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Top three finish in 2011 locks Vettel into Red Bull contract
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Top three finish in 2011 locks Vettel into Red Bull contract
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jan 2011   |  5:53 pm GMT  |  106 comments

There is an interesting little item in Speedweek, the Red Bull owned magazine, in which certain details of the contract arrangement with world champion Sebastian Vettel are explained, most notably that if he finishes in the top three in the 2011 world championship and scores a certain amount of victories, he is tied to Red Bull Racing for the 2012 season.

This is confirmed in the article by RBR special adviser Dr Helmut Marko, “We will not let any top driver go,” he says.

Vettel signed a contract renewal in August 2009 until the end of 2011 with an option for 2012, the trigger for which is now clear. There is consistently a lot coming out of the team about what a hot property he is. Even last summer the team was talking about extending it to the end of 2015, although over the winter there was some talk of whether he might at some point join Ferrari, which Marko and even Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz joined in.

“He is not going to change as long as Fernando Alonso is still there — otherwise he would be stupid, ” Marko said earlier this month. “It is a natural thing that a racing driver dreams of Ferrari, and Ferrari looks at a great driver like Sebastian. But just for the legend of Ferrari, Sebastian will not leave us.”

This is all part of the ongoing niggle between the establishment and the newcomer; Ferrari and Red Bull, which has arisen since Red Bull became the team to beat.

But to keep him, if another top team comes after him, Red Bull will have to be prepared to pay him more than they have up to now. In the trade off between retainer and bonus money, Red Bull tends to slant driver contracts 40%-60%, more towards bonus money than its rivals teams. Top drivers at McLaren and Ferrari can earn twice as much as Vettel earned last season, including bonuses, believed to be roughly €8m.

In addition to possible interest from Ferrari, the German has long been a target for Mercedes.

Team mate Mark Webber, who turns 35 this year, extended his deal last May for one more year and might conceivably retire at the end of the 2011 season, unless he wins the title. It is certainly hard to see him moving to a team lower down the grid.

Meanwhile Marko has also been talking to Sport Bild in Germany, where he claims that all the friction between Vettel and Webber would never have happened last year if Vettel had a more reliable car,

“Without the 66 points he lost due to technical defects, the standoff with Mark Webber would never have occurred,” he said. He also took the opportunity to point out that although team orders are now legal in the FIA rules, Red Bull will stick to its policy of letting the drivers race each other and no intervening, “We don’t use them (team orders) because the sporting aspect should be the primary focus of formula one,” he said.

Red Bull is launching its new car on February 1 in Valencia.

Photo: Darren Heath

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anyone else get a bit of a cold shiver up their spine when they read anything from helmut marko?

as for vettel to ferrari, it would make no sense - RBR are the stronger team at the moment, more familiar to him, completely supportive of him, and much more fitting to his personality.

plus, alonso is set to stay and i can't see kubica not joining him in 2012.


I want to play poker with Marko because he's lousy at bluffing.


"anyone else get a bit of a cold shiver up their spine when they read anything from helmut marko?"

Yes, we love you, that's why you are locked in at night.

Who knows, Vettle may have to take up trail biking!


Another did at Webber from Marko then. All very good for team unity.


Webber knows a thing or 2 about taking digs at the team...all very good for the team unity too?

Webber should get the crown from Rubens for the biggest whiner on the grid.


Once again Marko shows where his loyalties lie. Privatley Christian Horner must get so fustrated with his comments, they make his job three times more difficult than it needs to be.


Every driver has their own group of people who support them, so does Mark. Mark's side isn't holding Vettel's hand, so why do you expect Vettel's side to hold Mark's hand?

Anti-Vettel crowd needs to get back to reality and accept Vettel is the faster driver and Webber should do his stuff on the track beating him, instead of whining about this and that.

Since Spa, Vettel beat Webber in every race, easily. You gonna blame Marko for that?


The problem with your point is that Helmut Marko isn't meant to be on either driver's side.

Fact of the matter is he has a vested interest in Vettel; he needs to Vettel to do well to justify his position, and to get a paycheck.

His vested interest Vettel however affects his ability to do his actual job. He is meant to be in charge of Red Bull driver development, that means all Red Bull drivers. From everything you read it seems as if he is solely interested Sebastian Vettel's driver development, in which case he should leave Red Bull and become Vettel's manager.


Long been a target for Mercedes? Were they trying to sign him for Mclaren?


I think the Mercedes comment is refering to Mercedes GP and not McLaren.. It makes sense a German driving the pride of the country.


The team has only existed for a year so how they can they've been interested in him for a long time. Maybe James meant they've tried to sign him for sportscar in the past.


and when they took over brawngp and signed schumacher, they didn't hide the fact that they're interest in vettel. the deal with mercedes is simple, schumacher wants to win races and championships, and mercedes wants a championship winning car. how else would they attract a driver like vettel? the clauses to vettels contract have been known since 2009, and both schumacher and vettels expire at the end of 2012...


when merc were still partnered with McL, they pushed for german driver(s)


Can't see that happening. McLaren love JB who is contacted til the end of 2012. They have the perfect driver pairing at the moment.

