Webber speaks out about number two treatment
Red Bull Racing
Webber speaks out about number two treatment
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jul 2010   |  3:55 pm GMT  |  337 comments

Mark Webber has confronted head on the issue of his “number two” treatment by the Red Bull team in the aftermath of today’s British Grand Prix.

Webber expects some tough talks after the weekend with Red Bull

On the radio on the slowing down lap he said, “Not bad for a number two driver” and then in the press conference he said that he would not have signed his contract renewal last month if he had thought that the team would act this way. He described his win today as an “appointment with karma”, poetic justice after the events of Saturday.

Yesterday, after a component failure, the team found itself able to provide the new front wing to its drivers. Technical director Adrian Newey insisted that the unit be races and so team boss Christian Horner had to decide which driver would get it. He chose Vettel based on championship position and performance in practice.

“I wasn’t happy clearly, ” said Webber after the race. “I’m sure we’ll have some pretty decent chats tomorrow. I don’t think things should (be done like that) and I wasn’t massively in favour of the decision, but that’s how things go sometimes. Some of the drivers offered me the front wings from their cars on the drivers’ parade lap. Seb didn’t. ”

Asked if, on the basis of yesterday’s decision, he should get the best bits on his car for the next race, now that he is back ahead in the championship he said, “Yeah, should do. Yesterday was a really unique situation, the first time the team had only one component.

“Honestly, I would never have signed the contract for next year if I believed thats the way it was going to be going forward. We’ll see how it goes in the future, but I’ll just keep doing what I do and hopefully it’s enough.”

Asked whether he would be demanding equal treatment from the team in their meeting this week he said, “Yep.

Asked if he was motivated by a desire to bounce back and “show them” today he said, “I’ve had a few hurdles in my career, but yes, I think you judge a person’s character by how they come back from adversity, all drivers have that at some part of their career. I’ve been around a while and maybe I’ve had more than others. You don’t want the challenges to be constantly happening.”

Webber has found himself walking in the footsteps of drivers like Rubens Barrichello at Ferrari and David Coulthard at McLaren, both of whom got the number two treatment on occasions. Webber, who has given his team mate a better run for his money this year than either of those drivers did, has chosen to confront it publicly, which Barrichello and Coulthard did not do.

The episode has been worse in image terms for Red Bull than the collision at Istanbul. I think Webber will probably regret the radio message, it was a bit petulant and he would probably have been better not to say that. But he is clearly very unhappy that the team acted as it did and the adrenalin got the better of him after the race. He was right however to state his position in the press conference.

The front wing episode this weekend was unnecessary – the team had a competitive advantage anyway and the small performance benefit to Vettel wasn’t worth the damage to team spirit and more importantly the perception of favouritism among the public, which has accrued from it.

I like Christian Horner very much and I think he has done an incredible job to build this team up from the shambles of what was Jaguar Racing, but on Saturday he should have stood up to Newey and decided that both drivers would run the old wing in the interests of fairness.

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Michael Taylor

Thanks for your work on OneHD James – the coverage is terriffic. I’ve been getting up in the middle of the night to watch races since the early eighties. Now, at least, I get high definition cameras on a 50″ plasma and it rocks!!



Michael Taylor

I jumped for joy when I saw webber get into turn one ahead. (literally!) I have followed his career since he won the formula ford festival and seeing him win is like watching your footy team win the grand final.

As much as he has been treated unfairly I also feel he has been very lucky.

Turkey could have turned out much worse, it was amazing that he could bring it home in third there, and as for Valencia, well, he is bloody lucky to be in one piece after that.

I thought he made a small error of judgement coming up on the lotus so aggresively. He is lucky to have a season left. He probably should have a couple of broken legs.

He has conducted himself well this year, and now he has made a really solid show of strength with his post race comments.

Good on you mate, but it’s done now- time to patch it up with Christian (after all, you do run a race team together),

and get on with the rest of the season. It is starting to become very obvious that Lewis is driving the wheels off the Maclaren and is going to be very hard to beat.

