Red Bull Racing: Three weeks on
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Apr 2013   |  6:41 pm GMT  |  144 comments

The teams are gathering for the Chinese Grand Prix and inevitably the focus of attention at the start of this weekend will be the Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. But it could move on pretty quickly.

In the run up to the event there have been some messages placed in the media setting out a few markers; there will no longer be team orders as in Malaysia, Red Bull mechanics are celebrating their record 2.05 second pit stop in Sepang and Helmut Marko says he never meant to criticise Mark Webber before the season.

The Sepang incident has been dealt with internally and although Vettel is quoted today as saying he will never apologise for winning, this is not the same as him refusing to apologise for taking the win from Webber; we must remember that he apologised to Webber several times in the post race press conferences in Sepang.

That said, he has also suggested that he was motivated by a feeling that Webber had not helped him out in the past.

As for the famous “Multi 21” team order to hold station at the end of a race, this has now been dropped, according to a statement from Marko in Germany’s Sport Bild. This will no doubt be clarified by team boss Christian Horner over the weekend and he will seek to move on from the crisis, ideally with another pole and win.

After Turkey 2010 there is a strong desire within the team to avoid the drivers colliding on track. There is no love lost between them and that will now be even more the case than before. There is danger here, but the management will have made it clear that there will be repercussions if they make contact with each other. It is fanciful to think that Vettel will do anything to right the wrong to Webber in the short term. He has a title to win and it’s doubtful that Webber would accept a gifted win later should one be offered if the title is sealed early. Those things almost never work out anyway, especially with F1 being more competitive these days.

It’s still early days in the championship but it’s already clear that the Red Bull is a very fast car and once they get on top of their tyre management they will be very hard to beat. The delicate Pirellis are the only thing keeping Lotus, Ferrari and Mercedes in it at the moment and they all know that they will need to find more performance once the Red Bull team cracks the thermal management code.

Malaysia worked out very well for Vettel; his main title rival Fernando Alonso shot himself in the foot in Malaysia by not pitting for a new front wing. This has handed the German an unexpected 22 point lead over Alonso to build on.

Last season Red Bull had to come back from a 40 point deficit in the summer time and did so to win the title. This season they are already on the front foot and it is Ferrari that is now chasing.

So how will Vettel play this weekend? He will no doubt say that he apologised at the time, that he and the team have moved on and now they will race each other to the finish. History tells you that Vettel is likely to be the more consistent performer over the season and they look like the strongest package.

He will be looking to maintain clear air between himself and Alonso for the next few races and knows that once the team cracks the code on the tyres he might be able to go on a run, to build a championship platform.

F1 moves forward so quickly the focus on Vettel and Webber may last only the first day or two of this meeting, but pretty quickly it will move on to the bigger picture of which team has the best package with 50 points up for grabs in the next 10 days.

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Vettel has proved once again, like many other winning F1 pilots before him, that he is a perfect a**hole.

Ferrari & Monty must be laughing like hyenas these days!

Maybe we should all expect a first corner incident at Shanghai with Seb & Mark both ending in the gravel trap just to listen to Horner putting on a brave face and then the always very very smart words of the wise Dr. Helmut.

Team orders? Who, me? No way!


Vettel can forget about Mclaren, Ferrari or Mercedes. Ignoring team orders in these three teams is reason for immediate dismissal on-the-spot, no questions asked. Can you imagine Vettel ignoring Ross Brawn at Mercedes? Or ignoring the Ferrari pit wall? Or ignoring the McLaren boss over the radio? I could see Ron Dennis or Luca di Montezemolo personally fly over to the track that same day to kick his behind out of the team…


Most of the talk is about Silverstone & Malaysia but (without reading every article and comment) I have not seen any mention of last years Chinese GP where Webber overtook SV on the penultimate lap.–-who-was-your-driver-of-the-day/

These are your two links which praise MW (which I agree with – first to flag) but I assumed that early season there were no rules except don’t crash! Was the Chinese GP a no rules race for RBR?

What reminded me of this overtake was when viewing the SV overtake on MW from above, MW was wheel spinning out corner and left extremely long black lines showing his grip level was lower than SV due to the prime tyres being used. I would not normally have noticed this but after last years Chinese GP Ant Davidson showed SVs tyres doing exactly the same due to being so worn. RG was also catching and SV only beat him by 1 sec. Again same question, was China 2012 race a no rules and if not, I can understand why SV would not follow team orders in this race. Last year MW took points off him & this year he is not taking the risk of losing the WDC.

