Intrigue at Red Bull Racing

During the post-race press conference in Istanbul, a disgruntled Mark Webber was asked why Sebastian Vettel’s car was faster than his on lap 40 when the two cars collided when the German made a rather impatient move to overtake, taking them both out. Vettel tried to make out that Webber had done something wrong but clearly this was not the case. He kept to his line, he did not move right or left. If the road had been wider then Mark would have lost the place but Vettel ran out of space and drove into the side of his team-mate, presumably thinking that Webber would get out his way, if he made such a move. Webber did not. One got the impression that he did not expect a team-mate to do such a thing.

Webber replied that there was more to the story than met the eye, but would not say more. This clearly warranted investigation. Given that Webber and Vettel were equal on points at the start of the race – each having 78 points – this was obviously a pivotal moment in the season – and the World Championship battle. With one driver ahead of the other it is much easier to dictate what one wishes to see, although, of course, team orders are not allowed, unless a driver voluntarily agrees to help his team-mate.

Webber was on pole because Vettel had some trouble with a broken rear anti-roll bar in qualifying. In the race Webber took the lead and Vettel was pushed back to third by a great move from Lewis Hamilton, despite the fact that Sebastian had made a terrific start. Vettel shadowed Webber and Hamilton until the pit stops after which Webber was ahead of Vettel and Hamilton, slowed by a pit lane glitch. When they were free and running again the gap was 0.8s and it remained much the same from lap 18 to lap 36. The biggest gap Webber managed was 1.1secs on lap 24. The smallest was 0.4s, when lapping Jarno Trulli on lap 29. It was status quo. Vettel was beaten (as he had been in Barcelona and Monaco). Sebastian seemed to have no answer for the Australian.

On lap 36 Webber was ahead by 0.813s, with no traffic ahead. Vettel lapped a tenth slower. Next time around Vettel’s lap times plunged by nearly half a second, from a 1m30.638s to a 1m30.181s. Webber’s lead shrank to 0.660s. On lap 38 Vettel did the same lap time (1m30.190s), while Webber did a 1m30.406s. The gap closed to 0.444s. Being that close to Mark meant that Vettel’s progress was stopped. The two both lapped in 1m30.6s. The next time around they collided. Vettel went up the inside in Turn 12 had the momentum but did not have the space and cut across into Webber. It was the move of an impatient man – with no reason to be impatient.

So what happened? After the race there were whispers that Red Bull Racing had ordered Webber to turn down his engine, to save fuel. Team boss Christian Horner said that they two drivers had the same engine settings, but added “as far as I know – which is never a good sign. When pressed on the subject, he said that their engine settings were the same.

But multiple sources within the team said that this was not the case and that the team wanted Vettel to go ahead, because he was going faster. If that had happened, of course, Vettel would have had a seven point lead in the World Championship. There are conspiracy theorists who argue that it is an Austrian team and that the Germans and the Austrians stick together. We have seen signs of that in the past in the way in which the team has dealt with its drivers. Christian Klien was favoured for a long time. Vettel was Red Bull’s golden boy. Webber was recruited to help with the engine deal, because of his connections with Renault.

If this is the case, then Red Bull has ended up creating a massive problem for itself – “a f@#king disaster” is how Webber described the situation. Yes, it was a disaster that the team lost points because of Vettel’s failure to finish, but the real disaster would be if Webber were to feel that is to feel that he is being unfairly treated by the Austrians and those who do what they are told. The sad fact is that Webber now leads the World Championship, with Vettel is 15 points behind. The two McLaren drivers are both ahead of Sebastian so pushing the German to get more points at Webber’s expense would not be an intelligent move.

And, the whole of the F1 paddock is now going to be looking at the team to see if that is happening.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

84 thoughts on “Intrigue at Red Bull Racing

  1. Good analysis and ties up with what Ted Kravitz said on the “Red Button” show online. But who do you mean when you say, those who do what the are told, as in “…if Webber were to feel that is to feel that he is being unfairly treated by the Austrians and those who do what they are told.”? Or are you having fun by adding to the conspiracy?

  2. “Vettel tried to make out that Webber had done something wrong but clearly this was not the case. He kept to his line, he did not move right or left. ”

    Not sure I agree with this – although that is the opinion shared by basically everyone. To my eye you can see Webbers left hand go down an inch via the onboard camera, moving his car slightly towards Vettel, and that was all it took to force the issue.

    Its not like its the first time Webber has been aggressively defending a position which ended in contact …

    I do love a good conspiracy theory, will be interesting to see how this story develops over the next day or two.

  3. I think the whole thing was backed up by the way Christian Horner and the guys on the pit wall were all hugging and consoling Vettel afterwards (a point that Martin Whitmarsh said he thought was odd given that in his opinion it was Vettel’s fault). I feel sorry for Mark and hope his chances don’t suffer due to team favoritism.

  4. Being a German myself I can wholeheartedly assure you that Germans and Austrians do [i]not[/i] stick together. Maybe the Austrians and Germans at Red Bull do, but in general they don’t. The last time “we” and “they” stuck together was from 1938 to 1945 and we all know where that ended. Since then it’s mostly been an extreme and sometimes unhealthy rivalry.
    Besides, it would seem incredibly odd to prefer one driver over the other at this point of the season. Given RBR’s reliability issues (Vettel’s problems in Q3) it would be an extremely risky strategy. They hand three victories to driver A who then isn’t able to finish the next two races? Wave good bye to the points lead then.
    For the next race Bernie should put a camera into Dietrich Mateschitz’ living room. I would have loved to see his facial expression on lap 41.
    And, ah, there’s hardly anything more entertaining than conspiracy theories. The striking majority of them have a tendency to being false, though.