Vettel still needs to shrug off his 'crash kid' reputation and to learn to overtake. Belgium was a fine example of where he still needs to improve.


he is only 23 remember. he has lots of time to improve but potentially one of best ever if he keeps going at the rate he is. monza 08 proved that


Alonso's complete ineptitude for being a teamate with an equal talent aside, it would be extremely foolish for Vettel to leave RedBull anytime soon unless the RB7 and subsequent cars are dogs, his personality and image fit perfectly with Redbull and he is comfortable there. Someday it will be all about the money but he is still a rising star so he has no reason to accept a bigger paycheck and perhaps sacrifice all the good things the environment at Redbull allows for any young driver. As James said, they are the new guard, they are a challeneg to the establishment and a fresh face and a cleaner way of handling things. I foresee them becoming the Ferrari of the 21st century in F1, especially when we re-enter the turbo era in 2013


no one, not even vettel, is the "equal" of alonso. don't believe me? just ask the drivers. oh, and the team bosses.


I think that the whole era of one best driver is over since Schumacher. People seem to have this perception where there must be one best driver who is head and shoulder above the rest. Well, we had Senna, Schumacher so that's understandable. But it doesn't work like that anymore. One day Vettle could be the best, next day Alonso, then Hamilton so on.

So yeah whether who is the best will depends on who focus mos and the point is the gap between them is far too small to discuss in F1 where car factor dominates the sport.


All those things aside, a quick reality check perhaps. The lad is barely out of short pants and just earnt 8 million in a year, more than most people earn in 40 years of graft so I think he should be pretty satisfied. He is now very rich and has the fastest car, to demand more money would make him as crass as the rest of them.

I can't see him leaving Red Bull until Newey toddles off to build boats or spaceships or whatever. Then Red Bull will decline, unless Newey has a succession plan in which he plans to divulge his secrets.


Ferrari, McLaren and Williams are the only teams that were set up as racing organisations.

I view Red Bull more like Benetton. They own a team for marketing purposes primarily and also for the emotional needs of the owners.

The day Dietrich Mateschitz is no longer at the helm of Red Bull, might be the end of their F1 effort.


If they're around long enough.

Don't forget, Red Bull is a business, and RBR is a marketing tool only formed to sell a product. If it is deemed that the spend isn't worth the return, they will truly grow wings and disappear like every other business-based promotional F1 team, bar Ferrari. And I'm talking BAR, Honda, Spyker, Midland, Toyota, Benneton, Renault, Jaguar, BMW.... the list goes on, and these are just the ones from the 21st century so far.



too get a prominant F1 reporter/blogger posting about a softdrink company - i think Helmut can call it 'job done'

(i suspect he and bernie went to the same PR school)


I think it's the performance of the team and car that does it. If they were fighting for 20th place would they enjoy so much attention?


it's all about the money Lebowski, he's already world champion...now he just wants more money and if RB isn't even matching Ferrari or Mac then I don't blame him for leaving in 2013.


“We will not let any top driver go,”? Sounds a little presumptuous to me. Sounds like Red Bull believe that they own Vettel. Perhaps it is just my rebellious sympathies coming to the fore, but if I heard that I may just contemplate taking a break from racing next year. Call up Luca de Montezemolo or Ron Dennis / Martin Whitmarsh and tell them that I will be available from 2012 on but I need to take 2011 off to attend to some personal matters. I am sure either of them would understand and be willing to accomodate.

Each and every time I hear a quote from Helmut Marko I cringe. He makes me wonder if RedBull's secret ingredient is vitriol.

Vettel seems like a nice enough guy, sure he has his moments but he is young and I think most people will forgive a F1 driver's passionate outbursts. Hopefully he isn't getting the short end of the stick from Red Bull.

Also, considering the nature of F1's constant rule changes and ban on testing I would think it would behoove a top driver to secure as much salary as possible in lieu of bonuses. There is no guarantee that any team will be on the podium next season. Sure Red Bull seem to have the edge lately, but that could all be different in February. One need only look at the utter dominance of BrawnGP and their subsequent fall as Mercedes. The traditional powerhouses are having a very difficult time with it as well, but where they differ is that they have survived success and failure. Red Bull have only existed in the ascendent, it will be interesting to see how dedicated Austria is once the inevitable happens. The true test of a team is how they handle adversity, how well they can cope without stepping on the podium very often, how they can resurrect and rebuild.


Is Vettel overrated?Is Vettel a better driver than Mark?Yes to both.

I´m not neither a Vettel nor a Red Bull fan.And I say that as a german.

I don´t care what team he drives for.If he wants to measure how good he is,he should come to my team,the best,atleast in my opinion,McLaren.

There he would have the opportunity of racing with and against the greatest racer of all time-Lewis.Did I just refer to Lewis as the greatest racer of all time!? Yes,I just did!

