fits at McLaren?!?!?!

      1. Bluey says:

        From a marketing point – RBR with Seb & Lewis would be gold.

        Massa at McLaren would be welcomed by Jenson – I think that he (Jenson) thrives on being the perceived #1 driver (like at Brawn). And lets face it, Massa at Ferrari, whilst Alonso is there, Massa will alwats be #2.

      2. Sebee says:

        I just don’t think Massa fits in McLaren in any way other than being first Brazilian to win at Interlagos since Senna did it in McLaren. I don’t think they are all that sentimental at McLaren. And if they were going to be sentimental, they would have given Bruno the testing gig to ease him in and have him as Brazilian option. I think reuniting Senna name with McLaren is something they may consider strongly. But Bruno needs a seat first for 2012 to work on this race craft if he is to step into Lewis’ seat. Jensen/Senna could be decent. Who knows…

        Lewis and Seb at Red Bull? Gold? More like Gold plated gold swimming in golden Red Bull! The more Lewis talks smack about it, the more I think he’s entertaining it. But again – I don’t think it’s the right place for him. By 2013 Seb will probably be nearly even with Senna on numbers and championships, and that is going to sting Lewis too much.

        But Lewis is a two sided coin, and he’s not afraid to go all-in. He’ll play a game even if he’s not sure he can win. I think he’d rather go against Vettel and know if he could beat him or not with same hardware, than to hide behind excuses. If Vettel keeps his steamroller act, he may have no choice but to go this way to prove his value…like Senna – not with numbers and championships, but with passion.

    2. NotBlind says:

      You think Mark, who takes umbrage at a team order, would be happy (or welcomed) at Ferrari? That seems highly unlikely to me.

  55. Owen says:

    I think Red Bull were being pragmatic – it was not about 3 points, but the potential loss of a lots of points had they taken each other out – not to mention the resulting fall out between the drivers. I think it’s fine when a team tells their drivers to “hold station” in the very closing stages of the race – but to allow them to race each other until the last 5 laps or so. Such team tactics are fine – though for me it remains completely unpalatable when a driver is asked to move over to allow a team mate to pass – unless we’re itno the closing stages of the championship and only one is still in contention.

  56. Dave says:

    Read last week about Damon Hill previously instructing Eddie Jordan to insist Ralf Schumacher does not overtake him, allowing Hill to win for Jordan…. so that especially smells of hypocrisy.

    I feel that to ensure no collision, the faster car should have been allowed to pass, but to be fair, I’m massively biased.

  57. Frank says:

    First of all, I am in total agreement with you James. Legal or not, the philosophy, the spirit that makes RB so special is out of the window.

    The only small detail, it is not just 3 points, it is the very high possibility of a crash and 0 points.

    1. Alex W says:

      Why do you think a crash so likely? Webber has done what must be near 100 overtakes this year without incident.

      1. Francisco says:

        Alex,
        Very fair point. Turkey incident is still very fresh and it looks that CH does not trust his drivers.

  58. Dave D says:

    Sorry. Comment at 10.24 not quite true. They should have been allowed to race, but if there had to be orders, then the faster car……….

    Ever growing respect for Webber to stand up for his principles.

  59. Nando says:

    It’s actually a 6-point swing between the two drivers. Presumably Mark still had sone remote hope of winning the title before this incident.

  60. Spenny says:

    I think the real problem Horner gave himself with Webber was when he rebutted speculation on Hamilton joining Red Bull by saying that history showed that it was not a good idea having two world class drivers in a team. That was a pretty public rejection of Webber’s talent – a driver, who if we recall was on track to win the driver’s championship last year until he had something of a meltdown in the final stages which appeared to be due to a cycling injury.

  61. Ahmed says:

    People please wake up!
    Webber has been on 2 pole positions with no race wins. Vettel has blitzed him and dominated his team mate and the rest of the field.
    This is despite maclaren and red bull having comparable and at times faster race pace than red bull.
    RBR has advantage during quali due highest downforce which allows them to run unlimited DRS, not engine maps or magical buttons!
    Take this away and they do not have this advantage during races.
    Take a look at the starts, condition of his tires, and consistency in pace so far this year, Vettel wins this category hands down!
    No team can afford to make 1 car faster than the 2nd car, they want max points in every race, ability to take points away from competitors and win the constructors championship.
    It’s not as if RBR told Webber to move aside and let Vettel through. Webber should be thankful he is in a top car with every chance to win, he should stop whining and get on with it and prove himself on the track!

  62. Tim B says:

    It’s probably more to do with corporate thinking (minimise risk) than favouritism, but Red Bull only have themselves to blame for the lingering paranoia amongst fans.

    Another misjudgement from Horner or someone else in the team – even a crash would probably not have been that big a deal (look at how quickly the Button/Hamilton incident in Canada was forgotten), but this will cause the whole issue of equal treatment to flare up again.

    I also wonder whether Webber disobeyed through frustration in the heat of the moment, or if it was more calculated. I noticed in the post-race press conference that Vettel looked very interested in Webber’s account of that part of the race.

  63. Alric Kitson says:

    This ruined the race for me. It will have lost them fans for sure. Redbull is supposed to be a cool, young, daring brand that is involved with some of the craziest sports and extreme events on the planet. Yet yesterday their drivers were told like naughty little boys to not race each other in case they took each other off. This made them look like a pathetic, boring, health & safety, red tape brand. Now where’s that can of RockStar…..

  64. Jamie says:

    A couple of Questions that I would like to see James put to Christian Horner.

    A few years ago when RBR where further down the grid, If the FIA had told RBR to “maintain the gap” what would have been his response.

    Are RBR excited to be 1st and 2nd in the 2011 Synchronized Driving Championship.

    Christians view on the Olympic 100 metres final now being run over 92.3 Metres.

    Sad day for race fans.

    James, love ya work.

  65. Jonathan says:

    I don’t understand Horner’s stance at all. Both Vettel and Red Bull are far enough ahead to win this championship and team orders are not necessary now. All it has done is bring more negativity to the team. Unless that is the intent? A bit of controversy puts them in the media, I guess.

    McLaren haven’t won the constructors championship for a while, yet the sea of McLaren-clothing in the stands yesterday shows that this hasn’t done them any harm. Hamilton has been driving into everyone towards the end of last season and in the last few races, including his team mate. Yet he wasn’t short of fans yesterday. Kobayashi hasn’t scored many points, but is getting plenty of attention for his overtaking.

    Last season, one of the most memorable and most repeated clips is of Vettel and Webber colliding into each other. This is what is giving their sponsors the airtime. I’ve seen more of this clip, and Webber flying through the air, than I have of Vettel crossing the line to win the championship.

    Many turned off F1 during Schumacher’s glory years since seeing someone drive off into the distance was quite boring. Do Red Bull’s sponsors really want a repeat of this with Vettel? I think not.

    Christian, fans want to see racing, and the sponsors paying your salary want lots of happy fans. At the end of the day they don’t remember that a driver picked 3 extra points in race X. The Massa-Hamilton manoeuvres on the last corner for 4th and 5th are going to be remembered a lot longer.

    1. Kristiane says:

      Spot on regarding crashes vs winning fan base.

      Maybe Red Bull + Horner prize winning a hollow championship above fan base and brand image.

  66. Emile says:

    Sounds to me like RBR have just grown-up…. welcome to F1 chaps.

  67. Irish con says:

    I can’t believe the big deal people have made out of this. Same as I felt last year with Ferrari. Both were clearly the correct call. Getting both your lead drivers infront and staying infront is the best thing to do. Same as mclaren dis last year in turkey when told button not to pass lewis. Why should mark webbers feeling be more important than that of the team. No single person can ever be more important than the team. Asmuch as I like webber he should either do what the team tells him everytime or move on. If Alex ferguson told someone to do something and they didn’t do it how long would it be till he kicks them out. And people saying that these new rules hurt vettel are miles off. Vettel was clearly the quicker driver yesterday. It was just that his tyres were done at the end and he lost a bag of time in his 2nd pitstop. Gives the clowns a reason to diss vettel and not recognise his greatness this year.

