F1 Winter Break
Mark Webber feels three-stop strategy switch was a mistake
Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Oct 2013   |  1:33 pm GMT  |  235 comments

Red Bull’s Mark Webber feels the decision to switch to a three-stop strategy in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix was a mistake.

The Australian, who is leaving the sport at the end of the year to race for Porsche in sportscars, was running second behind the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, after a slow getaway from pole, when the call was made.

As a result, the 37-year-old had to do one more stop than Grosjean and race winner Sebastian Vettel – which surprised the Australian.

Webber said: “After that first stop the guys said ‘We’re still on two [stops] – no problem, look after the tyres, we can get to the target lap’. That was the plan, I was looking to wait off the back of Romain and then squeeze up to the back of him between lap 28-31 or 32.

“Then I think on lap 25 the guys said we’re going to three-stop, which is five laps shorter than the two-stop anyway. I asked the guys ‘Are you sure this is right?’ And they said ‘Yes, we’re going to give it a go’, and we gave it a go; you’ve got to give it 100%.”

The third stop left him with fresher softer tyres in the final stint but lost time when he was unable to pass Grosjean for second. Once he got through, he didn’t have enough laps left to chase down leader Vettel.

Webber, who has scored five podiums this season, said he didn’t ask to overrule the team’s decision because he trusted that they were making the right call based on the data available to them.

“I don’t have the whole chess match in front of me,” he said. “I have what’s in front of me here, I thought that Romain was strong on the option but not so strong on the prime. When I decided to pull the pin and go straight on the back of him I could do that quite straight-forward.

“Then I went there and thought ‘OK let’s wait again, we can still sit on the two-stop and wait for him to have some tyre problems at the end’ but they then said ‘No, we need to pit now, let’s go for the three’. They had more information, they always generally do in front of them and that was it.”

After the “Multi 21” fiasco in Malaysia this year, where Vettel ignored team orders and passed Webber for the win, many observers are on red alert for signs of Red Bull favouring their lead driver over the Australian. And plenty of fans see conspiracy in every move.

Having taken pole position on Saturday, albeit with Vettel suffering from a loss of KERS at a key moment, he was confident that the two drivers would be allowed to race each other on Sunday. Neither made a good start and Grosjean took the lead. So Red Bull was thinking about how to attack Grosjean and that dictated strategy from there.

Horner said it was a combination of Webber’s heavier use of the tyres in the first stint and the delay in getting past Grosjean in the final stint which ended his hopes of winning the race.

Horner said: “The key aspect was obviously the first stint. We went in to the race hoping and thinking it would be marginal for a two-stop but we believed that probably in clear air we could do that. I think the first stint dictated everything for us when Mark put Grosjean under quite a lot of pressure and went through the tyre phases pretty quickly to the point that he’d run out of tyres by the lap he pitted on.

“That was pretty early in the race, which was too short for us in our own minds to make a two-stop really work because you’d effectively run out of tyres in that last stint.

“So as the race opened up for Mark and [Toro Rosso’s Daniel] Ricciardo held the rest of the field back, some clear track space opened up. While Sebastian was able to do the opposite, Grosjean pitted to cover Mark and Sebastian was able in clear air to run at a very quick pace having conserved his tyres.

“That happened again during the second stint and as the gap opened up for Mark effectively it was a free stop. We felt that was the best way to attack and pass Grosjean with Mark and do the opposite with Sebastian. Of course that then puts Lotus in a very difficult decision because which car do they cover?

“Effectively you’ve got a bit of a chess game going on strategically, but with the benefit of clear air Mark was able to run a very quick pace. Sebastian, having conserved his tyres, went about five laps longer than we expected him to, so when Sebastian pitted and came out behind Grosjean he used those tyres incredibly well to pass him very quickly.

“He closed on him and passed him immediately with a very brave move down the pit straight – and then knew that he was effectively racing Mark who was going to be on a different strategy and a softer, quicker tyre at the end of the grand prix.

“When Mark pitted, I think with 10 or 11 laps to go, and went on to the softer tyre, obviously he closed in on Grosjean pretty quickly but then came across a bit of traffic and unfortunately didn’t go past Grosjean too quickly and that killed off any chance he had of winning the race. But it was great to see him make the move on Grosjean and obviously fantastic for the team to get a one-two finish.”

Is Webber correct? Watch out for our UBS Race Strategy Report tomorrow, for analysis of Red Bull’s split strategy decision

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Red Bull scored a 1-2 with the guy heading the championship finishing 1st. There was no mistake in the strategy.

Great Job.



Red Bull got the driver they wanted to win on the first step of the podium. Sorry MW, you are still the second driver at Red Bull, since they knew you'd fight SV all the way they switched strategy.

I wish I could like Red Bull and SV, it would be nice to support a winning team for a change.



If Webber had stayed on 2 stops the result could have been: RG, SV, MV (with Vettel cruising past a MW struggling on towards the end)

If Webber had stayed on 2 stops and SV switched to 3, the result could have been: SV RG MW (with SV driving past both on his fresher and quicker tyres)

With Webber on 3 stops - RB achieved a 1-2.


Yep, a very Pro job from the team!

You could see from the post quali interview with Mr. Horner that the wrong man was on pole. I've never seen such a glum expression on a team boss who's got a front row lockout!

Strangely on Sunday his smile seemed to return when talking about his prodigal son on the top step!

C'mon RBR, if you won't let Seb. race his team mate fair and square with the same strat, how are people going to see what a talented driver Seb. really is?

I thought the way Seb overtook RG was inspired but his victory was made to look hollow by underhand tactics.


Exactly . But let's not forget, that Seb lost his Super power on Q3. His Hybrid TC went away when KERS failed, without it, he is just like another Driver, not a 2.5 sec a lap faster 😉




Correct strategy indeed ..... BUT they should not be surprised when Vettel is booed and heckled the next time he is on the pondium.

This was pathetic from RBR... especially after the fiasco in Malaysia.


"Correct strategy indeed ….. BUT they should not be surprised when Vettel is booed and heckled the next time he is on the pondium."

Typical football watching ignorance...


SKY UK produced an interesting piece on why fans seem to have negative feelings towards Seb in Sunday's race coverage.

There was the usual Social Media / Fan engagement piece, but more relevant in my opinion was Red Bull's acknowledgement, though Christian Horner, that the team responded to negative press about being a fun team by becoming serious and now they're criticised for being single minded. As team leader Vettel bares the brunt of the criticism.

A return of the Red Bulletin at GP's coupled with fan engagement at the track would have a huge impact on those fans that feel the need to boo at race post race.

When you consider Red Bull's approach to other sports compared to F1, they take the sport very seriously, the marketing team should bring some joy back to the fans. take 5% of the prize fund for winning in 2013 and spend it on track events for fans.

Fans need to feel an affinity to the team they want to support, that's not possible with RBR today.


Right strategy for a Vettel win yes. Use Webber to lure Grosjean into the pits early, then get him out of the way too. Use next years driver in the sister team to hold up the rest of the pack. If the championship was close then yes it was probably the right thing to do.

However unless RBR are expecting Vettel to fall ill for the rest of the year, and Ferrari to suddenly find another half second pace, they didn't need Vettel to come first. It wasn't really a fair strategy for Webber. If Webber had known earlier he was on a three stop, he could have pushed Grosjean harder in the second stint and therefore may have passed him earlier at the end, especially as Grosjean was low on fuel. (He stopped at the end of the pitlane at the end).

I feel sorry for Ricciardo, it doesn't look like he is going to have a hope of a fair chance at the championship next year.


Ricciardo has no chance anyway, vettel will demolish him


@ Petem. Nope, been watching since the late 90's. It is quite obvious from your comment that you don't really rate Vettel. What exactly has Ricciardo shown us to suggest Vettel won't wipe the floor with him..? Mark Webber is a good driver and look what is happening. Ricciardo might not even be as good as Webber.


It's quite obvious from that comment your new to Motorspor NickH. Welcome. Hope you get as much entertainment from it as we do.


In your opinion..

Why not just wait and see.


Webber's tyres in the first stint was shot by lap 9, Seb whilst having fuel and tyre saving duties still were just right behind him, even when Webber's told to close up on Grosjean he couldn't do it, all these excuses and digs at Seb is predictable and unfounded, Mark would have been lamb to the slaughter if he went for a 2 stop strategy judging by that first stint, and Grosjean would probably have beaten him, these bitter comments are just exactly what fuels Seb's motivation, keep it up even though all the haters know in their heart who is the best and as a person there's nothing wrong with Seb thats why these so called fans are actually discraceful, Webber is a sore loser thats just not quick enough or smart enough, its just unfortunate for him Seb exists, a younger, better, faster and a more genuine person, with Mark's attitude if I was Horner he would have been long gone and I would have bought in Hamilton.


It's so good to see the same ol Vet fans cutting and pasting their mantra's in the one spot. Legitimacy shouldn't need to be shouted for....


Tyres shot by lap nine??? when, if at all, will they provide tyres that will enable the drivers to RACE, instead of having to hold back, with the pit stop strategies deciding who can win? This situation makes a farce of formula one. Hopefully, sanity may rear its head at some point, and someone in a position of authority will say 'Hey, I've got a good idea. Let's put some decent tyres on these things, and let these guys actually RACE!!!