Congrats Mark and good luck for the battle ahead. I suspect you will do well both on and off the track.


Red Bull Gives You Wingate.

Mark is really ‘HURT’ deep inside. Not that he’s doing badly next to Vettel.

Good karma has knocked on Webber’s door. When you have done good, goodness will seek you.

Huge mistake on Red Bull favouring Vettel.

Vettel -1:29.615

Webber – 1:29.758

Was it worth the switch. Now Horner has trouble explaining

the situation. And he sounded rather negative with Mark’s win during the victory lap.

If Mark takes the win in Germany…………..


I’d love to be able to follow these discussions properly, but the way the comments sections of blogs work doesn’t allow that. Re-reading everything each visit to keep up isn’t practical with so many comments.

Any chance of a proper forum being added to your site to replace ‘comments’ James?


No, because the comments allow people to make the points they want intelligently. Forums just descend into name calling and exchanges of bias and I don’t want that here


Horner: “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.”

!! This was not conveyed to Mark in person by Christian Horner? So he just let the engineers do the talking? That seems highly immature.



“You can smile now Mark”.

I just can’t believe he said that.


The poll question is not quite correct, I beleive:

Option 1 should be: “Take the new front wing off of Webber’s car and give it to Vettel”

Option 2 should read: “Keep the new front wing on Webber’s car”


“Sometimes good and bad you get to know people a little better and see their true faces. So I think I have learned my lesson and focus on myself.”

James, what’s your take on this comment by SV in the post-race BBC interview? Is he genuinely under the impression that MW did something wrong this weekend? I’m confused by this attitude – seems to assume a strong sense victimhood? Did RBR tell him he’s the undisputed no 1, perhaps, but tell Webber something else? Or are there more things going on behind the scenes than you can disclose here? I’m genuinely surprised/intruiged by Seb’s attitude. If it was the team management who swapped wings, why didn’t Seb just say ‘I’ve nothing against Mark, but the team chose this strategy, blah, blah blah’? Clearly though, he has some kind of issue with Mark. Pity, because up to now I’ve always admired both of them – was rooting for them (and the Mclaren boys, admittedly)- but now I’m not so sure. A bit distasteful what’s happening now, forcing us to choose one or the other as happened at Mclaren with Ham/Alo in 07…


‘Some of the drivers offered me the front wings from their cars on the drivers’ parade lap.’Mark.

Aw, bless………they’re all heart those drivers aren’t they………

And when they got back to their garages after their ride on the back of a lorry their race engineers said to them,

“You said he could have WHAT you !!***xx!!!. I shall count to three and if that front wing isn’t back on your car I shall @@*!!..XXX


Obviously, they probably said that in jest, giving him a spare wing from another team car wouldn’t have worked anyway…


I’d guess not too…pity though, it would have made a loveley picture!!


I think I read somewhere that when Honda was the engine supplier for McLaren during the period when both Senna and Prost were team mates, they used something similar to decide who got the most powerful engine that Honda brought on the day.

Can’t confirm whether this is accurate or not, maybe James could tell us.


Sorry this was meant to be a reply to comment Nr. 90


i would’ve flipped a coin, no arguing with that.


Haven’t read through all the previous comments so someone has probably suggested this already: Horner should have flipped a coin over the wing (surprised not to have seen this as an option in your pole James). That way Newey would have seen the wing used, if Vettel was the preferred driver he would still have had a 50% chance of getting it, fairness would have been seen to be done to both drivers by Horner and the team and there would have been the public relations fun side of it that Red Bull didn’t take life too seriously – surely a plus with the fans when the product you are fronting is an overpriced fizzy drink! If he had fairly won the toss, Mark might even have graciously let Vettel have it anyway – because he figured it might break on him again in the race.

Bit of a no-brainer I’d have thought.


And actually because it is a no-brainer I realise now that clearly this was a decision taken completely out of Horner’s hands – by the real masters behind the Red Bull team, Helmut Marko or whoever. Christian Horner strikes me as being an inherently fair guy. He was clearly told to give the wing to Vettel.


