Webber and Vettel make peace after epic championship battle
Scuderia Ferrari
Webber and Vettel make peace after epic championship battle
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Nov 2010   |  5:35 pm GMT  |  174 comments

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel have buried the hatchet after a season long duel for supremacy in the Red Bull team.

The duo, who looked at times as though they were shaping up to reprise the bitter Senna/Prost team rivalry of the 1990s, have revealed that they spoke at length during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend and put their differences behind them.

Webber also revealed that once the competition was over, and Vettel emerged victorious, it was important for him to drop his competitive guard and bow down to the younger man’s achievement.

Webber: Man to man chat (Getty)


“I went to him, ” said Webber. “We spoke for a long time, man to man, about a load of things that had happened during the season. The important thing is that at the end we were able to shake hands. As a driver you have to give it everything in order to win but at the end of the season you have to be able to bow to the success of others.”

Vettel backed up Webber’s sentiments, “It was important to clear things up, it did us both good.”

Webber pushed Vettel harder this season than either of them or the management, imagined he would. Vettel was unlucky not to have 75 points on the board after three races due to reliability issues and Webber capitalised on his frustration winning Spain and Monaco. Vettel needed to bounce back and in Turkey went for a pass on his team mate for the lead, which led to them colliding as Webber didn’t give him room and Vettel lost control of the car.

That incident wasn’t handled well by the management, who sent out mixed messages, blaming Webber for the accident, but then rowing back on their position after a public outcry. A month later at Silverstone Vettel had a front wing failure in practice and a decision was taken to give Webber’s wing to the German, who went out and took pole. In the race the next day Webber forced his way past his team mate at the start and in trying to fight back, Vettel cut his tyre on Hamilton’s wing and lost ground. Webber cast himself as “a number two driver” that weekend and restated his sentiments near the end of the season, in Brazil, that the team favoured Vettel.

“It’s normal, when we have such an important thing at stake, that there are going to be times when it will be on the edge,” explained Webber this week.

“And that’s part of the journey – that’s sport, that’s what happens. You have these micro-battles which happen. Of course the media can make it a lot bigger on Monday or Tuesday compared to what it was, and that’s something which we can’t control.”

Many paddock observers felt he went too far by stirring it up again in Brazil and his magnanimous words here appear to be a peacemaking gesture to Vettel and the team, aimed at ensuring that a curtain is drawn over the problem side of 2010 and that next year goes ahead as planned with Webber and Vettel team mates again.

There have been suggestions that his position in the team might be untenable, but Red Bull need him to defend the Constructors’ Championship next year and there is no other obvious strong candidate for his seat.

Webber said he will be aiming to take Vettel’s title next year.

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1

Reading thru this just made me angry with Webber all over again. He behaved quite terribly in my opinion, most of the season, then hopes to cure it all with a little convo at the end. Vettel is a stand up guy, so it will work out, but Webber really needs to recognize and mature – to the level of his teammate.

2

Hi James. With all the talk about Vettel being the youngest ever everything, I was wondering, who was the youngest ever team principal to win a F1 championship? Isn’t Horner close to that mark?

That thought got me thinking on how driver-centered F1 journalism is, considering the amount of people who almost literally give their lives to it. Could you do a post on team principals? Who are these people? Where do they come from? How does a person become one? What skills set does one need? I find it curious how most of them are former racers, not particularly successful, yet some of the most successful drivers to try it failed (Prost, Fittipaldi, etc). And then a certain Flavio comes to mind who was famous for knowing nothing at all about a racing car, among other talents. Ron Dennis, Frank Williams, Colin Chapman. Jack Brabham! constructor, principal AND driver all at the same time! You could write novels out of many of these intriguing characters.

3

Yes a novel….or

Just an excellent non-fiction summary of some the team principals from day one.

James, do any such books come to mind?

4

Great question and great idea. Thanks

5

Hopefully the Red Bull wont be miles ahead next season . I want to see if Vettel can actually overtake anyone , his teammate included, without crashing into them.We have yet to see him fighting through the field.His attempted passes on Webber and Button made the highlight reels for the wrong reasons.

6

Not only are there concrete cows in Milton Keynes, there are flying pigs as well.

7

An off-topic question James. Where and when do we get to see the ceremony crowning the Driver and Constructor champions?

8

It’s the FIA Gala in December. NOt sure where you see it on TV. FIA website will have details. Maybe f1.com will show video highlights?

9

Thanks James. Will check it out.

10

James, your last comment on this article is just what us MW fans want to see.

We want Mark to go better next next year and take it to the rest of the field but more importantly RBR and Sebastian. He can do it.

And if he has the passion and self belief it will happen. He must though get used to or at least push harder on tracks that dont suit him.

11

James, completely off the topic,

but why don’t F1 TV use split screens or insets. Maybe while showing a replay, keep a small window still showing live action in the corner.

I was watching old late 80’s races, and some of the TV broadcasters used it, and it definately adds to the coverage.

12

It’s not considered very modern in TV terms. They sometimes use it in line comparisons, but that’s it

13

“Not too bad for a #2 driver!”