"Use Webber to lure Grosjean into the pits early"

Except that is not what happened, is it? Webber made his first pit stop when he had to for himself, not as part of some massively complex strategic plan to help Vettel. Grosjean made his when he had to, not in response to Webber.


Actually Webber first stop was premature, he was catching GRO not the other way around, he could have bother GRO for a long time maybe even overtake him and go away with his 2 pit stop.

Jonathan is right, was all a big plot. Coming from RBR no surprise really. Manipulating the race when they have over 70 points advantage is just pathetic. They learnt well from ferrari i give you that much


Agreed. Red Bull aren't in it for love.


I agree. The 1-2 finish was all but guaranteed. Even Lotus didn't seem to think Grojean could finish better than 3rd.

By switching Mark onto a 3-stop strategy they just switched the positions of the two Red Bull cars. Had they asked Mark to pull over he wouldn't have done so, but this way they got Seb in front without having to worry about Mark being compliant.


Webber would have had no chance to overtake Gro without the newer tires due to the 3-stop.

Where should a miraculous tire advantage for Webber come from in a 2-stop? Gro would always have stopped one lap after Web.

There were 3 possibilities:

-Vet and Web an 2-stop: Gro 1, Web 2, Vet 3. Maybe Vet 2 and Web 3 because of a longer second stint and tire advantage for Vet.

-Vet on 3-stop: Vet 1, Gro 2, Web 3

-Web on 3-stop.

Guess what was best for RedBull.


All this confirms one thing; that the tyres that fell off Mark's car when he was in a position to overtake Vettel didn't just happen by accident. It was part of RB's strategy to favour golden boy


If it had been Vettel on 3 stops and he probably would have won then these 'fans' would be calling unfair amount of fresh tyres for Seb and say exactly the same thing, Webber failed then cries to the media and these 'fans' and english speaking media are just saying the most predictable things they could say, Webber is useless Grosjean had him beat on a 2 stop strategy and that was Mark's maximum from a weekend, Seb is just so much better, just give him some credit instead of this tiring propaganda all the time, if there's ever stitch ups its happening to Rosberg at Mercedes and Ferrari to Massa, I don't see anyone mentioning those things and yet when Vettel wipes the floor with one of the top 3 fastest driver in F1 all sorts of excuses come out, its getting pathetic.


Correct. To the point.


As for strategy, I feel the lead car in the race was compromised and used as bait for the Lutos allowing Vettle to do what he does best. I know this is cruel but for his last season I was thinking Mark would at least win this race..the bad luck continues.


Bad luck? He was on pole and screwed up the start once again. He failed in Korea 2010. Look at China 2013, how he tried a Vettel a la Abu Dhabi. Webber crashed and got penalized after the race for the Bahrain GP.

There he couldn't overtake Massa and his broken front wing on the track, while Vettel passed Alonso and Rosberg within the first three laps. Yesterday Webber couldn't overtake Grosjean for many laps, once he pressed the DRS button too early. WOW what kind of bad luck is this...

Webber always plays the victim card, because he knows he isn't as quick as Vettel. And "special" people believe him, no matter what he did in the past.

Look at the Fuji race, where Vettel crashed into his car and Webber said something like: Kids shouldn't be allowed to drive in F1. After the race there was proof it wasn't Vettel's fault and now this "kid" is beating him since 2008 for straight six years.

RBR should have fired him after Brazil 2012, but I think Didi said no. Webber is very lucky to have the owner as a fan.


Webber tries all he can to tarnish Seb's reputation because he's so bitter its unbelievable, and the booing? It started before multi 21 in Australia so its all the nonsense Webber fuels the media, its alright though I enjoy it everytime he fails big time all these predictable nonse comes out.


I'm glad you spoke out about him. Webber is a talented actor, more talented than being a driver anyway.

I have no idea that there is evidence that Vettel was not at fault in Fuji.

I think there is a logical reason why Webber is kept in RB. He knows too much about the team. Horner is only willing to let him go because he is going out of F1. It might be a huge risk for him to be driving for another F1 team.

Signing Ricciardo might even be one of the demands of Webber, who knows?.. Ricciardo isn't THAT special.


JB-Vettel was given a 10 place grid penalty after Fuji, but then a fan video showed up showing Hamilton did a brake test. The penalty was lifted. Google could probably fill in the rest.


Hamilton's erratic breaking behind the safety car was a major contribution to that incident. Webber was hugely critical of his behaviour. It isn't clear whether his ITV interview was directed at Vettel or Hamilton either.


Calm down! When I meant to say bad luck Im sure you notice in all your statistical approach that Mark Webber is just unlucky, if the Redbull has a fault then generally it will be on his car...unless you dont notice the gear box failure, KERS issues, breking legs in pre season etc! Eeven commentators always say if Mark had no bad luck he wouldn't have any luck at all.

I still believe the moves were orchestrated to lure Lotus so the Champ can have his trophy. Unless you fail to see beyond strategy.

Also please refer to this article so you know what we are really talking about. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24514661

Also we all know the repercussions if Mark was fired, Vettle is still feeling the heat of the Multi 21 effects. I like the Kid and I feel his a worthy Champ. Hence why they need to team him up with a yes boss driver who will follow Vettle's orders and not challenge the team..So Kimi, Alonso, Lewis wouldn't work for sure. Lets hope RBR doesnt turn out to be what Ferrari is with Alonso and Massa...jokes!


Dear D@X

Calm down u say?? This is outrageous man! now come on why would a team spend millions to sabotage a car..Webber was driving for Redbull did he win ?? who won the first race for Redbull? Who beat the Newey desgined Redbull in a Tororosso in 2008? who is the youngest to score a point(In a SAUBER) ? win a race (in a tororosso)? win WDC (in a Redbull) ?(with 3 different teams)answer is vettel. he doesnt need to prrove against a crybaby like webber ..why do u forget brazil 2012 and silverstone 2011 (where british press praised him like a rebel hero) and just remember malayesia?? come on agree you cant digest his success..just because he is a german??nobody in history of any sports gets this sort of criticism for winning as this guy gets.You may not praise him if you dont think he is as good as u r favorite but atleast he shouldnt be criticized.. vettel and webber are in redbull since 2009 and the stats show who is better ok ?Redbull neednt sabotage webbers race to make vettel look better.

Of all the drivers who u r not speaking against compare them with vettel and the no of racing and non-racing incedents .Vettel has the least and also he doesnt advertises his pet dog or girl friend to win followers on twitter.


+1 D@x

I guess yst_01 is just 'special'! 🙂


I am honestly convinced that this has nothing to do with bad luck.

This is pure team strategy.

Mark is probably right, if he'd stayed on a 2 stopper he would have had a lot more chances to have won the race.

But apparently his team didn't believe that he could win it and so they decided to change the strategy to maximize the chances of having one RB driver winning the race.

And I don't want to sound cruel, but I'm not entirely sure that Mark was going to get past Grosjean on a 2-stopper with old tyres.

Imagine Mark behind Grosjean with Vettel on his tail. None of them would make it past Grosjean if Mark had stayed on 2 stops.

But taking Mark out of the way of Vettel we can see that Vettel got past Grosjean.

An Mark made it past Grosjean too but it took him a lot of time.

So, if I was RB's manager, I would have ordered Mark to make a 3rd stop too. It's the difference between having a 1-2 instead of having a 2-3 (or even possibly 1 or 2 cars out of the race).


A perfect tactic to allow Vettel to win and prevent the need for team orders that Mark probably wouldn't have followed anyway.


Absolutely right. But, let's say, momentary.

Now it's time to somehow improve SV's image (RBR's too), and that was not a step towards it.


"Now it’s time to somehow improve SV’s image (RBR’s too)"



There's an article by James regarding RBR and pragmatism...

One should be pragmatic enough to understand that having an unpopular driver is not something you really want, as he may not be helpful (to say the least) in promoting the goods you sell. The "booing-scenes" in Italy and Singapore are clear proofs of SV's potential.

He had a 77 pts advantage, RBR - 128 at that time. They had practically nothing to lose, so letting both drivers have the same number of pit-stops (i.e. equaling their opportunities) would have been a good pragmatic move. I'm not a fan of pragmatism, but in this case it may agree well with "human" approach.


How can Mark know whats going on on the pit wall in terms of strategy? Only Alonso has the 8th sense. he's not the lead driver even when he is ahead in the race. he was lapping consistently so I dont get your point.



What a complete stitch up!

Gotta feel sorry for MW and It's not doing Vettel's legacy much good at all.

RB will be found out one day.


Many posters on here feel that MW has been hard done by, or has somehow been betrayed by his team.

But these questions need to be asked:

1. Was there another strategy available to RBR that would have ensured a 1-2 finish?

2. What would the reactions have been like, if VET would have been put on a 3 stopper, rather than WEB?

I think the answer to 1. is "no". In my view WEB was at least as hard on his tyres as GRO, so trying to beat GRO on a 2-stopper would have been difficult. Undercutting GRO would have been tricky, as Lotus often stop early for their final stops.

As regards 2., imagine VET pitting first in the first round of pit stops, thus undercutting WEB. I am sure people would have seen this as RBR favourism towards VET. So RBR would have been condemned either way.


