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Horner: “I promise the team will not interfere” in driver title race
Red Bull Racing
Horner: “I promise the team will not interfere” in driver title race
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Oct 2010   |  10:37 am GMT  |  173 comments

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has come out in the clearest possible terms about the team’s attitude to their drivers fighting for the title, saying bluntly, “I promise that the team will not interfere in the race for the title.”

Horner: Now for the big one (Darren Heath)

The tone and message are quite different from the Horner of Silverstone time, who said “Sometimes I have to take difficult decisions,” after the infamous front wing switch.

In a punchy interview on F1.com, the official F1 site, he says that the team will give both drivers an equal chance to the end. Responding to calls from Flavio Briatore, Mark Webber’s manager for the team to back him, Horner says, “My answer is a clear ‘no’. Of course, I can imagine that Flavio would prefer it if we go the Ferrari way and put our efforts behind only one driver, but that would be wrong, as both are right in the middle of the fight for the title. The only thing we expect from them is that they don’t hamper each other.”

Horner can’t resist a dig at Ferrari here, with Alonso the most likely driver to deprive Red Bull of the title. Alonso and Vettel are tied in points, 14 behind Webber with a maximum of 75 available. Lewis Hamilton is a further 14 points behind and Jenson Button 17 behind Vettel and Alonso.

Horner admits that as the pair are chasing the biggest prize in motorsport there is “tension” between them, but says that it is up to the team to make them believe they are being treated fairly. He gives a window in on the psychology of his two drivers, “Sebastian has to fight for every single point, ” he said. “But after his Japan win the pressure has eased a bit because in the end he has nothing to lose. Mark has to do a balancing act. He must not drive too defensively but on the other hand must keep his margin over his competitors.”

He also adds that he is concerned about the horsepower disadvantage the team will have against Ferrari and McLaren in Korea and Abu Dhabi. Red Bull were relatively less competitive in Spa and Monza compared to their rivals than in Suzuka, for example, but they performed well in Abu Dhabi last year, winning the race after Hamilton dropped out. But it’s worth remembering that Hamilton’s pace there owed a lot to the KERS system on the McLaren.

Red Bull has had the fastest car this season and as a team they have thrown the kitchen sink at development, working flat out day and night to make and fit new parts to the car to keep it ahead. They are in the driving seat, it’s their championship to lose. Horner is determined to ensure that they don’t.

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In other words, we will not help mark to win the championship.

We all know who they want to win this championship.

I would love mark to win it. Even over Lewis or jenson this year.

Come on big fella. One more win should get you close!


Good on ya, Andy, I can't agree more! I'm with you all the way!

PK. (NZ)


I like a team not favoring one driver over another although RB has in the past very obviously backed Vettle over the other. As long as the 2 drivers in the same team do not take each other out like Senna and Prost, it is fine to me. I always think a driver who is helped by his team mate by letting him pass on the track to win the championship is not a real champion. It is a different matter if the team mate takes away points from a contender in another team by beating him in the race. I hope this year's championship is clean and properly fought and won.


"In other words, we will not help mark to win the championship".

Exactly how I read it.


That is also what I read. If Seb was on the lead, I bet they would somehow ensure that Mark backed off - there are so many ways.

The point IMO is not that they help Mark, but just they keep a leveled playfield for both Seb and him.


Not so sure about that actually, I remember an interview with Webber back last year when he was mathematically out of the championship. The question was something along the lines of "will you be playing a 2nd driver role to Vettel now that you are out?" and the reponse was more or less of the nature of "Vettel who? Team? What are you talking about?". This was right before his crushing drive to win in brazil last year. I imagine that attitude hasn't changed much this year.


Spot on. If Vettel was up front in the championship then -based on the approach they took mid-season - I doubt Christian would be saying the same thing.


Agree. Horner is having it both ways - "fully sporting" and at the same time giving the golden boy every chance. I'm not saying it's a bad thing? It isn't. But like many, I don't think the phrases would be quite the same if the points were the other way round.

I'm counting on a final little Seb brainwave to seal it for Webbo.


Interesting, isn't it -- no matter what he says or does, Horner and Red Bull have a huge credibility problem. And, no one on the outside will ever know what really happens. Ah, the conspiracy of it all...


Sorry but WHAT? That is not what they are saying, what they are saying is quite clear... that they will give each of their drivers equal footing, that they have learned from the mistake they made earlier this season at Silverstone and the large public backlash that happened.

As for Mark, its within touching distance so keep on driving to win and don't be stupid and its yours....


Opinions are individual Andy. If it was seb in the lead I personally think they would give him preferential treatment.

Of I am wrong I will happily say so at the end of the season.


Yup they are, I just think that Red Bull are desperate to win at least one (and probably both) titles that they aren't going to do anything to wreck their chances.

Asking Seb to back off now would be a really bad idea IMHO as a) I don't think he would b) it wouldn't promote the brand they want the brand promoted. I think post Silverstone RB have changed their approach to their drivers and I think Hockenheim nailed the coffin shut on the idea of them instigating team orders until one of their drivers is out of the equation.


I think you'll find Webber has to beat Vettel at least once more this season so he cant just cruise round in second places. IMO Horners statement is not one of sportsmanship but a riposte to the constant comments made by Flavio to throw the support behind Mark when Red Bull seniors would prefer a Vettel win


Why are we so concerned about driver favoritism in Red Bull when nobody an eyelid when Ferrari blatantly do it?


No? We had over 2,000 comments in two days after Germany - that's not nobody batting an eyelid!


"I think you’ll find Webber has to beat Vettel at least once more this season so he cant just cruise round in second places."

Three second places is good enough as long as neither Vettel nor Alonso win all three remaining races.

One win and two third places (or a 2nd and a 4th) would be unassailable.


I really dont buy into the "down on horsepower" argument at all, was Kubica not the second fastest guy through the traps at Suzuka with the same engine? and how many poles have they had this year?


I agree.. Every time RBR go to a track which they feel their chassis is lacking they blame lack of HP.

In regards to the interview, he is doing a fantastic job at making sure everyone knows that he's full of BS.


You mean RBS


Makes you wonder just how bad it would have been for their competitors if they had obtained the merc engine last winter doesn't it 🙂


I think it was Sam Michael stating that the influence in laptimes from the engine (best against worst engine) is only about 0.1 of a second depending on the circuit.

