The real f**king disaster

Red Bull Racing may have the fastest car in Formula 1 this year, but the team has made a fundamental mistake. And the fact that the two drivers collided is not the problem. That was unfortunate. The real problem is that one of the drivers – the one leading the World Championship, no less – is no longer sure that he can trust his own team. Someone in the team has to take the blame for that – and it is not Mark Webber. At the time of the crash Webber was in the lead and Vettel’s rash (some might say desperate) manoeuvre seemed to catch him out. Lewis Hamilton, who was following behind in his McLaren was clear that he felt that Vettel was to blame.

“I saw Sebastian go to the inside, where there’s not much room, and there didn’t seem to be any reason for him to try to move to the right,” he said.

Webber was clearly trying to avoid controversy – being loyal to the team – but it was also clear that he was not at all happy. He explained that there was no reason why Vettel should have been able to close up on him.

“I wasn’t too slow, no. Seb had a top speed advantage and it looks like he turned pretty quick when he was alongside and we made contact.”

In a previous post we examined the lap times involved and it was clear that Vettel was suddenly able to speed up in relation to Webber. Team boss Christian Horner has now confirmed that the drivers did have different engine settings – something he initially denied. And “denied” is an important word. He did not say that he thought they were on the same setting. He said that they definitely were. Later he recanted on that. Explaining why Horner and Red Bull representative Helmut Marko attacked Webber after the race is going to be difficult to explain.

It is up to the man overtaking to make the move stick and Vettel failed to do that. Webber did not give him much room but there was no reason why he should have done. Webber 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 in the end Vettel drove into the side of his team-mate, presumably thinking that Webber would get out his way.

The problem now is that everyone in the F1 paddock thinks that the Red Bull camp wants Vettel to be World Champion and the whole business has created the ironic situation of Webber being 15 points ahead. To make matters worse the two McLaren drivers are now between the two Red Bull drivers and so trying to help Vettel will be watched for and could open the way for one of the McLaren men to steal the title – which would not be smart at all.

The big teams have all learned over the years that favouring one driver over another is a very blinkered approach. It worked for Ferrariwith Michael Schumacher, but in the overall scheme of things, this means that Michael is not given the respect that perhaps he deserves when he is rated along with the all-time greats as he had many advantages and very little pressure. Williams has always tried to treat its drivers fairly, right back to the days of Alan Jones and Carlos Reutemann. There were similar problems in the Nelson Piquet- Nigel Mansell era, although Nelson has long since admitted that he stirred up that trouble deliberately to try to destabilize Mansell. There is no doubt that in 1986 the two Williams drivers lost the title to Alain Prost because they were allowed to race one another. McLaren has to deal with the same problem with Ayrton Senna and Prost in 1989 and was unable to keep the peace and the same happened in 2007 when Fernando Alonso found it impossible to accept the concept that Lewis Hamilton could be as fast as he was. This did serious damage to Alonso’s reputation, although the Spanish media has convinced itself that the English team favoured the English driver.

The Istanbul incident has done nothing to help the relationship between the two Red Bull drivers, although Webber made it clear that he can see a way to get over it. The real “f**king disaster” to which he referred is not about Vettel, but rather about whether he can trust his team or whether he has to watch out for behind-the-scenes meddling. This uncertainty will weaken the team. One can dismiss this as paranoia, but what was clear in Istanbul was that almost no-one in F1 outside the Red Bull camp thought Webber could be blamed for the incident.

Red Bull has long had the bad habit of messing with its drivers. If the team wants to win the World Championship, this must stop.

Down at McLaren they must be laughing all the way to the bank…

172 thoughts on “The real f**king disaster

  1. I don’t profess to understand the intricacies of the rules, but at what point do the stewards get involved in situations like this? Apart from Vettel and Horner the whole world believes Vettel caused an avoidable accident. Why is he not penalised for it? It was not a 50/50 racing incident, Vettel gave Webber two choices, leave the track or have a collision. Shades of Schumacher?

  2. As long as Marko whispers in Didi’s ear how to go racing it won’t stop. Horner is just a puppet with not much backbone it seems.

    But one can understand Marko, he spent a shitload of money in the young drivers program and the only one he can show for is Vettel who hasn’t really convinced me so far.

    The Austrian mob will stick together though.

  3. Couldn’t agree more. It’s a simple case of Vettel thinking he could bully Mark into moving over in the braking zone, however the duty of care rests squarely with the person attempting the pass to ensure that he can complete it without taking the other guy out. Red Bull should reprimand Vettel behind closed doors, (as there is nothing to be gained from airing their laundry in public) to clearly demonstrate to the entire team, including Mark that there is no favouritism whatsoever.

    And then…may the best man win!

  4. Thanks Joe, great stuff as usual.

    While the spotlight is focused on Red Bull at the moment, we could clearly see Lewis & Jenson were not “laughing all the way to the bank” after the race. What’s your take on the McLaren duo? Was Jenson not obeying order to “save fuel” causing a “surprised” Lewis looking so dejected? Will it cause problems between the two? My view is Lewis should be “surprised” but be happy because he prevailed.

  5. I believe that Vettel had conserved fuel and tyres. This is why he should have been able to run to the flag with higher engine settings than Webber was able to.

    Red Bull screwed up with the communication of this thing and Vettel was too impatient too wait until they had it sorted for him. He might have even thought that the order had already been given, we do not know for sure.

    Fact is Red Bull have little experience with such situations. I expect them to think it through now and come up with iron clad policies and communications.

  6. Joe

    Well said and my thoughts exactly. Does this disadvantage or benefit Webber now it is out in public?

  7. Couldnt have put it in better words.
    So shortsighted by RedBull if they thought they could get away with it. Maybe they could have, back in the days when you didnt have cameras all around the circuit when what happened behind closed doors often never came into the public domain. Well, those days are over and with excellent blogs like this, twitter etc, there is nowhere to hide!
    I hope for Vettel’s sake he will see the bigger picture and how wrong this was managed by his employers, and from yesterday i would laugh out loud if Webber win the championship!!

