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Horner denies pressure from Red Bull to favour Vettel
Red Bull Racing
Horner denies pressure from Red Bull to favour Vettel
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jul 2010   |  8:26 am GMT  |  251 comments

In the fall out from Saturday’s decision by Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner to take the sole remaining new front wing from Mark Webber’s car and give t to Sebastian Vettel, he has said that he acted alone after consultation with the team’s technical chief Adrian Newey.

“There has never been any pressure from Red Bull to favour one driver over the other,” he is quoted in the Telegraph today. “I didn’t have a conversation with Helmut [Marko, Red Bull’s motorsport adviser] or anyone from Red Bull regarding the decision to give Sebastian the wing. It was purely a technical decision, which I discussed with Adrian.

“My one regret is that I didn’t have time to discuss the issue with Mark personally prior to qualifying as I’m sure that would have given him a more balanced understanding.”

Horner is right to express regret about this, as a decision of such significance does require than expectations are well managed on both sides. But drivers have marketing appearances to do in the gap between practice and qualifying as well as strategy briefings and it’s a shame that the issue wasn’t addressed there.

Because expectations weren’t managed on Webber’s side he became very angry when he lost the pole to Vettel by a tenth of a second. Clearly in the aftermath of the Istanbul collision some assurances were made to him about his position in the team and he signed a new contract for 2011 on that basis.

The team was thinking from a technical point of view, to use the front wing at all costs. As Vettel was the leading driver in the championship at the time, he was given the wing.

A coin toss, or even better, using the same old spec front wing on both cars would have been the fairer way to handle the situation. Having observed Newey over many years he is the most competitive person in F1 bar none, including the drivers. As a result he can be quite uncompromising and the more you find out about this situation the more you feel that Newey considers Vettel the better driver.

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At the end of the day both Newey and Horner are allowed to do what they want. It is just the matter how their decisions are going to affect their 2010 campaign.

Personally, I am erasing Vettel and Red Bull from my memory. I am a Ferrari fan, but was happy to see Red Bull performing well last and this year. Not anymore.

If not Alonso and Ferrari, I wish Webber to win WDC and I hope that WCC will go to McLaren. Who knows, maybe it will give some food for though to Newey and Horner.


James, I was disappointed by Mark's immature response after winning the British GP.

I am a big fan of Mark but if I had been his manager I would have told him to be gracious in victory. He has nothing to gain by upsetting the team.

Sometimes as an employee you have to respect a managers decision even if you don't agree with it.


Derek, you say that Mark is an employee and should graciously do whatever his manager asks... Look at it this way.

You and Person X are both hired by a company to be Salesmen. Your contract states equal preference by the company, and you get a percent of your sales as comission.

One weekend you're told that you have to answer fewer calls and at the same time your co-worker is told to take some of your calls. Instead of getting the calls transferred your coworker tries to grab your phone out of your hand and in doing so, damages both of your phones, and his is broken so badly that he can't take any more calls to make sales that day. Your manager and the rest of the company put out a press release blaming you for loss of sales for the day.

Still pissed off at that, you sit down the next day to renew your contract, you emphasise the need for equal treatment, the company says sure that's ok, so you re-sign.

The next weekend your coworker gets a new phone, and you have his old phone that's been stuck together with duct tape. Your coworker then breaks his PC. Your manager walks over to your desk, takes your PC, and hands it to your coworker. "It's ok" he says, "you can go dig through the skip out back - I think there's 10 year old PC in there somewhere. You should still be able to make those sales with it, right?"

I fully expect that for the next race, Mark will be given a mop and bucket and told to go clean Vettel's toilet.


I agree that MW's response was quite immature.

Some of us also seem to (conveniently) forget that MW and his mechanics didn't actually believe the new wing gave him much advantage when they did their practice runs. I think MW is being a little bit sneaky when he said it was worth a tenth or so...in reality, it seems neither his data engineer nor MW were convinced.

Still think its wrong to stick MW's wing onto Seb's but, in light of this I am not entirely sure that MW is as innocent as he seems...and now that he has the media on his side, I think he's just taking advantage by moaning and self-proclaiming himself as the underdog.


That's what he did. He was told to race the old wing and did it. After he won the race he told his manager he was an idiot, simple as that. If an employee of mine did that i would be stoked. Not only did he care enough to complain he did it after he had performed the task and i might add at an expectional level. But you have to be a good manager to take that and i think Christian is handling it well or as well as can be expected. Remember Ron Dennis and Alonso it was there way or the highway and both hit the highway pretty hard i might add. That is the old school approach to management top down. Today the key is flat management and pooling your resources to get the most from your collective talents. That is why at every top team in formula1 has an approachable team leader. Whitmarsh, Domenicali, and Horner. Not Todt, Dennis and co its an interesting fashion in business, military and also in formula1.


and he respected it. Just wanted people to know what his feelings were. Nothing wrong with that.


I very much agree with this sentiment. Although Mark had cause to request an audience with the team to discuss his concerns, at the end of the day he should show respect to the organization which is giving his ample opportunity to win.

This situation was exacerbated by poor communication on management's part, but mouthing off to the team over the radio was not the best way to approach it. In fairness to Mark, it was probably a heat-of-the-moment thing with all the adrenalie flowing.


I agree that Mark should probably have kept his comments private, but I think it's an exaggeration to say he was "mouthing off" at Horner.

Rather, he was sarcastically echoing Horner's public justification for giving Vettel his wing the previous day, ie. that he was moving it from the 2nd placed driver to the #1, when Webber had been given repeated assurances that the drivers had equal status.

In the scheme of things, I think Mark was pretty restrained, although I'm sure he knew his remarks would hit a raw nerve. However, Horner has to take a large portion of blame for his tactless handling of the situation, especially so soon after Turkey.

For a bad example of an Aussie mouthing off, refer Mel Gibson.


Do you want the unfair treatment melted out to Webber to continue?

It is obvious it will not stop as he was also blamed earlier on, although retracted after public outcry, for the crash between team mates in Turkey.

To 99% of us fans, there is a clear and undisputable trend of RBR favoring Vettel.

How can a driver stop it, when the RB management has openly told us they don't favor one driver over the other and yet continue to do so, without enlising help from the viewing public? You must realize that Webber this year has a genuine chance of winning the Drivers Championship. I support his outburst.

I hope us fans will help to punish Red Bull if this should continue by stopping to buy any Red Bull drinks. Horner and Marko may then have to think about keeping their jobs.

Vettel, he has now turned out to be another unsporting contender and a person I strongly dislike. I hope his sponsors will realize the fact that associating with an unpopular champion may hurt their public images.


That's true, you do have to respect a managers decision... but whatabout when you've been told one thing and the actions of said manager (without an explanation *), lean towards another? Or what about when said manager implies an incident was your fault... yet, (nigh on) the rest of the world, thinks it wasn't!?!

* - yeah, ok, we have another belated excuse\explanation from Monsignor Horner, which in this case I believe... but to not inform Webber of the situation is pathetic.

I was glad to hear Webber vent his frustrations.

We've heard from DC that he should have made more of the issues he experienced within McLaren, with them favouring Mika, at the time it occurred. It's very rare in F1 that the chance comes along to win a Drivers title - Webber can see that he doesn't have long left in F1 (and I say that respectfully) - he has to grab it - and making a few comments over the radio, with a team that keeps giving him the impression he's No2, when they say there's equality. More power to him!!

n. Machiavelli

"I am a big fan of Mark but if I had been his manager I would have told him to be gracious in victory. He has nothing to gain by upsetting the team."

Sir, your opinion is that of someone who has not

followed the events between Vettel and Webber and

the associated behavior of Marko and Horner.

What I am trying to say in a kind way is : you have NO

idea what you are talking about.


Nicely put, couldn't agree more!


Disagree, an employee does not have to respect their employer if they themselves are disrespected, especially if assurances of future behavior are promised just one week before when signing a new contract.

You have to wonder though, if assurances are made to make someone sign, then not followed through, is the employer now in breach of contract?


Well at least Dr Helmut Marko is keeping a dignified silence on the matter. So maybe RBR has learned something in recent months.

As for the Newey thing, he is probably cheesed off about Webber having destroyed his RB6 last time out.


it's interesting to see how horner was saying tha marko wasn't involved. I don't buy it. He always has something to say about things. and now he is mute!! Hard to believe.

Sorry my friend... webber is too fast.


Helmut or DM may not have been directly involved in this decision, but Horner may be being influenced in other ways, such as receiving a larger bonus if the more marketable German driver wins the WDC.


"the more you find out about this situation the more you feel that Newey considers Vettel the better driver."

As much as I hate it, this makes a lot of sense. They would have access to technical data to determine who is the most technically consistent of the two. That doesn't mean that Vettel necessarily has better racecraft, but perhaps they felt his driving style makes it easier to evaluate technical changes to the car.


Hutch, agreed they should have used the wing, on Marks car...

Seb busted his...too bad...

Effectively penalized Mark for doing nothing.

Glad to see him win, hope the team can sort out their issues. Mark has been at RB a long time and deserves success.


Vettel did not bust his wing. It fell off, which was a team error.


an error on Vettel's side of the garage. It was his team that screwed up - You win as a team, you lose as a team..

Mark's team being penalised for Seb's side of the garage's mistake was senseless.


Completely agree - the drivers get identical cars at the start of the weekend and are told to get on with it. They share info for setup and strategy ... and reminded again not to take each other out on race day. Simples.

If one driver experiences a manufacturing fault, or makes a driver error? Not the other driver's problem.


If Red Bull had only one version of the new front wing at Silverstone if Vettel had lost his front wing in the first corner would this have resulted in him having to put on the old one?

n. Machiavelli

Your speculation about events which do not match what

actually happened is pointless.

There were TWO wings of the new design. Each Red Bull driver had such a wing on his car. Vettel's wing was

damaged, and Red Bull gave Webber's wing to Vettel.


I think he's asking, not speculating, if its possible to change the setup (or specs) of a car during the race if something is damaged? I was actually wondering the same thing. Can anybody shed some light on this?


Last year in Japan, when Mark had a horrid weekend, during the race he pitted numerous times effectively using the race as a test session.

If i remember right, he tried a couple front wing variations that day, so it seems you can change specs.


All speculation is somewhat pointless. My question was one of a wider variety. That is in a sport where parts of the car can become easily damaged, is it sensible to race with a part that you then can not replace. You wouldnt race without a set of tyres available to replace those you are using so why would you do so with a front wing.

Once there was only one front wing left, if that wing became damaged in the race it would be impossible to replace it. The same is true of course if there was one on wing on each car. Should Red Bull of not used the new front wing until they had time to build some spares? This would have prevented all the issues they then faced.


Getting feed up with talk of there only being one new wing at silverstone. Vettel had one and Webber had one. Vettels broke... Equal number ones as they claim. Vettels tough luck.

I used to really like Vettel but the more we see of him the more you realise that although blindingly fast in quali and when in the lead he leaves a lot to be desired when not.

His moves are becoming increasingly eratic and dangerous as the championship slips through his grip as Webber goes from stregth to strength in that angry Lance Armstrong way.

Newey may consider him the faster but Vettel is not developing into a Championin waiting many have hailed him as... He makes too mistakes and cannot overtake his championship rivals without serving towards them and normally coming of worse.


I'm replying to you, but I miss in the comments in general any reference to Horner's statement that Webber had not expressed particular preference for the new wing on Friday, while Vettel liked it much better.