The down on power argument imo is to put them in the underdog position.


I'm interested in Horner's concern about a lack of power didn't include Brazil. It could be that passing at Brazil is contributed by poor traction over bumps, and here the McLaren is at a disadvantage to the Red Bull and Ferrari.

For Mark, if he wins one of the races he has to drop at least 21 points across the other two to lose. Based on that I'd be putting a huge effort into qualifying performance, potentially at the expense of race pace.

A wheel-to-wheel situation between Sebastian and Mark would be interesting. It is most likely to be at the start and there would be several seconds to think about it. Contact could bring McLaren back into the constructors championship. Sebastian couldn't risk coming off second best.

An interesting question for the drivers would be, if you don't win, who would you most like to win it? My sense is that Mark would favour the team outcome and pick Sebastian over Fernando. My sense is that Sebastian would be more likely to pick Fernando than drive with a number 2 on his car all year.


I agree with your summation of the drivers involved, Mark to me seems far more the team player and Seb strikes me as having a very self focused goal.


No, not at all. I have the feeling that Mark would still rather see Fernando win than his teammate Vettel. No doubt about that!


You are spot on there Jess. Mark speaks rather very highly of Alonso.


...any question of who Seb would prefer between FA and MW...driving his TEAMS car...which would help his TEAM win, even if he didn't...seems ludicrous to me. In fact, I'll bet that question presented to the RB team would only elicit laughter!

Both the RB drivers want to win, and they want their team, which includes their teammate, to do as well as possible. Any other conclusion is too inclusive of intrigue and malevolence.


Probably. Being an Alonso fan, I'd rather prefer Mark to win the WDC instead of Seb... 🙂


Well the team interfered when Vettel was leading Webber in the world championship (Silverstone qualifying). James, Do you think Horner would be quite so resolute in having the drivers race if Vettel was leading the world championship? Also, its interesting to note that in that interview he believes Vettel's been unlucky, and Webber has taken his chances- which to me indicates he think Vettel should be leading.


definately good comments. Also, didn't for atleast a big chunk of last year vettel copy and then modify webbers setup rather than do it more himself? Im pretty sure I read that somewhere and webber really helped vettel out at the start due to more experience.

Something else to note. Vettel used his 8th and final engine in suzuka he is using it for hte next two gp's as well before doing whatever for abu dhabi. Alonso is on his 8th and has been since the big bang.

Webber will probably chuck his new enigne in in korea. THat would give 2 races + maybe abu dhabi on it. Hence always at a better freshness of engine compared to others AND

koera has 3 big straights. They require a good fduct and a strong engine. Webber is better off that his team mate in that regard.


Interesting to know on the engine front, cheers for the info.


I am not so sure, I think Red Bull took a kicking over what happened in Turkey and then again over Silverstone, I think they want to try and set themselves apart and distinct from Ferrari by seeing as a 'sportsman' like team which fits more with the Red Bull branding they exhibit in pretty much everything they do.


Yes, I think you made some good points


Admirable, but naive. The last thing I want is for Red Bull to gift wrap the championship for Webber, but by not doing so they risk walking away empty handed.


Hope they both loose, treating MW the way they have....pay backs are tough in this sport and karma is always around the next corner


Absolutely - if these two have one 'Turkey off'in the coming races then (old engines permitting)they will have do very well to catch Alonso


Horner likes to really go on about the horsepower disadvantage doesnt he. Surely a car has good points and bad points, his being the great aero and the "bad" (Slower, but great fuel management apparently). Mclaren have a great engine but an aeor/diffuser package that isnt as good as red bull but they dont complain, either do ferrari. I dont understand why they publicly moan, surely by having a renault engine, red bull cant slag it off every two minutes. You make do and you do the best with got you have, moaning changes nothing.


First off, I must apologise for my bad english in my first comment. My issue was Horner complaining about his OWN package (jokes aside please). I.e he openly slates the renault engine. The other teams do not slag off their own equipment/package but complain about other teams etc and in mclarens case, legality of other teams gear. I find it bizarre horny boy does this. On a commercial side is it right for the team to bear the renault logo only for Horner to say its not the best? Surely it degrades the renault brand? He's a good guy but it just annoys me. I cannot see any gains being made from him complaining. its not going to make the engine magically better! On the other hand, he has a great haircut


P.S. If english is not your first language; it's bloody good and better than mine 😉


Right Stuart, I've got ya! 🙂

Yeah, he does... but I don't think he's slagging off Renault per se; I feel he's saying to the FIA "we need to be allowed to bring the engine we use upto the same spec as the Merc engine" - the engines are still "frozen" at this point in time, aren't they? I thought they could make changes on a reliabiity front, but not increase the power\torque etc?

In a year or two when\if engine changes come in (I think James posted something about this previously - did I hear\see the word "turbo"!?!?), that's the time for Renault (if they're still here) to make a step. In the same way that BAR\Honda\Brawn made a step in 2009, by dismissing 2008 and working on their aero\diffuser for the new season and giving them an advantage.


McLaren don't complain? What about the RB adjustable ride height at the start of the season and then the flexi front wing? I'm a McLaren fan by the way but see it as it is. They have all had their bit moan about something.


Stuart - C'mon, I think McLaren have a little moan too... but that's the nature of F1, RBR "moan" about horsepower, Mc "moan" about flexi-wings, Ferrari "moan" that they have no team orders 😉

I feel Horner is being fair; the driver-favouritism (if any) may come from elsewhere. Silverstone was a gaffe, in that the general public, media and one of their own drivers didn't know the RBR procedure for who should have the new bits. Mind you, I think this acted as a great spur for that particular driver 🙂

The biggest problem, as I see it, for Button\Hamilton (in winning the WDC crown) is that they need others to deprive the other contenders of points... so they need Renault\Merc to get the odd 3rd, 4th etc with the RBR drivers and Alonso getting lower-end points OR dnf's.


I wonder if it would've been the same if it was Vettel leading the championship. I think RB is looking for the "youngest driver" to win the wdc. That's why they don't give up on Vettel.


Nothing to do with Vettel being German then?