  5. I was bemused earlier. Now I am disgusted. Webber clearly did nothing wrong – and now we have the team principals coming out in defense of Vettel?

    I had suspected for a long time that Webber was facing an uphill battle against the wunderkind, but I had hoped it was mere paranoia.

    Please keep digging Joe, your efforts are much appreciated.

  6. strange how english speaking drivers are always victims in the minds of english speaking journalists….

    really strange….

    1. f1observer.

      Live up to your name. It was obvious what had happened on the track. As to the engine thing, the peice I wrote turned out to be true after the team had had the chance to think about what they were saying…

  7. never a dull moment 🙂 but joe, i differ from ur attitude since am not a british gentlemanish but sennaesque and like keke, giving everything everywhere, and yeah if the conspiracy was true, then by karma mark got points while vet didn’t, but if it ain’t i dnt see any thing wrong with vet or his attitude, maybe his plan to move in on markat that cornet with so ltl space, but never a prob with his attitude

  8. Joe…I think you nailed it!! I think you nailed it down perfectly. I watched the race twice now. Live and again on DVR. Webber had this race in hand…there is no doubt about it. Hamilton was not going to pass Vettel either. The McLaren chassis just didn’t have the moxy the RB6 has going through turn 8 which cost them dearly, so there was no way the McLarens were going to get by Red Bull.

    But alas!!! Vettel, as we have seen this year, and last year as well, he cannot handle the pressure. He cannot!!! Let me preface, I am no fan of Webber as I think he is a dangerous driver (I can think of several examples of poor quality driving last season..chops on Ruebens and Alonso comes to mind), but clearly….he has had the advantage on Vettel for 3 rounds in a row and was on his way to a 3rd straight victory. And I do believe what you say here….their golden boy has been ground down by an Aussie shark in the old vet Webber and he is self-destructing. And if Red Bull are not giving fair play to Webber, then they will get exactly what they deserve, which will be nothing!

  9. Is it possible that similar thing happened at McLaren – I mean that Lewis was saving fuel while Jenson was not – that’s why Jenson was able to overtake Lewis for few corners ? If that’s the case, what happened there? And was it the reason Lewis was so ‘unhappy’ about his win? What’s your take on this Joe?

  10. very interesting.

    I would also like to see some coverage of what happened at McLaren – Hamilton has said he was “surprised” and “confused” when Button passed him. nobody it addresing this issue. Hamilton was obviously under the impression that the two drivers were supposed to be holding station, which leads to several questions:

    1. did the team tell LH that they were holding position or did he infer it (incorrectly) from some comment they made to him.
    2. did button know they were supposed to be holding position and pass anyway?
    3. did button not get told they were holding position?

  11. According to the “official line” at Red Bull, Vettel was able to run at the highest engine setting for one lap longer than Webber because he had saved a bit of fuel running behind Hamilton earlier in the race. That one lap was the lap Seb made his move, and rather stupidly threw it away.

    Nonetheless, whatever your view, it’s quite clear that even if Red Bull did want Vettel to lead the championship, they can only keep artificially extending his advantage for so long. Webber has been the better of the two for three races in a row, and there will come a point where in terms of the championship it’s no longer viable for Red Bull to keep shuffling the two around. Especially if Seb keeps scoring no points when he should have 25, or at least 18.

    One thing I have noticed re: the Red Bull drivers is that Vettel always pits first, which is an advantage as you get an extra lap on fresh tyres to leapfrog anyone who’s in front of you. You would expect the team to usually give maximum advantage to the driver who is ahead anyway. Strange…

  12. Pretty clear situation – Mark Webber held his line – as he is fully entitled (and expected) to do – Sebastian Vettel was presumptuous that, just because he had a half car length over his team mate, he could just turn in and expect Webber to give way. When you saw how two other team mates handled a pretty similar situation, you just have to admire both Button and Hamilton for their maturity and racing spirit. The situation could easily have turned out the same way as for the Red Bulls, but the drivers had enough respect for each other to enjoy the scrap and understand the team 1-2 was more important – though I would have preferred Button to have stayed in front for his 3rd victory this season. Oh well – onward to Canada and I will be interested to see how Red Bull manage the situation between now and then – did Webber get his contract renewed? If all the talk about Horner favouring Vettel, then maybe Webber’s new contract will never be signed…

  13. Red Bull spend billions of dollars on marketing to build an image as a sporting brand with an emphasis on the extreme and fair competition. They just destroyed all of that work and investment with a single stupid decision driven by national preference.

    I was a huge Red Bull fan because of what they represented, and I am no longer sure what that means now. If it represents whatever is best for Austria and Germany, as opposed to competitive sport, then I am no longer interested in their team or their brand.

  14. I see the issue – but it was good fun to see Webber come out on top. His driving was within bounds and he asserted himself aggressively… Great GP action and intrique:)

  15. Good analysis Joe. It seemed pretty clear to me. Vettel is obviously rattled by Mark’s recent pace, and it must be difficult to handle after being lauded as the next F1 messiah… and then having your socks removed, as you so eloquently noted Joe, by what you had been told was a journeyman team mate.