Granted, we don't know how much of that is true or what was actually said, but nobody disputed Horner's claim so far. And if we assume that it's true, then I don't understand Webber at all.

James, do you know any more on this?


I agree about Vettel's moves being erratic and dangerous, they've been several this year already. For all the attention paid to Hamilton's driving, it's never had the edge of dangerous and even malicious aggression Vettel is developing. His attempt to shove Webber towards the wall and his bulldozing of Sutil were both bad signs. It's the opposite philosophy to Hamilton, which is to get past with minimum risk of contact. Vettel lacks the same level of rapid response and 3D thinking to make his overtaking work, which - like some other drivers, including Schumacher - he makes up for with extra aggression, trying to barge his way past. If he continues, he´s going to hurt himself or someone else badly.


I'm willing to forgive Christian Horner but his decisions are losing Vettel some fans as people tend to love underdogs in F1 (Webber).

History (read McLaren 2007) that Redbull will lose both championships.


Totally with you there Monji. Vettel and RB have lost me, for one. Divided they fall.


Agreed, although I think if RBR (and my gut feel is they will in one of the two championships) chuck away something this year it'll be even worse than McClaren in 2007 as RBR should be leagues ahead of everyone else by now. The new points makes it look equal and close at the top, but that is only because RBR haven't taken advantage of the far superior car they have in their two garages.


like prost during the 1986 season.


I was thinking the exact same thing Monji. The focus has been on webber but it is really hard for Vettel too as the decisions by his employers make him look like a co-conspirator and a villan which is just plain wrong. Definitely bad PR for Vettel.


Vettel could have refused to have benefited from taking Webber's front wing couldn't he? I don't see him as a victim in any way, shape or form.

Outside of Germany I do not see any commercial currency in Vettel. I hope he is happy with his No1 status.


He could of, but no sane competitive racing driver is ever going to sacrifice a crumb of performance on their car. "Rocky can i have the old wing and while you are at it throw on two kilos of ballast."

A little bit of objectivity is all that is required as Webber is no angel either. He can be quite abrasive and gets into far more scrapes on track than he should.

As for Vettels commercial currency; polyphony digital disagrees my friend.


So are you saying that Vettel does not feel he is number 1. I think the move in Turkey reeked of a driver who felt entitled to be up the front. The actions on the pit wall at Turkey by RBR management re enforced Vettel's sense of entitlement.


You make an excellent point there


Ever since Turkey-gate, I've had a suspicion that Newey was very much a Vettel supporter more than a Webber man.

That's presumably because he's looking to build a new legacy at Red Bull - similar to what Ross Brawn did at Ferrari, and to do that he needs his own Schumacher. He sees Vettel in that role over Webber, which is understandable to an extent. But the fact is that Newey, brilliant though he is, should NOT be calling the shots at Red Bull.

Clearly he's by far the most important man at the team - without him Red Bull would be nowhere. But Horner needs to tell him that he doesn't call the shots when it comes to team decisions. He should go back to designing the best components in F1 and leaving the politics and team issues to others.

Every time Horner allows decisions to be taken out of his hands, he gets into a lot of trouble and it's costing Red Bull the world championship at the moment. When will he learn?

n. Machiavelli

If Red Bull was run in an intelligent manner, they would change their strategy to allow Webber the best chance to win this year's WDC. This strategy might also allow Vettel to reach second place in the WDC. This would be a huge positive for Red Bull's after the PR gaffes they've recently committed. But I sense that Red Bull is being run by Mateschitz and Marko, and that their agenda is not based on what would make the most sense in the big picture. It reminds me of the way Hitler ignored the pleas of his General Staff when he chose to invade both Russia and the West.

Allowing Marko's "academy graduate" ( Vettel ) to take precedence in such a distasteful manner will cost Red Bull in the long run, just wait and see.

Red Bull, if you are reading this, you are _damaging_ _your _brand_ by favoring Vettel. Many ( most) fans *detest* Vettel now, and most fans would love to see Webber win instead of Vettel, if the choice was between the two. Of course, maybe Red Bull would rather only sell their product in DE and OE and forget the rest of the world. The fans in F1 are not stupid,

and they don't like to see ugliness like Red Bull has recently committed. But there is still time to put things right, Herr Mateschitz, provided you are willing to listen to your General Staff ...


You're comparing an F1 kerfuffle to a Nazi invasion? How's your life going?



Do you think there's any chance that Horner's position could come under pressure?

It is pretty obvious that Red Bull have the fastest car, and surely the reason that they are not running away with the championship comes down to driving mistakes & poor team management?

It seems that the decisions being made and resultant spat are reflecting badly on the team and their 'star driver', and I can't believe that the parent company are too thrilled with the negative publicity (despite what I read in a Ron Dennis & Bernie Ecclestone interview).


I do think that is possible, yes. He's replaceable, perhaps unlike Newey. However I think he is an exceptional team boss, who is learning now in the white heat of a championship fight some things it would have been hard for him to learn before and it will make him a much better manager. Frank and Ron both made plenty of mistakes, let's not forget.



with all this negative publicity and constant chatter regarding the poor treatment of Webber, does any of this actually get back to the likes of Horner. Surely the decisions made by the team are for the benefit of the team and its' relative successes. but one wonders wether the wave of sympathy truly makes a dent in the ongoing machinations of this formula one team. like most managerial and high profile enterprises, decisions are made in the interest and benefit of the organisation. it would only become an issue if they are not winning, i still feel that they are playing with fire in creating a rot within the team, once present, it is very hard to remove. One can only hope that Webber ends up leading the championship and then Vettel will have to defend for him, now that would be karma


He is well aware of it yes. But he feels he's paid to make tough decisions and ultimately to make the team win


He may or may not lose his job if the team loses the championship despite again having the fastest car on the grid. I would hope, though, that Red Bull would take the opportunity to streamline the decision making process. Who really pulls the strings, Christian or Helmut? If they ultimately decide on Christian, I think he would find the confidence to make his decisions and stick to them. His back peddling on the wing issue is a major sign that he does have this lack of confidence as well.

Carlos Eduardo Del Valle

And you have to remember that he doesn't seem to have the same autonomy that Frank and Ron used to have. Frank was the owner. Ron had a stake. But Horner is an employee. I bet it's pretty hard for him to say "no" to some Newey or Markus orders.


Not sure if I believe anything that Christian Horner says anymore? I like him and he comes across very well when I have heard him on the BBC and the motorsport podcasts but he seems to be under pressure with all that is going on.

He said about his drivers on the BBC that there was little between the drivers. I would suggest that there is nothing between them. Both make mistakes and both can be very fast and win well.

I would say that the position might be a little different had Mark Webber started last year fit.

Also James, have you thought of doing a Podcast? I know that you are on Talksport and other stations ever now and then, could you not have the mp3's on this site as I missed the one the other day.

Cheers and keep up the good work.

Carlos Eduardo Del Valle

ditto about the podcast. Would be lovely. My commute would get even better


Certainly his hug after Vettel crashed out in Turkey seems to indicate this. Newey isn't a new fellow to this sport. He should know better, especially with the happenings of the past.

Take Mark out of it, any driver will be miffed, and with the 24/7 spotlight of comment and analysis of modern media, RB are going to have to be much smarter in the PR, and personnel management stakes. Webber knows this as well, and he is going to use every tool within reason, that he can to win the F1WC. If that means the odd public display, then he will do it. Just don't make them too often.

Obviously Vettel is the future, and they don't want him to go elsewhere, but another brilliant driver is going to be just as hungry with such fast cars to drive. I don't know how they would go with Alonso or Lewis in Webber's position. I think it would be much more flammable. Be thankful Webber is as laid back as he is, even if he is hungry.


I disagree with "old spec front wing on both cars" being fairer way to handle the situation. Allowing Webber to carry on with the new wing, saying it was unlucky that Vettel's broke, would have been fairer. Removing Webbers wing because Vettel had a problem is just as bad as moving the wings between cars; if he can't have the "better" one then neither can you does not sound a good option to me. The only reason that Webbers wing should have been removed is safety, if they thought there was an issue with the design.


You argue a good point.


Totally agree!


Nicely put Bob..agree 100%


Why, oh, why does he protest so much? Can't he see no-one will buy any of it until Mark W smiles again?

But I guess that having invested squillions in this F1 project, that "oh-so groovy" pan-national brand par excellence, Red Bull, would hate for this trifle to unmask its rather less cool provincial heart.

Unlike Ferrari, for whom the rather rural Maranello is a reputational touchstone, Red Bull, it seems must continue to exist "in flight" or not at all.


Something that Anthony Davidson said on the Chequered Flag podcast is sticking out to me. He said that he thinks Webber is dropping hints like the ones we have seen because the teams are normally very good at smoothing things over like this, tidying them up and making them look all pretty. Just like we see here.

Even though I don't think Webber should have said the #2 comment (though I didn't really blame his for it), I can perhaps understand it if he feels that the team is just going to gloss it over with the media without sorting the deeper issue within the team, which we might not know the full story about. I also can't remember Webber acting towards his own team like this in all his years in F1, which makes me think he must feel that his situation at Red Bull is very bad.


This is an interesting insight James, thank you.

I have previously seen reports that RB would sometimes set up Vettel's car in Practice based on Webber's set up. Vettel would then go out in qualy with Webber's set up and outqualify MW.

For a few GPs it seemed to me that Webber responded by holding something back during practice and Q1 &Q2, working out where to push during Q3 and saving his best to last.

(I'm thinking of qualifying at the Spanish this year, when Webber appeared to only ride the kerbs in Q3).

All it took was for one badly managed, spare-part situation to highlight the risks of being slower than your team mate during practice.


In a post qualifying interview with Webber (we got it here in Australia), obviously Mark was asked about the wing situation and he said something along the lines of "the wing went over to the other side of the garage along with my set-up"


I believe Webber was the fastest in P2 when they both had the same wing on.


Do you honestly believe Horner saying something about P3 was the reason Webber had his front wing taken away from him? There was 3 hundreths of a second between them. That doesn't show one driver or the other is quicker.

If you examine it, Vettel is usually the driver that holds back until his final run in Q3, where he often comes up with a few extra tenths.


Horner can deny it all he likes. But the fact of the matter is that we, the fans, smell a rat. And those smells don't go away easily.


You make a very good point about Newey - he's a technical guy so maybe the data does suggest that Vettel is slightly better than Webber. Or maybe he just likes Vettel more I don't know. Whomever he favours it doesn't really matter though does it. The problem is that Horner is not managing the equal driver status situation very well. What he did to Webber was unfair. And now that I've calmed down from what happened on the weekend, I also realize that it has made some fans of the sport despise Vettel and I don't believe he had a say in this situation. That being said, I do respect that Horner's led the team to where it is - although I can't help but feel that Newey has played the most significant part in this. Anyway, I think Horner will have learnt from this and I seriously doubt a situation like this will arise anytime soon.

Wait a second!! Dismiss everything I've just said. Horner implied that the team comes first. The team as in constructors points. What difference does it make giving the guy with (slightly) more points the faster car? If it's a one-two red bull get the same points! What the hell!! I feel so deceived, and definately very very unhappy now. They're backing Vettel for the drivers championship. No doubt


Because actually winning the WDC has a little bit of importance for the team?