One shouldn´t pay much attention to what Marko says.His comments are nothing but detrimental to Red Bull´s interests.He should keep making statements like this.

Formula One teams come and go,but the racers would always remain in F1.By that I mean Williams,my team (McLaren)and the team that starts with the letter F.Having that word come out of my mouth is a condescension.I despice that team with a passion,and for good reasons.

I hope Red Bull isn´t here to stay.

Can´t wait to see the MP4-26 live in Berlin next friday.

p.s:Though Vettel isn´t my favourite driver,I cried after he won the championship.Someone from a very humble background being crowned the champion of the greatest show on earth.

That must be a fairy tale.


You should have seen his parents and his family when they came to hug him after the TV unilateral interviews in Abu Dhabi..that was some emotion


Hear hear!


Vettel is a proper racer, in spirit at least.

I don't think he is like these football mercenaries, trading shirts for bigger paychecks a la Darren Bent.

I'm sure he is intelligent enough to stay put and enjoy winning in what is currently a top team.

I remember Webber saying he was happy to steal a fastest lap from Vettel who views career stats as the Holy Grail.

For that reason, I really can't see Vettel sitting out one race, let alone one year.


Marko can not speak without belittling Mark Webber.

"The friction between Vettel and Webber would never have happened last year if Vettel had a more reliable car. Without the 66 points he lost due to technical defects, the standoff with Mark Webber would never have occurred,” he said.

What an awful man to have responsibility for 'team' press releases! No wonder Mark feels second best.


Agreed - I was watching the reviews of Barcelona, Monaco, Montreal and Turkey last night. MW had the measure of Vettel at this point of the season. Marko's comments are about ensuring his position in the team, not Vettels

It seems to be forgotten that Turkey was the first sign of equipment favouristism towards Vettel, who was given the rear plates for the whole weekend, MW only got access to them a few minutes before qualy started.

All forgotten after the Silverstone/Front wing incident.

I wonder if Marko's 66 points includes the point SV lost ramming Jenson, or trying to block P2 at the start of British GP and Hockenheim as well.


Every word Marko said there is a fact though? And the truth is insulting to Webber yes, he would be 66 points more behind in the championship if Vettel didn't have those mechanical failures Webber did not have.

Webber wasn't close because he is as good as Vettel, but because he had a more reliable car....and you guys talk about Vettel being favoured, a sceptic would say his car was beuing sabotaged by the team, lol.

I mean seriously, if Webber had all those mechanical problems, while leading that Vettel had, you all would be sayong how the team did it on purpose. But it was Vettel's car and now it's not allowed to be mentioned?


More to the point why did Helmut feel the need to sit down and work it out exactly? I presume he also adjusted MW's points tally had Vettel finished ahead of him bar a mechanical problem. I thought it was a given that Vettel had more of the RB bad luck but to come out and say it just before the start of testing does seem a little calculated.


I agree that what Marko said was accurate. It was just undiplomatic of him to say it, and, as a Red Bull fan, I kind of wish he hadn't. Is there really any need to risk getting those bad feelings between the two of them revved up again before the season even begins?


Please ask anyone with common sense, is mechanical problem only related to luck, but not the driver's input to the car and how hard he pushed? If not, why Button's tyre can stand much longer than Lewis? LOL


I agree Geoff! In addition to your comments, word on the street is that Webber is a right foot driver (ie. Right foot for brakes and gas) where Vettel brakes with his left foot. Apparently this put a lot more stress on the engine, brakes and gearbox. Mechanical issues are therefore more likely to happen to his car.


Agree with you Geoff. Seb's fast, but how many of his mechanical failures are related to him cutting the kerbs, over-cooking his brakes or unecessarily straining his engine going for the fastest lap when he is way out in the lead?

It's too simplistic to say all 66 points were down to bad luck.


“Without the 66 points he lost due to technical defects, the standoff with Mark Webber would never have occurred,”

I don't understand what his logic with that and I certainly don't understand any logic for him saying that publicly other than his usual attempts to undermine Webber. He gets annoyed that people believe there is inequality in the team when he goes around saying things like that? If Horner or Mateschitz had any sense, they'd get him to stop making comments like this because he is just fanning the flames.


Or may be RBR is a different team altogether?Just as much as they allow their drivers to race each other, they also allow their team members to say what they think regardless of political correctness.


Again, he said all facts, why get angry about facts?


I personally think that barring the spark plug fiasco at Bahrain, other mechanical/technical problems suffered during the season by Vettel could potentially be contributed to be Vettel himslef, if only in part.

Some drivers just seem to be harder on their cars than others. Remember Raikonen at Mclaren? He was always breaking them. Mega quick but he hammered them so hard that bits were always falling off. He managed to temper this at Ferrari. Possibly a combination of maturity kicking in and Ferrari having established good reliability during the preceding decade.

Seb is in that mould inmho. He's very young and ultra aggressive. This is illustrated by his wreckless overtaking attempts. However, all these things will iron themselves out with time and then he will be the complete package.