    I’m now looking forward to seeing what happens in the Red Bull firmament in the remaining races this season.

    Could it be that Mark’s car will mysteriously handle less well, and produce less power in comparison to the sister car of his team mate?

    Have the odds of Mark ending up at Ferrari next season just increased?

    What a season 2010 is turning out to be……

  16. Look at the incident again in slow motion HD. Webber eased to the left twice while Vettel was pulling ahead. You’re wrong to say he moved neither right nor left.

  17. Excellent analysis, well written.

    Webbo is about to get classically @*&@’d by Horner and RBR. Sad, but true I think. I’m appalled at Red Bull’s reaction to this incident, siding with Vettel in a not so subtle way.

  18. Great reporting and insight Joe.
    Finally we have some dirt to talk about this year. Everyone was getting on so well up until now!
    Was good to see the McLaren drivers able to race each other so closely without the RB-style “f’ing disaster” LOL

  19. You called it, Joe. It’s up to the guy behind to make a pass stick. Webber, the race leader, held his line. Vettel (if ever so slightly) moved right, causing contact. Quite obvious. If Marko/Horner back Vettel in spite of the video, we’ll know it’s an Austrian/German team. Which isn’t a bad thing, as long as RBR says it.

  20. Wonder if this will end up with a similar atmosphere as Williams when A J had a feud with his team mate.

  21. Interesting Prognosis, but would RBR risk its reputation, and the fairness tag it has acquired by undermining their leading man. yes, both are tied for the title race, but in terms of victories, it’s Mark that has the edge and the one that has been having the superior season.

    I would hate to see that a good driver’s hard working career be sabotaged by a stupid national pride moment….

    and if that were true, I’d imagine it would be disastrous for the magical/friendly Webber/Vettel duet…

    neo Red Bullizm? that’s something for Clarkson to joke about… LOL

  22. Hamilton was favoured over Alonso, Heidfeld was favoured over Kubica, but these are my personal views.
    Some teams come with in A1GP style – Mercedes and McLaren

  23. Hey Joe,
    Not sure how anyone can argue that it is anything but Vettel’s fault, he clearly moved to the right into Webber.
    Vettel should also know his rivals, Webber is well known not to help you pass, Vettel ran out of room. Big mistake!!!
    I hope the team stay fair as Webber is driving beautifully.

  24. Vettel caused the accident I feel. He certainly turned in to Webber.

    Someone suggested on TV that had he not turned to the right he would have won the corner anyway but perhaps it was too dusty to brake effectively on that line?

    I must say I was impressed by the mature way in which Mark Webber answered the inevitable questions, refusing to rant and rave about his young team mate. Should Mark go on to win the Championship he would be most worthy of the title.

    Re: McLaren, I was very surprised by Hamilton’s demeanour after the race. He didn’t celebrate the victory at all and for some reason I found my mind wandering back to Imola 1982 and the Villeneuve/Pironi affair.

    Did Button pass Hamilton after the race had been called off by the team? Were the ‘save fuel’ messages were code for hold position? Hamilton said live on TV that he was surprised to see Button come past. Although to be fair, Button commented that if ‘save fuel’ was code for don’t race, no one had told him!

    Curiouser and curiouser.

  25. While I think the crash was 100% Vettle’s fault, when it comes to deciding whether it was a genuine mistake or a conspiracy, I tend to stick with the age old adage that it’s cock up over conspiracy every time.

  26. hmm… “oh dear” is right.
    Vettel’s account of the debacle is full of ‘entitlement’, as if merely being on the ‘inside’ entitles one to the pass. Add to that Horner and Marko’s statements that clearly indicate a favoritism towards Vettel and you have the makings of a showdown within the team appearing on the horizon.
    I think Red Bull need to decide if they want to win this championship with whichever driver or just with Vettel. If it’s just Vettel, and they take real action to make that so, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Webber walk away from the team before season’s end.

  27. To add to the conspiracy theories….

    From what I have read, RB have a policy where the leading driver has exclusive priority when deciding when to pit, i.e. the following driver must wait to pit (to plan to pit) until the leading has pitted or has planned to pit. i.e. If “leader” decides to pit in 3 laps, “follower” cannot pit in 3 laps. Earlier or later is permitted, however.

    It surprised me at the time that Vettel pitted before Webber. This was also somewhat expressed by the BBC commentators (Ted Kravitz, et al. I am Canadian so I don’t know if I was listening to BBC TV or 5 Live or even if there is a difference!)

    I would have expected that Webber, having the prime choice of pit window, would be able to block the best window of tire (soft) performance. This ensure that Webber gets the best performance of his tires and force Vettel in to a period (1 or 2 laps) on to poorly performing tires.

  28. Maybe Webber is doing what Barrichelo should have done at Ferrari. By not giving an inch, he was really sending the message: I know you are favoring him, but if he is going to win he will have to earn it, or the team will have to admit up front that it is rigged.

    Maybe Vettel really is the new Schumacher.

  29. For me this was 100% Vettel’s fault. Webber has always been extremely aggressive in defending his position, and sometimes I feel he has gone too far, such as in Barcelona a couple of year’s ago when he forced Alonso on to the grass. This was not the case in Turkey however. Webber left a car’s width to his left, nothing more and nothing less, and Vettel opted to use the space to pull alongside. He could have taken the less risky option of pulling to Webber’s right and trying to pass around the outside (as Button did shortly afterwards when overtaking Hamilton), and with the momentum he had would probably gave got to the corner ahead of Webber.