Vettel is the future of Red Bull, Webber is an aging driver so it's no surprise there was Vettel favoritism earlier in the season. But now that Webber is leading the standings, they've had to rethink their PR position and pretend to be behind Webber equally when we know the top brass at RBR are backing Vettel all the way.


got it in one sadly


I find so many of Horner's interview comments to be disingenuous - there is clearly a bias to Vettel within the team and Webber is 'alone' fighting his corner.


Maybe true, but Webber hasnt really done a whole lot to win them back over to his side of the garage airing the teams dirty laundry in the press and using his misfortunes as a soap box to stick it to the man. If he wins, he will be the one who beat adversity and overcame the odds, if he loses though this could very well end him. Unfortunately as much as we all like the show, personalities and attitudes like Mark Webber are cancerous in a team sport. Just look at the NBA or the NFL over in America.

Oh and lets not forget many of the people in here championing Webber and slamming Horner/Vettel best be careful too many people dont use the search button and figure all the nasty (errr I mean kind) things you were saying about your favorite Aussie when he punted Hamilton in SIngapore... oh sorry thats British media 101, forget I said anything and continue on, no one noticed the discrepancy



I must 100% agree with you that Horner's comments are disingenuous and can we believe anything he says when he has been known to deliberately try to deceive the public for a secondary sly benefit which frankly is disgustingly naive of him to think the public are stupid enough to believe his comments. He has deceived over blame for crashes, he has deceived over preferential treatment, he has deceived over McLaren speed and threat, deceived over the straight line speed of the RB's (which was a bit down last year but this year has definitely relatively improved.) Can we now believe him when he says that there will be no preference ????

I can only hold up Ross Brawn as an extremely truthful and respected Gentleman and ALL his comments are to be appreciated - What a difference. ( Thanks Ross. )


hear hear!

I somehow feel when the atmosphere was good at RBR, it was Mark who helped Seb become the driver that he is, in the sense that he was brashly fast but mighty immature(Fuji 2007?!). Since he's moved to RBR i feel he's been more polished and relatively less mistake prone(discounting the big ones of course) and a very improved race craft. Would love to hear what others feel.


Do you think Red Bull would be favouring its leading driver if it was Vettel leading rather than Webber?



I think the whole thing is skewed by the mention of '14' points. This is actually a 3rd place which is only 6 points in last years scoring system. I would like to think that no team would enforce a 'number 2' status on a driver who was only 6 points behind with 3 races to go- even Ferrari.

Also, under last years system, 28 points is the same as 11 and 31 is the same as 12 so Lewis and Jenson are far from out of it either! I really don't like the new points system. This season would look even closer without it! In fact, Webber would have a buffer of just 4 points from Vettel and the top 5 would be covered by just 11 points.

1. Webber 88

2. Vettel 84

3. Alonso 83

4. Hamilton 79

5. Button 77

6. Massa 51

7. Rosberg 47

8. Kubica 44

9. Schumacher 18

10. Sutil 15

11. Barrichello 13

12. Kobayashi 8

13. Petrov 6

14. Hulkenburg 5

15. Liuzzi 2

16. De La Rosa 2

17. Buemi 1

18. Heidfeld 1


I agree. 2003-2009 points system was a better one



This could be a poll.


100% yes


It would be either Vettel or Alonso who will win the WDC. They are the current on form drivers.


Ferrari's decision to back Alonso was and still is totally justified by outpacing his team mate all season long. The situation at RBR and McLaren is very different, they both have drivers who are very equally matched and their points totals reflect that. Alonso would almost be out of the title race if he hadn't gained those extra points from Massa moving his red road block out of the way in Germany.

I think only Webber and Hamilton will risk taking someone off, as they're the two of the top 5 who suffer most badly from red mist IMO. I do however think that is extremely unlikely given that kind of action would be seen as extremely unsporting and the stewards would have a field day.


"Alonso would almost be out of the title race if he hadn’t gained those extra points from Massa moving his red road block out of the way in Germany"

You said it! That Alonso needed the help of team orders to pass Massa, his team mate because he was incapable. Other teams are expected to overtake for the WDC so why not Alonso? His "This is ridiculous" comment suggests that he was incapable of overtaking Massa without causing a crash so Massa should have won that race! That's seven points that has unfairly skewed the WDC in Alonso's favour.


....and that is why I am praying that Alonso wins the Championship by less than those seven points, which cost Ferrari around $14,000 each. If that happens I am really looking forward to watching the fur fly and seeing Alonso's reputation dented yet further.


I think Christian is saying what the public face of Red Bull should be seen to be saying.

However, would be a crying shame if Mark loses out this year.

I wonder what Dietrich Mateschitz is really saying behind closed doors.


a quote from my local paper

"Red Bull claims young German Sebastian Vettel has more momentum than Mark Webber despite the Australian holding a clear lead in the Formula One World Championship.

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz maintains Vettel is a quicker driver but admits Webbers 14-point edge could be enough to win him the title"

sounds like he is talking about a competitor rather than a team-mate to me.

It further goes on to say " "Sebastian seems to have the speed at the moment", Mateschitz said.

" " Whether Marks lead will be enough for the championship is still to be seen." "

He then goes on to say there will be no team orders and that they should work together rather than imprudently race each other.

Maybe that is the extra spur needed for Mark to find the extra pace he found on Fridays practice, similar to the Silverstone incident.


"I need to put a happy Vettel's face on the cans to sell more of them"?...


Webber has to win a race or at least out qualify and out race Vettel to get that mental edge and put Vettel off or rattle him which is what seemed to happen in Spain and Monaco. Then maybe RBR can help him fight off Alonso... otherwise Vettel or Alonso will take it.

I have a feeling Webber is going to leave F1 at the end of this season or at least RBR.


For next year both Renault and Ferrari could really use a driver capable of bringing in a ton of points (alongside Kubica and Alonso respectively.)

If Webber manages to win the WDC this year I could see him 'doing a Button' just for the challenge of it - going up against either of the above to see what happens.



Highly unlikely that Webber would even dream of going to Ferrari. I couldnt belive that Mark 'Stick it to the man(RBR)' Webber would want to be considered in the same league as Felipe 'Alonso is faster than you' Massa or Rubens 'perpetually second fiddle' Barrichello. I have to agree with JA on this, he will stick it out another year with RedBull and see whats happening for the 2012 year. Although I do think that Webber and Kubica would make a good pairing.