I feel that's partly true. But employee bonus is based on team performance (I.e constructors points). I don't agree with what they did in this case because Vettel and Webber are fairly equally matched if you look at points and consider on track performance. There's like half a season to go and anything can happen. Also RB claim to give both drivers a fair chance - I don't like dishonesty.


Yeah I agree that the WDC is very meaningful from a marketing perspective. If you're right in this case then Red Bull are being very dishonest (about the whole team thing and not favouring one driver over the other). I can't prove it either way.

As for Webber not showing preference for the wing in Friday practice. I've read that too. But maybe that's based on a feel thing and not performance. I'm sure he was angered by what happened before qualy because of the performance difference.


Partly true? I think the WDC trumps everything, especially for a marketing company like RB.

Otherwise I agree, but once again like to place the reminder that allegedly Webber did not express preference for the new wing on Friday, while Vettel did. Which, if true, changes things in my view.


Every great team has a baddie and a goodie...I like this controversy!

Stephen Kellett

I don't buy that. Not even for a dollar.

There is definite favouritism going on at Red Bull. You only had to listen to Horner's comments to Mark on the radio after Mark had won the race. The inflection in his voice gave the true message "you've won but we wanted Seb to win" was implied. He was happy they had won but it was a sour happy.

Eddie Jordan then challenged him in the BBC interview only a few minutes later. He had heard the same happy but not quite inflection in his voice.

If they were truly happy the congratulations would have been different.

I didn't really have any opinion about Red Bull prior to this year (other than I don't like their drinks). They have a great car, and they work well, but as an organisation, they suck. Show some respect (for the drivers and the viewing public). Stop trying to manufacture the results for Vettel. If he is any good he'll win without the extra help.


good point, compare it to the way he sounded when congratulating Vettel the day before, after he took pole position. Now that did sound like genuine congratulations!


You've got to love EJ for his comments.

Personally, i don't rate Vettel all that much. He's being given a 'helping hand' by his team, in by far the quickest car in F1... anybody could win races if they were in that situation.


Lewis Hamilton?


Toro Rosso?


Last three sentences; excellent point!


The voice thing was a dead give away!

Well put...


So now Newey becomes the bad guy whose favoring Vettel over Webber, instead of Helmut? Anyway, I guess we will never know, though now it is apparent RedBull made a mess of the situation. Hopefully they will learn their lesson for next time, that's managing the drivers and fans expectations is just as important as the technical side.



We all know that luck (some might think fate) plays a part in some way or other at every race and the recipient has to deal with it. For Vettel to break his nose was his bad luck, surely it is a simple case that his side of the garage should have dealt with it?

I think that Horner's reasoning that the part went to Vettel on championship position could bite him because logic says that any advantageous part or situation should now fall to Webber. I just hope Webber can keep his nose in front to test whether this is borne out.


Maybe Webber should break his nose cone in practice just to put it to the test?


Strangely enough I believe Horner, but to base who has (and who doesn't) have parts dependant upon championship positions at this (still early!) part of the season is beyond me... sure, with 3 or 4 races to go, where one driver may be mathematically on the verge of not being in contention for the WDC, then no problem; but half-way through the season!?!?! You can understand all the furore... and really Horner should know better (especially after Turkey!).


Webber had the points lead in Turkey BTW. You see what that got him?


Indeed, he did Breezy - but me thinks they tried to swap parts during the race, no? 😉


I think Red Bull need to stop denying like everything is all rosy and great and need to get their act together. Even though McLaren leads both championships, the titles are still Red Bull's to lose. This really was a key victory for Mark, one that shows what he's made of. I really do hope he goes on to win the title for them because he deserves it now and he won me over with that drive at Silverstone. People point towards the situation with Hakkinen and Schumacher at their respective teams. What they don't point out is that these people were blindingly quick and they warranted the 'favouritism' their teams gave them. Vettel is no way near quicker than Webber and he does not deserve 'number one' treatment in my opinion!


Agreed, no way does Webber deserve number one treatment. The only thing that's quick is the car.


Really sorry guys, i've just read my comment and realised i said Webber. Oops, i meant Vettel. There's no way i believe Vettel deserves the number one treatment for all of the reasons you've stated above. I'm rooting for Webber to come out on top of the RBR internal battle.

Once again, sorry for the typo!


I disagree with your comment. Webber has been fastest in any team he's been in. Problem is he has only been in marginal situations. He devoted the last 4 years to driving a Newey car for his chance. Now he has it. Those fans that only rate a driver based on a trophy will have to see a few more wins before Webber gets his respect. Who knows? Maybe even you will come around ..


The point I tried to make was that Webber deserves equal treatment because Vettel isn't dominating him like Hakkinen and Schumacher dominated their team mates. Webber is pretty much the better driver right now!


Examine Webber and Vettel's careers prior to them joining Red Bull. You will see both of them are blindingly quick.


If this is true Red Bull is in trouble. Just who is actually in charge? and how many agendas can a single team support? (answer = 1 by the way)

In business, the saying goes that you cannot be expected to take responsibility for something without due authority to do things your way. By that rationale, you can't expect authority without taking due responsibility Mr Newey et al.


Hi James, Mark Webber signed his 2011 Red Bull contract a few days BEFORE the Turkish Grand Prix. David Coulthard confirmed this on the BBC. A lot of the media are still incorrectly reporting that it was signed afterwards, but that is not the case.


Is that true? I remember it being confirmed after the Turkish GP, because I was very surprised that he signed it.


The press release of the contract signing came out AFTER the Turkish Grand Prix, but the contract signing itself happened BEFORE the Turkish Grand Prix. It came about because of Mark's two wins in Spain and Monaco which was enough to convince Red Bull management to keep Mark for one more year.


My sources confirm it as true. Actually the day prior to the Turkish GP.


Horner is lying... I do not believe he is telling the full truth. Yes, maybe it was a decision between Adrian and him alone, but he is still not telling the truth. It is clear that either he or Adrian favoured Seb over Mark. Making up excuses that are just rubbish in the face of everyone, makes the situation worse. The wing would have been run by Mark so they must have not wanted him to have it for whatever reason.

The do not realise this constant covering up, lame half hearted reasoning does not wash with well educated public.

I am very dissapointed in them...


The decision may have been made between Horner and Newey but based on the (past) pressure on them that Vettel is the chosen one. It's easy to say the decision was mine but how the thought process went will forever stay in Horner's head i.e. what is Helmut going to say if Vettel has an 'inferior' wing?


Horner is looking more and more like a team principal that fails in the most important aspect of the job - managing the drivers. He's got two of the best drivers in the best car this year and what does he do, causes so much friction the team is in danger of flying apart. RBR need to think about whether Horner is cut out for the job or if he should be asked to step back and let someone with 'people skills' take over.


Newey is a great man - he has created some fantastic cars over the years, but Horner should not let him dictate the team. It is Horners responsibility to look out for the teams best interest, and the team surely comes before Newey. I get the impression Red Bull are trying hard to please him, as they're afraid of losing him. They gave him an F1 car, and now they're letting him have the final say on driver issues when it should be the Team Principles. Christian Horner needs to grow a back bone and do what's right and fair for the team, not what Marco and Newey dictate.


Newey gave RBR a competitive car, like he's done with every team he's gone to. Newey is gold dust in F1 and CH knows this. Yes, it's putting CH in a difficult position but I'm sure he's man enough to deal with it. F1 is a tough business.


I think this misses the true point: the most important man in RBR is not Vettel or Webber, Newey is. Ask yourself this question: which man's departure would hurt RBR most next year? Adrian Newey is the goose that lays the golden eggs, and so Horner's job is to keep him happy. If Newey asked Horner to dance, Horner would reply 'Polka or Foxtrot, Adrian?'


I am supprised why MW goes such a big risk by pushing Red Bull so hard. In any other company he would be sacked immediately for talking in such a way about the company paying him (not bad for a number 2 driver, I would not have signed the contract or the first corner will be mine). I have got the impression that he who always was the guy talking about the team is putting it into big troubles by making team-intern topics public a la McLaren 2007. He and his part of the pitcrew are acting as if he was fighting against another team. This is a big shame because I would love RB to win.


You are confusing causes and consequences.


Feel sorry for Mark.

But beating Seb in Seb's old chassis and with an old front wing must have been doubly sweet. Triply sweet when you think he cheated death at the previous race.

Mark always comes across as being an honest, hard-working and decent bloke.

He could have died in Valencia, which makes his treatment by Red Bull at Silverstone look all the more callous, uncaring and unfair.

Seb looks increasingly like a driver who is sulky and who needs preferential treatment in order to win. He's gone from easy-going likeable young gun, to brooding spoilt-brat in just a handful of races.

Mark looks like a true sportsman who can compete on any terms. Seb looks like a childish prima donna.

Shame on Seb and Red Bull.

Shame on Christian Horner for handling things so badly in recent weeks.

The team were riding high after Monaco, but now the team and the Red Bull brand are suffering real damage.


Brilliantly said, Josh.


In fairness to Seb, on this occaision I did not see him pull any tantrums. Yes I know that we don't know what may have happened behind the scenes, but from what is known, it appears Horner and Newey made a choice that favored Seb, but Seb may not have had much of a role in it (this time).


Harsh, but never-the-less spot on!


Honestly, I don't believe a word Horner says these days. He's going to need stick to his word for a while and stop trotting out completely laughable excuses before I take any notice of him again.


Horner is right to say that he should have spoken to Webber and his team before having Webber's nose cone transferred to Vettel.

If Vettel had decided he preferred the new wing and Webber wasn't sure whether it was an improvement, that would lead logically to Vettel being given it, there's nothing wrong with that. However it was the manner of the thing, not the decision itself, that so clearly indicated number two status.

The fact remains that Vettel yet again failed to bring home the goods. His mistakes cost him/Red Bull the WDC last year. He doesn't seem to have learned any lessons yet and his mental state still seems unsettled. Even though Vettel is the faster driver, it could be that Red Bull's best interests might be served by backing Webber to win the WDC this year, as he is the more reliable of the two. If they keep up the internal dissent, they could easily end up with neither of them winning it, again.


If Vettel does win the WDC then we'll have a champion who we feel doesn't deserve it. Who cheated his way to the top. It won't be the kind of champion the sport wants. For that reason i feel Red Bull should be supporting Webber instead. So there's a chance of a true sportsman holding the WDC... one that's massively popular with he fans, rather than the spoilt brat that is Vettel.


"We"? Speak for yourself. Whoever wins it will have deserved it in my book.


"As a result he can be quite uncompromising and the more you find out about this situation the more you feel that Newey considers Vettel the better driver."

Newey should know, he will see all the data from the two cars.

Is it known which of the two drivers is better at giving technical feedback to the engineers?


Good work again for your stuff on Channel 10. Gotta say, the rivalry between Vettel and Webber is turning into THE story of 2010. Funny, you take a look at a lot of predictions from so-called "experts" on F1, saying they thought Webber would be the weak link. These were people who just looked at the qualifying bottom line, without realising that Webber was usually carrying more fuel that Vettel, and in some cases (for instance Monaco 09) a lot more. Could that have been due to favouritism last year towards Vettel?

When war broke out between Hamilton and Alonso at McLaren in 2007, both drivers wanted to have slightly less fuel than the other for qualifying. Last year, that pretty much always went to Vettel (having less fuel for qualifying).


By most analysis I've seen, Vettel was still ahead fuel adjusted in about 2/3s of the races, so this year is closer. Vettel did have a weight distribution advantage

(at least theoretically) and Mark's broken leg and shoulder were an issue.