As an aside on the team orders, is it possible that LH & MW used the team order of not racing teammates after the last stop to influence their choice of strategy by opting for the fastest strategy to that point but not necessarily the fastest to the end of the race – as shown by what happened within each team? My opinion is yes.


Young Bull to WIN

Old Bull to DEVELOP the car

Red Bull gives you wings 🙂

young Bull to win

Old bull to develop the car:)


Is RBR management as much to blame as Vettel for what happened in Malaysia? After all, why set different race strategies for each driver, if either of them and their respective teams aren’t able to fully implement them? I don’t agree with what Seb did. However, I can understand him feeling agrieved if he was set a race strategy with which he thought he could win and he wasn’t allowed to fulfil because of a late change to that strategy. Christian Horner may as well say to both drivers at the start of the race: “follow the race strategy until the final pitstop. Then Mark, you are coming first and Seb, you are coming second”.


All this says is they have good management in raising cash….what they need is good engineers and drivers…they let them go over silly personal clashes :))


no team orders I mean 🙂


The hubris of Vettel is frightening, following his recent comments


Red Bull team orders row: Vettel says he would probably do it again

Vettel argued that he had misunderstood the team’s message, yet admitted that even if he had comprehended, his actions would likely not have changed.

Looking forward to this weekend 🙂


Webber/Vettle war! bring it on some real racing by two top drivers that’s what the press didn’t report 2 driver really racing each other for a few turns…the young Bull won the last round, now it’s Webber’s turn to use his brain and experience.

As a Weber fan, (have to be he’s an Aussie – though I love Kimi’s attitude) I think Webber is in a top/best car 5 years too late, but the old bull just might pull something out this year and I like what someone posted earlier Kimi in a Red Bull (if Weber leaves at the end of year…love the idea of a Kimi Red Bull Weber Lotus swap a good way to see out Webber to retirement cause I still think he has that spark for F1 for a couple of years yet….he’s a real racer given the equipment and chance.(though I would love to see him stay with Red Bull I think he’s missed his chance there.

Hate to admit it but Vettle is right in saying he’s payed to win 🙂


‘Last season Red Bull had to come back from a 40 point deficit in the summer time and did so to win the title. This season they are already on the front foot and it is Ferrari that is now chasing.’

Bit early, no?

We’re only two races in. That lead could be wiped out by Sunday.


James, did you see Stefano’s comments regarding Vettel? He refused to criticise him for disobeying team orders, basically saying that Vettel is the better driver (than Webber) and that’s all that matters. I don’t get it. That would have been a perfect opportunity to put some extra pressure on Vettel, but instead, he praised him. I find it odd. Unless Vettel really has a contract with Ferrari. What do you think?


He’s thinking about when he would be negotiating with Vettel to come drive at Ferrari, doesn’t wanna pull a Hamilton “Redbull is just a drinks company” and later asking for a drive there.


Enzo would wake from his grave!

Certainly not the type of driver he’d want in his team.


A guy that puts himself above the team is what Enzo want? Don’t think so.


Obiviously you don’t have a clue about the man called Enzo Ferrari as Vettel is exactly the kind of guy he would want in his team, a man who cares not about a drivers as long as his cars win, he sold cars just to fund his racing read a bit about the man.

Also Enzo would never have some like Alonso driving on his team he cares about winners not people who see themselves and his cars as underdogs


Vettel is halfway in. Probably not 2014 but definitely 2015. And Alonso can choose to stay and fight against the guy he tries to diminish with words or flee like a samurai that knows he will be beaten? Lol.

Kamui will be alongside Vettel if Alonso leaves.

In other news, the lottery numbers are 14 55 28 94 23 45 😉


Et tu James,

Surely the teams have 86 points available in the next 10 days. I do believe their first priority is WCC………


It will be very interesting to see what Mark has to say.

It will also be interesting to see how Red Bull avoid McLaren 2007


No team orders. This make sme think MW will havesome car problems.


As a RedBull and Vettel fan, I was only disappointed at RedBull at the last race. I clearly remember 2010, last race, when RedBull clearly stated that they will not use team orders and the drivers should race to win. If that meant that Ferrari would then take that win, well thats racing. But as we know Vettel took it.

So I was happy when Vettel raced for victory

Was disappointed with RedBulls call

So now when RedBull says NO team orders, they basically go back to what they where doing before winning to much.