Red Bull will always have a soft spot for Vettel. He gave both Torro Rosso and Red Bull their first wins.


Not only because of victories

It is because of him being "their" pilot. They have spent lots of money on him and he simply has to be better than "the other" driver, in this case Webber, or the program worths nothing

Their problem is the wrong driver is leading the championship, their preferences have been cristal clear all year. Webber is not very happy. He is in fact having lots of conversation with Alonso who knows about having the same problem in his team in the past.

So this is total hypocrisy from RBR. It was really fun when they told some weeks ago that Marw should drive in a conservative way while Vettel should be aggressive. Mark didn't wait a single day to reply to them that his approach was absolutely not like that! They told him: "ok Mark, drive slowly not to take risks, let Vettel do that for you!" It's simply ridiculous that they even try to look fair.


I agree with you.

MW does fit in with the RB brand despite what many think, as he is an extreme athlete in his own right.

But with RB putting so much money into their driver programme, many people really need SV to come good.

I honestly believe that RB want the constructors title more, but (as many have said on here) this season feels a bit like 99 when it looked like Ferrari were going to win with the "wrong" driver.

I actually quite like SV as a person and a racer and he has a great future ahead of him. Somehow a MW title win just feels "right" though.


If RB had started using team orders after Hockenheim, webber would be between 24 and 28 points ahead of Alonso. (ie his current 14 points lead, +7 from Suzuka, +3 from Singapore and +? from Monza.)

RB are making their own bed


If Ferrari steals away the title in the last race... it would be a real shame for Red Bull...

We are in amazing times of reliability... in the past you would see car 1 of team X having a problem in lap 40 and car 2 in lap 42...

These things dont seem to happen anymore...


for once I am with Briatore


Imagine what a whitewash this season would have been if Red Bull had got hold of the Mercedes engine - 1988 all over again...


Why should it become a whitewash then ?


May be very slightly down on power, but remember the Red Bulls have magic wings!

Does anyone actually believe they are down on power anyway? Who said the power should be equal throughout the grid? Mind you if Max were still here, they would all have identical Cossie engines from 2012 on; as it is F1 must be a loss leader for Cosworth.


It must be questioned as Renault and rebull have been strong even at power circuits. It can't be that much of a dog 🙂


I have it from a close source within the Redbull team that they - the team - do not want Webber to win this year's Championship.


I think 75% of the thinking F1 public came to that conclusion ages ago, and it became apparent to the other 25% after Turkey (and/or Silverstone)


I agree with Andy C.

Its a public secret that RB wants Vettel to win.

Its like now whom ever wins the qualy will take the GP as well... As we saw in Japan Webber could have had a fight with Vettel... So this Horners media talk is so hypocritical.


Interesting. Do you think it might come down to who wins qualifying, and they're not allowed to race after that? Another type of team order...


Let's give RBR benefit of the doubt (as a starting point) and consider scenarios how RBR may react:

1) Team PR
RBR can not afford another driver PR bomb-shell; perception is the core of branding and RBR understands this; that's why Horner's comments are as such and it's expected, as team principle, for him to reinforce it to the world.

2) Driver psychology
If a driver is demotivated, hopes for Constructor's Title (CT) is at risk; drivers may come-n-go, but CT can only happen with two strong drivers; internally, it's expected for Horner to walk-the-talk of equal opportunity.

3) Two titles
Would RBR risk neglecting Mark? RBR can't afford this gamble; two teams, two top drivers, top-of-the-line Tech Director in Newey, Zero titles...a lot at risk to not walk away with both; so RBR will not bet against Mark

Summary? Drivers are paid to do a job, and that's what they must focus on.


There is no doubt Redbull has followed up last season with a cracker this year. However, Dietrich Mateschitz and the powers that be at Redbull are in the game for only one reason, flogging more of their elixir. Commercially, Vettel is the logical outcome. Call me cynical but along the way they would have done the numbers and whilst I am no rocket scientist you would have to agree the commercial benefit to the gallons of the juice they sell in Europe to the Australasian market would be poles apart. Hence the marketing pull of Seb as opposed to Mark would be significant. The adage in Oz is if you win a V8 super car race on Sunday the Holdens or Fords will sell like hot cakes on the Monday. Redbull cannot afford to fail either in the drivers or constructors championship; Christian is honourable in his statement but at some point very soon the weight of support will fall to one driver to protect that marketing strategy (advantage). As I said in a previous post James, Mark has been bereft of luck in past seasons, and you along with many others acknowledge it his to lose (as it is with anyone leading their chosen sport) and for Seb et al to take it away from him. However, that a "team" wont favour a particular driver is folly; any "coach" is going to put their eggs in one basket to ensure victory because that is why they are there; in maximizes the commercial exposure of those that pay the bills. Whilst it is a team sport there can only be one winner. Go Mark.......


An interesting interview and good sound points by all contributors - how nice to have a reasoned & measured debate instead of the jingoistic and partisan comments we sometimes have to suffer.

I believe CH is a decent & straight Team Principal - however with the ever present, and it would appear overwhelming, Helmut Markko pushing the Red Bull graduates does CH have the final say?


This gives me an "Irvine 1999 feeling". The team wants badly to win the championship, but when the chance comes, they feel it's the wrong driver who's doing it.

In 1999, things didn't end well for Ferrari. OR DID THEY, since the "right driver" won the next year and 1999 went into forgetfulness as just another year in some 20 they hadn't won (and they did clinch the WCC)?

I'd love to hear other peoples opinions on this. Does Mr. Irvine read this blog? I always hoped he'd won that championship. Maybe, just maybe, that would have changed the "Ferrari way".


It was a season of pure opportunism for him and even if he showed much improved form compared with 96-98, I don't think he deserved it. It was Hakkinen's to lose but he didn't. And the question is, did Schumacher try his hardest in Suzuka? I doubt it. Oh well.


I've been thinking the same thing about massa. Is he going to stick his neck out,or will he simply drive within his limits? He could blame the tyres...


Don't get me wrong. I think the title went to very deserving hands.

The "try the hardest" part is exactly my point. I don't think the whole Ferrari team tried their hardest and so won't RBR in Weber's favor.


well if i recall he was closing on Mika until DC broke his wing and conveniently came out right in front of michael and held him up for a lap.