In 2007 there was the issue of fuel credits as it was often difficult for both drivers to do the same number of laps, and the McLarens were able to burn less fuel per lap than the credit and therefore run lighter in qualifying. Monaco and Spain were two examples where Alonso went light to try to get the pole, but generally have favoured the optimum race strategy, while Hamilton tried to make something happen from pole. Silverstone was the most extreme case of this.

For me as a Webber supporter (coming from Canberra), I still see something lacking in his racecraft, particularly when there are several cars around. The first lap a Valencia wouldn't happen to Hamilton - at worse he would have been fourth, and probably third given the initial launch. Silverstone was only the fourth time Mark has led out of the first corner.

Vettel seemed to have more of that 'making things happen' ability in 2007 and 2008, but it is not so apparent now. This could be due to downforce levels. The Red Bull has been the best qualifying car due to downforce in much of 2009 and all of 2010 (tyre and fuel adjusted Mark had Lewis in Canada). In the race, additional downforce works the tyres harder, so the extra performance can't be used all the time. In comparison, the engine and F-duct work on every lap, so the McLaren's will close the gap in the race. What I'm getting to is that if you start at the front you either win or go backwards, there is no opportunity to go from 14th to 4th, only 1st to last and then back to 7th with the help of the safety car.

I agree with you on the many experts. It was possible based on the Bahrain and Melbourne performance that Lewis wouldn't win a race as the car may not have been quick enough. I've read many statements about how Schumacher would win races this year. At the moment the car isn't good enough to do so, even if Schumacher was capable of consistently matching Rosberg.

One thing the 'experts' could call on was Mark's erratic form in the second half of 2009. He at least matched Vettel in Brazil (hard to judge), seemed to be nowhere in Japan - needing fresh tyres and special wing to just get the fastest lap - and couldn't get the hard tyres to work at Abu Dhabi. For me, Canada was his only poor race in terms of tyre management. Melbourne and China weren't glorious for other reasons.

You would have seen that one expert, James, has Kubica as his driver of the year so far. He won't be top in Autocourse's top ten as he hasn't won anything.

Apologies for the essay. Cheers, Martin


I don't see why it would have been fairer to run both drivers on the old spec nose...Vettel had the new spec broke it, Webber didn't. The fair thing to do would have been to give Vettel the old nose and keep Webber as is. Instead Webber got penalised for an accident to Vettel's car. Putting them both on the old spec would have penalised Webber again for nothing he did wrong.

More interestingly is why Newey didn't value Webber's development capabilities. Given his vast experience of F1 cars I would have thought he'd be better suited to evaluating a new spec nose than Vettel if it was so important to Newey..?




Point still stands - Anthony Davidson summed it up perfectly in the chequered flat podcast. Your a driver sitting in your car, you see your partner's front nose fall off (for whatever reason) think "oh thats a shame"...and then suddenly see the mechanics coming over to your car, taking your nose off to repair your partners, and your left with the older spec.

Now how is that fair? If the point is to test the component, just leave things as they are and accept that Vettel's broke.


Ok so did anyone check with Webber whether it was okay to take the wing off his car? A wing he had setup his car to drive with and had removed at the last minute before qualifying?


Which ignores that allegedly Webber did not express preference for the new wing on Friday, but Vettel did.


I just hope Christian Horner remebers this when he asks for equalisation on engines!!

Newey is a genuis in car deisgn, but he would have been wise to take the new wing off and avoid any team issues at Silverstone.

Must admit that Vettel is falling in my estimation, use to think he was a class act, but his actions this year do not reflect well upon him.

I hope Webber nails him in Germany and wins it again!!


I get the feeling that if Webber had taken pole position with the old wing, the subsequent controversy would not have arisen.

Still, Mark should have seen the way the wind was blowing before he signed up for the extension. Red Bull have made no secret of their desire to sign Vettel on a very long term deal.


The elephant in the room?

What sort of masterful managment at RB only brought 2 of the most fragile and often-wrecked pieces of crucial equipment to a major world sporting event, where their cars were to be watched by millions of viewers?

For me, the management failings go much deeper than how MW was treated. Are RB so hard up that they couldn't afford to bring at least 1 spare nose??????

If RB are so obsessed by sales results (allegedly) then they need to look harder at how their team is perceived in the world of commerce. It was an own goal waiting to happen. I'd have brought 4 front wings so that each car had a spare, then no accusations could be levelled by either driver.


There may not have been sufficient time to manufacture more than two of these 'new' wings before the race weekend.


Is it possible that RB were only able to manufacture 2 new wings in time for Silverstone due to the extra time spent fixing up SV's old chassis after MW's Valencia incident? Due to Mark's incident resulting in only 2 new wings being made, did this influence the choice to deny Mark the new wing when one failed?

n. Machiavelli

"For me, the management failings go much deeper than how MW was treated."

Well said, sir !

We are witnessing incompetence in the Red Bull team on several levels. They are poorly prepared for

an event, with respect to crucial equipment, and

they continue to engage in "driver management" behavior that only a blinkered fool could endorse.

Perhaps those responsible simply aren't very

intelligent. Perhaps it comes down to the Peter Principle ( an employee will rise in an organization until he reaches the level at which he is no longer competent ).


I'm sure it was an issue with time, rather than trying to save money.


Development is continuous and it takes time manufacture parts, and they have limited capacity. They only had time to make a couple of noses, even with their factory down the road they could not produce any more.


Vettel may well be a better driver than Mark one day, but at present he's looking more and more like Massa Mk II: fast, but temperamentally fragile, with less than optimum racing skills. If Vettel starts from the front and gets away OK, he can zoom off and win if nothing breaks. Alas, the repeated component breakages and failures seem to show that his car handling is poor - certainly his more experienced teammate doesn't have nearly as many problems.


He breaks stuff because he hops curbs so much. At Silverstone he even got on the secondary high curbs during the race. He's got a slash and burn driving technique. Over time it will mellow to a good race pace as Webber's has.


Speaking of Massa, just where has he been this year? How about a Massa/Webber swap at the end of the year?

Vettel got some good press for overtaking during the Brit GP, but as many pointed out, he was nowhere until the safety car bunched the pack up. And he was overtaking cars that he was a clear second a lap faster than. Don't even get me started on the move on Sutil. I love ballsy racing, and it's great to watch, but you can't always barge into the car in front to get by. If Sutil had given it another turn left (into Vettel) and both had gone out, Vettel may well have been deemed at fault for that one.


What a mess.

I could write so much about the Redbull situation, it probably wouldn't achieve anything though, so I'll keep my thoughts to myself.

I will say one thing though.. about the sport as a whole. The more I learn about the inner workings of F1 (year upon year), the more it appears that the best drivers, the ones with the titles to their names, the big names.. they weren't so almighty afterall. They are good, but no where equal to their reputation that they have with casual less informed fans.

Sensationalistic headlines, drivers getting drives because of nationality or sponsors. Different nationalities being more marketable then others. Corporate priorities. Car advantages. Bigger budgets. Reliability and luck. FIA favouring team or drivers here or there, especially the more marketable drivers (especially Ferrari doing the Schumi years). And the bottom line of money money money. The window for any one of us to have a chance, is so ridiculously small regardless of driving ability.

The big contradiction (understatement) is that drivers reputations are based on results. However it's hardly the 100m Olympic sprint is it? Where all drivers have 1 lane, and they all have equal chance.

The more I learn about F1, the less I care about it as a whole. Emotions become less invested in the outcomes.

Things like the internet and BBC red button forum after the race make it alot easier to track the inner workings.

You could say it's niave to wish that it's about who can drive the fastest or the best. It's true, a niave wish that the focus could be on driving, it's a motor race after all is it not?

F1 is run by humans. Humans have emotions, and relationships, and preferences. These interfere with the contest, the same way that a referee in soccer does. It happens in alot of sports, but the way it happens in European sports is quite unique. The more I learn about F1, the more I am dissappointed. A number two like Piquet can be treated badly, and no one will care, because he is no one. How is he supposed to compete with Alonso, if he isn't even given a fair go? Why isn't the team trying to help him become better? In the end, F1 is a popularity contest. Like Big Brother.

All I can say is if F1 and football are the only sports you follow, you are missing out. Sport is a about a group of guys competing for something, and acknowledging whoever does the best job. Regardless of who it is, or if he has the looks, or personality, or his nationality. This aspect is severely lacking in F1. You could argue it has always been like this.. however I hardly find that statement comforting.


Don't be too tough on it, the best drivers achieve miraculous things with the cars. The level is so high, you cannot believe it.


Thats why F1 is such a compeling sport, more so than any other, as you see all the facets of human emotion, revenge, envy, glory and so forth. Then to throw it all in you have all the politcal games on top, I just find F1 so fascinating.


The more I learn about F1, the more it feels like there is no Santa Claus. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't learn so much about it, so that my bubble wouldn't be popped. Ignorance is bliss.


Yes but that's life isn't it? F1 is so fantastic because it is a concentrated form of life in all it's aspects. It's tough and competitive and brutal at times, as is life, but there is a caring side to it too- I should know I've raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in F1 for two charities close to my heart - Clic Sargent (kids cancer charity) and GP Mechanics Trust - thanks to the generosity of teams, drivers, sponsors, FIA, Bernie.


I guess you are right James. Maybe I need to readjust my expectations.


F1 has always been a tough environment. Even the "good old days".


I find it unbelievable that a driver would not be consulted prior to being sent out on circuit of all significant changes made to their car.

Whilst Adrian Newey is probably the best designer in F1 at present, and therefore responsible for performance at which he is genius, I would never have considered that he would use his influence to favor one driver over the other.

If true I'm afraid I have totally over estimated the man. Very, very disappointed to hear this. I always held him in high esteem. If this is true Mark Webber needs to look for another seat ASAP. There are many more subtle ways to decrease the performance of the car and if changes of major components don't warrant discussion with the person most involved what chance for him now?


I'm going to quote James here:

"A coin toss, or even better, using the same old spec front wing on both cars would have been the fairer way to handle the situation."

And now I'm going to use a comment by Lexus:

"How would that have been fairer. Please explain in detail.

Two childern are given sandwiches because they are hungry. One child’s sandwich drops (for whatever reason)you then flip a coin for the other sandwich which was already given to other child.

If that is the case then Vettel can mess up all his parts always knowing their is a 50% chance that he will get Mark’s and Mark can always look after his part knowing that there is a 50% chance of it going to Vettel.

Mark had a crash in his previosu race. Did they then flip a coin to see if he got Vettel’s car for this race.

I am not sure if a lot of people remember the definition of fair anymore."

Not sure your solution of making it a 50/50 after Vettel's part failed is the best. Just as I wasn't sure your of your solution of altering the difference between tyre steps from two to one (after Bore-Rain) to spice up the action. But it's certainly better than Vettel getting everything.


Not a good analogy as there were sandwiches available and good ones too (after all Webber won the race comfortably with the old wing) so no-one would go hungry..

Carlos E Del Valle

All of us who clicked on "give new wing to Webber" think that if Vettel´s wing fell off from the car, bad luck, we´re sorry, and we have an old wing for you Sebastian.

I noticed that Crofty and Davidson share this same opinion, at least as I uderstand from listening to Checkered Flag podcast.


Except for the little fact (as far as we were told) that Webber didn't prefer the new wing much on Friday, while Vettel did.