  8. Hit the nail on the head, Mr. Saward. It’s not only bad for Red Bull, it’s bad for the whole show. I wonder whose side Bernie will take? Yes, that was rhetorical.

  9. Thank you Joe, for your additional analysis to this ugly incident. You’re quite right – McLaren must be laughing all the way to the bank (and the Drivers and Constructors championships).

    I’m glad that those fortunate enough to be in the inside world of Formula One see and state that this incident is not Mark’s fault – but far beyond this (as you’ve referred to) is the distrust now in the team.

    Surely this will allow another top team to pick up a top-line driver with a bucket load of grit, determination and drive

  10. Actually Vettel had only fuel for one more lap in full speed mode than Webber. I withdraw my above comment.

  11. Just last week Horner was saying that Mark was as good as signed for next year at Red Bull. How do the weekend’s events fit into that scenario now? Would Webber really want to hang around at Red Bull if all he’s allowed to do is pick up Vettel’s scraps? That rumoured Ferrari seat must be looking a lot more attractive – if it’s really available.

    Marko’s illogical defence of Vettel brings to mind the stories surrounding Craig Lowndes’ unsuccessful tilt at F3000 with Marko’s team in 1997. Apparently Lowndes would find his car in pieces at the beginning of practice sessions, while all the mechanics concentrated on fettling his team mates car, some bloke called Montoya.


  12. Up until now I was a great fan of Red Bull. I had always thought they treated both drivers equally, both in terms of strategy and equipment. They let the best driver on the day win. However the fuel saving tactics and the subsequent comments made by both Christian Horner and Helmut Marko after the race in Turkey have now changed my view. As a Mark Webber supporter, I would buy a six pack of Red Bull and sit down with a few friends and watch the race. It was our little way of supporting Red Bull Racing. We will continue to watch F1 and support Mark Webber, but we will no longer be buying Red Bull.

  13. Totally agree with your point of view Joe – this has been poorly handled by the Red Bull team. Not only that but the perceived unfairness does the brand harm I think. I am amazed that Webber kept it all in. He must be hurting really bad right now. But he’ll keep it in – he’s leading the championship and he needs some internal support to win.

    I find it amusing that RBR claim that their drivers can race – and used the McLaren fight as an example – but in reality what they’re saying here is that Webber should have moved over to let Vettel take a more optimal line – in effect to just let him pass. Absolute nonsense! 

    You can see that Red Bull Racing favour Vettel by just looking at their marketing & merchandise. He probably sells more, and he’s young and fast and groomed by Red Bull – I can understand all that. But the way they’ve sided with Vettel here on track will have ensured that the team is now divided in two. And the way that Vettel carried himself when he hopped out of the car after what had just happened is appalling. He’s seems (without knowing the guy) spoilt and cocky – which makes the whole situation with RBR even more distasteful.  

  14. Yep, absolutely agree Joe.

    And, in addition, Seb’s “what me?” butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth act is getting old and easy to see through.

    He’s actually showing to be a bit of a dirty driver. He veered over on Hamilton earlier in the race in a dangerous fashion.

    Tried the same thing again on Mark who didn’t back down, and it all ended in tears. He then motions that Webber was ‘mad’. Arrogant and spoiled with little ability to see or admit his own flaws.

    Another example was the dangerous move on Hamilton a few races ago where he attempted to push Lewis towards the garages. Another dangerous stunt. Which he again tried to play off with comments along the lines of (paraphrasing) ‘I don’t know why Lewis veered towards me’. Which was a plain lie, since it was obvious it was he who moved, not Lewis.

    So, if I hadn’t made it clear!… I think Seb’s a bit of a dirty driver, and a spoilt liar to boot.

  15. Joe, I wish I had written this piece and it had my name above it. You have articulated what myself (and probably the vast majority) are thinking.

    Firstly, I hope Mr. Mateschitz lays down the law to the management. If there are two competing camps inside the Red Bull team, then as you say, the title is McLarens.

    Secondly, and I feel confident of this… Mark Webber has strength of character to continue his rich form. If we go back to the Hamilton/Alonso feud, then Lewis was still able to nearly win the WDC inspite of all background shenanigans, including FIA interference. Note how this time there was nothing – presumably Johnny Herbert and the stewards saw this as a racing incident and it is the team’s problem.

    Looking forward to your next posts on this Joe!

  16. We are with you Joe.

    Poor old Webber. Second punt by Blonde Barron whilst in the lead. Vettel seems to have forgotten about Fuji 08. Mark is undoubtedly the unluckiest man in F1’s history.

    It’s extraordinary how Mark kept his cool and composure after both shunt. A true sportsman.

    However, if there is one person who can pull off a Championship in the midst of prejudice, there is no one better than Mark. Nerves of steel. Heart of a Champion.

    Like true Australian folklore, it is in hardships that Legends are born.

    I am certain Mark has more supporters from this moment onwards.

    -D Hon

  17. I got the impression that something very similar happened at McLaren to Red Bull, but without the catastrophic result.

    Lewis and Jenson clearly disagreed on something, stopping to argue a point on the threshold before the podium. It seemed to anger Lewis, who couldn’t mask his feelings until he sprayed the champagne, by which time his corporate face was reinstated.

  18. Christian Horner has evidently been leant on – hard – by person or persons unknown higher up. Come on now, there’s only 2 choices, I think. His story makes no sense from any racing point of view, and at least he had the grace to look uncomfortable as he said it.

    What is hard to understand for me is how young Vettel could imagine that Mark might give him more room than just enough. He never has, never will. Everyone knows that. The cuckoo motion of the hand can only refer to himself.

  19. A great analysis of the situation.

    Could it be that Webber has already signed for another team or is asking for more money for next year? Could this have an effect on the analysing skills of Red Bull management?

    1. Louis,

      I think you are reading too much into it. Webber wants to be World Champion an he wants to stay with the team. The impression given on Sunday was that the team wants Vettel to have an advantage. This may not be the right analysis of the situation, but I cannot think of another one that is logical and fits the facts.