RBR talk about the team, and how not to let the team down post the Turkey incident etc. And how it is not about individuals. Both drivers were apologetic because they let the team down. Well if all key people in the team are key to this, why does Newey insist on his new wing on the car when it will create problems in the team. And if the wing only had minor changes (and what I’ve heard are very minor) isn’t it in the best interest of the TEAM to hold off fitting it. This is not about Vettel, Webber, Marko or whoever else we need to find blame, this is about Horner who is in charge making the decisions and who is accountable – support what you state publicly and show that you ALL are a unified team, not just the drivers.


Isn’t it ironic how Red Bull’s treatment of Mark Webber as the number two driver, has won Mark the respect and number one status of the fans. Out side of Germany i would be surprised if anybody was rooting for Vettel over Webber. It’s one thing fighting 11 other teams and your team mate for the victory – but when you’ve got to fight your own team too! It shows how much mental strength Webber has, and it’s for this reason if neither of the McLarens get the title this year, i’ll be rooting for Webber.


It was great to see Sir Stirling Moss at Silverstone and that he seemed to be walking ok after his accident.

The great man got it right when he said Webber should focus his job i.e. no matter what he’s given he should try to beat Vettel.

The ultimate put down is winning with inferior equipment and Webber achieved that at Silverstone and should be congratulated. In hindsight he may have been better off saying nothing about being #2


Here Here on seeing Sir Stirling Moss on the podium!

Duncan from Oz

I think they should have left the new nose on Mark’s car, especially in the aftermath of Turkey.

It’s not just the nose – the change also compromised Mark’s set-up fine-tuned from FP3 on the new nose. Supposedly Seb took Mark’s settings for quali along with the nose. What settings did Mark have for the old nose – some early data from FP1 and FP2?

I agree that Mark’s radio comments would probably have been best left unsaid, but really he wasn’t airing anything new. Horner had already explained in public that he had made the “difficult decision” to move the wing from the #2 to #1 car based on WDC points and FP3 performance, so Mark was just sarcastically echoing his rationale back at him. It’s hard to understand why the team should reprimand him for that, especially following Horner’s very luke warm praise for Webber’s well-deserved win (in stark contrast to the enthusiatic words always exchanged with Vettel after a race win).

Another point which some have made is that in Turkey Seb was given new parts for the rear floor at the beginning of the weekend, so he could set them up in FP1, FP2 and FP3, whereas Mark had them bolted on just minutes before qualifying, with no time to test them out. Mark was leading the championship at the time, so why wasn’t he given the parts first in line with Horner’s logic? Any comment on that, James?


Very interesting. Your last paragraph tells us of a clear double standard if true.

Does anyone know how to tap phone conversations? I think we could collectively blow this wide open with a few “confidential” words between Milton Keynes and Austria being revealed publicly.


Lets not forget that during his re-signing discussions, just weeks ago Mark would have been (surely?) assured of equal treatment. I think in that context his frustration is even more understandable.

Although he is in the middle of it all, in my eyes SV has redeemed somewhat himself in this episode. At least he as been wise enough not to open his mouth and dig further holes, consequently most of the ill-will is toward the team this time, not SV too.


The way I look at it is that if Red Bull are being this blatant in favouring Vettel in public what the hell is it like for Mark Webber behind closed doors? What are we not seeing? It must be awful for him and such an unhappy environment to work. Fair play to mark so speaking out and I think he has done it in the best possible way.

This whole sorry saga has been brought about by RedBull themselves and they only have themselves to blame. I am sensing a huge backlash and think Red Bull are completely out of touch with their fan base.

To me this is becoming as damaging to Red Bull as the cheating saga was to Renault, it just does not sit in the interest of sportsmanship and fair play. Vettel should have said, my bad luck, im not taking Marks wing, im going to go out and get Pole of my own accord not because ive had it gifted to me because ive nicked my team mates superior wing.