I think Webber should have kept the wing; Vettel's broke, it may not be his fault, but it did - fate took his wing away, it's what happens sometimes... I think Vettel is over rated anyway, he can't string a block of good results together, even though he has the best car...

Lewis' results in the last 5 races: 5th, 1st, 1st, 2nd, 2nd.

Vettel's results in the last 5: 2nd, DNF, 4th, 1st, 7th.

I think Lewis is likely to walk this one - Alonso, Webber and Vettel can't seem to string a good 4 or 5 results together... if you look at most championship seasons, the winning driver tends to have 2 or 3 blocks of results (some exceptions, like last year with JB) and then perhaps 1 or 2 poor(ish) races in between these blocks.

The only person who has shown he can do that is Alonso... so if Alonso can get his act together then he could do it... but can you really see Vettel or Webber, with 1 or 2 races left of the Championship, going toe-toe with Hamilton and not making a mistake? Nope, neither can I!


Of course Horner would say that, he's lied continuously about the #2 driver situation. Why would he stop now?

I've yet to see a single Red Bull decision go in Webbers favour and plenty the other way!

Vettel is a talented driver and I have nothing against him taking every advantage he can. If the roles were reversed I'm sure Webber would do exactly the same. The problem is with the way the team management are handling the issues. The more I see of Horner in interviews the more I dislike the man!


Joe Saward claims webber signed the contract the night before the infamous crash but this was only made public afterwards - thus calming the waters re the media given webber was initially blamed. Is this correct James?


Doesn't he prove himself wrong if he has to nobble Webber to support his opinion, if that is in fact his opinion? Perhaps he's a Machiavellian manipulator, because if Webber is the de facto No. 2, his efforts to best Vettel should see him serve as a brilliant tail gunner if Vettel's in front. If the team is playing Webber to motivate his best performances (which is what the mind games DO seem to be achieving), the only difficulty they have is keeping them from taking each other out, but Vettel has looked like the man most likely to instigate that. At the start of the British, Webber's aggression was focussed on going first and going fast, Vettel's was focussed on squeezing Webber. I hope that "fuel is critical" isn't going to become team order code for any races when they get to race one another in clean air.


In a sport where every last point is fought over I'm surprised there aren't more misunderstandings. I think this is a storm in a teacup in some respects but I can see where Webber and Horner/Newey are coming from.

That there was no reported discussion with Webber to give Vettel the new wing I can understand why he would feel they were favouring Vettel.

Communication is a management responsibility and should cop the flack for that lack of it.


This is a brave comment from Horner and opens himself to a Broadside from the Redbull heirarchy and the fans/media alike, although its a damned if you do, damned if you dont moment.

If Horner suggests that he was acting under orders in giving Vettel the new wing, the team looses (or has lost) a lot of face in their favouritism to a driver who has no clear advantage in the WDC. This will upset the fans. If what he says is true (and i for one dont suspect it is) then Redbull will clearly be miffed that his descision has left a very big egg on Redbulls face and will surley put him & his future descisions under a lot of scrutiny in the future. I fear for Christian Horners future at Redbull, he is clearly between a rock and a hard place with whatever he descides to do for the team and ultimatley it is him that is the face of the Redbull management for the team.


Horner has to come out to take the blame to lessen the effect on Red Bull and its drinks.I hope he and the team realize that the public will keep a keen eye on what they do in furture with regard to equal treatment to both drivers. Any further bad publicity may really hurt sale of drinks or sponsorship for the team.

Good show, Webber, for having the guts to tell the fans openly.

My regret is that Adrian Newey has ended up with a team of very doubtful reputation on fairness and honesty with the fans. I wouldn't like to be associated with such an organization.


I wouldn't feel too sorry for Newey in this, by all accounts he is the reason this occured.


Why do you blame Newey?

If Horner did not take the new wing off Webber and put it onto Vettel's car which is blatantly an unfair move, none of us would be angry at RB.

Without testing outside race days, Newey would certainly want to see how the new wing performed, wouldn't he? He did not ask Horner to switch wings which is the crux of the problem of unfairness.

A great talent like Newey should feel resentful to be associated with such a team of unjust people in control.


Regardless of the impact of the front wing, not communicating the decision to Webber appropriately before the fact is certain to cause aggrevation. Horner should absolutely know that, that was either a massive mistake on his part or he/the team don't hold Webber in high enough esteem to justify their decisions to him anymore.

Either way, that was a self-created mess if I've ever seen one.


It would be interesting to know what effect Mark Webber's

speaking out publicly will have on Vettel. I do not think he is

as strong mentally as Webber, and i think Webber knows it.


I'm sure you're right and Mark is much tougher mentally but I think thats largely down to age. I think it's easy to sometimes overlook how young a lot of the drivers are these days. Compare it to 'back in the day' when most drivers weren't entering the sport until mid-late twenties and who hadn't had the same cosseted route to F1.


Vettel is primadonna. As someone said it before here, he reminds more of an x-factor winner then a driver who fought his way up to the top.

And he knows it, that's why he needs to be treated like an insulted maid. Webber on the other hand knows that what he achieved he achieved through his hard work and persistence and that's why he will always have self belief.

Jake Holocointo

James, I'm struggling to see how Newey -- or anyone --could form the view that Vettel is the better driver. Based on available evidence, Webber and Vettel are as evenly matched as any driver pairing I can remember; there's nothing in it.


Thats because you are not privy to telemetry information and all other technical information you just look at race results or points standing


...And it's race results and point standing that counts


Last year Horner admitted this year's car would be desgined to Vettel.

The problem is, Vettel's driving style is not suited to this year's tyres.

On many occasions this year, Webber and Vettel have acknowledged that Webber finds the tyres better suited to him, while Vettel cannot get as much out of them.

But who over the first 4 races did the better job?

Vettel - he outqualified Webber 3 times due to Webber not doing a good job, and Webber outqualified him once due to a good call on tyres and great lap.

Vettel would have won the first 2 GP if the team did not stuff it up for him by managing his engine wrong in Bahrain, and putting his wheel on wrong in Melbourne. And in the 3rd race Vettel overtook a dozy Webber to get the lead at the start and win the race, and the 4th Vettel did a better job of coming through the field in the mayhem of that race.

IMO, this was where it was decided that Vettel was the one to back - because it should be expected that Webber do the best job as Vettel was adapting to the tyres, yet Vettel did the better job, and the team had let Vettel down.

The problem is, Vettel's car broke, and Webber regrouped and put in two stunning performances over the Spain and Monaco weekends to get back on track.

Since, they just have not reacted appropriately and done the right things, and it is going to cost them big time.


To me, Newey should design the cars and then keep out of the race decisions and let the drivers get on with it.

He does what he is good at and designs the cars.

Christian does what he is "supposedly" good at and makes decisions for the team.

Then the drivers go and deliver the goods on track.

Finally, the upper hierarchy of Helmut Marko, etc, should finance the team, and keep their mouths shut.

To me, that sounds like a better setup.

I do not personally like Newey, purely seeing him smile, annoys me and I noticed in the post-race team photo shoot that Newey was next to Webber and Webber wasn't happy about it and wasn't smiling and then Newey turned to him and told him off and told him to smile. Not sure if anyone else noticed that, but it looked a rather awkward moment.


Webber should not forget why he is winning races, then.


The thing is, none of the drivers are UN diplomats and Mark is at the far end of not diplomatic, even for an F1 driver.

Webber was (and probably still is) a good fit for Red Bull. He has an anarchic streak in him that plays well to the Red Bull antiestablishment thing that they have going on. He swears like a trooper and has always told it like it is, which we've all loved for years.

The trouble is, that tell it like it is attitude that he's had probably since birth isn't switchable. If he perceives that he's being shafted he's going to say so. If someone asks him a direct question he's going to give his opinion and it's only really been this season where he's been trying as hard as he can to temper his responses. If you're not at the pointy end of the table you have the luxury of telling it like it is. Now that he's right up there, he's finding out that he just needs to be diplomatic.

So my feeling is that he was going to keep it all under control, but it was Christian's comment about now being able to smile that sent him over the edge and out blurted, "Not bad for a No. 2 driver", as an immediate retort. That would've been pretty funny in a pub, but on a live cross to millions of people watching on the tele it would probably have had Dietrich Mateschitz spitting his Red Bull on the tele.

Anyway, it'll fun to watch the soap opera from here, but if he doesn't put a cork in it, he may not be racing for RBR for much longer and that'd be a real shame.....


"So my feeling is that he was going to keep it all under control, but it was Christian’s comment about now being able to smile that sent him over the edge and out blurted, “Not bad for a No. 2 driver”, as an immediate retort. "

Wasn't it the other way round?


No, I don't think so. From memory Christian went first, but I could be wrong.....



""Not bad for a number two driver," Webber said on the radio on the slowing down lap. "You can smile now," Horner responded. "


After weeks of defending accusations of favouritism Horner had a golden opportunity to demonstrate equality within the team, what a cock-up.


In my humble opinion Webber has simply become too big for his boots.

If I was Horner I would have done the exact same thing: give the better equipment to the better driver. And that's Vettel.

Webber is great in qualifying or leading a race. Put him into the field, though, and he's shocking. The man can't race. He either progresses down the field or crashes into who he's overtaking. Sometimes it gets embarassing - see this year's Australian GP.

He's got it really good at Red Bull, if he thinks about it.

He's not nearly as good as he thinks he is.

He needs to stop whining.


Firstly, I can't believe you would use the example of Webber not being able to move through a field without running into anyone, and comparing him to Vettel who has had so many poor overtaking manoeuvres this year, like his attempt on Sutil at Silverstone, his attempt on Webber at Turkey. Then look at Webber last year in Germany when he charged through the field in style after a drive through, not just overtaking backmarkers and mid-field cars like Vettel on Sunday.

I think your third paragraph reads as if you simply mistook each driver's name and put 'Webber' instead of 'Vettel'. Vettel is the on who can't move through a strong field without making a hash of it, he can't even move through a mediocre field without bouncing off cars for places.

And then your final statement claiming Webber has it lucky, and has been gifted this driving position, keep in mind Webber has been with Red Bull for three and a half years now, helping drive them from a mid range team, to the leaders they now are. As brilliant as Newey is, a designer needs drivers who are good at providing feedback, suggestions and technical input to design a high performance package. The way you insinuate that Webber doesnt deserve what he has is ridiculous, because he is one of the main reasons they have had such an excellent and speedy development progression.


And in those three-and-a-half years with the team he has, in the drivers' championship,:

-been beaten by Coulthard in 2007

-beaten Coulthard in 2008 (And, frankly, beating an average driver in his last year of competition is no great achievement) Incidentally, he was beaten by Vettel in 2008, too, when Vettel was in the inferior Torro Rosso sister car

-been beaten by Vettel in Vettel's first year with the team, 2009

Has Webber REALLY been the reason Red Bull have gotten stronger? Please....

Red Bull have only been a force since Vettel joined.

Don't let your prejudices blind you.


You don't build a competitive f1 car in a single off season, it takes years of development to culminate in a successful car. So Vettel clearly hasnt contributed to much of the development, he just hopped into an already high;y competitive car.

n. Machiavelli

"In my humble opinion Webber has simply become too big for his boots."

LOL !!! The above is one of the most amazingly inaccurate comments I've read on this blog.