  20. Yes, totally agree. Webber’s got to be strong now to remain focused.
    Vettel cant be lambasted to much here – he is a racer and these boys (including the McLaren drivers) were doing what comes natural. The only driver that was happy at the end of the GP was Michael Schumacher, and he was fourth?

    Team mates fighting each other for the title; fowl play at foot involving management; and Micheal Schumacher hasn’t even joined the party!. But, he is knocking at the door with a big smile on his face…
    The world of F1 has gone mad for all the right reasons – and i love it!.


  21. Hi Joe.

    Watching Vettels crash into Webber instantly brought to my mind M Schumachers move on J Villenueve for the 97 World Championship. I hope Vettel doesnt continue with that same mind set. It would be a shame and a waste. I thought he was better then that. Will be watching with great interest in the coming races.

    Love the blog and GP+ Thanks.

  22. Joe, what do you think would have happened had the roles been reversed? Surely Webber would still have been blamed for trying to overtake the Golden Boy. My respect for Red Bull, Horner, and Vettel has diminished after this episode. It does not take a genius to see Vettel was at fault. Red Bull blaming Webber is a clear indication that they favour Seb. One always gets a true picture of a drivers character when things go wrong rather than right. Vettel comes across as a spoilt brat, pampered by RB Mark is a proper driver.

  23. In many ways, the Turkish GP was by far the worst result for Red Bull in 2010, despite those thrown-away victories at the start of the year, because, severe damage has been done to the brand of Red Bull. And let’s face it, this team is a promotional vehicle for the drinks company and very little more than that.

    Joe, do you think it’s realistically possible that Webber could drive for Ferrari in 2011? Two weeks ago there were the rumours, but since then Domenicalli has said he expects Massa to be there and of Horner said he also wanted Webber, though that was before Turkey.

  24. Joe
    I watched the playback on speed tv about twenty times in slow motion to try and grasp the situation. My feeling was that both men were to blame. Vettel had a top line speed due to Webber’s fuel warning coming up on his car, Vettel had one more lap at full throttle before he would have had to reduce himself. He took his moment and puled up alongside Webber. It was a small gap but ive seen Alonso and Hamilton get into smaller ones to be honest. At that point Webber does not budge or give any track space. Not a hair. Vettel trying to squeeze through touches his front wheel that then aggressively throws vettel car sideways and back in to Webbers back left tyre, smashing Vettels car. It was a bit freaky, which is why Vettel thought Webber had been mad and Webber thought Vettel had been mad. They were both surprised by the agrresive nature the cars swung out of control.
    Just a bit later Button with a few more laps of top throttle over Hamilton tried the same thing but the Mc’s got away with it even though they were touching wheels and going at it hammer and tongs. Im a 100% Mclaren fan so i laughed out loud but i dont think Vettel is to blame alone here.

    1. Glen,

      Why should Webber have given Vettel space. It is up to Sebastian to overtake, not Mark to let him pass. There was no reason that Vettel should have been ordered to pass. Saying that Hamilton was close behind is re-engineering the truth after the event. Hamilton was behind Webber and Vettel all day.

  25. Interesting that most people felt that Newy’s car would be the fragile part of the RB equasion but it actually appears that it could be the team itself that is the fragile part ;o) (the cars ironically would have lasted the whole race with no problems!)

    To my mind it seems that the RB grandees assumed they could control the race without taking into account the randon factor of the two human beings doing the actual driving! That, in and of itself, was a gross miscalculation and RB have, quite righly I believe, reaped the whirlwind.

    I feel some amount of sympathy for Webber who, only the previous week, must have felt that RB were fully behind him to support him to the championship. This week I’m guessing he feels totally the opposite. Having said that I also guess that RB were totally surprised that Webber was able to keep in the zone for the last three races. Were was their supposed wunderkind??

    I also get a sneaky suspicion that McLaren were attempting to control their drivers without their knowledge, although it luckily worked out for them (possibly an example of McLaren’s experience in making craftyness a fine art!?)

    Either way both are examples of what happens when drivers suddenly discover that their teams don’t necessarily orbit around them and there may be greater powers at work of which they might not be aware…

  26. Pre-season, hands where being rubbed about Ferrari and McLaren potential teammate ‘wars’.. Who’d have guessed the problem would rear it’s head at RedBull…. Let alone seemingly stirred up by the team itself.

    For me the incident is done with, Vettel’s fault. It brought some excitement to the race. Even Vettel’s immature hand gestures could be seen as a ‘heat of the moment’ reflex from a petulant teenager 😉

    I have been a fan of RedBull, their style, independant status (ok, billionaire backing aside), the way they appeared to go racing, giving the maverick Newey a free hand etc. Boy have I had a reality check.

    Will Mateschitz get fed the information regarding the level of distaste and ‘outrage’ that is building on the blogs/forums? Is all news seen as good PR at RedBull?

    Excellant pieces on this Joe.

  27. Joe … Great Post. This sorry episode feels like one of the biggest stories in F1 for a long time; with the crash itself merely a sub text to the real story which is the emergence of a team blindly favoring one driver over another and treating everyone else in the world, F1 community, commentators and fans alike as a complete fools.

    Reading comments posted on blogs and websites, inc RBR’s own website, this strategy and particular the post race comments from Marko and Horner is developing into a fair sized PR disaster.