His car sympathy and racecraft are letting him down at the moment. This is exacerbated by Newey's tendancy to design furiously quick but fairly delicate cars. See Raikonen at Mclaren again.

Seb will probably have mastered these arts by now, he certainly seemed to by the end of the season so god help the rest of them next year. I see Seb and Lewis going hammer and tongs all year and Alonso sniffing around to capitalise on their problems/mistakes.

The rest? Well, they're just the rest.


I don't know what Marko's intentions were when he was saying that, but for me personally it's a proof of: (a) inequality in RBR (I remember him once saying something like: if any of the drivers gets preferential treatment it's Webber, because it's Vettel's car that keeps on breaking down, which was absolutely absurd IMO) and (b) Vettel being a petulant (I hate this word as I associate it with fanboys and haters somehow, but I can't find a better one) driver - he's having problems with his car so he'll take it out on Webber and cause some friction within the team.

I don't know if that's a true image, but that's how I understand this statement. For me, as a simple fan, Dr Marko does not do a good job for RBR - quite the opposite.


@Lilla My

(b) How about 'impetuous' ?


If he finishes in top three he must have "a certain amount of points" - I can't really imagine someone scoring less than that and still be up there. I don't think there's any point for Vettel to leave a team that clearly loves him as long as the car is compatitive of course (and I'll be surprised if RBR's not compatitive this year). It's a different story once the team stops building top cars.

And though I too (like John G above) have shivers when I read about Dr Marko (I don't know what's that about him), I have to agree with him on this - joining Ferrari when Alonso is there would be quite risky for Vettel. Of course there are also other teams that can give him a fast car, but from a fan's perspective Red Bull seems the best option for him - at least for the nearest future. If you're in a midfield team and can go to e.g. Ferrari then it's almost obvious you will, but if you're in the current top team then why risking and changing it? I think he should stay at RBR as long as it can provide him a fast car. And that made me wonder about the other side of Vettel's contract that is the team's obligations - would he be free to go if the car isn't fast? E.g. when they don't finish in the top 2 or 3 (or whatever else) of the WCC? Because I would think that has two sides - Vettel would want to race for RBR as it's a top team, but RBR would probably want to keep him as long as possible, so they want to give him a fast car.


The actual line is; scores a certain amount of victories.


Thanks, my mistake! Didn't read it carefully enough ;-). But I stick to the rest of my point though.


And I would agree with you.


I can't think one team, except RedBull, making this kind of declarations against one of his drivers.

"Without the 66 points he lost due to technical defects, the standoff with Mark Webber would never have occurred,”

Saying that is going also against the team, putting Vettel above RedBull interests, and recognizing RedBull responsability in Vettel not wining the title before. Also I don't know how he makes this calculus, I've seen Vettel making many mistakes this year (as usual), none overtake, and showing he can't win if he doesn't starts on pole position.


Go race by race, all other contenders (Webber, Alonso, Hamilton) made more mistakes than Vettel, fact.

And mention one amazing overtaking by Webber or Hamilton this year. You won't find any.


Webber made some excellent passes through the season. He was about the only driver apart from Kubica coming through the back end of the field who overtook in Singapore.

Vettel on the other hand dropped away from Alonso and bided his time rather than pressing hungrily throughout, putting on the pressure that could have ssen the mistakes that Hamilton took advantage of in the last couple of races against Alonso.

To be fair to Vettel, however, there was only one time through the season that he really had any serious traffic to negotiate, which he did pretty well. The further up the field you go, the more closely matched the cars are and the harder it is to pass on the track due to the aerodynamics and turbulent air...


I meant Webber and Alonso (Hamilton did many).


hmmmm.... how about Monaco????


most top drivers like to move around to prove they can do it (win the WDC) with more than one team, or that they can take a runner-up team back into a winning one.... would have thought Seb is no different.... time will tell.


Wow, everytime Marko opens his mouth, he takes a dig at Webber. How much does he hate this man?

Other than that, interesting condition. Top 3 is pretty high, considering that even Ferrari, McLaren and Renualt, the last three champion teams, have had off years. Will Vettel leave as soon as there's a dip in performance? It's hard to build a team around a driver if he's looking to jump at the first available opportunity.

James, any historical parallel that you're aware of?


Marko's comments aside, Red Bull is the future, and he will be heard, considering the team would not exist without him. But Horner, Newey, Vettel, and Webber have created something really special in RBR. If I were Vettel I wouldn't leave Red Bull to go to Ferrari for all the tea in China! Though I do hope Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and RenaultLotusWhogivesa@#$%^#@anymore, do challenge Red Bull more at the front, I have quite enjoyed seeing Red Bull smack all the major players around. Just the shake up F1 needed.


Dr Marko's comments are bad but nothing compared to Montezemolo's about Massa's 2010 season:

"Felipe Massa did not show up for the second half of the season, joking that he sent his brother to race instead.