+1 for that… I have to admit that what James said on the article about redbull going to be dominant once they figure out the tyres is depressing.


I read: ” Once RBR will learn how to manage the tires…”
They may not be able to keep the theoretical speed advantage on order to be gentle on the tires.


Alex Werz said it right. When Seb was asking for Mark to move over because he was too slow, Mark was cruising, conserving tyres. Mark then pulled a 5sec gap. After the last pit stop regardles of the tyres or strategy they both had enough to make it to the end even after the fight wheel to wheel. So why the team orders??? Because Mark was on good pace and the team knew Seb could only pass that way. [mod]


So, “No team orders”. Does that mean more conservative fuelling and tire management to allow them to push for the whole race? Does that mean split strategies so that the drivers are less likely to be near each other on the circuit? It’s easy to say but hard to follow. The whole point of team orders is to ensure the maximum possible points for the least amount of risk. Do they really trust their win-at-all-costs drivers not to bin it in a tangle? Next time they are side-by-side into a corner Webber has nothing to lose by pushing Seb off into the grass.


Two Red Bull drivers crashing into each other fighting for the lead of the race? That would never happen would it? 😉

What you say is quite right, if Red Bull really stick to this it could cost them. On the other hand, if they avoid crashing into each other, running out of fuel or tyres, or costing each other WDC positions over the rest of the year then maybe we’ll find team orders are not so important, and more teams will follow the example.


Ok, let’s first get this out of the way – SV is one of two individuals with a reasonable claim to being the best active F1 driver (sorry Oz, MW is not the other).

That said, it is curious how much greater the performance gap was between SV and MW in 2011 vs the year before and the one after. Even more so when one considers that FIA caught RBR on the engine mapping issue last year.

So conspiracy-minded individuals might wonder if RBR actually perfected the art in 2011 and knowing they had a car far superior to any other on the grid they could afford to take a 1/10th off the pace of Mark’s car to lessen the chances of an inter-team WDC fight while still allowing the team to easily win the WCC.

For those expecting to see no-holds-barred wheel-to-wheel racing between the RBR drivers, don’t hold your breath. They’ve probably already figured out that targeting P1 to P2 race fimishes for one driver and P5 to P6 for the other, with plenty of tarmac between the two, affords them the best shot at the 2013 WCC.

I would’t expect to see any further mapping monkey business or a further increase in the disparity in KERS failures but some mysterious force will arise to keep these drivers apart. I would bet the farm if I had one.


I had little time for Red Bull before Malaysia and very little respect for them after. Despite having the best car in the field & those who have seen & heard it live can understand why- it’s a very precise weapon, every gear change is laser sharp and the handling no different.

Which clearly make it the favourite for the CC but 2 “opposed”team mates will make the races ahead very interesting – it would be interesting to find out what sanctions RBR will have if a driver takes out his team mate.

I always really questioned people’s perception of what a ” nice grounded intelligent guy Seb is ” and when he said “oh get Mark out of the way ..he’s too slow” he showed me what a goose he was because Mark was pulling away at 1/2 sec a lap at the time. Seb may very well go on ‘ win his forth title but like idle MS – I will never hold in the same regard as the greats because they are not sporting people and never will be . I’m not a fan of Mark Webber so dont think that has played into my reasoning. It just goes to show you could have best designers, engineers, biggest budget, top drivers, most success – are you the best team- not really no !- you need good management and good ethics- something which Red Bull just don’t have and don’t breed.


Good comments. Its the old staying…’they could have had it all’ can only wonder how it would have panned out if a certain R.Dennis was the boss. I think Horner just tries to please too many and gets himself into a corner. Mind you he still has 3 WCC to his credit.


What on earth has good ethics got to do with motor racing?


Since RB remains the benchmark car, I think they will be ready to switch to 2013 development soon. Because they need to. Based on those articles I’ve read here at JA and a few others Mercedes might be the team to beat.

So, Adrian Newey will have to continue his genius in refining the aero package to fit the new power-unit. With fuel efficiency and different cooling requirements, fitting this new aero package will be a tough challenge.

BTW, thank you for this article James Allen. I’m really glad that you did not follow other journalist in the Vettel’s ‘I will not apologize for winning’ theme. Instead, you’ve given us a very nice article for thought and discussion.

Tornillo Amarillo

Did you see Webber start in Malaysia?

I think he’s going determined for the Championship, his last chance!

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