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Webber: Suggestions he backed up Monaco field to help Vettel “absolute rubbish”
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 May 2012   |  11:31 am GMT  |  75 comments

Monaco GP winner Mark Webber says that suggestions he was playing team tactical games in Sunday’s Grand Prix, backing the pack up to give team mate Sebastian Vettel a chance to get a podium are wide of the mark.

The Aussie’s pace on new soft tyres in the period around laps 31-35, after he and the leading trio had pitted, was slow. And this led to speculation that he was deliberately backing Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa up, to give Vettel, who stayed out another soft tyres to build enough of a lead to jump them at his stop on lap 45.

Vettel gained about 7 seconds through this period and was able to jump Massa and Hamilton, but on lap 38 Webber had begun picking up the pace and so there was no question of Vettel getting a podium.

Problems warming up the new soft tyres were blamed on this dip in pace at a crucial time, but some rival teams and commentators are convinced Webber was doing a job for Vettel.

Webber strenously denies it in his BBC Sport Online Column today,

“(It) is absolute rubbish. You just cannot be that fancy around Monaco, ” Webber writes. “Ultimately, Seb ran out of tyres and he had to pit because the rest of us started to go quicker, but if they’d kept going he would have been pushing for the win.

“If we had been trying anything on, I could have been even cuter. I cleared Seb by quite a lot. If I’d wanted to slide him in among other people, I could have slowed down and it would have been even better for the team. But it just wasn’t part of the plan.

“The problem with trying to do that would be that you’re exposing yourself to even more pressure from the guys behind – Nico and Fernando in this case. And then the boys in the pits might mess up Seb’s stop and it would all be for nothing.

“You always get bitten on the bum when you get fancy. So you just don’t try.”

To get the latest F1 news and reaction to Monaco GP click HERE

For the full Webber column read HERE

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If there is one persons comments that you would believe in the F1 Paddock that would be MW. No driver has the front Mark clearly does.

If he is lying his body language is that obvious we wouldn’t need commentary to work out for ourselves what’s going on and he blatantly shows his feelings.

The others drivers well they are game players and to me that makes them kind of incomplete people. Kimi would be closest to marks personality in regards to telling it how it is.

Brett Williams

James, I remember something you wrote previously that during the 2010 season as RBR were developing the exhaust-blown diffuser, a change was made that seemed to benefit Vettel as the season progressed. From what I recall it had something to do with automating the throttle-delivery when the car would not normally be under power (ie mid-corner). Accordingly it was suggested that the difference between the two drivers was that Mark had better raw control of the throttle and hence better control of the blown diffuser in its early stages however when it was improved to allow the car to control that automatically, Sebastian was able to make the most of his better raw pace.

Now that the blown diffuser is banned in 2012 do you think this has been a big factor in leveling the playing field for the two RBR drivers, when compared to the 2011 season?


What’s your view James? can’t imagine Webber would be interested in helping Vettel that much given the fact Vettel could have backed the pack up a few times last year to help Webber’s races.

BTW James off topic was wondering if next time you see him you can ask Barrichello to write a book based on his time at Ferrari? Given the history, politics, team orders anc characters involved would make a good read plus I feel that we the viewers only ever got snapshots (Austria 2002) in what went on. I imagine there a few more stories there. So maybe just suggest it to him 😛


1. It’s an interesting one. Some of the engineers from other teams say it’s not in doubt that’s what was happening. Look at Rosberg’s 1m 19s lap on new softs, warm up was not that big an issue. But what’s odd is where it stopped and the Webber train started closing the gap again. If it was deliberate, then why do that?

2. When I wrote the Edge of Greatness on Schumacher, Rubens told me a lot but said that there were some things he would save for his own book. He then said to me last summer that he was writing a book while travelling to and from races. That’s the last I heard of it


1. It could be that Mark was worried about the gap being just a little too big and wanted to make sure that he was the one upfront. Still do not really believe Mark would do such a thing.

2. Good to hear hopefully he writes something. Rubens always seemed to have a big heart and at times wore it on his sleeve (his post race interview at Germany 2009). Plus I think for sure there are alot of stories that would shed an interesting light on not just Schumacher but in the inner workings of Championship winning team and how ruthless it can be but would argue has to be. I still remember your stunned reaction to the switch at Austria 2002, on a scale of 1 to 10 James how amazed were you that they did that?