"He gets a seven minus but he has promised to come back next year.”

I personally dont rate Massa, although he is quick at times he somehow he always looks out of his depth. Mind you with those comments being made about him it would be very hard to maintain self respect.


Firstly, Massa did drive badly in the 2nd half of the year. While it was not called for, it was atleast somewhat true.

Marko's comments given that Webber led Vettel most of the year are rediculos.

2ndly, if anyone was going to give a media blackout it would be Marko given that he is more superior in the team it appears that Horner.


I think Monte's comments are more aimed at letting Massa know that his performance in the back end of the season wasn't good enough, whereas Marko's comments are suggesting/stating that Webber was lucky to be in the fight at all.

I agree with PaulD's comment above. I wonder if Horner could issue a media black out to the team, only allowing himself and the drivers to speak publicly about the team.

As for the contract, we've seen in many other professional sports that contracts cannot stop the contractee from breaking the contract at will. If Vettel sees a better offer, RB will have to let him go whether they want to or not.


Agreed regarding Massa, but public humiliation and ridicule is not good management.


Marko needs to stop belittling Webber. If I remember right Vettel lost more points than any of the top drivers from his own errors (Turkey and Spa come to mind as massive ones).

Interesting that they don't contractually have a driver promised for next season. I'm praying Kimi ends up there, the nature of the RB team suits his laid back style. If he doesn't come back next year though i don't think we'll ever see him again in F1, which is a shame because he is probably the fastest driver i've seen in F1.


Webber seems to drive better when he's angriest so not necessarily a bad thing that Marko is so abrasive. Silverstone was billiant.

Wasn't it Enzo's trick to play off his drivers against each other to get the maximum from them?

I'd love to see another season with Webber pushing Vettel to the limit and the sparks flying. MW has shown he's not afraid of his team management so he's the man for the job.

But isn't the challenge at Red Bull really Newey? He is their real edge and he isn't replaceable. They can't be the "new Ferrari" if their success relies so heavily upon one man.


Wrong, Alonso, Webber and Hamilton lost more points through more mistakes they made than Vettel.

And Vettel lost 3 times more points through mechanical failures than the second runner up , Alonso, who got almost all those points.

In short, if Vettel had the same amount of mechanical failures as the others, and he did lose less points through own mistakes (fact, go race by race), it means he would have been champion before Japan.

The real question is...why are there so many people like you who insist Vettel made most mistakes, while the reality is he made the least mistakes of the top 6. Were you by any chance watching the BBC exclusively for F1 (i.e. Webber Apologist and Lawyer Agency).


Well there was a table that popped up on this blog towards the end of the season and it also did the rounds at the autosport forum which listed each driver mistake in a race which cost them points and Vettel was at the top. I think it was just before Korea; even with Webbers spin he was still behind Vettel.

All i'm saying is that Vettel was driving the most dominant car i've seen since the F2004 and scraped a win, even with mechanical issues. Reminds me of Villeneuve's 97 season.



I am continually comfounded by Marko and his comments.

How can such irresponsible statements be made by a man of authority as Marko is in the Red bull organization.

Surely this has to stop?

Leaving all this aside, what is the background of Marko anyway? Maybe a small piece on Marko, his prior achievements etc.? Would love to read it.


It will not stop he is the MOUTH piece for RB...and I don't mean that in a nice way.


"the friction between Vettel and Webber would never have happened last year if Vettel had a more reliable car," They gave Vettel's 'bad' car to Webber after the Valencia wreck for Silverstone. Then they took the nose off of Mark's car when Seb wrecked his...& Mark, the 2nd driver, still won.


Everyone sing with with me...

Here we go here we go here we goooo

Here we go here we go here we gooo

Here we go, Here we go

Here we go, Here we go

Here we go here we go here we goooooooooooooo!

I see that within the next week both Webber and Vettel do get to drive the new RB7. And not too soon has the Marko clock woken up and started spouting.

Just on the last bit 'this wouldn't have happened if'... Does anyone else see the irony of him say that given that quite a bit of Webber verbal bitch slaps later in the season have been pretty much due entirely to him.

Secondly, RBR are so incredibly full of themselves are it is really starting to erk me. THe wow, Vettel is amazing, the greatest driver in the world and Ferrari want him and so do McLaren, in fact Mercedes are looking to dump 7 time world champion for Vettel he is THAT good. But we aren't going to let him go, unless we can't provide him a brilliant car, because all we want is for the best of him. I would sacrifice my team and not have the best driver if I couldn't give him the best car in the world. Quick, Marko, quick, Dit call Bernie E, I want a rule put in requiring any team with the best car to offer our young (ish) Sebastain Vettel a seat before anything happens. You ehar me?

They love Vettel and wouldn't want to hold him unless they can give him the best car. If team orders are required then thats a no, but he needs to best car. One wonders what would have happened if Alonso won not with the best car but orders.

As an Aussie and a fan of Webber, that is the only reason why I want the RB7 to be any good. And this, less than a week out form the start of testing from a top man IN RBR, not just vettel's (psuedo) manager really does irk mean and piss me right off.