    Once alongside the two Red Bull’s were alongside each other, Webber did not deviate from his line at any point, and it was Vettel that moved right, and drove into the side of Webber. It was not the only time Vettel had done this during the race, he did exactly the same to Hamilton earlier in the race, and on that occasion had got away with it. It shows to me that Vettel is still not quite the finished article, as whilst he is unstoppable when out in the lead, he still lacks maturity when he is not.

    If Red Bull try to pin the blame on Webber for this incident, as seems to be the case, then shame on them. Webber is a decent bloke and decent racer, and it seems he isn’t being given equal treatment in the team.

  30. And we all thought that Hamilton/Button at Mclaren is a repeat of Prost/Senna, turns out its actually playing out at Red Bull!

  31. Watching the onboards, it’s evident Webber put the squeeze on Vettel by drifting left (and away from the racing line). I’d still put the majority of blame on Vettel but there certainly aren’t any saints in this incident. Particularly when Horner clearly states his driver are constantly told to give each other room, which Webber obviously did not.
    For what it’s worth, I’m neither Vettel nor Webber fan. Not a fan of Red Bull as a whole for that matter. But I’m afraid we won’t be seeing a whole lot of objectivity with regards to this incident.
    Anyway, it wouldn’t be F1 without a little controversy and infighting 🙂 At least this incident will keep us entertained until Montreal.

  32. Ermm food for thought Joe, I see where your coming from very interesting..indeed.

    Webber IMO is not one that will play the team order game.

  33. RB might be owned by Austrians but it is really a British team, as most of them are, isn’t it?
    I’m spewing about this. Vettel needs to be punched in the face, and if RB management don’t support Webber then it’s clearly a case of bias. Webber has the right to be incensed.

  34. To add fuel to the fire – as if it needed it – what happened in Qualy 3? Webber was due to have the last run and for some mysterious reason Vettel is late out of the box leaving him with the preferred last run. Turned out to be moot due to the broken arb (really?). Points to a team that is far from united in the car, garage and pit wall.

    At least Vettel can still claim his car broke resulting in a non finish 🙂 tends to happen when you plough into your team mate.

    Webber won’t hold the team line much longer. There are realistically no seats worth moving to next year so this is his last chance. If the team makes it clear he is expected to play second fiddle to Vettel they will have to throw away the teams championship and start some creative “engineering”.

    This will simmer until they get the Silverstone where it will be on for young and old – literally. Montreal and Valencia will favour McLaren so RBR will go to one of their best circuits well behind in both Championships.

    Who said F1 was dull…

  35. Joe

    Great work putting the disparate issues together.

    There is fault on all sides in this, RBR are being made to look the villains, and from this distance it seems deserved

    RBR has a group of people in charge who have never been in the situation of leading a WDC, or leading a WCC, of having 2 drivers on equal points, and with a significant body of speed from the car…

    They are obviously learning as they go, but in saying that, they are not managing the message particularly well…

    Mr Horner appeared unknowing in his discussion with the press, more towards he was hiding something, or that he couldnt share the real story

    Some day Mr Webber will share what went on, if anyone is still around to care.. perhaps yesterday he had RBR take his 2011 offer off the table. That would be worth understanding…

    Shame Red Bull Racing Shame!


  36. Webber fighting for position gave VET enough room for a car to squeeze past. Why should he offer more when a WC is up for grabs. If VET was good enough he would have been able to brake on the dirty inside line and take the spot.
    Why on earth would he think to steer directly into mark? I think there is more ging on here than we are being told.
    VEt was clearly displeased after qually, considering he was obviously quicker than mark all w/end leading up to Q3. So instead of being just 7 points behind his main rival, he is now 15. Whats that tell you about the move. It was all VETs to lose.
    Now what he has done is open up the door to MCL, and now RBR wont win either championship. They are now facing 2 tough circuits (for them) in a row. Canada and CValencia. So coming to Silverstone will see something interesting as RBR should have a good upgrade for there.

  37. It seems that Vettel is really feeling the pressure that’s been applied by Webber recently and perhaps that is in part fuelled, as another poster mentioned, through some sense of entitlement. A number of times over the weekend his actions demonstrated just this.

    In the post-qualifying conference there was quite a bit of eye-rolling, head-shaking and other gestures by Vettel when Webber was speaking, especially on the question about how it was that Webber exited the garage first for his final run rather than Vettel, as apparently should have been the case.

    Then after the race crash there was all of that childish gesticulating by Vettel, indicating that he considered Webber to be crazy – he did that repeatedly, when he first got out of the car while he still had his helmet on and again later once he’d removed it. Hardly the actions of a mature, professional sportsman.

    Webber left a car width on his left and no more – fair enough, why should he be expected to just roll over and concede the place if they were truly racing. Vettel got into that space and at the point he veered right to contact Webber his front wheels were only just ahead of Webber’s side-pods, yet he comes out with indignant statements that he was clearly past Webber and it was the other guy’s stupidity that caused it all. Then to add salt to Webber’s wounds, Horner comes out and says it was equally Webber and Vettel’s fault – a strange take on it indeed.