I can understand why RB did what they did. Everyone knows that Webber would not have obeyed team orders if he was told to let Vettel past at a late stage of the race so that Vettel could push to pass Grosjean.

Webber, though, is out of contention for the WDC. Vettel, although a long way in front, was not all but guaranteed the championship until he took the win in Japan.

What would have happened if vettel had been unable to pass webber, finished third, suffered an injury due to a crash and been out for the rest of the season? Alonso may, just may, have had the opportunity to catch Vettel's points tally.

I know this is a highly unlikely situation, but if I were a team principal I would want to put the championship to bed at the earliest opportunity- eliminating risk quickly is the job of any manager. I'm not condoning RBs past actions regarding team orders, but at this stage of the season I think vettel should be given preferential treatment as he is on the way to the WDC- no matter what has gone on in the last few months/ years.


All will be answered in our UBS Race Strategy Report this afternoon


LOL indeed! I got the confirmation email 10 minutes after posting the message!

I am over the moon and cannot wait!


Thanks, James. Looking forward to reading it, as usual.

By the way, I haven't received your email about the Mercedes factory tour yet. Does that mean I haven't won?! 😉


LOL! Funnily enough you did get picked at random, so yes you have won!


Yes, RB will be found. In the record books!


Sad but true!

I always used to think Mr Horner was a sound guy...but recently he looks more corporate than Ron ever did...and these days when he talks I always smell something.....and it ain't sausages!


While Vettel was in third position , a message to him over the radio was 'you are not racing Mark'. Which leads me to believe Red Bull changed Marks strategy to a three stop to put him behind Vettel so he wouldn't have to pass Webber on track.


Exactly that 100%


but then there was a later message to the effect "save your tires as Mark will be coming" showing the team expected Mark to clear Grojean and take the fight to Seb.


My thoughts exactly.

They have a right to do it I suppose, but it was a bit disappointing to watch as a fan. I'd love to see Vettel & Webber really go at it one last time - hopefully we'll get that in Brazil for Mark's swansong, but I won't hold my breath.

Looking at it from Red Bull's point of view, they would've wanted to avoid a controversial battle (and possible crash) between the two drivers taking the gloss/attention off their waltz to both championships.


I think from a team perspective splitting strategies to force Lotus to react was exacatly the right thing to do and it paid off!

As for who to put on a 3-Stop:

Of course you would chose the guy who had the lower downforce setup (meaning higher tire-deg and generally better overtaking possibilities)regularly eats up his tires faster and had made his first stop a couple of laps earlier in an attempt to undercut Romain.

In hindsight I would agree that it might have compromised Marks race a bit but i don't think that was RBs prime intention.

Also, who would benefit in the end depended on the way Lotus would react and if and how quick Seb would be able to clear Romain.

Mark had a fair shot but couldn't get past Romain quick enought to make the strategy work.

In the end the team got a 1-2 and to be honest i dont't think they are very unhappy with the particular order.

I do think though that Mark had a fair chance but Seb just had a few tenths of pace and better tire management at hand.

What i dont't like at all is Mark questioning strategy calls openly right after the race without even having been debriefed by his engineers. Honestly, i can't understand why Mark ist universally liked and seen as a great team player.


Because ever since he got shortchanged by Seb Team. How many times by now ? I do not blame him even if he became paranoid one. If they reversed strategy the Weber would've win and Vettel would finish second. But that wasn't to be.


"If they reversed strategy the Weber would’ve win"

Bet he wouldn't...


It's in the past and it's purely academical questionj. Right you are. After so much abuse in Seb Vettel Taem by now he lost his mojo for winning. Being abused he suffers, most likely, " Victim sindrom" that the was subjected to for to long. I also blame him for tolerating it this far.



Mike M - Enjoyed reading your comment. To me RBR has to put the team first. In this case they decided to do something to get one of, or both of their cars past the Lotus. Using the strategy they used was the right one. Looking at their two drivers, Vettel & Webber, you have one trying to secure the individual title and the other leaving the team at the end of this season. Although looking at the way Webber was using up his tires, I don't think he could have been as competitive had they not pitted him and put fresh tires on at his 3rd stop. As for his comment after the race, these guys are passionate about their driving and they make statements sometimes that later they just might want to take back.


The first pitstop, Red Bull tried to get Webber ahead of Grosjean with the undercut but he couldn't get it done. Couldn't get it done in the last stint getting stuck behind Grosjean despite Grosjean being on old hard tyres and Webber being on new mediums.

There was no way Webber could have matched Grosjean using the same strategy given the Lotus is kinder on its tyres and given that Webber couldn't get past Grosjean during the first stint or after the first pit stop.


You're absolutely right, just to add again these obvious comments from the [mod]are exactly what I thought you lot would say, and you'd all be saying the same thing if Seb was on a 3 stop and Webber on a 2 stop, the only difference in result would have been Grosjean 2nd and Webber 3rd lol some of the so called 'fans' do make me laugh concentrate on how Merc and Ferrari are stitching up Rosberg and Massa before saying anything.


My thoughts exactly.


I still feel that removing two-way radio in F1 would make races so much simpler and better. Drivers drive their hearts out until they feel they need tyres then come in for a pit! Any issues I'm missing here??!

I get it's a safety issue too, having radio allows for many safety concerns to be put to bed, but surely cars could include a 'stop immediately' light on the dash, or something similar. Radio kills the race, as in Rocky's "Stay 2 seconds behind, that's it" call in Japan... I quite like the strategic element of F1, but I do think this would make races more pure... Thoughts??


Yep, definitely agree that banning two way radio and going back to pit boards would make the racing better.

I personally hate the fact that team orders have been reintroduced. I do understand all the arguments for them, but for me F1 is about the drivers and the racing.

I don't know if Webber could have won the race on a two stop, but since that three stop is supposed to be around eight secs slower I don't think that he was on the prime strategy.


+1 My Dad said the same at the weekend and I agree with you both.


+1, F1 would be much more emotional as the driver's would be on their own for 90 minutes. Right now it is too calculated. Tyres and drivers are being nursed too much 😉

Perhaps one way radio - from driver to crew - should be allowed.


Couldn't agree more.


Well Mark was given a role to chase using up tis rubber while Vettel was given another victory. That's how we do things at Red Bull. Everyone get something.


Well the 'chase' failed spectacularly when at the end of the first stint when Webber was told to close the gap to Grosjean he couldn't and if anything falling further behind and backed into Seb who was actually cruising to save his tyres for a further few laps lol comments like yours do make me laugh.


Then you just laugh.


Then a multy 21 would be an answer. Team should've ask Weber to let dz Finger boy trough and do the chase, while Weber preserve his tires. Howz about that ? Now I am laughing too. Sticks got two end, didn't you now that ?


Regardless of everything, Vettel and Webber were 1-2 by the end of the race. This was Vettel's opportunity to make amends for unjustly stealing the win off Webber in Malaysia. Rather than doing this, Vettel actually said to his team "keep him away from me". Unbelievable, the level of dishonor Vettel has. He has actually made people like him less or enigmatically, like him more. Truly astounding.


Vettel was talking about PEREZ not Webber.


This is what happens when you watch Sky TV!!


Sorry to burst your bubble Wade, but SV was referring to SP when lapping him not MW. Didn't you watch the race or just listen to it on the radio? Perez is a menace out on the track at the best of times. He should rightly be made aware he was about to be lapped by the leaders.


What's truly astounding and unjust and dishonorable is the suggestion that Vettel was talking about Webber there, when he was actually talking about Perez.


But how can RBR keep Perez away from Vettel, other than pitting Seb before he comes up on him, which wasn't going to happen at that point?

I think it's up to debate what he was talking about there. Have to wait to see more of the team radio transcript.


Perez was about to be lapped but had fresher tyres, the message was relayed from Red bull to race control to get Parez out of the way as Vettel was expecting Webber on his fresher tyres to mount an attack


It was a message to race control who listen in to all the radio broadcasts. Drivers use the radio for this purpose.


And you think "keep him away from me" was about Webber?

You need to watch it again...


Would he have not said "Keep me away from him" - as they can not control SP. My view is that Red Bull were certain that keeping them both on 2 stop would mean they would have to fight on track - something they would make every effort to avoid (Turkey) so switching mark meant they reduced this likelihood. Put it this way - by putting Mark on 3 stops meant he had all the work to do - SV was at worst going to come 2nd if not first if Mark did not get 3 stops done, so odds were against MW and better for RB.


Sigh Brundle's stirring at work here lol and Vettel passed Webber at Malaysia because he was FASTER, actually even without KERS and setup time Vettel is almost as fast as a on the limit Webber anyway, the gulf in class has the likes of Brundle, Gary Anderson, various editors of motorsport magazines and the Hamilton fan club all gasping for air, yes I know as much as all these people hate Seb for being brilliant they're actually all believers.


Of course Red Bull favored Vettel with the strategy, they always favor Vettel, it's Vettels team. It's not a conspiracy, it's how they choose to run the team.

As annoying as it might be at times, there's nothing wrong with either. I'd certainly rather see Webber win and treated more equally, but Vettel is the better driver, and the team have chosen to give him preferential treatment.

It's obviously more justifiable when there's actually a championship fight, but since it's not against the rules Red Bull don't have justify it.