    1. Damian J says:

      If it’s a team sport, why then have a driver championship?

  68. Steve says:

    Let me state upfront I am a Webber fan. But, let us cast our memories back to Spain 2010. I believe I remember Seb being asked to maintain the gap in the closing stages of the race.

    I for one believe believe if the RBR drivers were reversed yesterday Seb would have been asked to maintain the gap. It just makes sense.

    Don’t get me wrong I would love to see them both go hard to the checker, but there is nothing in it for the team. No real gain, potential big loss.

  69. Damian says:

    Good item James. This shameful display by the Red Bull management just proves what we´ve all known ever since he joined the team, that Webber was, is and always will be the no. 2 driver. As you say, total hypocrisy.

  70. ArunasNesvarbu says:

    I think Seb will lost most in this case, because after that kind of situation his reputacion is going down, and I feel very sorry for the german. The guy is realy fast and inteligent, but his boses Horner and Marko are too bad in menegement and the price that cost for that is Seb’s reputacion.

  71. KK says:

    Sebastian couldn’t find a way past Lewis and that’s credit to the latter but because of that he was losing seconds in chunk to Fernando lap by lap and had to resort to an undercut to pass Lewis . That meant, he would be vulnerable towards the end of the race with worn out tyres. End of the race came and we saw the man who calls himself Aussie grit applying a lot of pressure through his gritty driving to get past Seb. With two laps to go, the team, came on the radio four times yelling at Mark to maintain position but each time, he ignored and continued with his chase. So, team orders or not, Seb was able to fend off the challenge anyway and hence the on track matter should end right there. Off track though, Mark has a serious problem upfront. Either, he’s psychologically destroyed by Seb having seen the champ cruising away to yet another WDC or he’s just plain arrogant to ignore team orders. I’m not all for team orders but this was truly a logical decision taken by Horner because they were only a handful of corners from end and a finish with 33 points before Mark makes a move on Seb. Knowing either, and seeing what Massa-Hamilton did to each other, a catastrophe was on the cards.

    Yet, Mark chose to ignore the order. I would like him to go back to 2009 to the race in Turkey where Seb was closing in with a handful laps to go but was asked to maintain the position to Mark despite the fact that he was leading the Aussie in the championship. Seb didn’t make a meal out of it that day but somehow, Mark had the audacity to do so when the coin fell the other way in Silverstone. As Horner maintains, the team had allowed them to race for 40 odd laps and throwing away a potential 2-3 with 33 points in the beckoning could prove fatal towards the end of the season. And more importantly for Redbull, the race was an opportunity to demonstrate to the factory workers from Milton Keynes who had gathered in huge numbers to see their cars on the podium.

    Yes, this was unlike Hockenheim 2010 where the team order was blatant and was a PR disaster. Legal or illegal, Redbull racing allows their drivers to race but may choose to think sensibly towards the end of the race, when the hardwork put across the weekend is likely to be undone by driver egos. Since no individual is bigger than the team, Mark is on his way out but good riddance I say!

    1. celeste says:

      I love your comment… lets be friends…

      For real. I think Mark has a very slected memory about how this team has helped him. They give him a sit and a fast car when he has never won a race. They have supported him and had been patient with his outburst and childlike behaivoir… I just read that The Bild is reporting that Kimi will be the other driver for RBR in 2012… and I said HELL YEAH BABY!!!!!

  72. Fred says:

    Horner should have gotten on the radio to Vettel and said, “…OK, Mark is faster than you…”, not “maintain the gap”.

  73. giorgio0078 says:

    It’s simple to judge from side, but where goes line between a fair fight and fear of crush, but anyway temptation to benefit one driver vs other, takes place, coz it’s normal psychological behavior, but the thing is, how you manage this and how you deal with it, how it does your PR etc.

  74. Does anyone here seriously believe that Christian Horner would have gone on the radio and ordered his drivers to hold station if Sebastian had been the driver behind ?

    Didn’t think so !!!

    1. celeste says:

      They did on Turkey 2009 and Barcelona 2010…Cheers…

  75. Miha says:

    I think Vettel is the best driver this year and he already proved it.

    At the same time it is obvious that Red Bull prefer Vettel over Webber, and I don’t like it.
    Vettel can beat Webber anytime by himself (over the course of the season) and he doesn’t need help from his team. So this team decisions are only bad for Vettel’s reputation – and this is the driver they prefer and build their image around.

  76. Robbie Brown says:

    Horner’s comments post race make no sense, unless he doesn’t trust this drivers to race and not collide, This for me is the worst part about it.

    Whether it would happen the other way round, maybe we’ll never know, (i hope we do) but it stink’s a little of greed, they are so far in the lead in both championships and he seems to want Vettel and the team to win with the most points they possibly can.

  77. Kristiane says:

    Maybe Webber need not to consider RBR anymore for next year.

    I hope Flavio has something up his sleeve for Webber in 2012.

  78. Drama Queen says:

    Im i the only one tired of the media spin from RBR.
    Maybe if they werent continually in Marks ear at 300klm/hr he could have overtaken Vettel like he wanted to.
    I know when my wife is in my ear while i drive it very frustrating and hard to concentrate !

    1. C.T says:

      ha :) lol but good point

  79. Snailtrail says:

    Sorry James dont agree at all with your comment:
    “This rather underestimates Vettel’s intelligence.”

    Vettel has made the usual driver mistakes BUT Redbull have gone to great lengths to protect him by blaming everything & everyone (including his team mate) when things go wrong – remember the hungs he got at Turkey last year?
    This stops Vettel from growing up as a racer – instead he has stopped at being a fast driver.

    Fact is Vettel has shown on a number of times he’s not sure how to control/act in the situation when two cars are next to each other on the track. Add into the equation a determined Webber chasing him and it would have only lead to one result.

    Feel sorry for Webber.

  80. Mitchell says:

    I was very unhappy with Eddie Jordan’s views on this.

    “Oh from a team oweners perspective its the right thing to do!”

    Umm… we’re not team owners. We are racing fans. EJ is so absurdly narrow minded that he can’t understand that the high majority of the fans wan’t to see racing, not vettel cruising to victory.

    1. Simon G says:

      +1

      exactly my thoughts at the time, I like EJ, but he was just plain wrong.

      The fans and viewers pay the bills, without them F1 is no more, we should be shown some respect.

    2. Maximum Attack says:

      I was surprised EJ didn’t wheel out his old line about people who had made bets. He sure can be fickle.

      1. James Allen says:

        Jordan made a similar “keep behind him” call to Ralf Schumacher when he was closing on Damon for the win in Spa 98.

      2. Martin P says:

        An obvious parallel to draw on the face of it, but surely the two situations are a world apart in reality?

        Jordan were a mid-grid team who needed to fight year on year for every penny of sponsorship. Their first race win (and a one-two at that) would be an enormous boost to their fortunes in both points (and prize money) and sponsor hunting for the following year. Under those circumstances it was absolutely the right call to hold station and secure the dream outcome. Red Bull are in a completely different situation though and, as you point out, had more to lose than gain through this decision.

      3. Mitchell says:

        Oh yes, I have no doubt heaps of teams have done it over the years. It would be something very common and something a team owner would want to do.

        I just hate that EJ justifies it from a team owners perspective. What will be it be next race?

        “Well look at it from Sebastian Vettels point of view, if you were Sebastian you wouldn’t want to be overtaken”

    3. fred says:

      Oh yes do i agree 100%. Jordan should remember he is being paid by the BBC licence fee payer. He is a failed team boss and should get the boot from our screens because he has done nothing for the fans of F1.- get a job with RB Eddie, you are made for each other

  81. Ravi says:

    Why is that the British press and journalist keep targeting RBR and Vettel??

    If Vettel wins the car is amazing but if Hamilton wins than he is a great driver.