I hope Webber wins the Championship and walks and take his No1 with him somewhere else.

If Vettel wins the Championship I will not be able to help but think it was because hes had it constructed and gifted to him to the detriment of his team mate. Red bull are not making this a fair fight. Vettle needs to Man up and beat Mark fair and square and not have the team pull him favours.


Christian Horner’s getting a lot of heat over this – but I think he’s in a pretty difficult position.

From a fans perspective it seems that he can’t exert his own will over the team as you have minister-without-portfolio Helmut Marko allegedly getting involved and reporting back to Horner’s boss. Now the suspicion is that DM favours a Vettel world championship and if HM is his eyes and ears within the racing team then that severely undermines Horners authority doesn’t it?

So Christian Horners position might be that he’s walking a tightrope between keeping his boss happy and keeping the 2 drivers happy which at present under some circumstances are mutually exclusive goals.

One thing’s for sure, that McLaren are the net benefactors of the sitation.


I disagree with you James. I think Newey was right to ask for it to be run – there’s no testing nowadays. However, to take it off one “equal-driver” and give it to another is wrong.

Webber did nothing to deserve that treatment.


James Allen

Given Webber’s comments after the race, is he likely to remain at Red Bull?

Can a team really tolerate such comments being made by one of its drivers in public?


I think he will, but the air clearing exercise grows…and as we get to the end of the season there may be other moments


I would think that inevitable. (More similar moments I mean).


Webber’s fathers observation at breakfast before the race:

“Martin Brundle came on the television and said watch out for some fun at the first corner and Mark looked up and said: ‘You bet there will be some fun at the first corner”


Also James, did I hear correctly in your interview with Webber on Saturday after qualy

“They took the wing AND my setup”?

Is Webber an expensive setup tool for Vettel. Can he setup a car without Webber?


THat is correct, he did say that in an interview I did with him for Network 10


I haven’t seen any comments about the contrived finish in Canada. MW was leading and radioed in that his tires had gone off (and was losing 5 seconds a lap to those following). Horner told him it we know, just stay out there and kept him out for another 3-4 laps. I was yelling at the TV to bring him in and change tires. When they did bring him in, SV had made up enough time so MW came out 2 seconds behind him. By keeping him out one extra lap, it allowed Vettel to finish in front of him. Every team does the calculations on where they will come out, and Red Bull would have this time. To my mind, Silverstone was the third time out of four races they have shown favouritism to Vettel, not the second time. Anyone care to comment?


Good point Valour. However, the real favouritism was the fact that Mark could not challenge Vettel for position once he emerged on fresh tyres. We saw the stunning times Kubica was doing on fresh tyres. Yet Mark’s pace went completely, matching Vettel’s slow pace, and allowing the leading trio to completely break away.

Unbelievable, not allowing Webber to challenge. Yet they allowed Vettel an unfair challenge with a better engine map setting in Turkey. If Webber was given the number one status he would have won in Australia, Malaysia and Turkey. So all this talk that Vettel should rightly be the number one is ABSOLUTE GARBAGE. If anything Webber should be the number one. But what we want, is for all drivers to get a fair crack. Something Rubens Barrichello did not get at Brawn last year. If Barrichello got No.1 status last year, then he would have won the championship.


Agreed Valour. I thought the same thing for Canada.

The list is wrong doings is growing too


I thought they delayed bringing Webber in so his final set of tyres would last until the end of the race. An early stop may well have meant two stops.


I agree. To my mind the Canada race stinks re: Red Bull. Vettel was also allegedly carrying a faulty gearbox which was miraculously repaired with the replacement of a few external oil seals.

If a driver needs this level of additional help to win it doesn’t look good for the team. They are giving everyone the blueprint on how to NOT win either championship.


James, what I don’t get in all this is Seb’s coolness to Mark – in the post-race interview, hinting that Mark has a dark side etc etc.. Any insight as to what’s going on with him?


RedBull – it gives Vettel wings!

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