I would prefer if they dropped the pretense of both drivers being treated equally though.


Yes the pretense is what bothers me.


It was a Red Bull 1-2, so no problem for them. I think Vettel would always do his own thing and if he was not 1000% sure that 3 stop is faster, he would not trust the team.


I can't wait for the UBS race strategy report. This is really interesting.

I have a feeling Vettel would have won if he was given either the two stop or three stop strategy. Vettel was just faster and critically, able to pass FatJohn at will. Webber wasn't as fast and could not pass FatJohn even though on better tyres.


James, Webber put on tyres with white markings whereas Vettel wore reds no? So isnt that mediums vs super softs?


Vettel had the orange (not red) tyres which were the hards.

In theory Mark had the faster tyres to finish the race, but in retrospect maybe the hards might have served in better.


Oops, I guess I'd better get my eyes checked. Makes, more sense now, cheers.


Don't let it worry you, I constantly had to remind myself they were the hards, not the super-softs 🙂

It's good what Pirelli are doing with the different colour codes, but in different levels of light sometimes it's hard to tell.

In a way I prefer the old Bridgestone white stripe system.

Maybe there's some way they could combine the two.


Mark was driving 1:34,6 after third stop, a second faster than Seb. Behind Romain his laps were 1:36+, while Seb stayed 1:35+.


Seb was cruising, he had a second a lap in pocket just incase on that 3rd stint, trust Webber wouldn't have been anywhere near him 😉


That surprises me; I was under the impression that the decision to try a three stopper for Mark was decided before the race.

Question is, could Mark have won on a two stop?


Probably not, but he would have had a fair shot to win. I'd wager that he'd have preferred to finish a distant third if the 2-stopper didn't work than a distant 2nd on a 3-stopper. The 3-stopper left him with a lot of work to do to claim 2nd which he could have got anyway by defending against Vettel in a 2-stopper.


I reckon you're both right, but it was still worth asking the question 🙂


He Wouldn't have, because he never had the chance to overtake GRO when both of them were racing each other on same strategy.

Later in the race, see how he struggled to get past GRO on fresher options where as GRO was on primes.

If he was on 2 stopper we probably would have seen Webber vs Vettel battle for P2/3,& GRO would have tested his first victory.


> Question is, could Mark have won on a two stop?

I don't think so, I think he would ended third


And that would have left Vettel in 3rd position...




Re-posted: James, surprised there hasn’t been much discussion (unless I have missed it) about the fact that despite Web falling a little short on first stint, he was consistently reeling off 1.37.7 laps (as was gro and vet) when they pitted him for the second stop (about lap 25), and therefore likely could have done a few more laps to bring him within the two stop window? Assume that’s what he was questioning?


The problem with keeping Webber out a few more laps is that you have to count on Grosjean being compliant by not stopping as well to prevent the undercut. There's nothing stopping Lotus from saying "Ok, once we reach lap xx, we will pit the same lap as Mark." Then they just watch when the Red Bull mechanics jump into the pit box and do the same. As long as the stops are relatively close in time, the undercut is prevented. Mark HAD to either pit when he did to try the 3 stopper or continue on a two stopper. But the two stopper would have necessitated him to pass Grosjean on track at some point in the race. When it finally would come time to do so, he would have had LESS of a tire advantage than he had in the actual 3-stop race... and we all saw how he struggled to get past Romain at that point. It's pretty clear to me that the 3 stopper was the best way forward for Mark, and it gave him the best shot to catch and pass both Romain and Seb at the end. Seb was kinder and faster on his tires than Mark, which should not come as a surprise to anyone at this point.


Webber was flat out, destroyed his tyres and was still no faster than a cruising Vettel on a 2 stop Webber might even have fallen preycto Alonso and Raikkonen as his tyres fall over the cliff Hamilton style.


1st stint:
Mark did 11 laps.
Seb did 14 laps.

2nd stint:
Mark did 14 laps.
Seb did 23 laps.

Come on James. I don't even know why you quote Horner. Half your article is Horner's words. He's a [mod]. We're not stupid. Watching the race, I could spot something was not right. Mark qualified and then did 11 laps on Mediums just for RBR to pit him after 14 laps on Hards? What is that?

James, you should've included Mark's lap times from the second stint in your article to clarify the situation. That will show clearly that Mark was not losing grip.

Don't take this the wrong way James, but I feel that lately your articles are very straight forward, and you don't express your point of view in regards to the issues on the track, like you don't want to upset someone.
Whatever you wrote in this article, we already heard and read in different articles after the race. You used to bring a different perspective to your articles, but now I feel you only deliver the news and that's it.

Even Andrew Benson is expressing his opinion in his articles and even freaking Ted Kravitz talked about this in his post race notebook and he brought the actual lap times to back his opinion.

I am quite upset of how RBR are treating Mark, and I would understand if Vettel would need the points, but again, he is miles ahead in the championship and they don't need to bullsh*t us and Mark and everybody else like that. Shame on RedBull!


I admit I skipped the second half (ie Horner's explanation) of the article.

I can understand why it was included though.

Have to admit during the race when it dawned on me what RB was doing I was not surprised. Towards the end it did make me feel the race was fixed. This was different to team orders.


Vettel still needs to beat/equal some records, that's why. 9 consecutive wins is what he's aiming for.


Webber was loosing grip in the first stint. The bad lap 10 and the bad inlap destroyed the undercut.

The same would have happend in the second stint on a 2-stop, Gro would always have had more tires left for his inlap to prevent the undercut and to keep Web from overtaking.

Switching to 3-stop was the only way for Web past Gro. You should not be upset and just look at the reality, then you would recognize that.


This is news story

We regularly provide significant amount of insight and different perspectives in posts on this site. I fear that your anger over the Red Bull decision is clouding your memory..

We will analyse this situation in detail in our UBS Race Strategy Report tomorrow.


Think it's pretty clear it was the right thing from the team perspective, as Lotus couldn't cover both of them off. However, it was the wrong thing from Mark's perspective, as he sacrificed track position. Did anyone else even try a three stop?


It was only the wrong thing from Mark's perspective, because Seb was ahead of him.

If he would have cruised on 2. behind Grosjean to the end everything would be fine.

Talking about track position: The switch to 3-stop cost exactly 8 seconds (he was 7 sec behind Vettel after his 3. stop + 1 sec before). Not passing Grosjean on the first try cost him 14 seconds (7 laps with 1:36 instead of 1:34).


There's no way getting tucked up behind Grosjean cost him that much time, his fastest lap was a 1:34.6, and most of his remaining laps were mid-1:35s/low-1:36s. His tyres would naturally give up a lot of grip as time went on anyway (can't remember if they were used mediums or not, but I presume so).

The gap to the end isn't really reflective either, Vettel was cruising towards the end, Mark needed to take a second a lap out of him every lap, and even then he would only have been right on his tail.


I find numerous contradictions in Horner’s post-race comments, but the most amusing one was when he said, “Of course that then puts Lotus in a very difficult decision because which car do they cover?”

The reason I find it amusing, is that Red Bull have now made the decision easy for everyone. There is no longer any doubt that Vettel is favourite, the choice is simple.

Red Bull made a strategic blunder. While this ploy once worked for them in stealing the championship from Alonso in 2010, they have failed to appreciate how lucky they were to get away with it then.

This was a race that Vettel didn’t really need to win. Now, opposition teams will be forever alert to Red Bull sacrificing number 2 driver’s race. Opposition teams will simply cover off Vettel and let Red Bull screw their number 2 driver themselves.


"This was a race that Vettel didn’t really need to win."

Why not? They want to win the WDC as soon as possible, and there is always the chance, Alonso not finishing the race. Massa had to jump on the brakes for Alonso once again and nobody complains...

Kovalainen said, he was the no.2-driver while Hamilton was favored in 2008. Nobody complains...


Massa held up Alonso before then being passed by Alonso, did you actually see the race?


By attempting to justify Red Bull's motives, you are effectively agreeing that Webber was robbed.

I don't think anyone is questioning Red Bull's desire to win the championship. The point that most people find objectionable is the hypocrisy.

Why doesn't Horner simply admit, that they ruined Mark's race to help Vettel win?



"I don’t think anyone is questioning Red Bull’s desire to win the championship. The point that most people find objectionable is the hypocrisy."

Why?... if you know they're hypocrites, what's the problem?...


That's not what I said. I said, Vettel had to win, if he wanted to be WC in Suzuka. Webber was robbed? That is just your opinion. With a 2 stopper for Webber, Grosjean might have won.

Webber could have taken the fight to Vettel by passing Grosjean pretty early.


What I didn't get and haven't seen mentioned is why RB waited sol long to make Marks final stop. After Sebastian's stop Mark was (don't quite me I can't recall exactly but I think it was) about 10 seconds behind him. I think this was with about 13 laps to go. Seb was always going to be quicker on new tyres but they left Mark out for about 3 more laps while he was loosing about a second a lap. Surely he could have made it to then end with 13 laps to go, so why leave him out to loose 3 more seconds before making the final stop?


Enough... i'm not even an SV fan but as much as you may not like it. And much as Mark may not like it. Vettel had an outside chance of taking the WDC in Japan - it is therefore entirely justified for the team to engineer the race towards maximising SV's points haul with a win. Especially as if these guys met on the track it'd be highly likely to end in one or two DNF's.