I don't think Vettel deserves the title, Mark's gotten more out of his ability.


James, what's your gut feeling about the WDC winner ? Webber, Vettel or Alonso ? Why do I sense this will be Vettel's year ? (and not because Bernie predicted it back in March)


Should be Webber, from this position, but I agree that Vettel seems to have momentum. Could come down to which one of them wins Brazil. I reckon Ferrari and McLaren will be strong in Korea and Abu Dhabi, but it'll be close


There are some senarioes that could make it easier for Mark. If one of the Mclarens can perform strongly at one or two of the remaining races he might not loose 7-10 points to Seb or Alonso per race. I am sure though that he will beat his team mate in Q3 again this season and Alonso still needs a little luck to win it.

Amazing how tight this WDC is. Just bought tickets to Dubai.


I hope your hotel bar has a good cocktail list, because you'll need it when you turn up to the streets of Dubai on Friday afternoon and only see Hummers and Smart Cars hurtling around the streets 🙂


James what is Renault's reaction when Christian Horner constantly comes out and complains about the lack of horse power in public domain? surely this must put their relationship under strain (bad PR etc) or is this RBR's way of trying to push Renault for further developments(albeit within engine freeze restrictions)?


Renault are pretty much saying the same thing (see an interview on the formula1.com website). But since they are fighting in 5th place rather than the top 3, nobody shows them.


I'm guessing those comments are aimed more at getting the regs changed so they can have engine parity. Renault can't legally up their horsepower without permission, so I don't think he's having a go at them, just the rule makers (and the other teams, as they'd need their permission too).


I think everyone realises that RB want Seb to win the WDC this year. Personally i would absolutely love Mark to do it.

I fear for Mark though he really needs to finish ahead of Seb this weekend to restore some momentum in his title challenge. Im sure RB will make a call after this weekend though. They cannot allow Fernando to snatch the title away.

Also do not discount Lewis in this. Even if he does not win the title he will undoubtedly be up there in every race taking points away from the main title contenders. In a championship this tight the difference between finishing in the top 3 and finishing outside will be critical.

My heart says Mark, my head says Seb


i was picturing a bit Weber`s face with a redbull can on the background...yes, guess i'll stick to my beer

ps I did picture the smiley guy too


There you go again Mr Allen, putting down McLaren and Hamilton.

So lewis only had a good drive last year cause of his KERS? no talk of the truly amazing driving ability thrusting a truly awful car to the front of the grid.

Counting Jensen and lewis out with 3 races left and a win away from being right back in it... What happens if there finish 1-2 in the next race are there still out of the championship? and 1-2 the race after that? Counting Alonso as the only realistic contender at this point shows where your allegiance has been all season.


I don't think he was mentioning the KERS to belittle Hamilton, I just think he was mentioning it to say that there are different strengths and weaknesses to the cars this year. And if he was going to be biased towards someone, wouldn't it be the English contenders? I think James' reply pretty much said as much.


[mod] And its obvious McLaren do not have a good enough car to challenge certainly not the Red Bulls and not even Alonso! They have the talent but not the speed!

McLaren will only get a chance at the title if the other 3 start knocking each other off the track.....! Not going to happen.



Seriously dude , you're reading words with a previous understanding in your mind looking for ANY thing to prove it!


????????Where do I start with a rebuttal of that?


Don't even bother James. You are regarded as balanced, unbiased, and authoritative by your very appreciative audience here.



Don't think an answer is necessary, mate.

It's a wrong comment, that's all.


Some nice conspiracy theories here but wait!

I'm sure Red Bull would prefer Vettel to win the title, after that they'd like Webber to win the title, next they'd like anyone to win the title as long as they get the constructors and finally last and least they'd win nothing.

But to favour Vettel over Webber right now just opens the Alonso door. The only way for Red Bull to guarentee one of their favoured options is to let them be equal.

To favour the German in the next race and therefore handicap the Aussie could blow up in their face and let Fernando take the lead and initiative.

If Vettel keeps pumping in the qualifying and putting together strong races he'll nudge ahead of FA and then MW without 'number one' treatment. Once he's in the lead he might get it.

Until -if- that happens Mark is free to grab the wins while he can.

So Mr Horner speaks with a straight tongue... For now...


Exactly. The team, or more to the point, all the team members, certainly have their own PERSONAL preferences for the championship, but that does not mean they put those preferences ahead of their ....DUTIES TO THE TEAM.

Remember, the simple and direct answer is most often correct.


Yes, I think this is the only outcome of a rational analysis.


I've got a funny feeling everyone's going to regret writing off Hamilton and Button...


Nope - it's too much fun.


Does this mean that the front wing swapping business has come to an end?

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

So Christian Horner promises no favouritism.

Does that promise also apply to Herr Marko?

Will we see white powder around Mark Webber's fuel tank in parc ferme?!!


Christian Horner is in a bit of a pickle and it doesn't help with Briatore putting his two cents in.

It feels like Webber is defending his lead and Vettel has the momentum... but I can't help thinking that this situation is very similar to 2007 when two strong team mates ended up cancelling each other out and a Ferrari driver ended up winning it...


It was interesting that in the race edits, Webber was replaced with a cardboard cut out for the Team photo.

It looked like Webber was not aloud to challenge Vettel,he could have run longer on the soft tyres, he had nothing to loose as he was about 6 second ahead of Alonso at that point.

The fast lap was his way of proving this.


I think RBR favored Vettel at Silverstone because they believed that later in the season he would resume being quicker than Webber.

Vettel is the quickest driver in f1 today and has been since 2009.

Mateschitz has always said that it is the Constructors title he wants most.

Currently there is nothing else Horner can do but allow the drivers to sort it out. RBR is not Ferrari and Horner is not Ron Dennis.

No wonder Alonso smiles so much these days.


My money is on Webber it has been all year. Sure other have a lot more pull but week after week he is consistant fast and reliable. One more win would make it easy but this is Mark Webber nothing comes easy. Go Webber go.


The anti-Vettel sentiment amongst English speaking 'fans' is pretty extreme. I mean the hate and disgust in the opinions of these people about Vettel or anything related to Vettel is pretty shocking. It is like blinded radical religious folk.

On some British F1 forums he is depicted as a nazi even through photoshop and people laugh at this...I mean seriously?