Webber fans talk how Marko (who is on Vettel's group in the team, both drivers have their own group) is taking sides, yet you Webber fans do not see how one-sided your views are.

You actually demand the group that supports Vettel to support Webber, while Webber's group doesn't support Vettel?

How about this: Webber should beat Vettel on the track instead of whining about political nonsense?

Crazy idea, I know!


Marko is the de facto number 2 at Red Bull, which gives him alot more power than anyone on Webber's side of the garage. If Marko was Vettel's engineer then his one-sidedness wouldn't be so unprofessional.


Agree with Nando. Marko is there representing and making decisions in place for ditmcihejhkasjdkas (owner of Red Bull). He has power and influence, if Australia was RBR, then Ditmesa would be the Queen and Marko the Governor-Gernal Quinten Bryce.

No one on Webber's team (who you are yet to name) has the power or influence anywhere near that of Marko.


I wonder if Webber's contract says it's automatically terminated if he finishes in the top three?


I reckon... 2012, Webber to Ferrari, happy to cede to Alonso, nice cash, first Aussie to drive for them in F1 (Tim Schenken drove their sportscars), Kobayashi to Red Bull, Kubica to McLaren, Button to Renault.


2012, either Vettel to Ferrari, yes, alongside Alonso, or 2013 and Ferrari gives Massa another year (assuming he performs better this year) with a contract secured with Vettel for 2013. Both Alonso and Vettel are competitive guys and the "whining" you guys mention is part of being very competitive, and that's a good thing actually. Kubica is another who has a very big chance of going to Ferrari but I don't think he's the image Ferrari is looking for (like Kimi).

Another thing Ferrari might do is bring in one of the guys from Sauber (like what happened with Massa, Barrichello) to play a supporting role to Alonso. Once Alonso retires the cycle begins once again and Vettel might be the one to take his place unless someone better comes along, remember he is still very young.

Next in line for RB are Alguersari, Buemi and Ricciardo. Webber is leaving F1 this year no matter what, he is old and cannot get amazing results unless he is given a car capable of surpassing winning. Better leave when he's on top or very near the top. Kobayashi will never go to RB, remember that Red Bull seem to want to prove that their young driver program works.


Alguersuari or Buemi to Red Bull? I think you have as much chance of getting that drive as they do. And what is it about Kubica's 'image' that would stop him going to Ferrari?


I think they will be ousted; Marko said Ricciardo will have a seat by 2012 'at the latest'. As for Kubica being like Kimi, I imagine Ferrari would love that, ie winning the title in his first year there


Alguersari has made enough progress to be considered, isn't that why he will be at Toro Rosso this year? As well as Buemi? Don't you think they would've been ousted like they did with Bourdais and Speed. They are consistent drivers but sometimes make mistakes, and their car is slower than a bulldog and that's a big point to consider. Ricciardo has not been on the show yet to be able to prove himself worthy of the RB seat, times mean nothing when you're racing a bunch of F1 wannabe rookies and you have the obvious fastest car.

Kubica is too much Kimi for Ferrari, even Kimi likes him. He's an excellent driver, one of the very best and I do hope to see him drive for Ferrari but when you have Vettel and Kubica to choose from, Vettel's image is better for Ferrari. Just what I think.


You are forgetting Daniel Ricciardo waiting in the wings. What money he is in an STR seat by midyear and RBR in 2012?


Good point... although maybe 2012 is too soon for him to be in a top seat. Everyone seems to rate him highly though; Marko, and Frank Williams especially. I don't think there's been two Aussies in F1 at the same time since... Tim Schenken and Larry Perkins, 1973 or thereabouts?


Is it true that Marko picked up his public relations skills when working as a press agent for the catholic church? I can see the similarity. lol


There is so much talk about Marko undermining Webber all the time. What if he simply likes Vettel and doesn't get on that well with Webber?

What's possibly wrong with it?

People should be allowed to have preferences.


In a team? Really? I'm not saying that Marko does have preferences, but it's a bit like a family, where it's not good for team spirit to have favourites.


If you look at harmony as consonance only then yes, it is desirable to be friendly, but dissonance is also harmony and in theory they both work well.

I am afraid it is not possible not to have favourites ,unless one is totally indifferent and Helmut Marko clearly is not. I suppose all top brass of all the teams have their favourites (Ferrari is a good example), they just say nothing or take care not to spill the beans for the reasons you have mentioned. Marko in contrast seems to be less mindful than most in this respect, in other words says what's on his mind.


I don't know many teams have favourites, and when they do they atleast don't say anything and there favourite is there favourite, both drivers are treated equally regardless of who they prefer.

Sauber and Williams and Force India all made decisions based on speed and showed not favourism throughout the year

Mercedes despite Brawns manlove for schumacher isn't is going around saying Rosberg has an advantage for not having left 3 years ago or anything.