The indignation is tedious, frankly, because if MW was actually any faster than SV none of this would be an issue. So the logic here is that the slower guys in F1 need to be given a win every now and then so they don't get sad?!


No, you miss the point RBR should stop bull$hiting the fans. Were not stupid just tell it like it is.



All evidence to the contrary I'm afraid...


Any of you remember how stressed Seb sounded when he had trouble getting by the back markers with 10 laps to go? I'm absolutely sure he was convinced Mark will dispose of Grosean as easy as he did and be any moment in his rear view mirrors on faster fresher tires and challenge for the win.

It turned out he didn't needed to worry, but that wasn't RBR's fault.

RBR doesn't owe Mark a win, he's leaving by the end of the year and really hasn't been much of a team player lately. Switching him to a three stopper was the right way for the team and Mark missed his chance by being unable to pass the Lotus. The argument that he would've been happy to come second as long as Vettel wasn't first and RBR should have supported that wish, is showing how misguided some people are.


Reminiscence of 2010 Abu Dhabi GP, Ferrari took the bait and Vettel legend started.

Once again Webber is collateral damaged. Fantastic execution by RebBull et al.


Sorry "Reminiscence"


Reminiscent ... got it. It is like Abu Dhabi '10, you're right.

Any team racing Red Bull, if their two drivers are both in contention for the win, should always cover Vettel off in the race. That should be clear.


It really comes down to Webber's lap times, now doesn't it? If Webber's lap times support the notion that his tires were pretty well chewed up by Lap 9, then bringing him in early was not a pre-race strategy but a race reaction. If, on the other hand, the lap times show that Webber was circulating at a reasonably consistent rate, then it would seem that pitting him early was a preconceived approach.


He done 11 Laps on his first stint


Leave grand circus to grand clowns. Welcome to WEC, Mark! Real racing


WEC - even better chances for Webber to blame a team mate. Logical choice!


I agree with Horner that Webber's 1st stint determined his strategy.

Red Bull saw that he didn't have the pace on Grosjean during that 1st stint. They then failed to undercut him on the 1st stop. If they couldn't pass the Lotus on the track, they had to make a strategic move in order to pass him anyway: that move was to three-stop.

If, after that lap 11 stop, they had stuck to a 2-stop, Grosjean would very probably have covered Webber's 2nd stop, just like he did with the 1st. Then in his hypothetical 3rd and final stint, Webber would have had to chase Grosjean on equally if not more worn tyres of the same compound, making it very hard for him to pass the Lotus at the end of the race. He would have been stuck in 3rd (since Vettel had the best strategy to win, as I'll explain a bit further).

The 3-stop enabled Webber to finally chase Grosjean on newer and softer tyres, making it much easier for him to pass the Lotus.

Therefore, after an earlier-than-Vettel 1st stop, choosing a two-stop for Webber would very likely have seen him finish behind Grosjean, unable to pass him in the end.

The three-stop made that overtake much easier for him, with the better package at the end of the race. It gave him 2nd place.

The 3-stop was then the best option after that early 1st stop.

For me the big question is: did Red Bull really have to pit Webber that early? Could they not have pitted him at the same time as Vettel?

We know that Webber's low-downforce setup this weekend and his driving style are harder on the tyres than Vettel, but was the difference to Vettel really that big (3 laps on the first stint)?

If Red Bull had pushed Webber's 1st stop to lap ~14, just like Vettel, Grosjean would have covered both Red Bulls on that 1st stop.

For the whole race we would then have seen the same strategy for the 3 cars, and a big battle on the 3rd and final stint.

Red Bull say Webber really was on the limit at the end of his 1st stint, and they really had to pit him that early.

But of course then that conveniently forced Lotus' hand: they had to cover Webber to avoid the undercut, even if they probably could have gone on until lap 14 just like Vettel.

Having to pit Grosjean in coordination with Webber left Vettel as the only car free to manage his stints the best he really could: that strategic freedom gave him the ability to make the best of his stint lengths, giving him the advantage at the end of the race and the win.

If you take Webber out of the equation, Grosjean would have had the freedom to copy Vettel's better strategy and fight with him at the end of the race, and probably win the race.

So could Red Bull have seen Webber's tyre degradation as a good excuse to pit him too early, outplaying Lotus by forcing their hand and impeding their strategy plans?

Anyway, after that early 1st stop for Webber, ite missa est for Lotus: Grosjean was forced to cover, definitely giving both Red Bulls a big advantage on either strategy. I guess that's the advantage of having 2 cars against 1.

So I agree with Webber that the three-stop strategy is questionable, but not for the same reasons. I actually think that after that early 1st stop was done, the three-stopper really was the best tactic.

In the end if anything Webber can blame himself for failing to overtake Grosjean quickly enough: Vettel did it in 3 laps with tyres of the same compound ; Webber had softer and even newer gyres and only managed it in 9 laps.

He was 8 seconds behind Vettel with 10 laps to go gaining 1 second a lap to him.

He catches Grosjean with 8 laps to go and 6 seconds behind Vettel. Had he been past Grosjean with 5 laps to go, he may not have won but he would have been right on Vettel at the end.

I'm sure then there wouldn't have been so many questions on this strategy of his :).

But I remember a wise man once saying ”If is a big word in F1, in fact it's so big a word…” ;).

The Spanish Inquisitor

A perfect strategy to avoid a fight between Vettel and Weber, as was remarked yesterday here by one commentator.


Not really. If Webber had cleared Grosjean as he should have done on newer softer tyres, he would have been all over Vettel for the win in the final laps....

That is what a 3 stopper sets you up for. They had their eyes open


Knowing the tyres as we do, Yes Webber was on newer fresher tyres, but we all know that the softs they put webber on cannot do more than three honest laps before they overheat and are useless. So for them to put Webber on those softs (scrubbed!!!) and expect him to chase and overtake Grojean and Vettel to me smell of a set up. Why didnt they put him on new Hards?....Set up. RB think we are really dumb.


Softer tyres!!! Happy now?


"RB think we are really dumb."

You are if you believe they put him on soft tyres.


Didn't Vettel ask the team "to keep him away" from him, just after Webbers last stop? He certainly knew Webber could have been a threat, had he cleared Grosjean quickly.

Unfortunately Webber wasn't at all capable of overtaking Grosjean quickly, despite a low downforce setup and fresher tires. Vettel, in the other hand, overtook Grosjean without hesitation, with a higher downforce setup and tires that were not much younger than Grosjean's. I'm sorry, but this is all Webber's fault, and he's playing the blame game, as usual. I'm sick of his whining.


> Didn’t Vettel ask the team “to keep him away” from him, just after Webbers last stop?

No, he didn't, that message was for Perez


Yes, but Vettel had to overtake only one car on track (Grosjean). His tyres would probably have taken a beating if he'd had to overtake Mark on track as well.


Is there anyone that really believe that WEB could do just two stop and not falling to third position looking what he did with the fresher tyres?


I think it's a bit harsh to blame MW for a slow start. It would be more accurate to say Grosjean made a great start since he passed both RB's off the line.

PS Why do they continue to weave around on the warm-up lap and behind the safety car when the thermal imaging clearly slows absolutely no benefit from doing so? I think it's just a habit that racing drivers do because all the others do it.


Obviously DC agrees with you. He says the risk of drivers picking up dirt off the racing line is greater than any benefit they could achieve by weaving. He also says it's easier to warm the tyres under braking than by weaving.


The infrared shows the surface temperature i think. The inside of the tyre may still be hotter than if not doing it.


No-one except FOM know the calibation of the thermal images, if you notice, along the straights the tyres seem to go "cold" but that could just be a drop if 10℃ or less and there is still a lot if heat, then from purple to white could just be another 10℃. Just because the calibration if the camera doesn't show heat growing doesn't mean they aren't putting hear into them. Unless we knew the exact calibration it's impossible to make an exact call on it.


Two things stand out here:

1. Webber was racing up to lap 25 taking care of tires as though it was a two stopper for him and then suddenly he was told that he had been switched to three-stopper. That implies you had a proper race for remaining 28 laps! So all his tire-conserving 24 lap were actually wasted. He could have pushed there harder trying to overtake Grosjean and probably inducing mistakes into him. Instead he maintained 2sec gap to him just as he was told by the team. So Webber's race was ruined by change of strategy in the middle of the race. He ended up neither here nor there. Now definitely it could be questioned if it was deliberate or a tactical mistake by RBR. I would think it is intentional.

2. Webber should have come earlier for his third stop. This way the gap would have been less between him and the other two drivers (VET and GRO) after hi third stop with him having fresher tires, it would be easier for him to overtake as his tire wear would be minimal to cover the less gap than what had actually transpired.

I think it is obvious RBR planned it well as a team: (a) ensure the team gets 1-2 by confusing Lotus due to split strategies; (b) ensure their favorite driver gets the better strategy.

Somehow, Abu Dhabi 2010 now also seems to be a bit arranged in a similar way with Grosjean being replaced by Alonso there.