Everyone still moaning about the Silverstone wing swap, but forget to mention Webber had the updated floor which was lighter and faster, which Vettel didn't have in Silverstone. And by putting the 1 wing on Vettel's they could test the exact advantage without him having the updated floor like Webber had.

BBC or any other English speaking commentator 'forgot' to mention this while RBR mentioned it and it was talked about on the German, Italian and Dutch channels.

Also Webber was whining about the new wing during the practice sessions that it didn't work while Vettel was very positive about it.

So when the decision was made to give it to Vettel the mechanics were shocked that Webber made a whole act out of it within the media, while he was bashing the new wing and thought it was pointless to work on it.

That right there is the true story, confirmed by RBR and journalists and commentators..except the English speaking on. Just co-incidence, don't worry.

Also Webber had the updated rear wing which Vettel didn't have, last year and I think even this year somewhere....yet again not mentioned.

Fact is, Webber is a good driver. But he is not in the same class as Vettel. Just like Button is a good driver but is not in the same class as Hamilton. Webber and Button were just more lucky this year and their friends in the media spinning them positively helps too for their image.


Comparing Hamilton/Button to Vettel/Webber, not to mention the rest of your biased post, shows how clearly a blinkered Vettel fan you are. What about looking at the quali performances? Vettel v Webber, 9 v 7, Hamilton v Button 11 v 5 (incl a correct choice in wing setting for Button at Monza leading to a mismatch). While I agree on raw pace alone, Vettel might be slightly faster than Webber, that is ALL it is: SLIGHTLY faster. Hamilton is way faster than Button; the fact that the latter has won two races is due to good calls in races with hugely mixed wet/dry conditions. I love how all the people who hate Webber keep ignoring the FACTS when they crap on him. This is only the second season he has had a good car; only the first season he has had a good car and hasn't had to recover from a career threatening injury at the same time.


You cannot declare that Hamilton is "way faster" than Button. why? Because they have different approaches and styles and Button being extremely sensitive to the car's setup results in mostly Lewis being quicker in 2010.

It is not as simple these days. Just like Vettel has been the quickest driver in f1 - in an RB6 he ought to be - but this is not to diminish his accomplishments.

But remember aside from Jenson being more sensitive to a car's handling and his driving approach being different, he has also decided on being contrary to Lewis.

I am a great fan of Jenson and his WDC win and signing by McLaren has allowed the driver we all remember from years ago to demonstrate his approach.

Lewis is just QUICK! Give him a car that he can work with and he is magic.

At Suzuka, the decision by Button/McLaren to start on hard tyres was shown to be incorrect in qualifying. He Q'd with a heavier fuel load than Lewis and was set for 3 lap run in Q3 - but the tyre went off and he qualified heavier than Lewis.

On the same fuel and tyres as Lewis it is conceiveable that he would have beaten hius teammate.

Whitmarsh has done a superb job at signing Jenson. They compliment each other and I reckon that it can be as great a team as Woking had with Prost and Lauda.

I think it would be superb for motor racing if Webber won the WDC in 2010 and, it would be a fitting end to a magnificent season.

I cannot agree that anyone can hate any driver. This is the sport we admire, love and adore, and these men, even the slowest do a most remarkable job.



Wherever you have seen such extreme postings you should definitely complain the the administrator of that forum.

In regards seb, I like the guy. He needs to mature but is clearly quick.

What I don't like is thAt unlike the alonso situation at Ferrari, where this season there is no way felipe has found to challenge him, mark has been just as quick and made less mistakes.

I hope mark wins mainly because I really like the bloke.



I was of the belief that Webber only re-installed the same "light floor" setup on his car for Silverstone (which was Vettel's rejected chassis from earlier in the year) as what he had been running since Melbourne on his previous chassis before he wrote it off at Valencia.

This is something that the team changed on only Webber's car in Melbourne to ensure that he had as little disadvantage as possible from being heavier & taller (higher centre of gravity) than Vettel, as in an identical car Webber is down at least 0.1 seconds a lap slower just from Vettel being shorter & lighter.


Also to add.

When Alonso was favoured by the team, all hell broke loose, fronted by English speaking fans.

'Massa can technically still win! Oh this is cheating! Ferrari holding the hand of Alonso!"

Now the same English speaking fans want Webber to be favoured while Vettel can win the title still, easily looking at his performance and momentum.

Nay, Webber should start driving like a champion, instead of a scared mouse like the last 4 races. And you guys should just support, letting the best man win. Bu there is the problem...you Webber fans know who the better man is and do not like the answer 😉


Kal, any fool can drive a car FAST. People do it on my local highway. Just don't put your foot on the brake and you are FAST. Button knows all too well how Vettel doesn't put his foot on the brake in time to stop a collision with him. Driving is not all about being FAST. In my view it is about having a holistic approach. That is why Webber, Button and Kubica are better drivers than Hamilton or Vettel. H and V are all or nothing drivers, which is fine until they take other drivers out. Jean Alessi was the same, brilliantly fast, but not a great driver. One could disparagingly say they are not intelligent drivers. I hope this doesn't diminish you obvious love affair with Vettel.


Would a "scared mouse" risk a collision (which occured) to try to defend against being overtaken (in Singapore)? Are you saying finishing in "formation" at a track where evenly matched cars couldn't overtake is a "scared mouse" (where he finished 0.05 of a second behind in quali?). Realistic Webber fans know that in raw pace, they are pretty evenly matched, with Vettel possible just slightly ahead. But in racecraft, that Webber, probably due to his extra experience, more than evens that up. But biased Vettel fans can't acknowledge that; rather they'd like to use terms like "scared mouse" which don't come close to explaining the reality.


Who are these "English speaking fans"?


Thank you for a reasoned and clear contribution. I have to agree that the vehemently pro-British, or anti-foreigner, tone of some of the posts is very tiresome and, in my view, has no place in this forum. It is sometimes difficult to be objective when the British media reflect and fuel these sentiments. For what it's worth I believe that Vettel is an astonishing talent & remember remarking after his maiden Torro Rosso win to mark this well, it is the first win of many for a future multiple World Champion. Like all great Champions he is selfish and self-centered but I fear his all-round ability does not yet justify centering a team's efforts on him - it's only a matter of time. I have always looked on F1 as a team sport and have no problems with a No.1 & No.2 driver. The nuances, team dynamics, technical expertise, strategy, politics, marketing and sheer will to win is what makes this sport such a joy. There will always be differences of opinion among fans and participants and long may it continue without descending to name calling and false nationalism.