Webber won at Silverstone, despite the fact that the team took his new wing from him. Results speak louder than words, and Webber's "boots" were on the pedals of the car which crossed the line first. Webber's boots are bigger than anyone else's on the Red Bull team, by a wide margin. End of discussion.


Read my comments correctly. I said Webber is a good driver at the front of the pack. When he isn't, though, he's shocking.

Funny that you think he is the bees knees in Red Bull. If so, why does Adrian, Marko and Christian all rate Vettel more? Of course, you must know better...

Anyway, guess his mouth was full of those bigger boots, eh?

Just seen that, in between swapping them, he had just enough time to make a grovelling apology. He's just realised how good he's got it. Can't wait for this mediocre driver to be out of F1.


Words that would equally describe Vettel.

Carlos Eduardo Del Valle

I disagree with the "coin toss or both old spec" approach. If Vettel's wing fell off the car, you should just tell him "sorry" and give him an old wing. But NEVER EVER remove it from the other driver's car.

Regarding Newey, so that's it. He's the bad guy here, not Marko? Kinda makes sense.

n. Machiavelli

"Regarding Newey, so that’s it. He’s the bad guy here, not Marko? Kinda makes sense."

I think you are looking for an "answer" that is too simplistic to fit the actual events.

The most likely possibility is that Mateschitz has made it clear to ALL who are paid by him that he wants Vettel to win the championship. As such, the Red Bull team are doing everything they can to please their master. But there is one exception, and he won the last race. Perhaps the reason Webber is not complying with the master's wishes is that he was not told he would have "number two" status during contractual

negotiations. And if Red Bull lied to him about that, Red Bull richly deserve what Webber is giving them.

Red Bull has underestimated those they are attempting to fool. No F1 fan worthy of the name believes any of Red Bull's current PR attempts, and this pathetic PR attempt by Red Bull at "damage control" is only making Red Bull look that much worse. It reminds me of a thief who denies he stole an item despite the fact that you find said item in the thief's hands !

Bottom line :

Red Bull is engaged in writing a new chapter in the book : "

How to Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory" !


Are you blind? You just gave a perfect description of Seb not Mark. One example of this is when Seb crashed into Mark in turkey!!!!!!


This feels reminiscent of Hamilton and Alonso at Macca: the prodigal sun getting preferential treatment but still struggling to beat his team mate.

Very gutsy of Mark to keep on competing at such a level when it looks as though he hasn't even got the support of his own team.

Think RB will continue to favour Seb, but they will try to be more subtle from now on . . . . just like the incidents at Macca when Alonso was (apparently) given wrongly inflated tyres and weird penalties for blocking his team mate when the entire pit-lane and track were empty but his team mate chose to sit behind him and complain.

Is Horner as bad a manager as Ron Dennis?

The comments about Newey cast him in a bad light.

Virtually everyone I talk to about this is now anti-Seb, Red Bull and Horner.

PS James, I have tried to register to be on the fans twitter page on your site - but my #f1 tweets never appear. Am I blocked? Doing something wrong?


Not that I'm aware of. We rotate the fans we follow, maybe it's due to that?


Thanks - guess I will have to wait. Should I resubmit my application?


I still think a lot has not been said with what happened and will probably never be said.

It's been very poorly handled and I'm surprised that how it was going to be perceived by Mark alone was apparently not given more consideration. Leaving aside any public views on it, removing a part from one drivers car to give to another is bound to cause issues unless that driver didn't want it in the first place (apparently not the case in this situation).

Not sure how you get to the conclusion that Newey feels Vettel is the better driver of the two though?



The Mark Webber to Ferrari talk just doesn’t seem to be going away. I know there are contracts (but Kimi had one of them).

Massa doesn’t seem to be having the best time of it, and what is the value of Mark Webbers knowledge of the Red Bull worth. I believe he has an excellent grasp of the technical side of things and has been very much involved in the Red Bull development process.

Stranger things have happened, what are your thoughts?


Of course he's going to deny it. He'd be an idiot and probably lose his job if he admitted he was only following orders.


As with other comments.

It's not the fact that Vettel raced with the wing.... it's the fact they removed it from Webber's car to use.

Had Webber broke his wing, they would not have removed Vettels. So why double standards?


There is a peculiar comment on the formula1.com site from Vettel:

"Q: There are opinions that suggest that Lewis Hamilton touched you…

SV: I have not felt anything so I cannot say. Should that be the case then he achieved what he had tried in Valencia, but surely - if that was the case - he didn’t want to give me a puncture."


It strikes me that the biggest problem that Red Bull has is that they are cocooning Vettel from his own mistakes and rather than adjusting his driving (his clash with Webber, and his continued dust ups with Hamilton where he closes the door too late).

Vettel has not yet matured as a driver, and without critical friends he will not be pointed in the right direction. His overtaking seems weak and his car positioning has cost him a lot of points. Now he is making odd comments about seeing other people (ie Webber) in their true colours and the paranoia of believing that Hamilton is deliberately trying to run him off the track.

Horner needs to be less worried about keeping the team together and more worried about keeping Vettel together.


I thought Webber actually signed the contract BEFORE the Turkish GP, it was just announced to the media afterwards?



I've begun hearing that Mark Webber actually signed his new contract *before* the Sunday back in Turkey, but it was only announced afterwards.

Is that true, because if it is, it nullifies the whole "Webber was content with Red Bull's assurances"?


Another great article James, always look forward to your posts on this site.

However, I do have a wee difference of opinion with your feelings about what "would have been the fairer way to handle the situation"... which I've seen you mention in a couple of your articles.

In the context of this situation i.e.

1. There were only 2 wings of the new spec

2. Both cars had a new wing fitted

3. One broke (and it could equally have been Marks)

4. They wanted to run the wing in the race, and this is key to the decision

5. Both drivers are equally matched in speed

6. Both drivers are very much in close contention for the title

The fairest thing to do was to replace the broken wing with "an old one off the shelf" and say sorry to the driver.

Thereafter, all Christian would have to say instead of "we have to make difficult decisions sometimes" is "Sh!t happens" and no controversy would ensue.

Christopher Snowdon

James do you agree Webber needs Red Bull more than Red Bull need Webber? Do you also agree teams tend to win more with less agro when they have a dedicated number one driver? If Red Bull have decided to take this stance, who would you have chosen to be the number one based on the last season and a half?


Well you can always say that about a driver who is sitting in the best car. But they still need that guy to steer it home every week, cf Williams in the 1990s.


Obviously, Seb is the “Poster Boy” for Red Bull and it would be advantageous in Red Bull’s eyes that he (Seb) have the #1 on his car next year.

What is not highlighted is that Age and Wisdom will always beat Youth and Enthusiasm.

It appears to this outsider, that Mark is the set up and feedback mule of the team.

And that it irks the Red Bull team that the “number 2” driver is outclassing / outdriving the “number 1” driver.

On Sunday, Mark posted fastest lap after fastest lap during the race – in a discarded “slow” car from his team mate - the World Champ wannabe.

During qualifying, Horner should have made the competition equal and used the “older” front wing on both cars – and not favour just one driver.

Big mistake – never make an Aussie the underdog !

From this proud Aussie, it’s been a long time waiting for MW to rise to the top of the field in a reliable car – and that it’s good to see that he has the confidence to rattle the cage of management and his team mate.

The treat still remains from Messrs Hamilton and Button. The “love in” is not fooling anyone.

A last lap duel in Abu Dhabi for this years Championship between Webber and Button would be special.

Long live Age and Wisdom.


I still think Horner we get the boot by the end of the season , or at best moved to the B team , whats it called again ??


Horner and Mark will be managing their GP3 team in that case. Horner for not managing things well and Mark is now marked by all other team bosses on the grid. If he was that good he would have had Ferrari/McLaren offers in his early career, so his driving value is already established, Now his team player qualities are being demonstrated. Vocal driver looks good for TV ratings, but drives himself out of paddock quicker than a smart driver...


When sharing a cake let one person cut and the other choose then no one can complain.

The cut had effectively been made by Vettel (although not through his own fault) so the choice should have been given to Webber if he preferred to keep the wing or run with the old version.

I'ts called management and if Horner isnt up to it......get someone who is!

Chauncey Gardener

I feel sorry for Mr Horner.

He has assembled a good team around him to produce the fastest car, 9 poles out of 10 this year.

However they are trailing in both championships.

If they could work together as a team they could lead.

I hope Red Bull can give them both equal wings next time.


In case you are not aware of this, this team is essentially Stewart GP racing, purchaed by Jaguar Ford in turn purchased by Dietrich Mateschitz. Dietrich pumped in money to get best resources in F1 world, and then he hired two Drivers (one of whom is clearly a Journeyman, like Trulli, Fisi), who suddenly have forgotten that their ego is getting bigger than the organization...


Really? Which one is the journeyman?! It's the package that counts, not raw speed. Think Senna/Prost. Senna was quicker, but Prost won a lot of races against Senna.


Prost was proven winner even prior to advent of Senna.It was not as if he was running from team to team with no results to prove....


Trulli and Fisi never threatened Alonso. Either Red Bull's drivers are both fast, or they're both journeymen.


Mark is clearly nothing more than a journeyman. It was not as if McLarens/Ferraris were knocking at his doors looking at his "Phenomenal" performances in smaller teams.

That you have mentioned Trulli-Vs-Alonso, please check the stats of 2004 till Monaco'04 Trulli was consistently performing well against the then upstart Alonso. Trulli won the team's first victory at the prestigious event on calendar, ahead of his much hyped young team-mate. Trulli suddenly started having mysterious performance issues in second half of the season and was inexplicably dropped midway through the season.

I don't remember Media (British)/Fans taking Trulli's side and crying oceans...

Ferrari (Michael-Rubens) was more newsworthy for the scribes. So it’s not as if the F1 Pundits are really worried about Quality of F1 and racing in general. its just that what is more sensational and what will make more TV/Media ratings...

Thanks for bringing the Trulli-Alonso angle into play, led me to an apt example on current Redbull situation


Webber played the team diplomat amazing well after Turkey in spite of what was said about him my his team bosses. For him to speak out now, things must be very bad in camp.

I'd love to see how Vettel would go in qualy and race with his own setup, and NOT steal Webber's week in, week out.

BTW. Is anyone else uncomfortable with the FOM's boss' first name for this dangerous sport? Can we get him to change his name from 'Bernie' (shudder) to something more ... soothing like "Aloe Vera" maybe?


How about "Bernie the Bolt" ?


Just like Jenson would have performed in 2009 without copying Barichello's setup and strategy I guess 😀


Mark Webber was right to say what he did, In my opinion thats a sign of a true champion, do you think Senna or Mansell or Alonso or Hamilton would have allowed such treatment the answer is NO. And this is what I respect about Webber, he is demanding it and he deserves it. These last 2 years are the only time he's had a car capable of winning races and he is!!! Can you imagine a mechanic taking a wing off your car and putting it on your team mates!!! Its outrageous what next? When Vettels engine blows do they take Marks!!? What other components do they think they may take in the future. Its sets a terrible precedent that Mark Webber was right to put a definite stop to. That he must fight a psychological battle within his own team is one of the greatest crimes a manager can do to his players. This smells a bit like Alonso Vs Hamilton when Dennis so idiotically said over the radio "We are not racing Kimi we are racing Alonso!!!" How can any driver feel supported when management show any signs of favoritism. And it is clear that Redbull management favor Vettel


James is there information you haven't presented in the article? The conclusion that Newey favours Vettel doesn't follow from anything in the article.