I agree, but I believe that Marks set of Options were not new (James?), so always a compromised third stint. In addition the later stop compromised DRS because at that point on low fuel Mark is bouncing off the limiter, so DRS is less effective in the dying stages. So it would appear to me that a 3 stop was never going to work as the maths showed pre race. BTW, I beleive that Webber was brought in early on stop 1 because Vettel didnt want to hold 2 seconds in third any longer. He was ready to go faster and get what was left in speed from his options. Marks times bearly changed lap 7 to 10. they were 1:39.182 1:39.321 1:39.170 1:39.417 over the same 4 laps Vettel was an average of .14 a lap faster. To me Horner's comments don't stack up. No big deal, its up to RBR. I don't dislike RBR, but for me this is just one more thing that stops me from being a fan.


1. You are right. Being on a 3-stop from the beginning and putting pressure on Grosjean at the beginning of the 2. stint would have been better. Web hat to back off in the 1. stint, because he had to save tires to get to lap 11...his tires were gone: Bad lap 10 and bad inlap which destroyed the undercut. Stopping earlier would have destroyed the race due to traffic.

2. Maybe one lap. But not necessarily, because that would have put him into a minor position against Gro. He had enough problems to pass him.

Abu Dhabi 2010: Look at the lap chart of that race...no one could overtake. Without that move Alonso would be WC and not Vet or Web. Web lost the chance to be WC in the qualifying of this race...and when he threw away his car in the rain...


This is exactly the reason why Red Bull isn't a big favorite among F1 fans.. They should have let Mark do the 2stopper as well, but as we all know.. they didn't in order to make up for Vettel's poor qualify without KERS.


"This is exactly the reason why Red Bull isn’t a big favorite among F1 fans."

Really?... nothing to do with their idols not winning races or championships then?


Don't quite agree on "the reason why Red Bull isn’t a big favorite among F1 fans".

I am a Ferrari fan, we have had team orders for decades and we have more than 50% of the crowd cheering for us on every grandstand.

People don't like team orders (I for one don't) but that doesn't mean I dislike teams that openly admit using team orders/favoring one driver.

I could be wrong but the reason why I think that people don't seriously cheer for RB is that they are not a constructor, a brand of automobiles. They sell a (nice) drink, that's all. And in the meantime they sponsor lots of sports, and they own an F1 team. Maybe that's not enough to catch F1/automobile fans attention.


The thing about the team orders is clear with Ferrari. There is a number 1 and a number 2. If you are the number 2 you obey.

Red Bull deny it countless times, and say that they have absolutely no preference. If they just said "We prefer Vettel" a lot less people would hate them.

And yes, the automobiles brand will have a lot to do with it. They are neither a team built by a single person, or a car manufacturer — they are a money-pumping drinks brand, that runs away with the gold medal. That is a big reason, you are right.



So they're inferior to Mercedes or Ferrari, but have just about won 4 world championships in a row... how does that work?


I'm so glad other people notice RB's denials of no favored driver when the truth is otherwise.

I used to not care that RB is 'just a drinks company' but after incidents like Turkey 2010, Silverstone front wing etc it made it quite easy to dislike RB. That's when you get tempted to dismiss them as a drinks company/inferior to eg Silver Arrows or Ferrari.


Hadn't thought of that. It could be part of it. Also, they may be a new generation of 'garagistas' that have thrown a wrench into the F1 status quo. Sounds like a great topic James (forgive me if you have already written on this topic and I just missed it.)


> I could be wrong but the reason why I think that people don’t seriously cheer for RB is that they are not a constructor, a brand of automobiles.

I don't think that people said the same about Benetton


@Gene: They did not stop after they were legalized.


ManOnWheels: Red Bull was against Ferrari team orders because at the time, they were illegal.


Red Bull lost me, because they were venting over Ferrari for using team orders and not long afterwards they got exposed by Webber moaning about Vettel ignoring the "Multi 21" order, making clear that everything they said about honest racing was a lie.

Also they were blocking a proper resource restriction, while talking about fair chances, bragging about how engine development should be part of the budget, while not having engine development as part of theirs, even getting Renault's power plants for free as a works team.

I also have a hard time looking into Horner's smiley-face, when he's talking about "difficult" races that were won by a mile, and getting evasive when Webber underperformed, always smiling. I remember Ron Dennis being less happy when anyone didn't deliver. That's my problem with Red Bull, it all looks like a facade, half of what's said in front of the camera looks like a lie.

Horner says that every one was criticizing them for being a party team, and once they changed that, people wouldn't like them anymore, because they got "serious"? I can only speak for myself, but I learned to dislike Red Bull, because they started to act like a**holes. And this is what I think is hurting Vettel's reputation, it makes him look like he is getting an unfair advantage.


Vettel's poor qualify?


It was the first few laps that ruined it for Webber, he should have stayed back and saved his tyres. Then he could have moved up close to Grosjean just before trying the undercut at the end of the first stint. Instead he was about 3.5 seconds behind Grosjean, according to the excellent f1 timing app, when he pitted and it didn't work. Still, if RB do this stuff with Ricciardo too it's gonna leave a bad taste in the mouths of many Australians.


There is no conspiracy.

If Red Bull had not split strategies Webber would not have beaten Grosjean as he would not have been able to overtake him (as he showed in the first 2 stints).

The problem was Webber's choice of wing that left him not able to stay close out if the last corner and overtake using DRS.


If you look at the 3 drivers' position after the first stop, it was clear that only Webber had the chance to pass Grosjean by undercutting him with the second stop. His car would probably have been quick enough to make the difference on the one out-lap to Grosjean's in-lap. But Vettel would have had no options then, so Red Bull decided they had to get rid of Webber in front of him.

Webber's race was sacrificed in order for Vettel to have a chance to win. Plain and simple.


It was obviously the correct and only strategy that made sense. However Webber and his fans will continue to moan as always (good thing is that Vettel doesn't care).

At the first stop the rule is that the first driver would pit first and that was Webber. Had Vettel pitted first the same people would make it a big deal. However Webber at the first stop was unable to make the undercut work. After the first stop, there were 3 options:

- Have both Vettel and Webber with two stops. That would give an advantage to Grosjean and the pit stops would most likely be: Grosjean around lap 28-30, Webber 29-31 and Vettel 35-38. I don't see how Webber would pass Grosjean in that strategy? It would probably end in Grosjean first, Vettel second and Webber third.

- Have Vettel do 3 stops and Webber 2. That doesn't make much sense since Vettel stopped 4 laps later than Webber. Webber would be very marginal on two stops.

- Have Vettel do 2 stops and Webber 3 which makes most sense. Vettel would try to put pressure on Grosjean at the end, while Webber would have chance to attack all the time.

The strategy favored neither of them. However the key points are:

- it worked for Vettel because he was able to have great pace in second stint and make the tire last. Also he was able to quickly pass Grosjean.

- it didn't work for Webber because his pace was not as good in the second/third stint and more important because he was unable to pass Grosjean with softer tires that were 15 laps newer.

Webber and his fans should look at themselves and stop moaning like little girls (not that they will do so)


of course Mark feels the other way...but I feel RB made sure that SV and MW will be racing each other in last few laps...thats why Rocky warned SV that he will be pushed by MW in ending laps..


"After the “Multi 21″ fiasco in Malaysia this year, where Vettel ignored team orders and passed Webber for the win, many observers are on red alert for signs of Red Bull favouring their lead driver over the Australian."

We're definitely through the looking glass and wandering through wonderland when people can see Red Bull favoring Webber over Vettel (as they did to a huge degree in Malaysia) and come away convinced that .... Red Bull favored Vettel over Webber!

But this is where press bias comes into play. The British F1 press have been pushing the "RB favors Vettel over Webber" line for many years now, so I suppose you can't blame those fans who believe what they're constantly told by the so-called "experts".


You are seriously trying to say that Vettel is not the favoured son at Red Bull.

I mean I don't doubt that Vettel is way better than Webber or everybody else for all I know.

For your information most fans in the UK are not that gullible to believe everything the British Press say.

They are quite capable of making up there own minds and have as much intelligence has you.

Your holier-than-thou attitude is quite tiresome.


[mod] I pointed out that Red Bull favored Webber over Vettel at Malaysia, and did so very heavily. This is a fact, whether you find it "holier-than-thou" or not. That people can cite this as an instance of RB favoring Vettel suggests that the media are not getting the correct facts out.

The other instance of press fabricating "favoritism" at RB is Silverstone 2010. It is so normal in F1 as not to even be worth mentioning that when a team has one new part, they give that to the driver with the most points. This happens all the time at other teams with other drivers. But when it happened at RB with Webber and Vettel the press turned a nothing story into one of the greatest scandals of the decade.

Perhaps it is not fair to attribute this purely to anti-Vettel bias. Much of it might better be called pro-Webber bias. A great deal of the F1 press seems to regard MW as a favorite son who can do no wrong. To this day I don't think any reporter has ever asked him any hard questions about Brazil 2012. Whenever he gets his knickers in a twist, a legion of journalists leap to his fervent defence. If he even hits at something less than satisfaction (see this race) then scores of columns and thousands of words are expended on the matter. No other driver is treated this way, not even Hamilton.


It is understandable that RB favoring Webber for his 100th GP in Malaysia. Normally, I don't see any favors made on any of the two drivers.