    Vettel’s demeanor and actions are in stark contrast to those of Webber. Vettel is showing that he is still very much an immature and petulant youngster, fuelled it seems by an implicit understanding that he’s Red Bull’s favoured number one who should be winning the championship title. That entitlement is not quite working out as planned and he’s showing the strain. Webber on the other hand remains composed and restrained, no nonsense, and no doubt airs his dirty laundry behind closed doors. It’s easy to see who is the seasoned professional. Only time will tell if the “good-guy” wins out in all of this.

  38. For me. Christian Horner summed it all up. Forget the rest.
    – If you’re going to race our other car – OK – but make ‘Extra Sure’ there’s room to do it. Period.
    – Thats an absolutely basic professional standard – and any racing team has a right to expect it at all times, from all its drivers. No further discussion.

    – Demi note. Is Lewis peeved at Jenson or is it just me?

  39. Excellent analysis Joe.

    Now that it’s looking as though Christian Horner really didn’t know the truth of Vettel’s advantage, it suggests that there are serious management skirmishes at the very top of the team.

    Was Helmut Marko playing games behind Horner’s back? One wonders. If so, what reckless arrogance. It’s not like Horner (and Newey) couldn’t find other work in a moment. I suspect any team in the paddock would hire them tomorrow.

    Helmut Marko has now made this mess FAR worse by publicly blaming Webber for the entirety of the incident. I suppose we’re not to believe our lying eyes.

    I get the feeling that any intra-team battle between Webber and Vettel will pale in comparision to the impending battle royal between Christian Horner and Helmut Marko. One wonders which side Dietrich Mateschitz will favor.

    Mateschitz needs to be very careful here. His team’s entire world could unravel in a moment if he lets management unfairly favor one driver over another. Mateschitz needs to lay down the law and put a complete stop to any more of these secret maneuvers. I suspect he’ll do just that, weak managers don’t tend to build successful multi-billion dollar empires.

  40. Secure the hatches!

    F1 websites are crashing under the load of controversy.

    JA’s has been down for hours.

    Newey’s comments will be the most illuminating, he has to stay… even if Mark leaves.

    Shame about the foul language from Webbo.

    How can we invite our kids to watch F1 when they talk like dock-workers in the Kop, and Aussie politicians?

    What’s your verdict on Jenson ‘trying it on’ Joe?

  41. What a race.
    At first it looked to me that Seb had taken a week long course in passing – from a fellow German/poor sport driving a Merc…

    But… reading the press releases – I am starting to think it’s a little bit worse than that.

    Reading comments by Chris Horner post race – it seems that Seb had 1 kilo of fuel MORE than Webber did…allowing for him to keep his engine mapped in “race” mode – while Webber had been told to conserve fuel.

    Ok.. I can accept Vettel had 1 more kilo of fuel – saved while running in 3rd place early.
    However. I saw nothing in Sebs driving style during that early part of the race that indicated he was saving fuel.
    He was running consistent race pace with the 2 cars ahead of him prior to the 1st pit stop as well as being pushed from behind. He was trying VERY hard to catch Lewis.
    After the pitstop – he was trying even harder to catch Webber – while being pushed early on in the 2nd stint by Lewis.
    There was no fuel conservation strategy in play at that time – for either car

    Ok.. even if Seb had 1 kilo more fual allowing him to “race” 1 more lap than Webber could…. That 1 kilo is only “ment” to be worth about a tenth per lap – according to Martin Brundle on the BBC broadcast. So it doesn’t really explain how he was able to make up 3-5 tenths per lap in the previous 2 or 3 laps prior to the “accident”….unless Webber had been told to back his engine down and conserve – by the team.

    1 kilo of fuel is not the difference here.
    Webber was “backed off” – re mapped – or convinced he had a fuel issue – 2-3 laps prior to Seb catching and crashing into him. That means Seb – on a race mapped engine – was always going to catch webber…

    What?…did the team think he was just going to let Seb pass?

    By the sound of some of the RB team players…that’s EXACTLY what they thought would happen. Obviously they haven’t spent any time in Webbers half of the garage – or getting to know him – cause if they had they would have KNOWN that Webber would never just let Seb past…while he was leading the race and the championship.

    I am sorry – but there is something rotten in the state of Austria.

    The Germans and the Austrians have been colluding since before WW2 – and it seems that they will do so again this season.
    I supply this quote from ESPN F1 “Red Bull’s advisor Helmut Marko has backed Sebastian Vettel after a crash with team-mate Mark Webber in the Turkish Grand Prix cost the team a potential 1-2 finish.”
    Who the F*&@ is this guy?
    If he was any good at advising – he would have known that Webber wouldn’t “give” the spot to Vettel. But I am guessing Helmut has an ulterior motive.

    Am I suggesting Webber was SlOWED deliberately – without fuel being an issue?
    Bet your arse I am

    After Webber pitted for a new front wing – and sustaining ongoing aero problems from the incident – we was still able to put in some fast laps…even fastest laps – on that last stint. Ok…he was never going to catch the McLarens – but he was 37sec behind them after his pitstop…and finished the race just over 20secs behind them. Yes…the McLarens were slowing – but Webber was also going like the clappers trying to make ground. NOT conserving fuel.

    In regards to the crash itself.
    Vettel – over speed and out on the dirty (inside) line.
    Yes..he was past Webber – kind of – but he was OUT of track position and SHOULD have been braking A LOT harder if we was ever going to get around that corner without coming to grief. He expected Webber to move…when he didn’t – he tried to muscle him out of the way.