14

When Webber is being interviewed he blinks his eyes alot. Very slow and then very fast. It’s distracting. He looks like a hostage trying to blink some kind of secret message to get rescued.

What is it? Nerves? Dry eyes? Overactive eyelids? Are his eyes open or closed on track? Did this cost him the WDC? I don’t know. He has a helmet on when he’s driving. So I can’t see his eyes to be sure.

Whatever it is he should get some Botox in them eyelids just in case. It makes the eyes stay open. All the time. Even when you are asleep. And if he got Botox he would look younger than 34 so he can just forget about being the old guy on the team.

15

Might be too much Red Bull…

16

I believe far too much has been read into the rivalry between Webber and Vettel. Rivalry between two teammates who are both clearly extremely talented, both driving an ‘outstanding’ race car and both in a position to contest for the title is inevitable both on and off the track. Both driver’s are smart and intelligent and like all F1 driver personalities, very self involved. They play a ‘political’ and ‘psychological’ game with themselves, their teammate, and other driver’s that ultimately lead’s them to a headspace that suit’s them. The team’s know and recognise this and manage it as best they can, what best suits the team and individual driver’s. Webber’s comments, whether viewed as negative or positive are no more self-destructive than Vettel’s overly aggressive overtaking attempts. They ultimately, simply allow a driver to establish and/or reflect a state of mind. I imagine driving an F1 car once a driver is experienced is significantly influenced by state of mind that dictates the split second decisions a driver makes on track. These are not normal everyday human beings. This needs to be recognised and admired before we attempt to deconstruct or judge.

17

Still don’t know why Webber didn’t pit during first lap safety car – he would have come out in front of Rosberg and finished 4th – twelve points would have given him 260, four more than Vettle!

18

Can’t wait for next year. I believe Red Bulls strategy was always to pit Mark early firmly believing that Ferrari would follow him in (which they did), thus giving Vettle the best chance to win the Championship…So maybe it will be Marks turn next year. I think Red Bull have out smarted the whole compition on strategy…..

19

I don’t think it was ever looking like Prost/Senna.

These guys are completely different people, no disrespect to them but I don’t think either of them are quite as driven as Senna or Prost, and it never really got that personal or unpleasant.

Ultimately I think this rivalry was always under control by comparison.

20

Hi James, just wondered if you had any insight as to why Vettel is testing Pirelli rubber for two days and Webber not being in the car to try them out at all? Any signs that this could be that Webber will not be driving for RBR next season? Most teams are running both drivers on alternative days (except Ham, Button)

21

No, it was planned that way. Button and Hamilton aren’t testing either, so are neither driving for McLaren next year?

22

Fair point, just thought it odd that Webber would not have contractual terms to give him parity with testing. Trying the new rubber will surely be very important and Vettel can have a greater input and initial understanding with the engineers all winter. McLaren have taken a different route giving Paffett lots of running for two days on the old tyres and then the Pirelli rubber, possibly again a contractual stipulation as test driver to get a certain number of days per year??

Everyone loves theories and could not help but think that Webber has lost out by not getting in the car this week even if just as a signal of equal status within the team.

23

I think the last thing Mark wants to do is see Seb!

24

Not surprising to hear the new tune. Its always easy for victor to extend Olive branch to loser. And for Loser is there any other option.

With Driver’s title under his belt , the fate of next season is pretty much sealed, where RedBull Management has stronger case of favoring Vettel now may it be newer parts, or strategy.

Remember McLaren 2009 anyone :). I am sure Vettel will even make Lewis like statement about “Webber being one of the nicest persons” end of 2011 season

25

Seems they do it more easy at Mercedes:

After Abu Dhavi when Rosberg tried to checkout of the hotel, he noticed that someone glued a picture of Britney Spears above his picture in the identity card. Rosberg is nicknamed Britney in his team because it is said that he sometimes behaves like a diva. Rumours are that it was Schumi who did it.

Also after Abu Dhavi: Rosberg was arrested because he forgot his driving license in the hotel. He wasn’t released before his father moved there with the license.

http://bilder.bild.de/BILD/sport/motorsport/formel1/2010/11/18/nico-rosberg/rosberg-reisepass-18508640-mfbq,templateId=renderScaled,property=Bild,height=349.jpg

26

I remember Mark Webber referring to him as Britney back when they were both at Williams. Not sure where the name came from?

27

Because of his hair I think. And he likes wearing catsuits 🙂 allegedly 😉

28

James
Is there any way to moderate (delete) all further comments about the crash I’m turkey 🙂

I think we have now firmly established marks fans think it was sebs fault and sebs fans think mark should move out of the way 🙂

I’ve been reading a couple of interesting rumours that Williams have still not given up on a big potential title sponsor and getting Hulkenburg.

I believe it’s one of the main qatar banks. I imagine Frank commenting on it probably means the Maldonado deal is done I was just surprised to read it…

Could you do a couple of articles over the winter on the flexi rear wings (maybe with conti from your old mate mr dernie) and the single diffuser. Will we see exhausts exiting in the single diffuser (now ignition retardation looks like it’s been cracked)?