  28. joe , if you had been at home in paris watching the race on BBC television , God forbid ,[ you do have uk satellite TV I presume ] you would have seen an interview with vettel after the event in which he said

    I lost control of the car

    …or at least that is my memory of what he said …maybe you could check , but I don’t think it was a senior moment

    and if you watch a repeat of the incident [ someone has edited a brilliant repeating clip in the ‘is vettel overrated ‘ thread of F1technical ] you will see that looks exactly right …actually when I saw vettel pointing at his head immediately after the incident I thought he was saying mea culpa , what a stupid thing for me to have done

    now, vettel and the team management are blaming webber ….and it looks to me that vettel has been told to follow the party line ; unfortunately it seems that the team management do not know what vettel has already said …obviously not watching the BBC !

    in other words , the same thing as happened to hamilton with liegate , senior management tell a young driver what to say unaware of the fact that he has already given an honest rendition of events

    problem is there are those of us who still think of F1 as a sport , whereas , in reality , it’s only business ……as someone once said
    hemingway said there are only 2 sports , motor-racing and bullfighting , the rest are just games ; looks like it is just bullfighting now

  29. Joe, I agree with what you say about Red Bull and I can see how concerned Mark Webber is.

    I would love to know what you think about the situation at McLaren and if you think something similar is happening.

    I do, and the reason is because of scenes and situations that have happened throughout the season so far.

    Australia – the extra unnecessary pitstop
    – the OTT celebration and weeping by Whitmarsh
    China – confused communication from the team
    Spain – wheel rim failure due to a wheel nut not being attached properly
    Monaco – being asked not to race
    Turkey – botched pit stop
    – being clearly told on the radio to conserve fuel, BOTH CARS ARE THE SAME, only for Button to sneakily overtake when Hamilton had slowed down with subsequent confusion written all over Hamilton’s face, struggling to understand what was going on.

    I get the feeling that Whitmarsh/the team favours Button and are subtly trying to get Button ahead whenever possible. This has been discussed in other forums, with virulent denial from some, and agreement from others.

    What do you think? It is obviously not an outrageous suggestion as from your article above, these things do go on.

  30. The real f**king disaster is whatever the reason Red Bull has to back Vettel for champ, presumably something having to do with his nationality or age and therefore his marketablility over Webber, is completely backfiring on them. I think Vettel is generally pretty well liked, but at many sites that has put up polls, the results are overwhelmingly one sided in favor of Webber, you have to see that even Vettel’s fans are not siding with him. They should have picked up on this and change their tact while its still early enough in the game before they eat into Vettel’s reputation like you said. Its been fantastic to see that Webber has done his talking on the track and he’s come out of this on top.
    On a side note, when Webber had some real momentum in the middle of last year, his performance suddenly dropped off before picking up again equally mysteriously at the end after he was out of the running for the champ…… things that make you go hmmmmmmmm?

  31. Great article Joe,

    Cannot understand how Horner & Marko came out blaming Webber for the incident when they have seen the replays.

    Have lost all respect & support for Vettel and Red Bull Racing. Vettel showed just how immature he is by giving the international ‘crazy’ signal (ie. rotating his finger around his head) for Webber as he got out of the car.

    Mark Webber for F1 WDC 2010!!! Vettel & Red Bull Racing are a disgrace.

  32. Red Bull will regreat the day it started playing favorites. Horner now has a mess on his hands to deal with.

  33. Red Bull are again showing their inexperience as a team and dare I say it, immaturity?
    Horner is not doing his blue eyed boy any favours by giving him a cuddle and forgiving him for yet another misguided and impetuous overtaking manouvre (the latest in a fairly long line of fumbling gaffs)
    Red Bull should be teaching the boy to race not to crash and only by publicly getting him to accept responsibility for his actions will they actually craft a potential multiple world champion.
    The team have heaped massive pressure on themselves by failing to deal with this issue correctly and, contrary to just about everyone else in the paddock some of the top brass seem to think that webber was at fault. frankly bizarre.
    I think Dieter needs to have a few words with Christian. I found Horners post race comment, that when in a 1 – 2 situation it doesn’t matter who wins, more than a little disingenious. If it doesn’t matter why are they so obviously favouring Vettel?
    It will certainly add spice to the rest of the season and could be the turning point which loses Red Bull at least one of the championships. They have managed to destabilise the driver who is leading the WDC and backed the one who is lagging behind their two main rivals. Not very bright. It will be difficult for them to get him from fourth to first without attracting massive negative publicity (whether deserved or not)

  34. Never a more true statement said Joe – What happened yesterday reminded me of another German driver and his “get out of my way” attitude – MW has lost 2 possible wins to SV – and possibly the title too – I was shocked that RB and Dr M and CH could say it was MW fault – both icar show exactly who turned right … Will we see now MW beening told to “save” the engine and let SV thru – not bloody likely – MW will go out of F1 on a high this year – as a true CHAMPION of the sport who race to the title rather than be “given” it by politics and a team to interested in selling their fizzy water drink

  35. Perfectly summed up Joe . Its a real shame to see this happening to Webber , if he has any sense now he’ll be having a nice cup of tea with Luca and Stafeno sometime real soon .
    The whole episode has shown Vettel’s flaw again but having invested so much in Seb Red Bull have to do all they can to protect him and show he was worth that investment , even at Webber’s expense . Its tragic to see them all rallying around Vettel like he was hard done by .
    At least webber come out best in the end and I’m sure he’s picked up a few more fans due to the shunt !

  36. There was something up in qualifying as well. Funny games with Vettel who normally is first out of the pits for the last stint. Mark went first when he realized he wasn’t going to have much time to get in two flyers.

    Also another clue this year is Vettel has been pitting first; no matter whether in front or behind Webber. With the rules the way they are this is a significant advantage I think Vettel has had first call on when to pit. Not Mark.

    Formula 1 is back. The real Formula 1. This Turkish Grand Prix was an excellent race and the drama that came afterwards even better.

    Please note that Button and Hamilton clashed wheels as well this race. (Something that not many people are talking about but something which might come into play later on. I can’t wait!)

  37. I wonder if Webber may now be looking outside of Red Bull for 2010? Maybe a move to Renault might make sense, given his links to the team? And if he becomes world champion, I’m sure Renault would want him to defend his title with one of their engines. The way Red Bull seem to be backing Vettel is clumsy: there is no need to sour relations with Webber, with so much of the season still to go. Maybe Red Bull will choose a clear number 2 driver for Vettel in 2011?