Renault, McLaren, Lotus, Virgin and Torro Rosso haven't made any comments (Ironically Marko is aparently incharge there aswell, you wouldn't know it though)

Ferrari does prefer Alonso, but I think it's mstly a speed thing. If Massa did to Alonso what Alonso did to Massa I'm guessing we'd here comments about how Alonso has been there for a year and really eneds to up his game

And HRT seems to despise all there drivers equally

It is just Red Bull and Marko more specifically that can't keep his mouth shut and has to exclaim how brilliant Vettel is at every inconvenient moment. I wonder what would happen if Newey (who seems to recognise that Vettel would be nowhere right now if he hadn't got a hand setting up his car for each race from Uncle Webber for the lost few races) came out exclaiming this fact? He'd create the RB7 and then shot.

Not that Newey would show favouritism.


Added to that Vettel doesn't have a manager and so Marko has been the one to move him from just after he finished with karts right through to Torro Rosso and then into a RBR seat.

It reaks of Briatore and Alonso at Renault a bit doesn't it?

James, do you think that, given Santanders exceptional amount of cash thrown at Ferrari, we will ever see Massa truely being able to contend with Alonso? Paying out the highest paid driver to then pay another the most all before repainting a ferrari has to cost a bit


People look at that, but I don't see a problem. On the flip side Brazil is one of the most important markets for FIAT Nd Santander.


Should also just add a few interesting quotes/expressions by Marko.

“We will not let any top driver go,” - Marko. Webber hasn't exactly been that far behind Vettel either of the two years they are together and yet I haven't heard him wnating Webber to sign on with options for year or two afterwards

Secondly, Marko is refering to Vettel as Sebastian, while Webber is Mark Webber. An interesting juxtaposition you would say not?


I don't like this sort of a performance clause in a contract.

It leaves open the possibility of a driver 'tanking' (not performing to their best) in order to get out of their contract.


That is exactly how I saw it too. If Vettel wants out, he just cruises round.


Unless Adrian newey took the whole winter off, I can't imagine the new RB will be bad.

Although I'd love to see either Lewis or Jenson win given the right car this year, if Seb was to win the WDC again this season, and get locked into 2012 with RB, you could potentially have him going to Ferrari in 2013 (I'm pretty sure hes confident enough to take on Alonso).

It would make me chuckle to see Seb joining Ferrari as a triple world champion. Wonder what Fernando would think of that 😉

To be honest though, RB gives seb a good chance of the top 2 positions for 2011, and 2012, so why would he go before then anyway.

You have the potentially interesting situation at Mercedes to think of (post Schumacher), as I think if Vettel was on the market they would be after him too.

Another great subplot to watch out for anyway.

I'll be interested to see Seb this year, to see if the confidence given to him by winning the WDC will spur him on even more.

There is no doubting his one lap pace.


It wouldn't be F1 without Helmut having a dig at Mark Webber every other week.

As for all this 'We will not let any top driver go' business, if I were Vettel, I'd want to win a second WDC this year with RBR, then move over to Mercedes and win with them.

Think of what that would do for his profile back in Germany! Then in about 2015 he could go to Ferrari for a couple of years.

What really scares me about RBR is how much weight they put on Marko's words, despite his own racing record not really being that impressive (although curtailed by injury I appreciate).

Hopefully Seb can do his talking on the track this year, so Dr M doesn't have to keep coming out with such nonsense to defend his 'golden child'.


My thoughts on this are slightly different. If i were vettel i would'nt be too happy with my team adviser saying that i'd be stupid to go to Ferrari because Alonso is still there. Yes Alonso likes to have the team on his side granted but surely any driver would like to prove themselves against a said top driver. Marko's comments would come across to me that he doesn't believe Vettel would be able to compete with Alonso in same machinery (IMO). Yes if RBR come producing top cars why move, if he can do with RBR what schui done with Ferrari all the best to him. There has to come a point tho that you'd want to pit yourself againt the best drivers in the same machinery to see how you'd fair, all drivers must have the attitude that they could beat all comers in equal circumstances. As i said Marko's comments would seem to me to doubt that.


Gérard Lopez (from Genii Gapital, owners of the Enstone's based team), once told Kubica that racing Alonso at Ferrari would be like trying to win a 100 meters sprint starting 200 meters behind the spanish driver.

Neither Mark nor Gérard "said" that their drivers were weaker (or better) compared to Alonso. They just meant that Fernando is not an easy fellow...or team mate if you wish.

I believe Filipe Massa understood and felt that in a very short period of time, as several others did



They just meant that Fernando is not an easy fellow…or team mate if you wish.

Isn't that the point? Surely you'd want a tougher team mate to proove yourself against. At the very start of a season team mates are equal.

Don't get me wrong i think Alonso is an exellent driver but if Seb went there and could match/ beat Alonso in the first say 6/7 races of a season would Alonso be able to take it?

Life is a challenge, if your not prepared to challenge yourself, then your already losing.