Horner said after qualifying that Newey had insisted the wing be run but he didn't mention a driver preference from Newey, looks like the RB machine is now trying to spin that to spread the blame.


Not only is Webber being penalised by his own team, the new points system is doing him no favours at all. I thought the new system was to encourage drivers to win. Should we still be using the old system, the top four, at the moment, would remain unchanged:

Hamilton 60

Button 54

Webber 50

Vettel 49

Webber has won 3 Grands Prix, whereas the others have won 2. Hamilton has been consistent, bar Spain, therefore the new system still rewards the consistent driver.

Why a driver with a shot at winning the Drivers' Championship wouldn't try and win a race is beyond me anyway.

We've all seen how much the Red Bull drivers have been trying to win their races!!


The new points system does indeed offer the winner a better set of points relative to 2nd and 3rd place.

In the old 10-8-6 system:

1st was 1.25x 2nd, and

2nd was worth 1.33x 3rd, and

1st was 1.66x 3rd.

In the new 20-18-15 system:

1st is 1.38x 2nd, and

2nd is worth 1.2x 3rd, and

1st is 1.66x 3rd.

The change means it is much better to come first than second, but it is a worse improvement to come second over third.

If they'd stuck with the original proposal of 25-20-15, everything would have been identical.

If you *really* want to make it worthwhile for a driver to fight for the next place, you don't want the points between positions to be multiplied by factors like 1.2, 1.25 or 1.33. Instead you want to be offering double points for each place - something like 500,250,125,64,32,16,8,4,2,1

Every 1st would then be worth 2 2nds, or 4 3rds. Today a 1st is worth 2 4ths.


I think a lot of people have lost sight of why Red Bull are in Formula 1 and that is to sell cans of caffeine drinks! If Dietrich Mateschitz was interested in the actual racing he'd be at every race running the team himself like Tony Fernandes and Vijay Mallya. We must therefore assess everything Red Bull racing does under these terms. Why is Vettel preferred by Red Bull? If Vettel wins the WDC he is likely to stay with the team in the following season allowing Red Bull to use him in their marketing. If Webber wins, there is every chance he'll immediately retire at the end of the season and all that valuable marketing is lost.

Red Bull gives you wings, Vettel.


Well Done Webber

I think its all pretty clear where Horner and Newey sit on regards to drivers.

Well done Mark in fighting and winning in typical Aussie Spirit with the inferior wing and most importantly in Vettel's old chassis

How did Mark end up with with Vettel's old chassis anyway, no-one has explained this???

Webber for WDC please


Webber's was obviously destroyed in his crash and the only one available was the one Vettel had used previously and found to have a crack in its structure.


Do you not think that the real problem for MW was that he was humiliated by the public manner the wing swap was handled? It is one thing to have inter-team rivalries fought behind closed doors, but to do such a thing in front of fans and peers was inept at the very least. Behind closed doors MW could have been given a way to save face in the public eye eg... MW wasn't that convinced about the new wing, SV was so SV ran it...

As it was MW had to stick up for himself in public. And rightly so.


Red Bull dont give wings they take away your wing if you are Webber.

On a more serious note, it was wrong to take the wing off Mark's car and give it to Seb.


Redbull love publicity - and appear to have their own version of Martin Brundle's quote "Ambition exceeds adhesion" which in RB's case seems to equate to "ambition exceeds cohesion"

The amount of newspace devoted to Redbull recently must be worth millions in equivalent of advertising spend and is probably one of the best ROI rates they could have wished for.

The team is like a teenager coming of age in F1 terms and they are having to react to new problems and pressures all the time. Hopefully as with life, they will make just as many good decisions as atrocious ones. The trouble is, the atrocious ones will always give them more press space.


The point is that it's precisely Horner's job to mediate intense pressures from opposing sides: drivers, designers, mechanics, bosses, owners, sponsors. I think RBR are playing with fire actually: my impression is that they decided all publicity is good publicity and - since they DO value Vettel more anyhow - decided that Webber being disgruntled was something they could risk. But what they evidently didn't factor in, strangely given Turkey, was the possibilty for on-track self-destruction. If you think about it, it's the only place they lose out. Bad publicity is okay (makes them fit perfectly into F1's upper echelon of teams and FIA itself after all!), two competitive drivers keen to out-race the other is okay, Newey getting his parts tested by Vettel is okay. What isn't okay is losing heavy points or DNFs. In the last few races we've had Vettel plunging into Webber and getting a DNF, Webber going flying after a bad mistake, and Vettel lunging into Webber and then heading off for some cross-country rallying. Obviously the pressure is getting a bit too much for their drivers. They'll try to turn the heat down now, clearly, but if both drivers are still in contention during the final part of the season, these tensions are bound to erupt again. Great for everyone else, probably the loss of the drivers and constructors championships for RBR and their drivers.


I am confused.

Mikey says this: "If Vettel starts from the front and gets away OK, he can zoom off and win if nothing breaks."

Then Rodger has got this to say: "Put him into the field, though, and he’s shocking. The man can’t race. He either progresses down the field or crashes into who he’s overtaking. Sometimes it gets embarassing – see this year’s Australian GP." But, oh, wait, he is talking about Webber here.

Does this mean they are both crap? That perhaps RBR should start a driver exchange programme with Toro Rosso?


Ah the sing-along at Horner's country house. Was it round a camp fire? Was Vettel strumming the guitar as they all sang:

Kumbaya Red Bull, kumbaya

Kumbaya Red Bull, kumbaya

Kumbaya Red Bull, kumbaya

Oh Red Bull, kumbaya

Someone's singing Newey, kumbaya

Someone's singing Newey, kumbaya

Someone's singing Newey, kumbaya

Oh Newey, kumbaya

Someone's laughing, Webber, kumbaya

Someone's laughing, Webber, kumbaya

Someone's laughing, Webber, kumbaya

Oh Webber, kumbaya

Someone's crying, Vettel, kumbaya

Someone's crying, Vettel, kumbaya

Someone's crying, Vettel, kumbaya

Oh Vettel, kumbaya

Someone's praying, Horner, kumbaya

Someone's praying, Horner, kumbaya

Someone's praying, Horner, kumbaya

Oh Horner, kumbaya

Someone's sleeping, Helmut, kumbaya

Someone's sleeping, Helmut, kumbaya

Someone's sleeping, Helmut, kumbaya

Oh Helmut, kumbaya

Oh Helmut, kumbaya


Is anybody else starting to doubt the need for Webber to have his gear box change at Montreal now? I wonder if he'd have had it if he'd qualified behind Vettel.


I'm happy for this not to be published but I have heard some rumours that Newey is not happy at Red Bull. The source seems good. Can you confirm/deny/gossip James?


he just recently got given a complete RB5 with spare parts! How could he possibly be unhappy!?

He's always claimed to love regulation changes the most, so i bet he's hanging for 2013, which could be the biggest changes in F1's history.. he'll be doing somersaults!

Plus, I'm pretty sure he recently extended his contract with the team too..


Having been married for some 40 years I can say quite categorically that a present does not necessarily mean that all things are hunky.

And as regards the extended contract, one could cite that to prove Webber's happy with the way things are going at RBR.

I must admit to having no knowledge myself as to how happy he is. But your middle point might suggest it is time to move on to a new team and a new challenge for 2013.

If I were him I'd be wondering how long Red Bull's interest in F1 will last. Nothing's certain of course, but I'd suggest that the investment required for 2013 must be worrying a few teams.

Wouldn't it be nice to move to a team that is one of the well established ones in F1, one perhaps that had recently lost one of their design team leaders, and start on this team's new car with some degree of belief that it will still be on the grid when the flag drops?

RBR is financed by a fizzy drinks manufacturer. If they fail to get their return on investment this season, will they be here for the next? They can move on. McLaren, Ferrari and, well, who else need F1.

As I say, I know nothing. All I was doing was repeating a rumour I'd heard from a source I trust.


"A coin toss, or even better, using the same old spec front wing on both cars would have been the fairer way to handle the situation."

An even fairer situation would have been to let Webber keep the wing that was on his car and not fall victim to Vettel's own bad luck.


James, how would a coin toss be more fair?

What Red Bull did was unfair, but a coin toss? Come on. At least they used logic with their decision, albeit bad logic.


I think the wing issue was poorly managed from a PR perspective and also from an internal "man management" one. The decision itself was not necessarily a poor or unfair one in my opinion. Vettel is ahead, Vettel gets the wing.

On the other hand, I have a much bigger issue with Vettel twice in three races turning sharp right into Mark's line when on a straight forcing Mark to make a decision he shouldn't need to make, then the team seemingly supporting Vettel. If the same tactics were used against them by a driver from another team, for example let's say Schumacher, I guarantee they'd be screaming blue murder.

No, it is clear Red Bull favour Vettel. In 10 years I have no doubt he will prove to have been a better driver than Mark but right here, right now, I think Mark is just shading it.

Possibly Mark has less natural ability than Seb but he is dragging up every ounce of motivation to win the DC this year and I wish him well with it. It probably will be his big chance, maybe the only one he will get.

Final thought....Mark probably should be more diplomatic but it is about time we had someone willing to call it like it is instead of the "corporate" BS we usually get. Oh for the days-of-yore of Mansell, Piquet, Senna and Prost. Now THOSE guys knew how to stir up the magombi!


Newey considers Vettel the better driver, because he **is** the better driver. Webber is a hot-headed, inconsistent driver capable of the best and the worst. And that's how his career has gone. And that's why none of the top teams has ever wanted him in their line-up. He is lucky to be in a Red Bull and enjoy the speed advantage the RB6 offers, but even in this car he hasn't been able to rack up points consistently. He has crashed w/ Vettel, he has crashed w/ slower cars and he is even lucky to be in one piece. From the current driver line-up it is Vettel who stands a far better chance of delivering a WDC to the Austrian team. If I were them, I would do whatever it takes to sign Kimi for 2012, to partner w/ Vettel. Otherwise Kimi might go to Renault where he and Kubica would form a tremendous driver line-up, capable of delivering at least a constructors' title.


This sounds incredibly similar to the criticism that was levelled at Jenson last year.

And now?

The problem is that the car has so much to do with it, that to make blanket statements like this, when Mark has beaten Seb before, is useless.


'not bad for a number two'

i think this is the best quote i've heard in formula one. I grow tired of the 'yes, yes, yes, number one' from Vettel. I really hope Webber can win this years title as i don't think anyone else deserves it more.

In my opinion F1 needs more drivers like Webber, and from what i have seen in the press i would love Kimi and his ice cream eating antics back as well.


In all this RB turmoil I suddenly realized we are missing one key ingredient of this years races:

I have heard no whining about slower cars getting in the way from 3-Car-Monty!

Did I miss it?


How about this. A good manager of RBR would have flipped a coin and given the winner the choice of front wing. Instead, Horner was pressurised by the relatively indispensable Newey into making a decision which not only made him look silly but also backfired, rubbing salt into the wound. This wouldn't really be Newey trying to unseat Horner, would it? And if so why - could it be so that the indispensable [think Brawn...] can buy the team from Red Bull and trade it on....to Audi/Porsche?

Call me Machiavelli...

N. Machiavelli

"Call me Machiavelli…"

Sorry, but that name's been taken 🙂


James - I love your comment and insight on Newey being the competitive one. Weird really as on sight he looks like a civil servant!