Gee I must have imagined the radio comment; ok you can speed up now.


You don’t think it could have been you have saved enough fuel or your tyres are up to temp you can speed up. If they really wanted to they could have come 1 – 2. Team orders are allowed do they have no reason to hide it. Also why would Webber give Vettel points? He is one of his main rivals for the championship.


I wouldn’t be. When the commentators first mentioned this as a possibility, I was mentally applauding RBR for being brave and audacious to try something like this.

Like it or not, the teams are paid by F1 based on their finishing position in the Constructor’s World Championship.

F1 is a team game (for me anyway, outside of the so-easy-for-the-“media-to-hype Driver’s World Championship) and something like this is part of the sport.

It does make me wonder though – the fans that don’t like teamwork/teamplay, and are vociferous in their desire to see “fair racing” – do they have the same aversion to the team game that is very evident in professional cycling, a la the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia?


Benefit of the doubt to Red Bull there, but any other front-running team would’ve done what is suggested no question.

I think we can blame the tyre situation this year. I suggest we go back to last years tyres. There were less complaints from both drivers and fans, and remember last years championsip was only boring because Vettel ran away with it due to getting the most from the blown diffuser. That’s gone now and look…we have 6 different winners from 6 races.

So for me, last years tyres and no blown-diffusers.


I am still waiting for him to mention the “rough end of the pineapple”.


Hmm. Don’t think Webber would deny it that directly if it was true (and can’t see a reason for the team to deny it, either).

However, that radio radio message from his engineer telling him the gap to Vettel was good and Mark could speed up again could be read either way – either that Vettel wasn’t a threat, or that Vettel now had the gap he needed on Hamilton.


I believe Webber and this is why I say he is a selfish person and not a team player. But then I guess you need to be selfish in this sport.

Vettel has beaten Webber three consecutive years without any help and it will happen again this year. Webber should know that if it wasn’t for Vettel’s generosity, Webber wouldn’t have won a race in 2011!


Without any help? Wow that’s rich.


You honestly think that Vettel, the man who always asks what is the fastest lap near the end of the race so he can add to his stats would give away a win? I think not!


Yeh, cause Vettels a team player right !


“Mark, Seb is slower than you. Do you understand?”


Tornillo Amarillo

Yes he was holding them, but just for a few laps because he wanted to win, I think he explained he watch Nico, then he was informed about Vettel’s gap, and then he speed up and watch Nico again.

I think the rules say something about it, James is it ilegal to hold other drivers?

I guess is it ilegal to crash to help your team (Renault “crashgate”).


i cannot imagine a sportsman in the world

who’s forth-rightness i’d weigh over Marks!

stand-up chap in every way.


Also a lot of fans are repulsed by such overt manipulation of race results (unless it is towards the end season and for the championship). These fans want to believe they are seeing a fair contest between all drivers and not a team ‘unfairly’ manipulating the result.


They obviously werent playing games. The gaps were so tight behind Mark and anything couldve happened to him when Seb eventuallly pitted, i.e. stuck behind backmarkers, an incident… which would’ve lead to gifting the win to Seb. So yeah, too risky to play and I’m glad Mark spoke up. Puts an end to the ‘conspiracies’ 🙂


What a load of Bull ! Mark even suggested he did during the post race press conference .Why is he back tracking on that now.


“We were all trying to get temperature and at the start of the stint I had very, very low front grip and I had to manage that and move the brake balance around and things like that trying to get everything organised, and [I was] managing Nico and everyone else. But also, Seb’s going ‘Hmmm, this is interesting’, so I didn’t want him to get the magic 21 seconds, to make sure he couldn’t do the stop and get the victory – that wasn’t part of the plan. “

When did Mark suggest he helped Vettel? There is nothing he backtracked.


Listen to the whole interview -not just snippets then you will understand..At the end when Seb was making ground Mark had to put the foot down or risk his position. I have absolutely no problem with his action. But Mark did get cute with his comments no two ways about it!.. I mean which team wouldn’t do what RBR did if they could. But there’s only one straight talker in F1-that’s Kim Raikkonen that’s for sure.!