    Hard facts, F1 is a business and when you are investing millions in it, you want results and given how the season has shaped up, Vettel has destroyed Webber the whole season!

    No point in Webber whining over once again as if he is truly as good as he thinks he is, he would be fighting with Vettel for the Championship not with the likes of Button and Alonso for the runner-up title.

    Webber after his stunt last season is lucky to keep a drive. He is vastly over-rated and he is not even among the top 5 drivers of F1 today. Before last season, Webber was a good mid-field driver and even now he is one. He was never world champion material nor will he ever be.

    RBR should sign Kobayashi or even Di Resta next season. The Toro Rosso bunch is just not good enough. Or just convince Kimi to get back. Kimi without driver an F1 car for 2 years is still capable of beating Webber in a shoot-out!!!

    1. C.T says:

      to quote Wombat who says further down:

      Mark Webber has struggled with a ‘B’ car all season. This is the first race where Red Bull have given him a car that was capable of ‘racing’ all weekend and he showed he can match it with Seb. Vettel and potentially even do better.

  82. James. I understand the article. And in what spirit its been written. But this is Formula 1. By the ways, was there any piece you wrote about Mclaren and Germany 2008 when Heikki and Lewis swapped positions?

  83. Tim says:

    There might no longer be rules about team orders, but there’s still rules for bringing the sport in to disrepute, which seems to be exactly what Red Bull have done here based on the wide reaction of fans around the web.
    Team orders might be one thing, but if it’s going to cause such an outrage in the community, it may be time action were taken. If ever there were a time this rule were to be exercised, now would probably be it.

  84. Jim says:

    Brilliant read by F1′s premiere journalist. Great stuff James.

  85. C.T says:

    Ultimately, they are RBR, Red Bull Racing!
    We are racing fans!
    Take the racing away, what have you got?
    I believe that Mark, given free reign would have passed incident free! The fact that he closed at over a second a lap, was on him with a lap to go and you saw Vettel pushing really hard at the end with locking brakes, missing apexes and so forth. Shows the pressure that mark did put on him. I believe that the call came because they knew Vettel is unpredictable in that situation.
    What everyone seems to have forgotten also is that Mark also had terrible pitstops at the start which put him back to fourth, still he fought to get back and at times looked untouchable. I think just a sad day for racing really, because the whole reason we love this racing is because it is exciting and unpredictable, by doing what they have done they have taken those both away and no-one wants to watch a precession! Well done Mark!! Go to Ferrari if you get the chance :)

    1. C.T says:

      By the way, Love your work James!! Your always on it :) Keep up the good work mate

    2. jez says:

      Webber to Ferrari, so that he can race with Alonso on equal an basis?

  86. James Mc says:

    Redbull really annoy me. There was no need for the orders yesterday, Vettel has such a runaway lead their antics yesterday were no differerent to Ferrari in Austria 2002. Absolutly no need for the team to intevene.

    If anything Red Bull are damaging Vettls reputation. He came across as quite a nice chap on Top Gear yesterday but all this favouratism is tainting his achievments.

    Dont get me wrong a am all for team orders when a championship is at stake and its gone down to the wire but yesterday there was absolutly no nead for them. Its not racing. I hope if Webber is put in that situation again he Boxes the car and deliberately retires.

    Webber might as well go to Ferrari!

  87. Ray says:

    The real race is for second in the championship. Mark needs every point he can get. Would Red bull rather a 1-2 on the championship or a 1-3 ??

    1. C.T says:

      nice! good point :)

    2. Kristiane says:

      LOL well that shows you how much that value no.2 as oppose to no.1 in RBR.

  88. Rein says:

    Silverstone was al-round a fantastic event and we all enjoyed a highly entertaining race. Shame about Schui’s penalty. Webber had his chance at the start and the opening lap and ended up behind Vettel. Webber had a second chance with Vettels messed up pitstop and still ended up behind Vettel. Horners instruction, was unpopular and perhaps unnecessary. But Mark Webber, as much as I like him on and off track, is loosing sometime the view for the bigger picture – in the heat of the moment. And his, all or nothing mindset, ended several times in the wall during his career. Just remember earlier in the race when he went done Hangar Straight with two wheels on the wet grass, heading towards the concrete wall of the bridge. This could have ended up in a nasty shunt. But thats Mark Webber – and perhaps sometimes he also needs a little protection from himself and for the greater good. Can’t wait for Nürburgring and some more changeable weather conditions. One a different note – Hamilton swap with Rosberg at Mercedes? Did anybody consider this scenario so far?

  89. PeteM says:

    I thought RB was different and a welcomed releif to “let them race”.
    Unfortunately I was wrong. There is clearly a 1 and 2 driver. Number two this weekend was made to maintain his gap and in so being told this made all F1 fans and onlookers aware RB is totally Vettel and the suggestion to previously agree to “let them race” was a blatent lie. Shame on them.
    Webbers championship campaign just ended and I would say as long as he stays at RB he will just be the journey man unfortunately. He’s another Barichello with the best now behind him due to the limitations he has now got to endure. Retirement next year likely I would say. Webber hasnt got the character to play second fiddle and thats what he is in RB. A big Pitty.

    1. Troy Prideaux says:

      Really though, surely Mark knows he’s not as valued as Seb in the team. Christian Horner has publicly stated at least twice that RBR will be building the team around Seb. I get the impression that Adrian Newey and Mark are very close, but Seb is simply more consistent and proven faster to not place him as the clear No.1 driver and Mark needs to accept that, unfortunately.

  90. Bob says:

    Gee I hope someone had a bet on for Vettell to beat Webber.

  91. Bob says:

    oops make that Vettel

  92. David Goss says:

    Remember Turkey last year when Vettel and Webber collided? After that, when Lewis and Jenson were running 1-2, Martin Whitmarsh decided they should “maintain the gap” – we know this because there was a mix-up, Jenson didn’t get the message and had a pop at Lewis unexpectedly.

    I think that was a different situation though. The drivers were pretty level on pace, they had just driven past an intra-team collision and been gifted a 1-2. I can’t blame Whitmarsh for just wanting them to drive to the flag.

    This Red Bull thing was different – for various reasons Webber was faster and therefore if there was a team decision at all it should have been for Vettel to move over, but the right thing would be to tell both drivers to be careful and let the racing happen.

    What’s interesting is Horner’s apparent lack of any trust in his drivers. He told the BBC that it would have ended up as a crash – no ifs or maybes, he was certain they would crash. As you said in your post James, that is unfair on the drivers who are both pros.

    McLaren seem to have a more mature approach to this. Whitmarsh always says he trusts the drivers to race sensibly, and I’m sure they are happier drivers and better team players because of that level of trust and respect that apparently isn’t there at Red Bull.

    1. Troy Prideaux says:

      Very well said David.

      1. Kristiane says:

        x2

  93. Big P says:

    The issue has a wider impact on the sport. Webber should be Vettel’s closest challenger given he has the same machinery but as someone has already alluded he is racing with one arm tied behind his back.

    Yes, team order’s are allowed but when Vettel is so far ahead and his team can control his closest challenger, what does that mean for the rest of the season in terms of competition?

    If I were McLaren and Ferrari I would be giving up on this year and looking ahead to next which is what Lewis has basically said and then backtracked on as it’s not a good message for fans and sponsors alike.

    Some of the sport’s major talking points are when team mates race each other hard and it should be kept that way.

    Mark Webber deserves huge credit for the way he goes about his business.

  94. Johnny M says:

    it’s a shame, hypocrite horner , webber don’t hav to much love from them. i mean im not a webber fan but these kind of things should be allowed. they teaching driver how not to be good, they make all drivers look like mass now

  95. Ravara Mike says:

    Very disappointed for Webber and not for the first time. High moral ground last year – let them race come what may. Low points pinching ground this year – maintain the gap for the sake of 3 points! Disgusted

  96. wolf says:

    Did anyone see the KERS data for Webber off of the line? Cant recall a single in car view for Webber off the start this year to know if KERS is working or if he is truly dreadful on the start.