I don't get this. Seems like a strategic blunder from Marko and Red bull(they must have published that article in speedweek). It's a pretty stupid way to treat and motivate their drivers. Webber constantly being told of as second priority, and Vettel being told that the better he performs the more restricted his options are for 2012.
IN THEORY (I don't think that Vettel thinks like that. He just want to win) all Mclaren or Ferrari has to do is to promise Vettel a salary of "schumacherian" proportion. Whoops there goes redbull's chances in 2011.
Way I remember it, driver salaries are'nt subject to the resource restriction agreement, and I bet at least Ferrari can manage a pretty substantial payrise for Vettel.
A bit cynical? But then again when Helmut Marko talks shop like this, that's cynical too.


People can blame Marko all they want for mentioning cold hard facts (which he does, he states the truth about the 66 points, like it or not) but the only reason Vettel beats Webber is because Vettel is the faster driver, end of conversation really. Not because Marko says things in public that makes Webber have a sad moment, lol.

You all forget, RBR is an edgy brand, they love this kind of controversy so you all play into it.

It is quite ironic how many complain how F1 has become stale and politically correct, yet when a team does the opposite of that, and does it succesfully, you all complain even more how they should be more politically correct. That is of course because the one eating it is the driver promoted most by the English speaking media.

I mean seriously, the BBC and British commentators don't even defend and glorify the British drivers as much as they do Webber while they are better drivers too. They even try to hide Webber's amateuristic mistakes through lawyer talk. James, you are guilty of this too. I yet have to read 1 word of critic against Webber by you while he deserved a half a dozen last season, while other drivers just get it. Whenever Webber is mentioned in some way, he is portrayed as the hero.

See, this is the problem when commentators get close friends with drivers and have lunches with them. Bias that then influences the fans opinions, who then literally make up stuff and repeat it so many times, everyone else believes them to be facts (for instance the lie Vettel made more mistakes than the others, while anyone going race by race knows he made the least mistakes of them all).

Webber fans can try to find excuses for everything all they want, it won't make him go faster than Vettel. If talk like this by Marko affects Webber so much he goes slower, he should quit his job. Vettel gets way more bad rep by the media and the fans and he goes even faster because of it...now that is the way to do it instead of whining and demanding his hand to be held.


What Marko says about the defects that Vettel had is true in a way that the tension was the result of that. But he should look at Vettel himself too, Sebastian is not the smoothest of drivers and he might have brought some of the mishaps onto himself...but then again, Helmut is not unbiassed of course!


A contract is only something written on paper which is a basis for future negotiations. Tonio Luizzi had a contract with Force India to race, where is he now. Hamilton had a contract to race for McLaren which was quickly renegotiated for a lot more money when he started to blow people away. Vettel has a contract with Red Bull. If they want him to stay long term, they will renegotiate it ie more money for Vettel better terms, longer tie in for Red Bull, thats the way it goes.

Looking ahead to Vettels next team, too early to tell. All the best drivers try to go to the best team which can deliver wins. If Red Bull and Newey and co can keep on producing winning packages, they can be sure Vettel will stay for the longer term. If Red Bull start slipping up and Ferrari start winning everything, well its a no brainer if they come asking for you.

Ultimately a driver wants to get an F1 drive, then a podium, then a win, then a Championship ( by this time they have enough in the bank not to worry too much about money!), then another Championshio and then leave a record. Vettel has done the first 3, will Red Bull be the team to deliver for hin the last 2, we shall see.


Vettel must not leave RBR, for the sake of fens. Going to Ferrari would create enormous issues with Alonso - we saw that at Maclaren, so it will be for going to the brits - nightmare. Maclaren love their LH and JB, so I don't see any of them leaving in favor of Vettel.


Oh dear, I hope Vettel doesn't join the F-team in the near future.

Fernando's New Goatee

Helmut Marko.

The man is aptly named.


Top three finish in 2011 locks Vettel into Red Bull contract...

James, does that mean if we see Vettel stuff it into a wall during the season for no apparent reason, we should all start thinking a move to Ferrari is on the cards?


Alternatively if it looks like they can't win, perhaps Webber could 'take one for the team.. being him and vettel' and win leaving Vettel free to then demand more money from RBR. Just a thought.....


Vettel would be wise to have have a rider clause in his contract to give him an out if Adrian Newey is no longer employed by Red Bull. Much of the recent success that Red Bull Racing has achieved is attributable to Newey's aerodynamic design prowess, and this advantage will slowly erode over the coming years if the regulations stabilize. Red Bull would be wise to be on the lookout for the next Newey if their success is to continue beyond this current era.


I've heard PDr is close to moving back to mclaren as test driver.
Any credence to that?


I wouldn’t disagree with you that Vettel is generally faster than Webber. Therefore why does Marko feel the need to say anything?

Marko is senior management for ‘Red Bull’ not Vettel. In my opinion he should act in an impartial way and not so blatantly favour one driver. My comment was that basically I believe this is unprofessional and makes Horner’s job more difficult than it already is.

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