    Also… if you have the opportunity – go back and have a look at the post Qually press conference.

    In it – Webber was asked why his didn’t come out last – Behind Seb – in Q3.

    Webbers reply was that he was ‘MENT’ to go last….but for some reason he was released before Seb.
    He didn’t know why and he said he would be asking about that!

    Now…while Webber was doing the talking at this point..i was watching Seb.
    He was pulling faces (of disagreement and childishness)
    He looked like a kid who was caught with his hand iin the cookie jar….right up to the elbow
    He was VERY uncomfortable and breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when none of the assembled Journos picked up on it …nor asked him about it.

    I have been watching Seb in press conferences for as long as he has been in F1 – and the faces he pulled were UNHAPPY faces – when Webber was asked about WHO should have been the last RB on track in Q3.

    As it turns out – Vettel stuffed his lap anyway… but it goes to the team politics.

    Me thinks that if Mark Webber is to have any chance of winning the championship this year – then he not only has to beat everyone on the track – he also has to beat the politicians in his own garage. And THAT could be harder to do than anything any other team can offer up to challenge him on track

    With the Billions of $ Red Bull spend on marketing themselves as the leaders in exteme sports and fair play – the decision in that race…and the decisions made in races going forward will either cement them as FAIR players – or just bullshitters with low moral standard and even less ability to “be smart” and see when an issue like this could destroy all the hard work they have achieved to date – getting a name as a good, fast, fair team.

    How long before we start to question the fairness of Hannis Arch (an Austrian) in the Red Bull air race? He already has a MUCH faster aircraft that ANY other pilot in the that field….but what happens when someone can challenge him? Will RB, DM and the powers that be try to knoble the rest of the field with questionable penalties?

    As you point out Joe – its what ISNT being said that makes all the difference.

    Webber in a Ferrari next year?
    Its not like he would get a fair go their either – Alonso has the #1 seat and we all know how Ferrari work when they have 2 drivers capable of winning. He would do better back at Renalt

    I, for one, will not be buying another “red Bull” drink until i am sure that the team i support (spending $5 a can) is being run by people who have and maintain a respecable attitude to fair play bewteen drivers.

    Right now – i think Monty Python put it best. “Bloody Favoritism”…. and the sport in general (showing signs of recovery) will be MUCH worse off because of it

    Keep up the pressure Joe – if there is favoritism – it MUST be exposed.
    And i expect Mark Webber will be happy to tell the story if someone asks the right questions. He wont want another contract with them if it means he has to play second fiddle to the cranky German in the funny hats.

    Right now – i am disgusted in the Red Bull teams support of Seb. Not because i am an Aussie. But because i am a supporter of fair play. Once again an F1 team has proved that it will effectively “cheat” its championship leading driver out of position and points.

    The only thing we are missing here is a big boat with a vocal, memory & moral deficient italian at the helm.

    The only way favoritism will ever be proved is if we get to see the data from the cars re engine mapping (and the times they switched) and corrolate them against the time the team messages to conserve fuel were given to BOTH drivers. And THAT isnt likely. Even less likely is the fact that we will hear the team radio chats that are recorded by the FIA. But if we did – i am sure that we could….we’d get a lot closer to the real game being played here than we are likely too at the moment

  42. Exceptional write up this time Joe.

    1. Hamilton/Button – Am I the only person who thinks that perhaps the ‘passing’ between these two, so close and controlled, could have been just a little bit orchestrated, i.e.: ‘Conserve Fuel’ translates to ‘Hold Position, but don’t make it look like you are’…???

    2. Vet/Webber – I think that the ‘muscle’ move from Vettel just didn’t pay off for him in this case, and that Webber simply held his line which Vettel wasn’t expecting or counting on. Much like Alonso/Massa/Pitlane, I wonder what would have happened should this not have been teammates? Say, Hamilton instead of Webber – Given the pitlane incident a few weeks back, would this have been tolerated by the officials, or would it have at least been investigated?

    3. I look forward to the coming break before the next round, just to see what Horner has to say about the incident, when he’s had time to digest ‘popular opinion’ and realises that he is perhaps in the spotlight regarding team preferences. (Wait, a preference is different to an order, right?)

    4. Alonso and Petrov – Bad incident for Petrov, Predictable incident for the experienced and agressive (not a criticism) Alonso. A racing incident with very unfortunate consequences for the ‘underdog’.

    For two rounds in a row I find myself defending a driver whom I have little liking for (Alsonso this round, Schumacher at Monaco).

  43. I think there is an obvious piece that people have not noticed just prior to the incident. I think it stipulates the intention of each driver. Coming out of the corner prior to the straight, Vettel clearly had the speed on Webber, he threw a dummy on Webber and glanced to the outside as Webber obviously went for the inside line to defend. So I think Webber fell for the dummy and left a little room for Sebastian to change his line as clearly Webber should have held a tighter line to the inside part of the track. I think Webber realised his mistake and just held this super tight line (but clearly left racing room in my opinion, people’s comments of Webber’s hands moving at the end of the straight, let me ask you all, how straight would your hands be on the steering wheel at 320kph)??? I think that was just the car moving around and also let’s not forget there were bumps at the end of the straight and we saw this when Hamilton dived to the inside when pursuing Webber in the first phase of the race.