  97. mazirian says:

    Great article James! You summed it up perfectly.

    I also appreciate your clarification above that Mateschitz held his Hollywood speech about principles after team orders was once again allowed last year.

    Thanks.

  98. Wombat says:

    I agree with your summary of the late-race situation between Webber and Vettel, spot on!
    Mark Webber has struggled with a ‘B’ car all season so far. This is the first race where Red Bull have given him a car that was capable of ‘racing’ all weekend and he showed he can match it with Seb. Vettel and potentially even do better. The tyre management issue always seemed PR cover.
    If Mark has to accept a number 2 role I’d like to see him in a Ferrari……………..
    How about it Flavio?

  99. Mat says:

    James,
    Do you know why Mark has changed chassis so much this year? Vettel has had a good constant chassis while Mark has even been punting the Pre Season testing chassis around in a few of the races including Monaco.
    Would make it hard given each chassis will be slightly different.

    1. Landon says:

      May have to do with webber’s height and weight.

      If memory serves, he is the tallest driver in F1, at 6’1” and a bit, and weighs about 180 lbs.

      As such, some compromises must be made for someone of his size in the car, Newey has said this on numerous occasions.

  100. David Sweeney says:

    I wish that someone asked Christian Horner if there was any radio communication with Seb Vettel during this time.

    Mark seemed to be faster than Seb at that time so why was Seb not asked to move over and let Mark through………..or was he and if so did Seb refuse…….and if not why was he not asked?

  101. Alex says:

    Red Bull did the right thing, guys. A collision would have been a catastrophe and, based on last year, you can never write off Alonso from the WDC. Or Ferrari. Remember 2006, when they suddenly challenged Renault for the championship?
    RBR needed that points and yes, they need a number 1 driver. Last year, when both drivers were battling for the championship, they almost lost to Alonso. Now they don’t want to repeat the same mistake.

    1. fred says:

      i do`nt care about collisions – is this a race or not? – are these hugley overpaid drivers the best in the world or not. Please get get a grip!
      I watched racing in the sixtys, they did`nt have all the safety they have today but it was a dammed sigth more interesting than it is today. You are clearly more interested in what is best for the team. Real fans want to see who is the best driver

      1. Alex says:

        It is very arrogant and immature to presume who is real fan and who is not. I personally enjoy the battles between the best F1 teams and drivers in the world and team strategy is part of this battle. Besides, it is legal now. This outcry is ridiculous – Horner didn’t even order a switch. But I bet that most “real” a.k.a McLaren fans would have loved to see it!

      2. fred says:

        Alex, i respect your opinion, you say it how you see it and so am i. Surely in its simplest form racing cars is about one man in one car driving his best to win. i do not watch it and i dare say most “fans” do not watch it for the corporate benifits it might bring to some over-rich tycoon. If that day ever comes expect to see empty stadiums and i will happily move over to the British Touring Car championship. Okay so Horner did not order the switch, but he did order Webber maintain the gap – what do you think he meant by that i wander? I will not argue with you about what consitutes a “Real Fan” but i will bet you that MOST fans agree with me, try asking a certain Mr Webber. And i also do`nt care if it is legal now, after all it used to be legal to hang criminals. The FIA are proved to be falable – its just one more rule change away. Good to exchange views with you

    2. Kristiane says:

      Maybe you agreed with Red Bull/Horner’s views on team orders knowing it’d be Vettel that’d cause the crash thus living up to his name of “Crash kid”?

  102. David Newsome says:

    A reminder of the Turkey 2009 version of events. Not quite the same:

    Q: You were asked late in the race by your team not to pass Mark. Your thoughts on that?
    SV: They did not tell me not to pass Mark. They just said ‘Mark is faster.’ Similar to what he did we just turned the engine down and just drove the car home. [...] Obviously both of us turned the engines down but still I would rather go fast the last couple of laps and enjoy rather than just going around without any sense.

    Q: Mark, similarly how were the tyres at the end as you were being gained on by Sebastian?
    MW: We knew that there was no point of us two smashing into each other with five laps to go, so we just brought the cars home really.

    Q: You were very quick at the end there, how many more laps would it have taken?
    SV: It’s difficult to say. In the end I came out behind Mark by quite a bit. I was surprised it was that much and then my engineer came on the radio and said Mark was faster. I think I just have to ask you what you would do in this kind of situation. You start from pole, you realise that your strategy doesn’t work as it was supposed to and you’re not in the position you want to be, so the last thing you do is just go round slowly and drive the car home. I think both of us turned down the engines but I enjoy driving, so I would rather continue to go quickly than start to slow down and carry the car home.

  103. JRay says:

    I’m so disgusted with Red Bull. They are forever trashed as a team in my mind. I think it shows you that they had no intention of supporting Webber last year and in my opinion they tried to manipulate the Turkish GP to let Vettel win. If that had not happened then Webber could well have been world champion. as he had got under Vettels skin, how Webber was able to perform after is even more truly remarkable! Christian Horner and Marko and Dietrich are all …[mod]. My opinion us that Webber should leave Red Bull, he will never be given a true chance to win the title, and if that’s the case he’s better off racing for Ferrari, I hope he had a chat with Alonso and Dominecally on the podium!!!

  104. Bluey says:

    Line on the local news tonight

    “Webber was BBQ’ed”

    (Webber is a brand of BBQ on Oz)

  105. John P says:

    James….don’t Mark and Christian own a GP3 team together? Surely these type of events put a strain on their business relationship as well?

  106. Michael Prestia says:

    Say what you want about Ferrari, they never hid behind a mask of Hypocrisy. Horner should ask the FIA for a name change. Remove “RED” and insert “Bunch of” before Bull!

  107. MISTER says:

    Maybe someone can help me understand something.
    After the race, Horner said that they will still let their drivers to race, right?
    Well, if they didn’t allowed Mark to do it this race, when are they? When mathematically Vettel won the championship?

    Very dissapointed!

  108. Rafael says:

    Whether we like it or not, team orders exist in F1. Always have and always will! Let’s be honest here, most of us will rationalize team orders if the driver we are rooting for is the beneficiary but if it’s the driver we hate then we cry foul play!

    I can understand the sympathy for Mark Webber, but I don’t entirely agree with it: let’s be honest here, he’s way down in points and there is (almost) no way in h*ll he’s going to become world champion – not this year at least! So pardon RBR and Christian Horner for going with the safe bet and gifting Sebastian an extra 3 points. And yes, Mark is right: had Fernando crashed, then it’d have been for the win – precisely why the team needed to keep Vettel ahead. Despite his (Seb) huge lead, you never know what will happen mid-season/late-season. I mean, by the end of last year everyone thought Fernando had it in the bag, and yet he still lost; despite those extra 7pts. he received in Hockenheim! F1 is a fickle sport, so every point matters.

  109. Qiang says:

    Don’t think Horner’s argument is valid if Mark did have tire and pace to overtake Vettel with the help of DRS. Given the huge point lead and the superior pace of their car, I think they can be a little generous to the fans to be less manipulative.
    I never drink Red Bull, and I doubt I will ever try one.

  110. I don’t see what all the fuss is about, but then I rarely do when it comes to team orders.

    It seems perfectly reasonable to ask your drivers to hold position when you’ve got a 2-3 finish in the bag. The teams stands to gain nothing (from a WCC perspective) if the pass was made, but could lose the lot if they take each other out. James makes a good point that Vettel would likely have the presence of mind not to fight Webber too hard, but ultimately it’s Horner’s judgement call to make. I think the only downside is that he might now reintroduce some of the tension that made things difficult for the team in 2010.

    I just don’t see F1 as being a sport where old-fashioned ‘Corinthian spirit’ applies. The drivers and the teams are all, by their nature, very self-serving.

  111. AdrianP says:

    90% of the comments expressing outrage here seem to me to be tilting at the wrong windmill.