RB has been a benchmark for other teams to follow. So much so that other teams are mimicking RB's methodology. Look at Mercedes, getting 2 fast drivers, and now Ferrari, getting 2 fast drivers. Both teams are also hiring top engineers like crazy!

Vettel has been a class act this past few years. Like other professional athletes (such as tennis, basketball, etcs), it is hard to be a very good player when they are on form.

So it is inevitable that Vettel is ahead. This year's RB is strong... so he ends up ahead by a huge margin.

British media knows saying bad things about Vettel (because he is German) gets the audience pumped up. Unfortunately, Vettel may end up with the fate like Schumacher where the media attempts to inflate tiny little mistakes like a big balloon. IMO, Schumacher is one of the most sensible F1 driver considering his great success.


whats the problem!? team orders are allowed! if only this much of a fiasco was made every time ferrari ordered massa out of the way!


RB has long been saying one thing and doing another. It's this dishonesty that irks people.

I don't always like Ferrari but they are willing to admit they favor one driver.

In this regard RB just comes across as hypocritical and gutless.


At least Ferrari dare to say that Alonso is their No.1 driver. Red Bull keep saying their drivers are allowed to race whilst clearly, they're not.


lol true, isnt it strange that when team orders were not allowed, teams did it, now they ARE allowed nobody is being BLATANT!


And everyone is up in arms when team orders are issued.


how do you know they are not allowed to race - seems to me they are, and that's what MW himself said before the race. The truth is that he hasn't been anywhere close to SV this season, for reasons mentioned many times by those who know much more than you and me about how SV is driving his car (and managing his tyres) vs. MW


Sorry, Mark. But deep down, you know it was no mistake - it was all part of the plan.


It's really the outcome which some people are objecting to, not the strategy as such. If Vettel had won on a three stopper and Webber had come second or third on a two stopper, they'd still be grumbling that Vettel was given the better strategy.


So Seb was told "you are not racing Mark you are racing Grosjean" on the team radio if i recall. I think the team manipulated the best result for them which was for Seb to win!


Wasn't needed. Vettel had his 4th Championship already secured when the new Pirellis came.

Mistake for Webber, winwin for Red Bull.


If that was not needed, Webber would have finished 3rd. Vettel would barge passed him anyway.


Webber was dropping competitve lap times on his 2nd stint but the team brought him in too early. There was no sign of his tyres wearing off by the rate they, Red Bull, were claiming.


Wonder why they didn't sign Kimi? They don't dare to b s him.


so RBR is able to b s MW but not the fans ...... interesting theory


Kimi is even more loved than Webber and a proven champion. At the end of the day, the RBR team is not there to win championships but to sell their drink. They don't want any drama around and with Kimi and the Vettel no.1 in the team policy you would have created quite a bit of drama.


drama generates free media coverage, i am sure they wouldn't mind some drama


Webber will never be able to make the 2 stops work. He is harsh on the tires. He can't improvise like the way Vettel can.

If he was two stopping, Vettel will simply stay 2 seconds behind saving his tires. Wait for him to pit then pounce. The result will be the same, at the best situation. At worst, Webber could be behind Grosjean.


I don't really buy into conspiracy theories but I do thing RB made a poor choice with Marks strategy. In my opinion, they committed to a 3 stopper too early in the race. His first stint could have lasted a lap or 2 longer initially. They then ran him for something like 14 laps on the hard tyre in the second stint. That move committed them to a 3 stopper. No way around it. I dont believe he was struggling before the 2nd stop and cant understand why they didnt wait and see how the hard tyre would pan out for him. He needed something like 2 x 21 lap stints on hard rubber to make it a 2 stopper. Instead they pit him after 14(?) laps while he was making good time. I understand the team thing and all teams want to ideally finish 1-2 every weekend, that's where the money is. I just dont get the early 2nd stop and subsequent mandatory 3 stopper that followed. I would understand it from a championship point of view if Seb was marginal on winning the WDC but he will undoubtedly win it with change again this year.

As always, I'm no expert and don't study the lap charts etc like the teams do, but as an average punter I just can't see the logic in the decision. In all likelihood Seb may well have won the race regardless of strategies. His ability to win races is now legendary but I think it would have been nice to see them on the same strategy and just see how it panned out. RBR will win the WCC regardless of both drivers being on the podium or not. They're not exactly desperate for points in either championship at this time.

No conspiracy, just a lousy call in my opinion.


As I was watching this race, i thought to myself: What in the world is RB doing? Are they purposely messing up Webber's race? This without the benefit of whatever the info and gadgets RB had infront of them. Shame on them! They didn't have the guts to tell Webber out right so they messed with his strategy. That is how it appears at least and Horner's face after the race showed as much.


They probably saw what Massa was doing and figured Mark would do the same...


Also, a lot of people hated Ferrari during the Schumi era for team orders. No wonder a lot of people are really disliking RB these days.


Why don't hate other teams for the same exact reason?


Oh no... can't do that...


James - what are your thoughts on the Peter Prodromou move to McLaren? When will they get him, and will this be the first of many defections from RBR to rival teams?


Will do a story on him shortly


James. No comments on the "Tell him (Webber)to keep out of the way even if he has fresher tyres" radio call from Vettel with 7 laps to go?

This is not getting covered at all. A lot of people are saying this message was for Perez and not Webber. But what I fail to understand is how Vettel, a 'Red Bull' driver, can tell his team to keep Perez, a 'mclaren' driver, out of his way? Surely only Mclaren can tell Perez to do so.

I am convinced this message was for Webber. Can someone please pick this up?


The message is addressed to rtell the ace marshalls to wave the blue flag


James, perhaps a comparison of Vettel/Webber pitstops per race in 2013 is called for. This is the first I'm hearing of Mark being significantly harder on his tyres that he needed an extra pit-stop. Perhaps this could be a footnote in the strategy report?


Webber chewed up his tyres in the 1st stint so had to pit earlier. If they had put him on a 2 stop strategy, the chances are that he would have run out of tyres before the end of the race. Then people would be saying that knowing Webber is hard on his tyres, the team purposely put him on a two stop strategy.

With fresher and faster tyres, Webber struggled to overtake Grosjean who was on older tyres. So what is the probability that he would have overtaken him on a 2 stop strategy?

In my opinion, the three stop strategy was a much better option for Webber but he ran out of talent.

Can remember Vettel did a 4 stop last year and then went on to win. Also, several years ago Schumacher also did a 4 stop (as opposed to others' 2 or 3) and went on to win.

I will wait for the Strategy Report.


Poor Ricciardo, in the best F1 team for next year but the ceiling has already been set.


Let's not forget that Mark had pole position yet again he mucked it up at the start and that's were in my opinion he lost the race.


Reminds me of Hungary 96 when Williams pulled the same strategy switch on Hill, who all of a sudden gad an extra stop to make over his team mate... And Hill was leaving the team at the end of the year too...


Less wing didn't work for Senna in 89 and it didn't work this week for Webber. If he'd had higher down force I suspect he'd have a better race result.

It's just a shame we never got to see the two RBR's having a go in to the chicane!


Mark second stint was to short. But if i were Mark i wouldn´t stop and take the risk of going to the end. The 4th place were more than 30 seconds away so de podium was safe.


Webbo was very wary of crazy RoGro, that's why he had trouble getting past. RoGro will cause a big accident with his late blocking moves. He tried to do it to Kimi last race, and tried twice this week with Seb and Webbo.


I think every opinion has already been voiced here, but one thing I find is that given the actions of Red Bull it is hard not to think of conspiracy theories, even if they are being genuine.

Since the multi 21 saga all I have wanted to see all season is a one on one fight between Vettel and Webber on track, and through either luck or design this hasn't happened yet. Fingers crossed for the next couple of races.


James it just doesn't make any sense to me that Webber was brought in on lap 25 for the second stop, he certainly didn't seem to be struggling at that point and it's hard to believe that the more durable Prime tyres were getting to critical temperatures. Wouldn't leaving it till later have given the team a clearer picture? Why commit before you need to?

I suggest that it's certainly worth some analysis in the strategy report.


i too would like some clarity on this.


Try to be realistic. There is no proof if this and no one can speak freely about it even if they could prove it. Webber irked some ppl at RB. It is as simple as that and this problem let to the exact same thing that was at Ferrari during Schumi era:

No matter what, Vettel wins. I hate to say it and I repeat, I have no proof and I do agree that Web doesn't come anywhere near Vet as a driver, but too many questionable things has happened to him, which leads me to the previous statement. Simply put: at Ferrari you had clear orders, at RB it is hidden, yet visible: Webb...g**o out of the way and that's it!!


Not sure why we're discussing this? I mean Vettel is leading the Championship. If this would have happened three races into the season, yeah.


One guy passes Grosjean easily, the other initially can't and then takes too long. Guess who won the race...


Clearly Webbers 'heavier' (new) chassis and less wing made overtaking Grosjean more difficult. Watch a replay. This was plainly obvious at the final chicane - Grosjean drove away from Webber at this important point on all of those critical laps and got out of drs range. Webber only 'got him' to take 2nd after Grosjean was baulked by traffic at the chicane.

Webber also commented in his post race interview with 'Pinks' that he didn't think he would have caught Seb, even had he got past Grosjean early in that final stint.