  38. Very well stated, possibly the best-stated opinion I’ve seen so far about the incident. I must say though, in writing, it’s not difficult to see how someone could say “definitely” in a heat-of-the-moment sort of thing, while actually not being completely sure. A normal person that is, not someone at the top level of motorsport, who presumably should be better schooled at the politicking inherent in any speaking situation that will be reported by the media.

    Did Christian Horner actually attack Webber after the race? All the articles seem to say he was trying to spread the blame around and that Marko was the only one laying all the blame squarely at Webber’s feet. Which is still disconcerting, and should still definitely be cause for a bit of chafing as far as Webber’s concerned.

    I was slightly surprised with the body language in the pits after Vettel made it back and was conferring with the team. Everyone seemed to be talking very easily, putting arms around Vettel and patting him on the back—completely the opposite of how I’d think you’d be reacting when confronting someone who’d just lost (or helped lose) the team 28 points. Very strange.

  39. Very good piece. I agree there might be problems to come for redbull if they don’t stop tripping themselves up.

  40. Hello Joe, in response to: Down at McLaren they must be laughing all the way to the bank…
    I posted following question on f1fanatic asking, whether Lewis Hamilton is too fast for Martin Whitmarsh’s McLaren? reason: It seems rather unfortunate, that yet again McLaren have managed to put Lewis on his back foot and that from the first images of new team mate Jenson, Whitmarsh seemed under pressure to prove his decision right plugging the hell out of Jenson as a true and genuine great. Where as all the while every one was writing, saying, thinking this can not be a good idea for either participants. So, is Whitmarsh under pressure to write his own history within the McLaren Group since Lewis is Ron’s kid? could he be cuddling Jenson : remember the tears in Whitmarsh’s eyes when Jenson won the second race? : in much the same aim as RB are cuddling calamity Seb? And all this by subtly trying to weaken Lewis. I mean what was Whitmarsh aiming for by remarking Lewis is fragile back in Australia?

  41. Fantastic article. Spot on. I couldn’t believe what i was hearing from the Red Bull top men. I sympathise for Webber, but he has the nous to let his track skills do the talking. He’s steely and i’m sure he’l keep his head together.

    My respect for Vettel – which was high at the start of the season – has gone.

  42. What’s happening Joe? you used to be a responsible journalist with something interesting to say; lately, your blog is just that, an opinionated column just like those posted by any Tom, Dick and Harry….

    1. joepa24,

      We are all entitled to our own opinions, but all I am trying to do is to give you an idea what the thinking is in F1 circles and what is really happening. It seems to have pleased everyone but you (read all the other comments) and then ask yourself whether you might be out of step with the world – and not vice versa. Ultimately, it is just an opinion so you can reject it as you wish…

  43. Great blog joe, it is intriguing how all ex-f1 drivers and lewis too now think it was vettels misjudgement but that red bull management and owners immediately jumped on webber as at fault. Hidden agendas do come to light in the cold hard light of day and any amount of spin doctoring can’t hide not only observable facts but also such knowledgable and professional consensus as that of all the drivers commenting on the incident have shown.

  44. I wonder (Mr. Saward – if you can answer) how popular Vettel is with the media and paddock in general?

    1. I like Vettel. I think he is a good guy. He just made a mistake. I think he is very popular with the media and the paddock.

  45. Team orders were banned, but never went away. In the old days Red Bull would have ordered Mark to move over, it would have been above board and Mark would have known where he stood for real (number 2).
    Instead he doesn’t know where he stands and what skulduggery is going on behind the scenes. Just what they need to drop his performance a bit and get Vettel in front again.
    The worst part is that Mark has been deceived. Horner keeps on saying his drivers are equal, and that is the deal Mark signed up to. the reality is different.
    This is very different to irvine and Barrichello who signed up to be schumacher’s lacky – they knew what they were getting into.
    It would almost be better if team orders were allowed again and specified in contracts. then Red Bull, Ferrari and the like could have honest 1-2 setups and Mclaren and Williams could have honest 1-1 pairings to give us races of genuine equals in equal cars.
    For this year though, Red Bull need to be very careful they do not renege on what they say publicly and in the contracts.
    I think it’s perfect that the Mclarens are between the Red Bulls to deter interfering. After yesterday Mark is the most deserving of the lead.

    I sincerely hope Jenson and Lewis sort out the misunderstanding and stay mates – have fun dicing with one another.

  46. Good article, pretty hard to disagree with anything written. I hope Mark can keep up this high level that he’s been at, if he came out and won Canada it would be an epic response.

  47. If Vettel was under threat from Hamilton he should have been defending against Hamilton, to attacking Webber. Standard team strategy, the one behind defends against the faster challenger whilst the one in front makes a break for it. Start diving with your team mate and you are likely to give the challenger an opportunity to pass you both. – Or hand him the lead on a plate!!!
    Vettel is the one who should have been thinking about the team above himself, not Mark. Vettel sacrificed the one two for his own ego.

    Had that been Lewis trying to come through Mark would be expected to hold station, leave him on the dirty side, he wont get slowed sufficiently for the corner, and as he runs wide of the apex, Mark takes the proper line and cuts back inside him – standard textbook defence against a dive up the inside – make him do the work.

    Vettel should never had taken the inside in the first place!!! Jenson showed us how it should be done there, round the outside, on the grippy part, and take the apex for the next corner. Vettel’s approach needed a favour from his team mate to make it work, he expected it, and didn’t even check his mirrors the be sure he’d got it before he moved over.

  48. @ Phil

    Totally agree with you. Apparently Charlie Whiting put the blame for that incident in the pit lane with Lewis squarely on Vettel’s shoulders. His halo has slipped and he has revealed himself to be quite the sly, spoilt, cocky one. That gesture he made (twice – with helmet on and off) indicating Webber was mad, was completely rude and unacceptable, particularly as it was to his teammate and as it was him who was in the wrong, not Webber.

  49. 1) I thought a blog was supposed to be opinion.