    If there is a problem that team orders rob the fans of an important part of the racing spectacle, the problem is not created by Red Bull but the FIA.

    Team orders *were* illegal (following the first Ferrari fiasco – Schumacher / Barricello) but when the FIA was faced with the prospect of having to properly enforce the rule (following the second Ferrari fiasco – Alonso / Massa), rather than doing so, the FIA abandoned the rule altogether. Now a team who declines the invitation to use team orders to maximise its title prospects races at a competitive disadvantage (since there is no shortage of teams that will take up the invitation).

    Interestingly, while drivers probably used to have contracts which required them to comply with team instructions, a driver who signed up during the ban period and hasn’t renewed within the last year, probably wouldn’t. So Webber probably hasn’t, which might be why he’s reasonably relaxed about ignoring them (especially if he’s got the number 2 seat at Ferrari lined up, although that car has ‘team orders’ written on the inside of the windshield…).

  112. Flackster says:

    Vettel is leading the championship by about three clear races just halfway in. Webber is second in the championship. And RB are already stopping their drivers racing.

    RB already rejected Hamilton as an option for the team on the basis that ‘two world class’ drivers wouldn’t be a good combination.

    It’s obvious that Seb is the man, and Webber is there to fill in the gaps. Last year when Webber was ahead, they didn’t order Seb to follow orders.

    Sadly we’ll have to accept that RB are like Ferrari – they have a number 1 driver and so if we’re unfortunate enough for them to have the fastest car, we know who is going to win the season.

    At least with McLaren or during the William’s years, if they were dominant you still had the prospect of their guys racing each other even if the other teams were way back.

    This season was probably over couple of races back, but now it’s dead and buried.

    Very sad as the past 3 seasons have been corkers.

  113. Goob says:

    Racing fans want to see racing – it’s dumb for any competitor to be suppressed for any reason…

    No other sport suppresses one competitor over another…

    F1 puts far too much importance on the car – and that is why the word boring and F1 are usually in the same sentence…

    The fans want to see 90% of the drivers skill on display and 10% the car… yet F1 delivers the exact opposite 95% car and 5% driver…

    When will F1 reassociate itself with the word exciting? Never, at this rate… infact it seems to be sinking further with the DRS hack.

  114. devilsadvocate says:

    James, love the website and always enjoy new articles, but think the press have taken this one way too far and are really lookin for fire where there isn’t even smoke.

    There isna huge difference in my mind between the Ferrari team order asking driver b to make way for driver a even when driver b is leading. That is sad because it doesn’t deal in hypothetical Felipe and turns were almost certainly going to win their respective races Rubens more convincingly but Felipe also as they clearly wouldn’t ask him to move if Alonso had a decent chance of this they are directly manipulating the race result and clearly not allowing the drivers to race.

    Then we have Redbull which in the closing laps of a race where from behind there was no pressure as lewis almost didnt even finish and from in front Alonso was so far away that it have taken catastrophe to bring him under fire, so as a team they see the points will be the same so they ask driver b not to have a go at driver a since there are few laps left and it wasn’t like webber hadn’t been trying and even when he had a go Seb has proven with monaco and Spain that he is more than up to bottling up aggressive overtakers even with slightly more worn tires and after Canada he certainly wasnt going tonmake the same mistakes again. It’s just completely different and I’m getting annoyed by people who never were RBR fans in the first place and who dost even believe they had a moral high ground to lose suddenly jumping all over them and claiming foul play. It really seems thy the only people who are ma about this are non RBR fans who would have rather preferred seeing at least Seb in the fences and Lewis on the podium. That’s just a hunch though.

    I would have been far more upset if it turned up they were telling mark to maintain his gap earlier in the race when there was a lot more time to make a clean pass and tree was more pressure. This assumption that anytime someone is behind Vettel it’s given they will pass is annoying, on one occasion he has slipped while being pursued and then only other time he has lost a position on track is because his tires were too far gone from an overly optimistic strategy yet everyone is simply writing webber into second place even though he ignored his engineer anyways but couldn’t get it done before Horner calmed him down. As a reader who is not English and not a mclaren fan I would perhaps like a little bit more weight applied to Vettel’s skill than anyone seems to be doing in this situation. The kid has dropped only 21 points in 9 races under the old system that’s 6 poonts off the total maximum compared to some 17 points that button dropped in the same amount of time in 2009.

  115. Lilla My says:

    I was really displeased and disappointed with their antics. I still remember Horner saying right after German GP last year that they would not give team orders, coz they “let [their] drivers race.” Pity, they have such a short (or selective) memory, but unfortunatelly for them – fans don’t and will remind them their own words in due time (like this). Like written here – the gap in the WDC Vettel has is so huge that this order wasn’t really necessary IMHO… besides, what is the probability of two drivers crashing and getting DNFs? If we look at the amount of overtaking manoeuvres we’re watching this year, we see that the percentage of them finishing with a crash is really small, while Horner (with his comment about their drivers in the fence) made it sound as if almost every overtaking finished with a crash, as if it was almost a certainty…

    Good for Webber to ignore the instruction, but bad he decided to state it in public again. It seems to me that Webber very often says something in public and only then he informs the team about it (though this time, I’m sure everyone in RBR was aware of his disobedience). Webber’s openness for the media makes us realise what the situation is like inside the team (though Webber’s point of view is probably biased), making him look good, but at the same time it doesn’t earn him more friends in RBR, which isn’t good if he’s about to spend another year there. However, I’m happy Webber doesn’t let the team make a no. 2 driver out of him (though he should start beating Vettel if he doesn’t want to be no. 2) and makes us realise what the reality inside the team is.

  116. Dale says:

    Webber shouldn’t have yeilded, plain and simple for now he is, for the world to see, just a number 2.

    1. Maximum Attack says:

      But a well paid number 2. I still maintain that his antics last year were purely for bargaining power.

  117. Thomas says:

    Team orders are not the issue

    July 30th 2010 Horner:
    “I think moving forward, it is perhaps an area that needs to be looked at. But I think for me, F1 it has been quite healthy in the last couple of years where drivers have raced each other and I think that that should be encouraged rather than negated.”

    “Rightly or wrongly, we’ve allowed our guys to race and that is something they have done throughout this year.

    “In Turkey we paid the ultimate price for that, where one retired and the other achieved a lesser result than he should have done. If the rules were different then perhaps we would have addressed that race differently, but the philosophy of Red Bull Racing is to allow both drivers to race, as Mr. [Dietrich] Mateschitz has openly said.”

    ~39sec
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV36FVWLXHI

  118. jpinx says:

    James…
    Amazing race, but a sad weekend for F1. The only happy chappy will be Bernie. Thee’s no such thing as bad publicity ;) Maybe RBR think like that too?

    Here’s a thought – team orders should be legal only when it improves the teams position. Orders from the team that mess the drivers around with no benefit to the team in the WCC should be illegal.

    Great report James. Now lets hear the dirty stuff about computer-controlled throttles ;)

  119. knoxploration says:

    There’s not a team on the grid that would have done otherwise, James, and you’re being rather disingenuous not to make that clear. Felipe Massa is forced to play second fiddle to his teammate at every race, intentionally given the second-choice strategy, so where’s the protest about that?

    Whether or not Vettel tried very hard to defend, an accident could have happened. If you watch the coverage again, you’ll see that there was almost an accident even despite the order.

    Mark had his chance to win the race; multiple chances, actually. He fumbled them. There was no realistic chance of him getting ahead of Vettel on merit with identical equipment — as we saw, Massa couldn’t even manage a clean pass on Hamilton with a car that was a full three seconds a lap quicker. Without any real chance to pass, the fight was solely risk — the only reason Webber would’ve won the place is because he was being irresponsible and expecting his teammate to think of the team without doing the same himself.

    This is a complete non-story.

  120. Kedar says:

    I think Webber is not being too smart here. He didnt manage to overtake Vettel so why tell everyone he ignored the team order if infact thats what he did?
    He couldnt get past Vettel and now by admitting that he disobeyed team orders he has lost whatever little leverage he had within the team

  121. Free_Spirit says:

    Seb has driven the RB7 magnificantly this year. Mark has perfromed well but not to the same level as Seb.