    Did Webber give Vettel enough room, Definitely not, but should he have? Also Definitaly not as it was Vettel that took the risk of going for the tighter line to begin with. As I earlier mention, those key seconds gave away the intent (ie Vettel was intent on passing by taking a huge risk and Mark was definitely intent on defending).

    As for conspiracies, Mark I think will try and rise above this but I am sure he is going to be put under pressure by the team. I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, just human nature to gravitate towards your preferred driver, even if you are a team boss…..

  44. Thanks for writing this peice and siding with Mark. Also enjoyed your last aside with Joe.

    Yours truly,

    The silent majority that click your site at least once a day for a peice of f1 news.


  45. Hi Joe, good take on the debacle that was, whatever the off track politics, Webber is obviously at his best, and i just wonder if the attitude displayed recently, before the Instanbul incident, and since is a reflection of Vettels exuberant youth, similar to what you said in the comparison between Button and Hamilton. From an Australian view, i hope Webber goes on to win the championship, and i believe that Vettel has driven well enough to be right up there in the points also, he just needs to mature a little more

  46. what about mclaren ‘s team orders??? Button easily could have won that race!!! Watch hamilton’s face at the podium and he knows it!! Webber is going to switch team next year!!

    1. Jorge,

      Jenson did not seem to be worried about what happened. Indeed he said that he could not keep Lewis behind him…

  47. @ AussieCarl

    Great post.

    I can’t say wether or not there is a conspiracy theory, but Webbers answer in the press conference, “you’ll have to dig deeper”, certainly alludes to things going on in the background, perhaps in a similar vein to Alonso’s claims of unfair treatment in McLaren, and there are many Renault drivers that have said the same thing too. But interesting and gratifying to see how cooly Webber deals with it all.

    I like Webber a lot, and the reasoning is really similar to the underdog phenomenon. I remember seeing Webber flipping upside down in a Mercedes Le Mans car (I think it was Le Mans) and then getting back into the same car (or at least the same model) the next day and have the exact same thing happen again, but he continued to support the team. Webber is a driver that’s been around and been exposed to many situations, and from what I can see, he’s got on with it and done well, or very well. No one’s given him a short cut, a boost up, or any undeserved assistance. He’s earned his opportunities and is deserving, as well as lucky, to finally be in a highly competitive car.

    I think that if there has been favouritism in the Red Bull team, then this incident has gone a fair way in highlighting, if not exposing, that, and because of this I suspect, and perhaps naievely, that the team will have to be cautious about employing similar tactics going forward. In fact, given Webbers and Vettels position in the championship, it would be far wiser for them to abandon any such favouritism towards Vettel at this stage, at least for the remaineder of this season if not the next.

    But in any case, I think Webber will continue taking these situations on the chin, and carrying on regardless. He’s tool calm to throw a hissy fit. He understands that for this reason or that he’s not received favours throughout his career where others have, but he’s smart enough to realise that despite all of that he’s extremely lucky to be where he is in such a tough industry.

    Personally I think Webbers smart enough to stick with the team capable of giving him the fastest car, if he’s lucky enough to have that option, regardless as to wether or not he’s going to face an uphill battle with the team internally. Which of course he won’t, because as long as he keeps doing what he’s paid to do, which is to drive fast and well, then it’s not as if he will be reprimanded.

    I imagine that Webbers response to Horners claims that he should have moved over and allowed Vettel more room, will be “I respectfully disagree”.

  48. As Snowy pointed out, Vettel has been looking increasingly fed up in the press conferences for the past three races when Webber has beaten him – as if he is being denied ‘his due’.

    What is probably not helping is that when Vettel was outperforming Webber prior to Monaco, his car kept letting him down. As such, his impatient move on his team mate indicates that he’d simply had enough of things not going his own way.

    Whilst the lower echelons of the team are British, so therefore likely relate better to Webber as an Australian (the two nations being cultural cousins, also his 2 years at Jaguar must help), the upper management is Austrian and by similar virtue will favour the German. Marko clearly does, and I would be surprised if Mateschitz didn’t.

  49. I don’t deny there is favouritism at work at RBR and can well imagine Webber being pretty p****d off about that. But nevertheless … If you were the RBR team boss and saw your drivers in this situation while leading 1-2 … would you really want to tell the guy behind to slow down and risk being caught? No. Would you be happy with the guy in front risking the whole result for the team by playing hardball and hardly giving any room at all to his teammate who comes rocketing past? Definitely not. In a battle for the (race and championship) lead between drivers from different teams, what Webber did would have been perfectly right. When defending against his teammate, it was bollocks, absolutely egoistic from Webber. If I were Mr Mateschitz, I’d exchange him asap for someone who understands the priorities in an F1 team.

  50. My only comment: My guess is, you hit the nail on the head, you have done your homework, Thanks again

  51. Marko has form giving preferential treatment of one driver over another, he did this when running his own F3000 team.

    Way back when a young JP Montoya joined Marko’s team, a very young Craig Lowndes was also placed there by Tom Walkinshaw after dominating in Touring Cars in Oz driving TWR cars.
    Lowndes was never given a chance by Marko, he just took Uncle Tom’s money and screwed young Lowndesy over, treating him as if he was a wealthy Porsche Cup Driver buying a drive.