    2) Cue the Räikkönen rumours!

    3) Red Bull will settle this internally. They can’t let it develop into another McLaren 2007 team.

  50. This is a very interesting time in F1. I too am wondering why Vettel was not penalized for the move by the stewards. Just because he retired does not mean he should not face any charges as that would suggest that you can alter the results of a race without recourse. Also the more that comes out the more I feel an investigation should be launched in to team orders for both RB and McLaren. Obviously Lewis was not happy with his own team about something.
    If I was a McLaren fan I wouldn’t laugh too hard at RB right now as something tells me that later in the year it could be your turn. Give or take about a 1/4 of an inch and that turn could have been yesterday in the same race as LH and JB’s duel could have also ended ugly.
    Everyone seemed to be stirring up Ferrari, RB and Macca tensions but who thought RB would be the first to crack?
    If this continues between the top drivers the problem becomes too many egos for too few available seats in fast cars. Should make for an interesting silly season when contracts are discussed.
    Never been a huge Webber fan but also had no reason to dislike him. I hope he wins the WDC this year as he deserves it and not just because of this incident.

  51. Another interesting set of comments on the Red Bull situation that starts from the premise that Formula 1 is fair and everyone starts with an equal chance. Shock! Formula 1 results are manipulated! Apart from the new boys, is there a team in F1 that hasn’t been caught up in some anti-fair play scandal? What amazes me is that Webber genuinely seems put out by the whole thing. Was he the only one in the boxing ring, sorry paddock that didn’t know that Seb was supposed to win this one? Even Button and Hamilton’s reserved celebrations would indicate that they knew they were not supposed to win!

  52. Credit is due, Joe. This is the kind of no-holds-barred piece that attracted me to in the first place. First rate.

    1. Mikapup

      I do not know if you heard but I am no longer writing for I wanted to tell the readers this because I know that many follow what I write, but the people concerned would not do that. I presume that this was because they felt it would result in them losing some of the readers. However, I feel that by not telling the world they are being misleading because the quality of the current postings is not good and so some may think I have gone off the boil. I am still boiling away when there is a suitable issue. In recent months F1 has been quiet (and very pleasant) but there will be more occasions when I feel the need to go in with guns blazing – and I will.

  53. Joe, with all my respect, wasn’t it Ron (Dennis) saying they were fighting with Fernando, not with Ferrari in 2007? So maybe the Spanish media has been just a bit right about the favouritism…
    I apologize if I’m wrong.

    But I do love your article (it’s really interesting as always), thank you very much for it.

    1. Elly,

      Yes, I believe that Ron said that. I am not sure he meant to say it and perhaps it was a subconscious indication of where his emotions lay. But I do not believe that the team ever did anything that actively favoured one driver or the other. It is easy to say that you should talk to the people involved to understand how they tick, but that really is the case. There really is a passion for fairness at McLaren. It is not just lip service. It is the passion of the racers, who hate it when races are manipulated. It is the same at Williams and I am happy to see that Renault seems to be coming round to that way of thinking as well. I thought red Bull was like that too, but now I have very serious doubts.

  54. I would like to add here that during quali, seb went later in Q3 whereas webber suggested he was supposed to go second which gave vettel an advantage.. even when pitting, i’ve observed that vettel pits first no matter what the track position…
    i’ll be keeping an eye on you Redbull and even though i support webber, i am not rooting for redbull anymore!!!

  55. To “D Hon”

    “Mark is undoubtedly the unluckiest man in F1′s history.”

    I think that title belongs to a guy named Amon….

  56. Joe great blog once again your on the money…i think helmut Marko is pushing seb s agenda ..We all remember what happened with Craig Lowndes…its well documented the bad treatment Craig copped. during that f3000 season. Now Mark is on the other end . hes showed Seb up on numerous occasions.and now leads the Championship. I hope he can maintain the strenght and wlll to fight against the odds he faces.This weekend shows hes up against it ..

  57. Reading all of the above, I’m gonna give it my two bits, I might be wrong, but I just had me a thought….

    First of all, I enjoyed this Turley Grand Prix, ot was a 4 horse race but nonetheless, overtaking was always eminent..

    Teamorders at RB, as stated by Horner, the drivers are allowed to race, but have to give eachother room…clearly that isn’t what happened sunday…

    Furthermore, if there was favouritisme towards Vettel, who could blame Webber for not drifting off his raceline and let the crash happen, if only just to make a point.

    Vettel was clearly ahead, within the general accepted norm of being ahead, and yes, he did move over to the right, and Webber didn’t, although he saw Vettel coming. Ok, Webber didn’t have to move over, but should’ve, he had plenty time to react, he’d know all along that Vettel was close behind him. Webber caused the avoidable accident in my eyes, and I tend to think, very willingly.

    Referring to the crash into Hamilton, Webber admitted himself that he sometimes suffers impared vision in his drive towards victory, knows it’s a weakness and yet, hasn’t learned how to deal with it.

    Maybe I stepped over a few fact too easlily and maybe I read the situation wrong, you’re allowed to shoot me 🙂

  58. Yes Joe that is a disaster! With their 2 drivers leading the championship (Lewis 19 points behind and Jenson 8) that race was a wonderful opportunity for RBR to extent their lead on both championships. They scr***d it what a shame!
    Even if Lewis had overtook Seb the damage was very small Lewis being 19 pts adrift…

    16 points given away to McL (43-27), 28 points lost for RBR (43-15) that is 44 points differential (how many USD for one championship point?), Webbber closely followed by the 2 McL drivers in the championship and SV has lost 3 positions and 15 points to the head of the championship.
    … And how much for the team’s image?
    Bright move!

  59. Good piece Joe. Red Bull are definitely coddling Seb and making Mark the fall guy for an incident that was clearly not his fault. It seems the team’s underlying message is to tell Mark to make way for Seb whenever he wants to come through.