    Mark is unhappy at RB and its obvious to all. I am a big Webber fan. However, noone delivers their best when they are not happy in the organisation they are a part of.

    Whether its a different spec. car or a design obtimised for Seb whatever…. Mark needs to do a final year or 2 at a new team

    Please Mark – protect your hard fought brand and move to another team if you can. Somewhere that allows you to release your negative thoughts and drive from the soul – not distracted by the injustice you feel has been imparted on you at RB.

    Good Luck – noone deserves it more.

    1. C.T says:

      I second that motion!

  122. Roadrager says:

    I suspect Webber to have a “glitch” with his KERS next race! always seems to have them glitch’s on his car more often then the more reliable unit on vettel’s car

  123. Scuderia Missile says:

    As a fan of racing I have decided to start drinking cola based drinks again.

  124. Andy says:

    I would have thought both Red Bull drivers were told we can’t beat Alonso today lets cruise to the flag and finish 2nd and 3rd. If Vettel did this and Webber did not then Webber’s catching Vettel wasn’t all it seemed and created the situation they found themselves in.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think it was more about tyres

  125. Alan says:

    A BIG congrats to Red Bull it single-handedly alienates itself, and Formula One in general, from fans all over the world, making it more difficult to win converts from other forms of motorsport.

    1. fred says:

      Completly agree, but i think it goes further than RB, it is simtematic of F1 generally. Too many driver aids make for dull racing. take away radio comms and go back to pit boards. Let the DRIVERS RACE and race all the way to the flag

  126. Roberto says:

    I think first of all, it was wrong for the FIA to reinstate team orders, they were a shame on the past as they are now. I can understand RBR position of not to risk such a good points opprotunity on sunday, but the fans were leaved with a sour note, us fans pay tickets to see action on the track, it`s not about car and drivers destroying themselves, but fair racing as Massa and Hamilton did until the last meter. As Webber mentioned he didn`t backed a bit, but i would like to see the telemetry and see if he realy didn`t backed off. Vettel doesn`t need that help for the championship, he`s one of the best drivers now, but we have seen him this year almost only in the lead and with pressure he can crack a bit, so RBR denied fans of some good fair racing.

  127. ACB says:

    I don’t think its hypocritical for a team principal to be against team orders when they were against the regulations, and to be in favor of them when they are allowed. What I do have a problem with is that ‘letting our drivers race’ is supposedly was an essential component to the Red Bull team spirit that set them apart from the old guard teams. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against team orders per se, and I agree that its rather insulting to Vettel that his team princple isn’t confident that he can be passeed by his team-mate without incident. Team orders trouble me when I see a driver having his moment taken from him and handed to another. Felipe Massa’s potential win last year would have also been a great personal victory after recovering from his head injury. In that case the team orders harmed the team not only by the blatant way they were implimented but also by the way it demoralized Massa. I can only imagine what he must have thought as the same people told him to let Alonso past threw that sacrifice away on the last race of the season.

  128. A.B.Normal says:

    I fail to see the controversy. Team directors have to be able to count on their drivers to execute orders, and vice versa. A driver has to feel confident that the information and directives he receives from the pits is in his best interest. If that confidence is breached, than the result can be counterproductive to team unity, or worse. (The G. Villeneuve and Pironi incident at San Marino come to mind.) The communication between Red Bull and Webber on the last lap I’m sure was not the only communication of the race.

    Vettel-bashers for some reason want to believe that he is an average driver in a great car who is quicker than his teammate because he gets better engine mapping, or better Cafe Latte’s the morning of the race. Whatever his demeanor or faults may be, Vettel is an outstanding driver. Horner-bashers point to his hypocrisy. Grow up. Formula One has always been about intrigue, backroom deals, and drivers with an unhealthy sense of ego. It would be a bore any other way.

  129. Dave Aston says:

    I don’t have a problem with a team telling their drivers to cruise to the finish; it’s a long season on limited engines. Of course, I’d rather see them race, but I appreciate the risk management. Perhaps they don’t want to take chances, a little like Ferrari/Austria 2002; it seemed over the top, but they’d lost the ’97, ’98, ’99 titles at the final race. However… what bothers me about yesterday, is Christian Homer saying he didn’t ‘want both cars in the fence, because that’s what would have happened’. His assumption that they’ll crash, just because they’re racing, really disappoints me, and doesn’t show a lot of faith. Horner is still a young guy for a team boss, under a lot of pressure, and I guess he’s learning too!

    1. fred says:

      i respect you view but i have to say you are a little too naieve. these are very big corporate business`s and they know exactly what they are doing and it is spelt like this “MONEY” please do not confuse that with what is in the interest of the fan.
      i agree with your thoughts about Horners “both cars in the fence” a quite stupid comment by him

    2. fred says:

      Dave, sorry but my previous reply was not meant for you, it was for another earlier post. Cheers

  130. Johnny Leone says:

    Chris Horner is as hypocritical as Ron Dennis, considering the remarks Horner made after the German GP last year.

  131. Johnny Leone says:

    Team orders were part of the sport until Max Mosely decided to fan the flames of Ferrari hatred in 2002. Lots of teams have used them, including McLaren in Australia 1998. While I don’t like Christian Horner’s hypocrisy, I feel team orders should remain part of the sport. (though they should be used more judiciously by the team principals, but that cannot be legislated…)

  132. james b says:

    On the face of it, it looks bad but when you consider how Ferrari run there team and they leave Massa out on old tyres so as not to compromise Alonso’s strategy it needs to be considered that Mark was actually originally at an advantage.

    In every team it is the driver ahead on the road who gets the option when to pit but yesterday Vettel’s race was compromised so as to help Webber. This is what is forgotten in my view. If Vettel had been allowed to do his optimum race then I don’t think Vettel would have been caught by Webber.

    I believe this is why the race was called off otherwise Vettel would have ensured that when he is in front of Webber in the next race that he gets first call on strategy and this would actually be bad for Mark.

    1. Mark Allanson says:

      Are you absolutely sure of that? Did you ever consider that Mark was just harder on his tyres hence had to come in a few laps early each time?

      There was no suggestion that Seb’s pit stops were delayed because of Mark’s.

  133. ETM says:

    Interesting that they talk about Vettel being much more mature now yet Horner seems to fear that Vettel will act like a child.

    And the violation of the whole image of competition and fun that the corporate RB marketing tries to cultivate worldwide when it was not even necessary. Hypocrisy.

  134. Mario says:

    If I was Mateschitz I woud give Horner huge ear bashing. The guy got it horribly wrong this time. As it was said, free racing atmosphere that was seemingly part of RBR team has been ruined in one instant. Mr. Horner – why?

  135. Monkian says:

    Pretty big oversimplification which neglects what went on during this and the previous race.

    It is pretty clear that Red Bull raced the British grand prix with the best team result consistently the ultimate goal. Pitting Webber earlier than Vettel for dry tyres was a risk that nulified the lead he had built-up during the early part of the race and mean’t he was driving around for at least 1 lap on colder tyres.

    Although having Mark as a rear gunner put another car between Vettel and the danger men, Sebastien has a strong case in claiming that he had built up enough of, and would have been able to maintain a larger advantage after the stops to leave the others far enough behind to not be a threat. At very least he would have come out of his long stop ahead of Hamilton, maybe even Alonso, and would have been able to fight for a win.

    It is true that they could not have forseen the long stop and that after that their previous action shouldn’t have swayed their later decisions. But telling Mark to maintain a gap was the intelligent long term decision to make. If Mark had gone on to beat Vettel how could the team argue if Vettel then requested that Red Bull adopt a Ferrari style system in which the car in the highest position dictates the pitstop order.