He did?


He said that “it wasn’t part of the plan” & never mentioned about purposely holding up the pack. Not sure what you are refering to???


Elie Your hearing must be defective go back and have another listen he definately said it was not in the plan who cares anyway?


This is just so Mark Webber: “You always get bitten on the bum when you get fancy.”

Love him or not, here is someone that still says it as it is. I really hope he stays in F1 for many years but someone of his calibre will have a future in F1 and other levels of motorsport for many years to come..!


Hi James,

A bit off topic, but I thought I’d bring this to everyone’s attention (not really sure how else to do it):

Ppl worried about Bahrain, but Montreal might actual be a but more of an issue when push comes to shove.

Justin Bieber

The GP will be fine, the student are negotiating with the government right now. It seems that the GP and all the summer festivals approaching has softened the government stance.

As for Anonymous, they are threatening to hack the GP website. Even if they do, it will a minor inconvenience at worst.

Can’t wait for the race!


The students have been negotiating with the govt for months now. But the problem isn’t the fees anymore, it’s Bill 78. I don’t think they are going away any time soon.

The vast majority of fans get to the race on the metro, and the protesters have already shown us how easy it is to close the subways for hours with a few tiny smoke bombs.

The Anonymous hack is inconveniencing to say the least, unless you bought your tickets online and now how your credit care info dumped on the web. Anyone buy their tickets any other way?




Webber ain’t one that’d play this kind of tactical game. Nor does Vettel need this kind of help, he’s had enough babysitting for the past 2 years already and it’s time he race like a man.


What are you on about with “babysitting”? The rumours are nonsense, and Vettel doesn’t need this sort of help because he’s perfectly capable of winning races by himself- that’s why he has 22 of them.


Mind telling us where these “suggestions” are coming from?


Sky, other teams…


Oh well, SKY………That’s it then.


That was the theme of post race interviews with SV etc


MW was very conservative on his tyres in the first stint.

It wasn’t a surprise to see him conservative during the second stint.

I think he would have driven the same if it was another car in the lead (aiming for net position of P4)


Agree, it seemed a bit of an unlikely suggestion that he would do that. Also, it’s not like the guys behind were on his rear wing. Through most of that perios, they were more than 1.5 seconds behind.

Anyway, it’s nice to see people talking about Webber going to Ferrari now rather than last year when he seemed to be in a Massa-like ditch of performance compared to Vettel.


I think Webber is the LAST person on earth that would want to help the teammate who has burried him for 2 titles in a row. Mark seems very competative to me and knows Seb is his biggest competition. Mark had those cars on his bumper most of the second half of the race so i see no conspiracy here at all


To be fair, Vettel only led the 2010 WDC after the last race finished. I wouldn’t say he buried him..

Douglas Cloak

Well said. 2010 could of gone either way. If anything Mark deserved to win it more than Seb did, but try telling that to an organisation who has invested so much money in bringing him up through the ranks as a Red Bull junior. Seb is the companys golden boy & for all the funds they have invested in him over the years the company needed a return. The fact that Webber still nearly won it is a credit to the Aussie battler.


“If anything Mark deserved to win it more than Seb did”

Absolutely not. Vettel had the lion’s share of the misfortune and mechanical issues in 2010, most notably at Bahrain, Australia and Korea. This denied him the solid start to the season his performances had merited, and almost devastated him right at the end, too.

The fact that Seb still came through to beat Mark with a faultless run of races when it mattered most is a credit to the one with the index finger.


The conspiracy theorist in me wonders whether the team asked him to ‘save fuel. save lots of fuel’ during that phase of the race, and he did just that until he realised what was going on.

Webber sounded very subdued when he got on the radio after taking the flag. Sort of ‘yeah, thanks guys’ and not much more.


Mark is a straight talker I feel and his article and reasons for not backing up make sense.

Nothing to see here.


It was pretty obvious Mark wasn’t backing the field up. Rosberg, Alonso, Hamilton and Massa weren’t crawling all over his gearbox at that point. They were maintaining position.

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