I was in the sponsors stand on Sunday at 1030 when you commented that giving neither of them was probably the best way forward and you repeat that here. I can't agree. This is F1 and we should expect, and I would expect drivers to demand, parts on cars that make them go faster.

Mark's reaction was fair and Horner got it wrong as he was the "owner" of the wing - and he's got it wrong again by repeating the myth that their is no preferred driver. Horner needs someone to help him here - I do not want him to fail but right now he is not doing himself any favours

The fact that he says he "didn't have time" to advise Webber is unacceptable. It's vital to his role to man manage and he is not doing it - FIND THE TIME!


I'm not going to lose any sleep over this.

I hope mark wins the wdc. What he has to do is get pole at the next race and win to get a bigger gap in the wdc.

James, do redbull recognise behind closed doors that they are tarnishing the redbull public image as a brand? Would they do things differently next time around?

I'm not sure they really do think they have done anything wrong.


My two cents on the issue:

Should Vettel when the championship this year, he would be making history by becoming the youngest F1 champion since Lewis in 08. Red Bull gain a considerable marketing strategy for their young drivers program. Hence why you would put your eggs in the Vettel basket.

Mark (whom I prefer to come second to Lewis;0)unfortunately does not bring the same flavour. He has been in the game a long time and although the fortunes of time are finally falling in his favour, I believe the team have decided that the best strategy is to back Vettel.

I am concerned that the racing stewards have turned a blind eye to the way the Vettel handles his car. It is not for me to remind our young charger that this is F1 and NOT bumper cars. I was appauled that his pass on Sutil went unnoticed. I feel that pretty soon Vettel will hurt someone or himself. The precedent set now is that when making a passing manoeuvre you can physically bump the opposing car. I guarantee that should this happen between other racers a repremand will be forthcoming. Sad to say the least.


Cheers for reporting Christian's comments and the insightful views James

There have been reports by Australian media sources that post-race, RBR have conducted everything from backyard barbecues at Christian's house to more crisis/peace talks, sinister to the point of Mark's drive being in serious jeopardy. This meeting was touted as happening today (Tuesday). Can you confirm any of these happening?

It seems from afar, RBR management's technical focus on producing a car that is clearly the envy of every team/driver in pit lane (Alonso's longing gaze and head shake after quali) is being nullified by their mis-management of team driver/PR issues. Acknowledging the need for technical upgrades keeping the car in front of it's rivals, you have to seriously question the handling of this technical issues value to the collective team effort. The components end use, described as potentially worth "a tenth" on 2 cars close to a second up on their nearest competitors, has come at a cost of widening the 'gulf' between the teams two most vital assets, which clearly after Turkey didn't need any further widening. As plainly evident from Seb's swerve after the start and Mark's retaliation through Copse and their comments, that total focus on personal success is now without fear or favour as to the repercussions on team results. That 'tenth' seems a pointless gain when you manage it in a way where your people who end result handle the application of that advance, demonstrate such intent to take each other off the race track.

James, I firmly believe Christian's worth as TP will be judged after 'wing gate' is long forgotten on how the team success is reflected in the WDC/WCC..... at the moment with their 'rocket' of a car, they're leading neither. He needs to start demonstrating through his actions rather than comments (pouring more fuel on Mark's fire with the 'you can smile now' jibe....?) that this is a truly solid team effort. Let's hope for Mark Webber's sake, Christian Horner is not remembered as the Principal of that team with the unbeatable car, that only succeeded in 'beating' itself.


Something which I don't think anyone else has mentioned yet...

Since Germany last year who's won the most grand prix? Webber. Awesome.


James, was the "new" specification wing used at Silverstone the same specification as used at Valencia or something completely new for the British GP?

If it was the Valencia spec then that would mean that Red Bull would not have had a spare 3rd wing of that specification for Silverstone due to Mark's self inflicted crash Spain?

Would add a new dimension to the story.


Christian Horner has once again blatantly told a falsehood to all and sundry.

All final decisions regarding development part allocations remain with Helmut Marko and the discussion he claimed he had with Aidrian Newey alone did in fact include Helmut Marko.

In addition people may like to know that Sebastian Vettel genuinely remained unaware of the wing fitted to his car until just prior to entering the garage for Quali 1 as of course did Mark Webber.

To lose one championship through poor management is unfortunate but to lose two might seem careless?

Lastly as I hear it....Not all members of the team are on the same bonus scheme either.


The circus that is Red Bull Racing will roll into Hockenheim in a little over a week and interested observers will queue around the block to watch their latest trick - making a nailed on title winning season disappear.

Should Red Bull not win both titles this year it should go down as one of the biggest failures in modern F1, and likeable and camera friendly as he is, the buck will have to stop with Christian Horner. Forget the fact that Mark Webber doesn't have great racecraft, and that although undeniably talented, Sebastian Vettel is easily the most overrated driver in the field, the advantage of the car is such that it will be a catastophic failure if they do not take both crowns this year, and if that is the case then heads should roll.



I think fundamentally the problem is that both drivers are now so evenly matched.

Thinking back it's only really the Senna / Prost pairing in McLaren in the late 80's that comes close in recent times to being as even and while they took out a number of championships between them, ultimately it ended in tears.

From memory Seb's won 2 races this year and Webber 3. If that was 4:1 or 5:0 either way the championship would be all but done and dusted and that'd be no fun at all.

As it is we get to enjoy the continuing circus for the next couple of months which I reckon will be great fun.....

Note: By no way am I comparing the driving skills of Webber & Vettel to Senna and Prost. I'm merely saying that as a pairing Vettel and Webber are probably as evenly matched as that great pair was.


Vettel overated? He gave the maiden victories to two different teams (when was the last time any driver did that?). He is the youngest pole sitter ever, he is also the youngest race winner ever. He is an amazing driver. But he is up against arguably the best driver on the grid.


He is also in a car which is vastly superior to the rest of the field and yet finds himself (not entirely by his own doing, but at least partly) in fourth position in the championship.

He struggled to keep up with Paul Di Resta in the junior formulae, was trounced by Hamilton, and I find it very difficult to take anyone seriously who thinks that he would get anywhere near Alonso, Hamilton or Kubica in equal machinery.

I don't deny he's good, he's very good - but let's not pretend he's great, because he isn't.


I think Martin sums up RBR very well.... "they keep tripping over their own tail".

This is why they are not leading any of the championships at the moment.

I think Mark had to do something before things got out of hand and perhaps the only way was to make it more apparent publicly.

I really hope Mark can win the German GP though 🙂


On the other hand, McLaren can't expect RB to continue shooting themselves in the foot AND for Ferrari to continue having bad luck every race.

McLaren have just been "lucking" into good positions lately.

They need to STEP UP NOW or we're going to have a very different points table in a couple of races.


The irony in all this for me? If RB had left the 'faster' wing on Webber's car he'd probably have started from pole, and Vettel could have been starting on the grippier right-hand side of the track. Webber would have been tagged by Lewis and Vettel would have skated away to the win.

An appointment with Karma indeed.

Dave of Australia

Just been thinking about Webber-

RB made the wrong call in Melbourne on tyres and put Webber back, then in Malaysia he lost Vettel in the mirrors and let him through at the first corner. Ad in Turkey and Mark could have had at least 5 GP wins this year and clearly a huge lead in the Drivers championship.An interesting point on another website is that Webber has led more laps than any other driver this year - by a huge margin!!



Can you please comment on Vettel speaking to the press since the Turkey incident. It has really felt like Webber and Horner have been the ones that have fronted the press since that incident. Has he been talking to the press, or have we simply had the grumpy looks that BBC wants to show us?

I think if the English speaking press were shown more of Vettel clowning around, or being his happy self (like what we saw with him in the RB simulator on One HD in Australia before the race), this would diffuse much of the PR issues, and the perception of him being a spoiled brat.

I watched your interview with Mark this morning regarding the front wing change, and it was clear that it was more the fact that Vettel's side of the garage not only took the wing, but used the set up of his car to get Vettel's up to speed. I think the setting up of the car is the key here. As button found out in qualifying, the new parts are useless without the right settings.

Even though in your interview with Christian Horner, he appeared sincere in his decision, but as we all know, people can be sincere, and still completely wrong. I think it was a very naive decision that I hope he will learn greatly from, as I think he a good face on the paddock.


This from DC in the Telegraph:

"Red Bull would doubtless prefer it if Mark aired his grievances in private. Mark, who suspects Red Bull's Austrian owners would prefer Vettel to win the Championship, clearly feels he can gain more leverage by going public and trying to shame the team whenever he feels hard done by.

"It is a risky strategy. If it goes wrong, the relationship with the team could sour irreparably. If it comes off, he could consolidate his position, attract public sympathy and be remembered as a steely champion who battled against the odds to win his title."

David, what is the point of airing your grievances in private if nothing comes of it?


DC working for Red Bull, the BBC and the Telegraph... I would treat all of his opinions at the moment as influenced or constrained by his other roles.

As much as people find him annoying (I don't though), I find Eddie Jordan has a much more unbiased (Jordan GP aside) take on things especially this season.

I think Anthony Davidson is also very good as a pundit (during free practice) as he was only part of a 'small' team and therefore isn't worried about stepping on anyone's toes.


Creditbility is important, DC.

He now claims that he did not receive equal treatment in McLaren and yet he did not go over to Ferrari when he was approached? In his days with McLaren, I got the feeling from the tone of all the team's press releases that it was actually favoring DC.

In his racing days, he always blamed other things for his inability to beat his team-mate. He is now trying to improve his status as a driver. I am fed up with it. Please do not insult the intelligence of the fans.


It's awkward this year for DC - is he speaking as an independent pundit for BBC or as a Red Bull consultant?


James, Isn't that ultimately the case for everyone in F1? Everybody has conflict of interest in all roles they have. Some are media pundits as well as have Race responsibilities. Some have media responsibilities while managing drivers. While some are(were) team managers and driver managers. Some media pundit of today maybe be Press officer for a team tomorrow and vice versa. So who in F1 can have clear conscience and claim to do ethical job when commenting/reporting events from the circus 😕


James, I wanted to put some question to you, as one of the more connected people in the paddock and the only one to generally answer questions over the internet, your thoughts would be appreciated;

1. It has been stated on numerous occasions that Vettel has relied on Webbers car set ups for races, Ive heard this to be accurate at Malaysia, Silverstone etc Is this true, and if so how much?

2. Is Vettel as a manufactured driver, capable of developing a car with minimal years and heavily restricted testing as with the current rules?

3. Webber lives close to RB’s Milton Keynes facility and I believe he is their most days, has he managed to build a rapport with all the staff, better than what Vettel has done? If so could there be a backlash if Webber was to be made redundant?

4. Webber has categorically beaten every team mate he has ever had including, Alex Young, Christian Klein, Antonia Pizzonia, Justin Wilson, Nico Rosberg, Alexander Wurz, Nick Heidfeld etc. Now that he has a team mate that was previously thought to be superior, do you believe that Vettel had pushed Webber and turned him into a superior driver and subsequently taken him up a level?

5. Is Webber a bigger part in race day than what most people believe not only for RB in general but also for Vettel?

I look forward to your response.


Please reply to this James. I would love to know what you think.


Quick question that I hope you may be able to help with James.

Did Mark Webber win the British Grand Prix in the Chassis that Vettel rejected?

If so now that MW is championship leader could he not demand Vettels car as it is supposedly the better Chassis?


Yes that is correct. Vettel named it Luscious Liz.

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