    This has had pretty disasterous results for Ferrari with one driver, both Alonso and Massa, heavily penalised by having to pick up the leftovers. I can’t think that Webber would enjoy fighting down in 6th and 7th places for the majority of the races, and it puts a dent in the teams points.

  136. Mario says:

    This could be an explanation, but why, after a year of talking about their drivers being free to race each other, would they do that?

    1. Mario says:

      This was meant to be a reply to Andy’s comment 119.

  137. Glen D says:

    Plain and simple Horner is a hypocrite!!

    And the big looser in all this is Macheritz and the Red Bull brand.

    Horner looked very very uncomfortable in the interview straight after the race with Ted Kravitz and that said it all!

    Unfortunatly i’ve now lost respect for Horner more so than the team

  138. GS says:

    Horner has repeatedly claim RBR would allow the drivers to race, he’s a hypocrite to then tell Webber to play second fiddle to Vettel. Shame on Horner and shame on Red Bull.

  139. NotBlind says:

    What I don’t understand about this incident is why Webber felt the need to broadcast to the media what he did.

    Obey the order, fine.

    Disobey the order, fine. Talk to the team about your feelings after the press conference.

    Who could possibly gain anything from turning the whole thing into a public brouhaha?

    1. Big P says:

      If you were out of contract at the end of the year would you not wish the world to know that you are not racing your team mate fair and square?

      It’s not the first time Webber’s felt the need to make a point.

  140. fred says:

    Being allowed to give team orders does not make it right. I am just a racing fan who expects to see drivers race, if i thought the outcome of a race was to be decided on the pit wall i might as well try something a lot cheaper. Horner made a business decision, it was not a decision for the fan. take away the radio comms and let the drivers drive – i am sick of this anti-fan way of doing things. and by the way – E. Jordan start supporting the fans becauase you are not a team manager anymore, you are being paid by the BBC licence fee payer ot better still get a job with Red Bull

    1. Mark Allanson says:

      Back to pit boards only! I like that idea, however the safety crowd will probably rain on your parade.

      1. James b says:

        Yes. Horner said it after the race and james Allen himself says it in his race strategy report. F1 is complex and there is always something deeper to look at.

  141. Michael S says:

    Below is the proper way to handle team orders… Vettel started on pole just like Mark did, messed up the start just like Mark and later in the race when he was closing on Mark for second the team told them to turn down engines and that “Mark is faster” which we all know was the old code for team orders”Felipe Alonso is faster, do you copy” However, Seb handled it well, not like Webber

    Q: You were asked late in the race by your team not to pass Mark. Your thoughts on that?

    Vettel: They did not tell me not to pass Mark. They just said ‘Mark is faster.’ Similar to what he did we just turned the engine down and just drove the car home. I mean if you start from pole you want to win. If you lose the lead already in the first lap it is not so good and you just see that someone has much quicker pace. It is not that nice to see and obviously then we lost because of the strategy the position to Mark, so in the end I was third. Of course I wasn’t that happy with that and just kept pushing to the end. Obviously both of us turned the engines down but still I would rather go fast the last couple of laps and enjoy rather than just going around without any sense.

  142. mags says:

    Thanks, James for highlighting this.

    The decision itself is not the most important point here. The hypocrisy is. It’s a shame Horner wasn’t pushed on this particular aspect in the (excellent) post race coverage.

    As an aside, I agree with you and believe the decision was wrong and it’s negative impact on the racing aside he has given the team an almighty headache on the man-management side.

  143. Seán Craddock says:

    U say “Was three points worth sacrificing all of that for?” But the whole point of this is that it wasn’t 3 points for Red Bull? It was 33!!!

  144. Neil Jenney says:

    The Red Bull team has forgotten that it is supposed to be a marketing exercise and not a racing team. The truth is out, Horner is revealed as a hypocrite. All the “Let them fight” goodwill gone in one simple comment broadcast to the entire F1 audience. I’ve been on the fence up to now on where Red Bull sit in my F1 affections. Now I’m off the fence, make mine a Monster and vodka.

  145. Steve W says:

    For a company that puts a huge effort into it’s brand image, it amazes me how hopeless they have been with it’s a PR in Formula 1. The way they handled the aftermath of the Turkish GP and British GP qualifying last year was an absolute shambles, and it seems they have learnt nothing after this latest episode. If any other team had instructed it’s drivers to hold position in the closing laps, it wouldn’t have been too bad in my opinion, but for Red Bull to do this after that noble statement in Abu Dhabi last year about never using team orders, makes the team look pretty stupid, and makes it clear once and for all it’s Vettel’s team. I think they need to some serious help with their PR, because it’s a team with an ever declining reputation.

  146. Dave Roberts says:

    Red Bull are so far ahead in the championship it was hardly a huge risk was it? Furthermore I guess that Red Bull are in motorsport to publicise their drinks product. If that is the case surely their exposure would be so much more positive if they did crash whilst trying to race to the line rather than what we have now.

    Can you imagine the headlines we would have seen today had the two drivers been trying in to race in the last corner like Hamilton and Massa. They would have been hailed as sporting legends.

  147. RadioHam says:

    Little known is the fact that Vettel himself initiated the saga by asking the team to hold webber some 5 laps from the end. Horners integrity is once again in question here and Redbull should consider carefully the wisdom of allowing him to continually garner bad press for the team decisions he makes. Rumour has it that even his own team don’t believe a word he says any more, such are the schemes behind closed doors. Nice Aston Martin and private plane he flaunts at work though! Cost saving in F1…. Not! Martin Whitmarsh…. straight and always consistently honest on TV. Proof you can buy Class Horner.

    1. NotBlind says:

      And the source for your “little known fact” is what?

    2. drama queen says:

      “Little known is the fact that Vettel himself initiated the saga by asking the team to hold webber some 5 laps from the end”

      Your proof of this ?

  148. Mark says:

    I think what F1 and the “Teams” need to remember/think of is that these days the newer fans are less “die hard” team fans, and more interested in the actual drivers

    Example: I wasn’t supporting HRT on the weekend because they are a great team, but because Ricciardo was in the car

    James you make a good point about the instruction underestimating Sebs intelligence, i guess it speaks a lot for his Ego and the massaging it requires?

    1. Peterfwood says:

      In these days of gambling is the F1 management not in breach of laws that prohibit the manupulation of results that can affect the outcome. If I was gambling on the result of the Silverstone GP and took a trifect for alonso/weber/vbettel at great odds (I would be a genius to do so) then I would be robbed by CH decision to manipulate the placings. Why arent the police investigating such actions. I could also be spot betting on who came 2nd or 3rd. What is the difference with a “noball on the 2nd ball of the 3rd over” as per pakistan.

      1. C.T says:

        My thoughts exactly! Try doing what they did in any other sport and it will be called match fixing!
        Horse racing and cricket are very good examples where it has happened in the past and look at the effect they had!

  149. Bullish says:

    I feel for Webber.
    He has been struggling all year with understanding the tyres and DRS issues. All talk so far this year is how Vettel has dominated both the field and Webber. Hear was Webbers chance to redeem some pride and confidence by finishing a race higher than Vettel. Could you imagine having Webber’s year of fustration, then losing the start, then a poor pit stop dropping you from 2nd to 4th, only then to be told to hold the gap?

    I am sure that this will fire Webber up for the next race. I look forward to seeing him take victory and then over the radio “Is this a big enough gap?”

  150. AK says:

    You’ve summed it up perfectly, James. Nothing to do add here.

  151. Kristiane says:

    Not going to buy a Red Bull drink or product here, ever.

    I think Dietrich has a lot to thank Christian Horner for making the RB brand a mess.

  152. Shane says:

    I’ve worked up a new logo for RBR…

    http://i.imgur.com/Z7e5n.jpg

    1. Rick J says:

      How about a name change to the possibly safer and gentler “Red Cow” (would need to add udders to the logo). Or perhaps inaugurate a corporate makeover to push the new replacement “Yellow Chicken” product?

      The penny just dropped. Of course; Red Steer because a steer has no… I get it!