29

Sure, I’ll look at that. Thanks

30

Red Bull, like McLaren in the 90’s found out what can happen when the perceived #2 driver gets a little too good. And they handled it a lot better than McLaren did. Of course a lot of this was because of the way Webber handled it but not all of it. Red Bull’s ‘let ’em race’ philosophy carried the day and they looked brilliant. It could have gone the other way, but it didn’t. Calculated risk taking is a part of any successful business.

F1 has become so jaded now, it can’t seem to get beyond its own expedient first impressions. And when those impression don’t pan out they get a little piqued.

31

James i fear for Mark now. He had his chance to win this season and blew it in Korea. He was deflated in Abu Dhabi as he knew he wasnt on the pace to win.

Seems to me like he might suffer from Massa Syndrome. You get your shot and you blow it and effectively fall away off the radar into a Number 2 driver role.

I like Mark and was rooting for him all season but i just cannot see him beating Vettel now.

32

No denying, this will be the test of the man. But many world champions have come close and failed at their first real shot and then gone on to win the title. This can be their making!

33

I wonder if Vettel would of done the same?

34

None of this would need be said if Kubica and Raikkonen were Red Bull team mates. Goddam that’d be amazing. Red Bull would’ve had the constructers by Monza if that were the case.

35

Too many variables to accurately predict that. I don’t think Kimi would be able to squeeze himself into an F1 cockpit anymore anyway

36

So, all quiet on the Red Bull front.

To be honest I saw Webbo’s comments as not much more than a bit of pragmatic gamesmanship. I think what he said was true, and to be honest I don’t think he hurt his title chances by putting it out there in a more up front way than perhaps Massa/Smedley did.

I think if you asked him if he and Vettel were now best mates I don’t think he would give a different answer to a week ago.

You have to really respect what Webber has achieved, in a similar way to Button actually. He has found himself after years of hard graft in F1 in a race and championship winning car, which he helped to develop, only to find that as soon as it all comes good he is up against one of the greatest new talents in F1.

I hoped he would win the championship in the latter stages of the season; but you have to admit that on the day and based on the performance over the whole weekend, the better man won.

37

James, are you still thinking about who to include in your top five (and in what order), or have you made up your mind already? I wonder if you will include Webber.

I would argue against including him. Was he ever genuinely faster than his teammate this season? He had his purple patch in Spain and Monaco, but we have since heard that Vettel’s chasis had a small crack and other damage, which would have compromised Vettel.

We now also know that Webber’s chasis in Silverstone was lighter than Vettel’s, so the whole front wing issue was a bit of a smoke screen.

Do you look at any of this in more detail in your book?

38

The chassis are the same weight with the drivers in them. Webbers’ chassis is obviously lighter as he is heavier than Vettel.

39

I also think this year was Mark’s last chance for the drivers title. I hope I’m wrong! Unfortunately Mark appears to have too many weak tracks in comparison to Sebastian and many are at the latter part of the season. In many respects, this season showed many resemblances to last season for Mark. He’s too slow around Singapore, too slow around both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Sebastian doesn’t appear to have a weak track when you consider the tracks the RB6 is actually suited to.

One question that’s been on my mind since Valenica is what happened to Mark for that race? I mean, he was losing positions like they were going out of fashion from the start and then made one of the most incredibly absurd errors I’ve seen in F1 by driving up the back of Heikki Kovalainen. Maybe I’m a bit tough on the guy there, but I couldn’t see any excuse or reason for what happened between the start of that race to that incident? Was there something going on behind the scenes that wasn’t publicly revelled? Apparently there was nothing wrong with the car.

40

I guess you’re right about Sebastian being fast on all tracks and Mark on only some of them, but Sebastian seems to be fast when he’s got no one in front of him. So it’s good when he gest P1 or P2 in qualifying, but not if he’s farther in the back. My point is that Vettel will dominate Webber next year as long as the RB car is as fast as this year. If it’s slower and the RB guys stop winning on Saturdays and will have to fight their ways through the field then I think their chances may even out. I still believe though that the team will support Vettel even stronger next year as they learnt that it pays off. And that’s not good news for Mark.

When it comes to Valencia – I guess he simply had a terrible, terrible, terrible (and so on) start and the accident was caused by his impatience (he wanted to pass Heikki too fast) and a really bad assessment of the difference in the pace between the Lotus and the Red Bull. I don’t believe it was anything behind the scenes, because I don’t believe the team would sabbotage the car that much (to lose P2 and become P9? I don’t buy it, yet I might be naive;-)). On the other hand if there was anything going on that could affect Webber’s psyche and his mental/psychological strenght (so that he would lose concentration or whatever else) then I think he’s too experienced a driver to let any kind of mind games or anything of that sort influence him that much.

41

Fantastic reply, Thank you!

Ps: apologies for the Dubai-Bahrain mix up too [blush]

42

Hi James,

What do you think would Kimi be a strong candidate for Mark’s seat to defend the CC?

P.S. Kimi was good at pushing KERS button…)))

43

I remember when kimis kers failed while Ferrari. Didn’t he burn his backside or back at one point?

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