    Lowndes had to try and learn the Euro tracks and learn the car yet never got the same track time as Montoya, never had access to any data and was given a novice engineer fresh to F3000 to set up his car.
    The whole situation was deplorable.
    Looks like nothing has changed.

  52. I am an Australian, so you would expect im on Webber’s side. And i well and truely am.

    Look deeper into the last few races and you will see Mark has got the kid worried. He couldnt keep his aggressiveness in check and stuffed it for both of them in this situation…….

    Another potential Hamilton and Alonso thing on our hands.

  53. Hi Joe, brilliant write up there. I still can’t believe the attitude from the Red Bull camp, all hugs and apologies to Vettel with no apology coming the other way.

    You just have to wonder what planet Horner and Marko are living on – is the big boss going to bring some sense into this team?

  54. Hi Joe I am OK with your comments however I have a different reading of the laptimes and I would like to have your advice about that:
    I am using the laptimes from autosport (I am a subscriber so I can have the lap by lap on a convenient form)

    Between lap 25 and lap 39 (14 laps):
    – Sebastian was 12 times faster than Mark (all laps but 30/31/36) regaining 0.703s in total.
    – Lewis was 9 times quicker than Mark (all but 26/28/31/34/36/37) closing on Mark by 0.561s

    So it seems pretty obvious to me that Seb and Lewis closing on Mark had not happened on the last laps before the crash but was ongoing since lap25.

    The figures also show that Sebastian was marginally quicker than Lewis.

    So was Mark in a different engine mode or was he constantly loosing time?
    Of course this is no excuse for the stupid situation in lap 40…

    1. Ago,

      Youn do not take into account the fact that Webber was dealing with traffic. Nor do you consider the fact that Webber was only doing what he had to do and pulled out a small gap when he needed too.

  55. Back again!! I just want to say I love all the comments. This is definitely the best F1 blog out there….thanks for that Joe!!

    I cannot wait for Canada. I’ll be there in person to watch the race…1st turn hairpin!!! Cannot wait to see what Webber and Vettel do to each other there. I suspect lots of late braking and dive-bombing! We could see another blow-up of EPIC proportion!

  56. @ Soeren

    Unfortunately you are deluded.

    1) They didn’t tell the second guy to slow down, but they did tell the first guy to. The spin is that it was because he had to go slow to save fuel, but it’s funny then that after the pitstop to replace the nose he magically had enough fuel to throw down a few fastest laps…

    2) Should you be upset with your driver who kept his line (drove straight ahead) to protect his position or the guy who cut hard to the right when he was hard up beside another car?

    3) How is protecting your position egotistical? Egotistical is having the gall to try dinking in towards a car to psyche them off the racing line (just like he did earlier to Hamilton) when the team had already dialed back the other car to make it easy for you (possible at all for dear little Seb).
    Stupid is trying to do it when you’re both traveling in the same direction less than a metre apart and you’ve only just got your front wheels in front.

    There are two things my old man would say that apply in this situation:
    i) If you try to overtake your job is to finish it. Not to get halfway and expect them to give up.
    ii) “…he got to the corner and ran out of talent.”

    Unfortunately for Vettel, on this occasion it happened well before the corner…

  57. I think the word disaster should be reserved for real disasters like famine in Africa. Two exceedingly well paid men collided at a race track. Vettel’s pride may have been hurt but that is hardly a disaster. May nothing worse happen to this 22 year old. As for Mark, he flew back to his lovely lady, his two dogs and a great home in the UK. And he is leading the championship for the first time in his life. Hardly a disaster.

  58. I think it was clear who the rbr team wanted to win.Any way the important thing now is to pay atention to the next races.

  59. Joe, again you are a real pro! Your analization of the incedent was a beautiful piece of work! “Say no more”, “Say no more” …………….Thank You!

  60. I think there are a few key points people are missing:

    1. I heard/read (maybe on Speed TV, I don’t recall?) that the RBR policy is that the driver that is ahead at the corner has priority. Thus, the team’s line was that Webber caused an avoidable accident by not ceding line/position.

    2. Joe writes “…so pushing the German to get more points at Webber’s expense would not be an intelligent move.” This is ridiculous – we’re only a third of the way through the season and we’re talking about a difference of one solitary third place! You want RBR to get behind Webber for the championship so soon?! Imagine this Schumacher/Barrichelo, and we’d all be crying foul! Which leads me to…

    3. …more than any bias for British drivers I’ve ever seen in the British/English speaking press, the favoritism towards Webber over Vettel is sensational. It’s ramped up a notch, IMO, because everyone can plead the 4th “because he’s not British, therefore I can’t possibly be exhibiting any bias towards him.” I suppose it doesn’t help that Vettel is German, because we know the English love to hate them a German too.
    I also point people back to Martin’s comment #5, explaining that Austrians like the Germans as much as the Scottish/Welsh/Irish like the English…

  61. CTP…take it from THIS Aussie that Martin and his comment #5 – is WAAAAAAYYYYY off the mark.

    Australians like the POMS (the English) about as much as the POMS like the Germans..

    But seriously… you cant be serious.

    What difference does 3rd place make?
    Well that 3rd place has left Vettel 15 points off the lead coming into 2 tracks the RB cars are not expected to perform as well at.

    Ask Seb what a difference that 3rd place makes… to both himself…and Webber.

    HA…Aussies dont like Germans hahahahahahahaha
    ….they dont even play cricket :p

    Aussies like EVERYBODY – until they start cheating

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