Webber lost his chance for a win at the start, where both RB's made bad starts, a Grosjean had a stunner. It's interesting that no comments have been made about the RB starts - given Seb's start, it's obvious it is not just a driver (Webber) issue......


The decision Red Bull took in terms of strategy was fair enough. But here lies the problem. In all the years, when Webber was behind Vettel, his only chance for beating him was to opt for a different strategy, but Red Bull consistently DO NOT put Webber on a strategy which may allow him to BEAT Vettel. Because whichever driver is leading gets the strategy call, and the driver behind is comprimised. In this case Vettel would've been comprimised, so instead of compromising Vettel, they decided to split strategies and give Vettel a chance to win the race.

The rare instance where Webber was put on a different strategy was Hungary 2010. And despite Vettel being quicker and on the better strategy, Webber had a CHANCE to beat Vettel because he was on a different strategy, and therefore with so many variables in F1, one cannot always predict which strategy will be better, rather only which one will likely be better.

And we all know what happened in Hungary 2010? No. Webber won at the expense of Vettel. Look at the podium, Vettel is sooking like a little child who is not allowed to play.

Easy to be gracious when you have the championship sewn up. Red Bull play team games all the time against Webber, they rarely give him a chance to win the race through strategy, and yet again they cost him the win by allowing Vettel a different strategy and not to simply pit the lap after Webber.


I should point out "different strategy" being, when both Vettel and Webber are racing against each other. In many ways this reminds me a bit of the Barrichello, Button debacle that was Spain 2009. And I posted a very detailed analysis of that here in the Winter of 2009/2010, which showed clearly Rubens had been screwed over by the team.

This time, it was nowhere near as bad as what Brawn did to Rubens, however the major problem is, when Vettel and Webber are racing each other, Red Bull give Vettel all the tools to help Vettel, however they rarely give these tools to Webber. Indeed, in Hungary 2010, the only reason they gave Webber the tools was to beat Alonso, if Red Bull had've known Webber would beat Vettel, or potentially beat Vettel, then they would not have risked it.

As I've said many times, Red Bull want Webber to get as many points as possible, and they will help him get those. BUT NOT at the expense of costing any points for Vettel.


I don't see the problem. If Mark had cleared Grosjean quicker then he would have cruised up to the back of Vettel and would have had a pretty fair crack at the win with a large advantage on the tyres. The strategy failed because he was unable to clear Grosjean.

If he had stayed on a two stop, he would likely have lost out to Vettel in the undercut and had no tyre advantage to assist overtaking him.

Webber lost this on the race track through his inability to clear Grosjean quick enough.


Webber should have insisted on the same strategy as Vettel - is it really any surprise that Vettel's strategy was the right one and Webber's was flawed.


James, do you know this blog?


What do you think of this theory, saying Vettel's car is set up for running away at the front and Webber's for holding back rivals? If it is true then it would explain why Weeber had such a hard time overtaking Grosjean.

(If you need any help with the translation just ask 🙂 )


AS JA has said, nonsense. And nonsense and hatred like very much all the other posts in that blog.

Spanish Alsonsism is doing a lot of harm to F! in Spain and, I think, to Alonso himself


Oletros, what you say just shows you really don't read THAT blog, or the other this guy maintains:


Show me just one sign of hatred you can read there. He admires Hamilton (surprise!), Massa, Hulkenberg, Vettel... a lot of pilots, actually. He sees both good and bad things, even in Alonso. He is the most temperate blogger in Spain, and the one that writes best. He has got one enemy, though: Bernie Ecclestone. Maybe what you call hatred is just what he (and many people inside and outside of Spain) thinks is wrong about FIA, FOM and the business side of F1. Nonsense? Maybe, but I've been following this blog for years and have never read an insult, or a name called. Do I agree with everything he says? Of course not, but credit where credit's due.

You really should read it. As long as you can do it without Google Translator, that is 😉


If you can say with a straight face that this:




or this


That there is no hatred, that there are no insults is because we have a very different meaning for those things. And those are just some random links I have clicked.

And yes, I repeat, Alonsism and the Lobato's church are doing a lot of harm to F1 in Spain.


Some facts and numbers:

On the lap 46 Webber was 5 secs behind Vettel, less than 1sec behind it was 8 laps to go and the Mark's pace was 1sec pro lap faster.

If he could quickly pass Grosjean he could get Vettel in 5 laps, overtake him and win the race.

He could overtake, it was not the fault of the team or mistake in stategy, it was the fault of Mark Webber.

These number above tell us the both strategies should cross 3 laps before finish. And Mark had fresher softer tyres. Nobody to blame except Mark Webber.


Some facts and numbers:

On the lap 46 Webber was 5 secs behind Vettel, less than 1sec behind Grosjean, it was 8 laps to go and the Mark’s pace was 1sec pro lap faster.

If he could quickly pass Grosjean he could get Vettel in 5 laps, overtake him and win the race.

He could overtake, it was not the fault of the team or mistake in stategy, it was the fault of Mark Webber.

These number above tell us the both strategies should cross 3 laps before finish. And Mark had fresher softer tyres. Nobody to blame except Mark Webber.


If people remove the "Blinkers" no matter what driver one supports they will discover Mark Webber was well and truly "@#$%^&"


The strategies are very difficult to analyse with the little information that we have as viewers. But I will try anyway.

Mark's car was probably set-up in way that would allow him to do the "Open a 2 second gap at the front before DRS is enabled" trick.

The problem at the start meant that the original strategy was not possible. RBR tried to bring Mark in early and were probably hoping that Lotus would ignore Mark and would try to cover Sebastian.

If this had happened, Mark could have won the race (with a bit of luck). Unfortunately, when Lotus chose to cover Mark, RBR probably felt that Mark needed fresher tyres to overtake the Lotus (and possibly Sebastian) due to the set-up of the car. Hence they switched Mark's strategy to 3-stops.

In the end, Mark struggled to get ahead of Romain with the faster medium compound tyre when the Lotus was on worn hard tyres.

Without the change in strategy, Mark would have probably finished 3rd behind Romain.


strategise -> strategies


I'm just hoping that Webber will refuse any win "gifted" to him after SV has wrapped up the championship. It would be truly sad to see a crumb or two tossed his way by the team.


bernie is a masterclass. he has taken the sport to lots of different countries with so many ignorant fans who are so easy to manipulate. total naivity to believe that vettel's 2+sec advantage vanished in japan all of a sudden after 2 streaky domianant races.

bernie: chris, comon man dont spoil the show.

horner: what do want me to do. we have done a brilliant job with blessings of FIA and pirelli.

bernie: vettel winning the championship is guaranteed now. so y dont you turn of the traction advantage on his car?

horner: no way. then we might lose first place and $$$'s.

bernie: alright how about this, switch it on after halfway mark in the race so people dont turn off tv in first 10 laps. 1)it gives credibility to your "it's not the car it's vettel's driving" propoganda. 2)gives you 1st place and $$$'s in the end. 3) we dont loose TV audiance and $$$'s too.

horner: sounds brilliant.

and people go who says F1 is boring and blah blah blah.

earlier ferrari had blessings of max they dominated technologically. and now todt wants to screw ferrari thus he lets redbull get away with bending the rules technologies and they are dominating. come one mercedes and mclaren get you man to be next fia prez. dont you want to dominate too?


"keep Mark away from me, keep him away"

He may be winning championships but he is not a deserving champ, not with comments like that.


The problem is that Vettel didn't said that


He certainly did (at Suzuka) and its not the first time either


>He certainly did (at Suzuka) and its not the first time either

Can you point where in the radio transcripts he said that? They are available here


Perhaps you're using his call about Perez to bash him, but facts are facts


Webber feels he is done in F1


To Oletros

(I don't know why, but I cannot reply under your answer)

Now I see who you are, now I see where you come from.

There is no use discussing this topic with you. Something worse than Alonsism (as you call it) is 'Lobatism', but even worse is 'anti-Alonsism'. If anything, it's you who are full of hatred. Do you really think Alonso fans hate anti-Alonsists? Isn't it the other way round?

In the three links you commented earlier, I only see insults in one of them, the second one. As as I said before, 'He has got one enemy, though: Bernie Ecclestone. Maybe what you call hatred is just what he (and many people inside and outside of Spain) thinks is wrong about FIA, FOM and the business side of F1'. Ok, I grant it to you, I was mistaken and there are insults.

But after reading the other two posts, can you keep saying it is full of hatred and nonsense? Tell me, where are the insults in 'For the same reason I like Fernando, Kimi or Lewis, or even Romain, Nico, Sergio and Jules, and why not Mark, because in them I see the only possible epic in this scenario, that of those who bite the dust for an empty can lying on the floor of the right place, let's say a mass concert, to give the impression that much more product has been sold than what has really been consumed'? Or in 'The thing is that Sebastian Vettel is only numbers and records (...) He is just a child but he deserves to be treated like a man because he earned his stripes among men, and I refer to that because otherwise I would be disrespectful'. Insults? Yeah, right.

I leave it here. I know I didn't change your mind (I wasn't trying to). I have many times confirmed that it is useless to try to reason with those who are blindfolded, who have no respect whatsoever, who interfere in other people's comments like a bull in a china shop without any argument. Let me be, let my ideas be, since I didn't try to change yours. I'm really sick of people who put their noses in other people's business without being called. So long!



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