There is no doubt seb has the pace. He actually comes across well in my opinion and he's still young.

The whole helmut marko debate and silverstone probably frustrated a lot of f1 fans.

Best of luck to redbull, as what they have achieved in the last three years is excellent for f1.

Adding another top line team the fray has just added to the brilliance in this sport. That man newey is pretty decent as well isn't he.

Having about 6-8 drivers in and around wins is excellent.


We're at a much later stage of the season now so team orders are more expected. I don't think anyone is surprised that Ferrari are favouring Alonso it was more the timing and manner of the team orders that irritated people.

As far as Red Bull are concerned, I believe they made noises about favouring the driver who was ahead on points earlier in the season when Vettel was in front of Webber (with regards to new parts) and in my opinion they would be making those same sort of noises now regarding team orders if Vettel was leading the championship.

I hardly think Webber has been driving like a mouse; he set the fastest lap at Suzuka, finishing second and made the overtakes required for his strategy to work in Singapore, defending robustly from Hamilton in the process.

And I think it's fairly depressing and boring if you try to reduce reasoned debate down to racism or xenophobia.


You try to lump all "English fans" into a homogenous group. Do you feel the same about Italians all taking a one sided view about their much beloved Ferrari? So why pick on English fans becuase they do not suppport your non English team?


I am interested to see if RBR apply different strategy between both drivers in the next three races. Whatever the outcome, it will stir up some controversy for sure.


He should have added, "....again."


Whatever CH says.



I'm sure Webber can do this on his merits as a driver, but I can see grid placings having a big effect. Imagine something like Webber and Alonso in the front row, Vettel and Hamilton on the second - especially if it's down to the last race - what a run into the Senna S!

Prasanna Madhavan

Dear James

Off topic. I have been playing the F12010 game by codemaster. The game has really blown me away. Every detail of track and car has been taken into account . The game is still very difficult to play . I would like a review from you .


I have been playing the game for a little while. The in thing I really dislike is the ai on the other drivers.

I worked my way up to 10th place then my teammate jarno smashed into me, spun me round and I got penalised for causing a crash 🙂

Other than that it's graphics are great.


The AI has never been perfect in any of the F1 games.

Did you have to take a grid penalty for the next race?


Nope. When I get cleared out I tend to lose my temper smash into someone at high speed then restart from the grid 🙂

There are a couple of occasions where I have absolutely nailed pole position then the other drivers seem able to drive round the outside at about 100 mph round a hairpin lol 🙂


Button's car runs out of fuel quite often...


If you're playing as Massa, do the team come on the radio and ask you to let Alonso through?


Do you have to take your hand off the controller to operate the F-Duct? 😛


Those words from Horner just about sums it up,

" As long as they don,t hamper each other",does this mean if one driver is quicker and behind "team orders" or Team Spirit" come to play?


Not to be skeptical of the team's motivations or anything (Lol! yeah right) but I'll be taking bets on what type of "mechanical issue" Webber will suffer from in the last 3 races.

My top 4 contenders:

1. Gearbox change resulting in a grid penalty.

2. Pit stop blunder, or odd strategy call that results in Webber finishing behind Vettel

3. Strange engine Gremlin that will affect his car for only a short period at a crucial moment

4. Engine failure/Terminal car failure at the final round, but only in the event that there is no mathematical chance of Alonso taking the title even if Vettel then crashed out or blew up or something.

I'm watching you carefully Red Bull!!!!!


Don't think for a minute that looney one-eyed lawyer isn't thinking this stuff up right now!


I think it is amazing that none of the other engine manufacturers are whining about parity with the low weight, low centre of gravity, more fuel efficient and easier to package Renault engine. If the Renault unit really is that bad why did Adrian Newey shift the Ferrari engine contract over to Torro Rosso?

If I was Renault, I wouldn't be that impressed with all the complaining. Horner is making out that RB are leading the championships despite Renault rather than in partnership with them!


I really think that it has come to this that the race is determined in the qualy. Specialy on a track were RBR cars are superior.

Also I agree what said before about Alonso and how Massa was order to step back. But guys lets face it Alonso has it what it takes to win this and Massa does not. Plain and simple. You can not determine the championship by one Race result but you can be predictable and see who needs the points more. At this point the so called teamorders were correct.

But in RBR there is not a situation similar to Ferrari. In RBR the driver are tied. One thing is for sertain that Mark must step up his game or he will not winn this. 1st he must take the qualys and then he must dodge the childish impulsivness of Vettel.


I would love to hear Christian Horner's explanations if Webber ends up losing the championship to Alonso by less than 7 points.

They could have allowed Mark to win the race in Japan and build a cushion, but they decided against it. Quite a gamble.

BTW I have been watching F1 for 20+ years and I still fail to see anything wrong with Ferrari's strategy in Hockenheim.


webber needs to start attacking now

as vettel looks like putting a run together now

alonso is very prost like just sneaking around in the background waiting for any problems and then he will pounce

adelaide 86 and interlagos 07 are in my mind when thinking how this yrs title could turn out



What do you read in Webber's absence from the team celebrations after Japan?

As the season has progressed (from Silverstone onwards really), it almost appears that Webber has taken on a very single-minded, me-against-the-world approach whereas Vettel has seemed to garner the support of the whole team.

I have a strange feeling that Webber is just waiting until season's end before letting rip with his thoughts. He certainly seems to be a bit changed from the fun lover we saw earlier in the season.

Horner's comments can interpreted in a variety of ways but nobody can escape the fact that Vettel is Red Bull's future and it's not in their interests to compromise their relationship with him in order to support Webber, regardless of his success. Even if Webber were to win the championship this year, that situation won't change next year.

Do you think it's possible he might walk away?


Mark in a Mercedes for 2011. When Schumacher wakes up one morning and decides his sick of being beaten and having his legacy tainted.


I think that's unlikely. Why walk away from a winning car? How many of those do you get in a career?


I am convinced mark will be driving a red car next season James! 🙂

Have lotus now confirmed both drivers by the way? I still think heikki might end up at Renault.