    But I wonder if this will have the opposite effect? Mark now knows he doesn’t have the support of his team, but time is ticking and this is his best chance for the world championship. Will this fire up the gritty Australian and make him more determined, perhaps even less willing to be the team player? Seb now knows his team will support him regardless how stupid he drives, even if he crashes into his own team mate. Will this make him even more reckless than he is already and see more DNFs?

    The psychological battle between these two will be as interesting to watch as their racing.

  60. I feel Mark Webber showed considerable restraint at the post race news confrence and after race remarks, as opposed to the rest of the Red Bull management who were quick to stab him in the back without a proper investigation into the incident. It’s clear who the favorite is at Red Bull.

  61. Had Webber known that Vettel’s engine was on full power wouldn’t he have turned his up after turn 8 and onto the long straight to avoid the inevitable attack of his team mate?

    For sure after Button overtook his team mate, Hamilton was back on full power to retake the lead.

    Sometimes these team principals forget there’s a RACE going on. Thinking about fuel conservation at 1/2 or 2/3 distance in a 4 way battle for the lead just doesn’t equate to racing, nor is it compatible with the flow of adrenalin, surely.(no I am not calling any1 Shirley)

    Great analysis and editorial Joe.

  62. Well, perhaps, based on the team’s performance and pronouncements, it is time for Adrian Newey to move to Force India or even Lotus – wouldn’t it be fabulous to see the current best designer/aerodynamicist/engineer begin with someone at the absolute back of the pack. No insult intended to those who work with Newey – while he is the head designer, he isn’t the only one working on the cars. The team has to jell. I don’t know about the jelling after this last week.

    Looked like a man with class working around amateurs. As for Vettel, as has been mentioned plenty of times, Vettel had room to get by and Webber never so much as moved an inch towards the edge of the track. Vettel turned in without adequate clearance. Stupid stupid boy.

    It wasn’t lost on McLaren and I was amused by their orders to save fuel. Very funny.

    By the way, while I don’t mind the randy language,(I frequently use it myself) what do the “**”mean in the title of the article? Why not say what you mean? Didn’t you get a little hard on some of your fans for insulting language a couple of weeks ago?

  63. Not a proud day in Red Bull Racing’s short history. I’d say the majority of fault has to sit with Vettel, it was his move that went wrong. It’s also entirely understandable that Vettel was able to use a richer fuel mix at that point in the race, he’d been following Webber since the pit stop and had consequently used less fuel. This isn’t some amazing revelation or due to his superior skills as a driver, it’s just plain aero. The question I’m left with is why did Vettel try to stick that move there? If he had a clear BHP advantage why not try to drive around the outside of Webber, gaining position for the second apex in the chicane. Why not try to slipstream and outbreak him into the tighter turn one? Perhaps it’s inexperience, perhaps it shows a worrying lack of respect for his team mate. I’d rather believe the former, but I think the team has made a monumental mistake in blaming Webber, the man was leading the race and the championship, he had every right to hold his line.

  64. Red Bull is not the same case that Williams in 81. Reutemann WAS the second pilot and Sir Frank and Alan they made it remember in Las Vegas.
    Vettel should have waited for a clear opportunity to overcome Mark. If this it was the case Webber it might have accepted it. But now all the words become suspicious.
    The only way that they still have is to give them the same equipment and to ask them not to crash… And that win the best.
    Sorry for my poor english…

  65. Edward Hewer, I was thinking the same thing. Here’s the question and answer from Qualifying:

    Q: You chose to come out of the garage for your final flying lap ahead of Sebastian. The previous lap you would have been behind Sebastian. Was that trying to put pressure on him at that stage?

    Webber: No, I don’t know what happened. It should have been me second. But, anyway, I think we left too early. I don’t know what happened. We need to see what happened on the pit wall. Normally I would go second this weekend.

  66. I also think the last couple races have been very revealing re: Vettel’s mental toughness. It has been very clear that Webber’s out-performing him has gotten under Vettel’s skin. His body language and facial experession in press conferences show a lack of maturity and an inability to control his emotions.

    Although Vettel is clearly a fast driver and one who excels from the front, in my opinion, he has yet to demonstrate he can drive from behind. Compare his impatient moves to someone like Button, for example. If Vettel is to mature to the next level, he needs to learn how to take what he can get and not force the issue unnecessarily.

  67. RedBull or DeadBull judging by the number of people stating they will boycott their products after this debacle!

    Maybe Team BULLLS**T is a better name for the team!

    Great article which I totally agree with, Here’s hoping Webber goes on to win the championship and rubs their noses in this blatant favouritism for the so called golden boy.

    Nothing personal against Vettel but does anyone recall a clean cut overtaking manoeuvre from him in F1?………

    PS…I’ve not shouted at the TV like this since Suzuka 89…..and that was at Prost 🙂

  68. Joe, what do you think about all these crack teams being supposedly incapable of putting enough fuel in the cars to go full out for the whole race ?

  69. You had me RIGHT up to the point where you insinuated that the Spanish press created the idea that McLaren favoured Hamilton over Alonso. Anyone who knows McLaren and Ron Dennis knows what goes down in that team. A Scotsman called David confirmed it for us, as if it needed to be confirmed. Hell, an engineer even admitted that at some races double-WDC Alonso was prevented from choosing his own strategy whereas Ron and Lewis agreed the Englishman’s race strategy together!

    1. Cort,

      I am not insinuating that the Spanish press created anything. I am sure that Fernando Alonso believed that he being treated unfairly back in 2007. This does not mean he WAS being treated unfairly. It is quite normal for a driver who believes himself invincible to look for excuses when he finds someone who is quicker. I do not where you get your information from, but I believe very strongly that McLaren is the fairest team in F1 – along with Williams. I have no serious evidence that contradicts this – and I am not alone in this opinion.

  70. Mike Lea : good comment. If Kubica goes off to Ferrari (might still happen), MW would be a perfect replacement. Might even take Number One with him …

  71. Obviously, you cannot have noticed that this is a trademark move by Webber. He does this time and again. He doesnt just defend. No – he squeezes his opponent out towards the grass, barrier, whatever is there at the time. Look at his move on Barrichello last year. And on Kimi in Brazil. Its his trademark move.