  153. DVX says:

    Bravo, great article James and I couldn’t agree more. It’s ironic that the team that tried to demonize Ferrari last year has been caught doing the same although they did this last year ad well.

  154. Kim says:

    It’s all swing and round-abouts.

    At the end of the day, Christian Horner has a job to perform and get his team to another WCC. So his decision is completely understandable.

    But… The rivalry between Mark and Seb is dynamite to watch and I’m sure that it would have been a thrilling conclusion to the British GP. And if they came together (again) then so be it… that’s hard and honest motor racing, thats why we watch and thats what we love about it.

    Lets hope Mark can get up on Sebastian in the next round!

  155. scott says:

    Cant wait to read Marks next book once he retires

  156. Steve Rogers says:

    Whether Red Bull are biased towards Vettel or not isn’t the issue as far as I’m concerned. The issue is that they don’t trust the two drivers not to crash into each other. That’s not very supportive considering they are two of the top drivers in the world and neither of them has a bad record for collisions.

  157. Steve Rogers says:

    and yeah, “at the end of the day” it may be the team for Christian Horner, but he can’t speak for anyone but himself.

  158. Paul Mc says:

    Im a Webber fan but it’s his own fault that he put himself in that situation. How many more times does he need to put Vettel away? Another great pole lap and another poor race from Mark. He should have been ahead of Vettel and then this wouldn’t have been an issue.

    I would have loved to see them fight it out but Mark can have no complaints here. He didn’t do his job on Sunday and win the race. I think it’s more proof that Mark is not up to it this season. Shame really.

    I think he needs to move teams to be honest.

  159. bobof1 says:

    Have to be honest as an Aussi I’m a Webber fan

    However a few points need to be made clear

    1. Webber started on pole and had every opportunity to win

    2. Would Red Bull have called off Vettle if he was chasing Webber in the final stages, don’t think so

    3. I think Horner was more fearful of Vettle causing a crash rather than Webber as Vettle is pigheaded about giving webber anything (and rightfully so)

    4. Did anyone notice how Vettle struggled to get past Hamilton, which is my basic view of Vettle a sensational clear air driver but certainly not a racer like Hamilton or Alonso.

    I hope these midseason rule changes (as unjust as they are) pull Vettle back a little into the feild and he has to race with other top drivers and not just time trial a race. I think then you will see the crash kid re-emerge

  160. Lez Martin says:

    Ive always held Horner in high regards, up until now, this last week or so,if you read between the lines of what Horner has said, He does not hold Webber in such high regard as he does Vettel, by his statement that said basically a team with Vettel and Hamilton in together wouldnt work, because of the calibre of both drivers, so in my eyes, he is saying Webber is not as good a driver as Vettel and Hamilton, but if the bad luck that has dogged Webber wasnt there, and the strategy was correct, we would see different results, methinks, I feel Mark doesnt get as much support in the team, as Seb does, and I think sunday helped me reinforce this view, Horners explanation had holes in it, and by the look on his face, he didnt seem to believe in what he was saying either…Team bosses always seem to say they have a duty to the team, the sponsors and the fans, if that is so, then they should let their drivers race to the finish, team orders in my eyes, is a form of cheating, as it cheats the fans, and brings the sport into disrepute, yes they got the most points they could expect for the team, but Webber is left with a sour taste in his mouth, where as he could have been on a high for Germany, Seb cant feel comfortable knowing he got second, through default either…. F1 and team orders will never change, its gone on since basically the birth of the sport, and nothing can be done to stop it, even banning team orders, the teams find a way to exercise them, so the sport will always be dogged by these discussions…….

    1. Troy Prideaux says:

      Do RBR favour Seb – of course they do and they’ve never tried to deny that. On *numerous* occasions Christian Horner has said *on public record* that they will be building the team around Seb. Do a Google search for “We are building the team around Sebastian” and see for yourself.

  161. Rick J says:

    It is unbelievable to me that Red Bull did not let their drivers race. It would have been the only option consistent with the Corporate Image. Instead the company basks in the reflection of the limp response we saw at Silverstone.

    Did the decision come from Mr. Mateschitz? If not he should be right ticked off as it undermines his personal credibility.

    I am glad Weber took a largely non-compliant stance. You can tell that having to betray his racers instincts has diminished Felipe Massa as a racer – possibly as a man also in his own eyes. To diminish risk they simply need to build clauses into driver’s contracts: If you ever take your team mate off there will be Hell to pay. Pick the number or zeros you feel appropriate…

  162. Bunt says:

    After 360 comments, perhaps this one won’t ever be, or perhaps it’s already been said, but I don’t understand while the issue of drivers taking each other out is dealt with on track and not via contracts. Penalties, fines, pay for repairs. Who knows? But let drivers (of any team) race, and if they stuff up, the penalty should be off track and behaviour changing.

    1. Troy Prideaux says:

      Too much grey area and too much money and vested interest involved to deal with it that simply. The last thing you want is drivers contesting disputes through contractual litigation I suppose.

      1. Bunt says:

        I understand your comment; but the last thing I want is drivers being told not to race. But this is F1, and nothing in F1 is simple, is it!?

  163. Peter M says:

    It is obvious that Red Bull are hypocrits or Christian Horner has no confidence in his ‘white haired little boy’ keeping his cool under pressure. One can only remeber the last time Mark put pressure on him and what Lewis did to him not so long ago. One has to protect someone like that.

  164. Tyler says:

    “its values were fine when Vettel was the one being given a chance, but that it doesn’t apply the other way around.”

    Exactly.

  165. musicmaan says:

    If I was Webber, and I got those “team orders” on the radio, I’d have told them to pound sand!.. I hope Mark gets a new ride next year. I have zero respect for the Red Bull team at this point.

  166. zombie says:

    Nearly 400 comments have been made on this topic, but with the new revelation that Webber will be racing for RBR again in 2012,it is almost dejavu all over again as it was at the end of 2010 when RBR revealed Webber will race on in 2011.

    This begs the question if the whole “drama” between Vettel vs Webber vs RBR is staged for PR purposes ? Surely if Webber was that bitter and disgruntled, he would either retire or move on to some other team. Surely if RBR didn’t like insubordinate employees, they could replace Webber with someone just as talented and less prone to washing dirty linen in public.

    But they go on year after year like 2 individuals in a bad marriage.I cannot help but think this is yet another PR ploy by RBR. Webber is replaceable,in a great car he can be very fast, but he has never displayed the ability to punch above the weight of his car. If i were RBR, i would take a long hard look at a recovering Kubica or a rejuvenated Jaime Alguersuari or even Buemi who could all compliment Vettel. And then there is Sutil if he is replaced by Hulkenberg, so why Mark ?

    1. Astroboy27 says:

      Again, as always in F1, everything is not always as it seems and a little bit complicated.

      I believe the relationship between Webber and RBR is mutually beneficial to both parties and that is why they both chose to remain with each other, despite the perceived bad publicity.

      For Red Bull, Webber brings not only experience and a mature approach to car development and race setups, he strengthens their relationship with their Renault engines – his manager being one Flavio Briatore, ex-team principal of Renault, and still influential behind the scenes despite his ‘ban’ for race-fixing. It should be noted that Webber was on the verge of signing for Renault for 2005, but opted not to because of Alonso and (against Briatore’s advice) signed for his ill-fated stint at Williams.

      For Webber, it is always a tough call for a race driver to walk away from the best car in the field, however dire the political circumstances may be within RBR. I would sense that he would rather retire than to jump into a lesser car.

      However, with rumblings that Briatore may have visited Ferrari to entertain the idea of Webber suiting up in the scarlet red jumpsuit in the future, this would suggest that RBR hasn’t contrived to manufacture this ‘drama’, despite the old adage that ‘any news is better than no news’.

      With Webber committed to RBR for 2012, I would expect Red Bull’s next prodigy, Ricciardo, would be a more suitable replacement for Webber after completing his (full) understudy year in HRT or Torro Rosso in 2012.

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