I agree. The only situation that seems remotely possible is if MW moves to Ferrari to finish his career. Massa will probably be moved out if he has bad results over the next three races, and Briatiore seems to be making all the right noises re Ferrari.

I think driving for Ferrari is something all drivers consider the pinnacle of motor sport - example Fisi last year giving up a drive with a seriously competitive Force India with a dog of a Ferrari. And the general mood and attitude at RBR seems to suggest that he will get as much of a chance at the WDC at Ferrari as in RBR. If he does win the WDC this year, the likelihood of a move for MW increases in my opinion. Nothing to prove and an opportunity to drive for Ferrari - may be too much to resist.


"I think driving for Ferrari is something all drivers consider the pinnacle of motor sport."

Drivers are not so infatuated with Ferrari as you may think. Sure, Ferrari can afford to waste huge amounts more money to outbid other teams for the better drivers considering they receive more money per WCC point than other teams which some might call that an F1 subsidy to Ferrari!


I'd like to think Lewis Hamilton still has a chance at F1 drivers title but given recent spate of bad finishes / crashes - is left with near impossible task to make up 28 points.


As the season wore on, I've found it more and more difficult to trust Christian Horner and Red Bull (Helmut Marko, specifically). CH loves to speak of equality and condemn team orders, but clearly his and the team's actions speaks otherwise (shifting the blame to Mark and cuddling Seb after Turkey, or putting the blame on both to spare the German. And continually trying to justify the wing swap in Silverstone for days and days after).

Although I've lost some faith in him, I think Webber is still the favorite. But I get this feeling he will be screwed in little ways that will have big consequences.


On El Shish comment. We have seen it before from hot-blooded Alonso but I really do not think it will be the same case with Webber. Tho the situation quite smells like it:)

But time will tell best!



Could you please run a poll to see who most people want to win the title? Would be very interesting - being an Aussie it would be a dream come true for me to see Mark take it out - top bloke too!


..Let me get this straight. Most of you here want Webber to be taken by the hand by RBR and force Vettel to help him win the title, while Vettel can easily win it too and in fact is driving much better than Webber the last 4 races?

Just wow...

Imagine Vettel being 14 points ahead and if people started saying Webber should help him...you all would go against your own argument you now use for Webber.

Obviously most of you don't give a damn about the 'sport' aspect of this...sport. And yes, it seems it is mainly the native English speaking ones. I don't see this kind of stuff on a German site for instance.

Webber wants the title? He should start driving like a champion and claim it, earn it.

Crazy suggestion, I know.

I personally think none of the 3 (Webber, Vettel, Alonso) deserve the title this year. And Hamilton and Button don't either.

Yes it was a fairly exciting season, but they all drove so inconsitent. There hasn't been any exceptional drive that deserves any of them to be crowned champion. Hamilton came close deserving it, then threw it all away the last few races like only an amateur would.

I do not care anymore which wins, it will be laughable to me personally.

Roll on 2011.


I think your looking at it from the wrong angle mate. This season has been good not because all the drivers have been so inconsistent, but because so many drivers are at the top of their game, it's been difficult for one driver to dominate. We all remember how boring it was under Schumacher domination. This season is a breath of fresh air as a result of that.


Wow. I'm amazed you're still watching.


Let alone posting lengthy comments about the decline of F1. Oh the apathy of it all!!!

Thomas in Australia

For some reason I think Mark is going to DNF in Korea and we will see Vettel leading the WDC heading to Brazil.

Just a hunch.


That's not a hunch it's a wild guess. The narrative for the season can only be gleaned AFTER it unfolds


Based on Mark's comments earlier in the season of; "I just want to be treated equally", then Horner's comments should be seen as resonable.

Webber is flint hard. He gives no quarter and expects no quarter to be given. If he wins the Championship, then he will have won it against all odds, without any favoritism being given to him, and the victory will be all the more sweeter to savor. Go Webber!!


Champion drivers being selfish and self-centered? Those are generally taken as derogatory terms.

Why has Webber been less "good timne Harry" and been described as above?

Because he as all drivers really in line for winning grands prix consistently and even the title find that it is an extremely tough job not only physically but exceptionally so mentally and emotionally.

They have to try and maintain an attitude that cannot deviate from their goal. Mark Webber realizes very well that for the first time and probably the only time in his career, this is his chance.

It is far better to honorably describe top drivers as doing what is in their own rational self-interest and to win requires extreme effort.

Would you call a swimmer during the Olympics seeking to claim as many gold medals in the same way as "selfish and self-centered"? No. They are viewed as determined and focused.

Well, the WDC for the top drivers like Webber is a NINE month Olympic journey.


Well done, could not agree more.


Thank you!


Vettel is faster then Webber, but cant over take for $hit. Webber has much better race craft, almost as good as Hamilton. Conclusion.... Vettel will win the championship if he qualifys 1st and has no issues in the race. Don't expect him to overtake anyone without crashing. I would prefer Webber to win because hes had a lot bad luck in his career, and this season it has come together for him. Hes a quality driver whos a all rounder like Hamilton and Alonso. Vettle is not there yet but has time to improve.


what's all this complaining about christian horner ?

he is an employee , he will do and say what he is told if he wqants to keep his job


Personally I hope Weber takes it and shuts everyone up. It is clear Vettel is RB boy of the future so I hope Weber gets it done....my guess is this is as close as he will ever get. That would make my winter off season glow with a sense of warm satisfaction... Marks too no doubt! 🙂


It's so annoying when people say this might be Webber's only chance at a WDC!!! Despite the obvious fact that he will be with Red Bull next year or picked up by a front running team like Renault, Ferrari or Mercedes (minus Schumacher)

He might be 34 but are we forgetting Schumacher and Barrichello are still on the grid?

No one expected him to be where he is now. (Leading Vettel in the run home to the WDC)and now that he's there, your all saying it won't last.

Gotta love an underdog!!!

WEBBER 2010 WORLD CHAMPION - 26 days and counting.


James, after reading the interview on the website, it seemed they were focussing on Sebastian alot more then Mark, could this be a way of showing where the team are actually hedging their bets?


He does, but I think there is so much scrutiny of them on this they have to play it straight. The most important thing is to win it.


And I in reply to In other words will not help Mark win the Championship

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