    Another thing is that you just dont leave such a miniscule margin of room on your teammate. You just dont. You give each other room. This is what Horner said and he clearly places the major blame on Webber.
    Horner: “It is right to let the drivers race, we saw McLaren today letting their drivers race, but when drivers are in the same team it is important that they give each other a bit more respect and concede if one has got a run on the other.” Translation: Webber should concede.

    It cant be any clearer than that except saying: “Its Webbers fault”.

    1. You need to look again at your TV before making incorrect assessments of the situation.

      Here is a clear indication that Webber did no squeezing at all, this sequence makes it very clear what happened.

      Vettel squeezes Webber

  72. Absolutely fascinating, all this. Certainly Red Bull were the last team of the big four I expected to see team-mate rivalry breaking out in… but Rosberg and Schumacher seem to be settling into a nice elder-statesman/young-buck relationship, Alonso certainly hasn’t done himself any favours at Ferrari which has kept the lid on that cauldron to a certain extent, and Jenson and Lewis seem to be getting along while still racing each other. Red Bull, though, seems to be degenerating nicely into sublimated acrimony, well-justified paranoia on Mark’s side and sour-faced pouting on Vettel’s.

    Mark is in a very difficult position though — it doesn’t seem likely that the relationship between Vettel and him will be repaired, which probably means that one of them will be departing at the end of the year. But if that’s Mark — where does he go? He could go to Mercedes if Schumacher decides he’s had enough or injures his neck again. But otherwise — no seats open at McLaren, he’s not likely to step into Ferrari where he will be expected to play patsy to Alonso, and even Renault is likely to be Kubica’s team by then, with no room for anyone who might upset the applecart.

    Although a return to Williams might not be a bad choice. Mark probably has another four or five seasons left in him — long enough to coalesce the team around him and give him the benefit of his expertise. With resource restriction coming in the team may be able to rise in the tables over the next few seasons…

  73. This is exactly the kind of insight and analysis that keeps me coming back. You’ve shown RedBull the future, lets see if they’re smart enough to heed the warning.

  74. Joe,

    Great post. However, Hamilton and Button did touch in Turn 1 so they may be laughing all the way to the bank but they could just as easily have had a similar problem to Red Bull’s.

    Imagine if one or both had crashed out of the race…

  75. Nice take Joe, and all the comments as well.

    I can see both sides of this argument. Especially when your team mate is the first guy you are supposed to beat. Credit to Sebby for attempting the pass and to Webber for defending his line. Damnation to Sebby for turning in and to Webber for not giving a bit more room. Both moves are what you do against McLaren or Ferrari, not your team mate when you are leading a potential 1-2 finish.

    I also think that the “save fuel” directive is the new code for team orders to hold your place. And I suspect that is what probably triggered some anger in Webber, if he suspected that Horner was attempting to gift the win to Vettel while Mark was leading. Can’t say I’d be happy under that circumstance as well.

    As Vettel caused the contact, the root blame has to go to him.

  76. At least the right Red Bull driver finished the race. The fall of the dice has favoured Mark in this respect so far. Unfortunately they will very definitely be loaded against him from now on. It would have been a monumental travesty if Mark had not been able to continue and finish 3rd.
    And what if it had not been team mates taking each other out but rather Vettel doing exactly the same to Lewis? As he did in the pit lane? Would the Stewards have got involved then?
    Vettel seems to have a thing about moving right towards cars beside him…

  77. We’ve seen drivers pass cleanly with two wheels on the grass in these situations. I’d say Mark was very fair leaving that much of a gap.

  78. Any suggestion that Webber should have made room for Vettel seems ridiculous to me. Put yourself in Webber’s place. You are tied for the lead in the championship. You are leading the race. The guy with whom you are tied makes a move. If you are a Racing Driver, you don’t move over for him. You don’t chop him or drive into him, but you don’t move over for him, whether he’s your teammate or not – hell, you don’t even move over for your mother in such circumstances.

    Had Webber behaved any differently, then the world would have concluded in an instant that he was simply not the stuff of world champions.

  79. Look at the 3 and 4 picture, it’s rather obvious from helmet position that Vettel wasn’t looking into his mirrors until they collided. Many people say that he doesn’t know how to overtake and it’s difficult not to agree with them.

  80. Tenuous link time!

    “Just War” theory contains two notions:

    1) “Jus ad vellum” governs your RIGHT to go to war
    2) “Jus in bello” governs your CONDUCT in war.

    The Red Bull farce from Turkey makes an interesting case study.

    Did either driver have the RIGHT to go to war? Should Vettel have attacked his team mate? From reading the quotes from Red Bull, esp Herr Marko, it seems that the team are concentrating on this notion and believe Vettel had to absolute right to attack Webber giving the team the best chance of success. Vettel’s RIGHT to go to war is based on his team’s presumption that he was about to lose second place to Hamilton. Should Webber have defended himself so vigorously? TV/radio commentators and pundits appear unanimous in their opinion that Webber should have defended his position.

    Was each driver’s CONDUCT just? In my opinion, Webber was (metaphorically!) right on the line here. He gave Vettel the minimum of room, apparently in the hope that Vettel would struggle for grip in the breaking area for Turn 12. Vettel, on the other hand, made a poorly judged attempt to overtake, cutting across the front of Webber’s car even before his own rear wheels had passed Webber’s fronts.

    A conclusion? Was there “jus ad vellum”? Or course, this is motor racing. Webber was in the lead and he should have done all he could to defend that lead. Vettel attacked because the team didn’t want him to lose a place. Hardly shows a racing-in-the-blood approach to life, does it? Was there “jus in bello? No, not where Vettel is concerned. None of the great overtakes involved swiping into the side of your opponent’s car.

  81. Where’s the evidence of a conspiracy against Webber? Of course Vettel had a bit more fuel left – he’s been in Webber’s slipstream running the same speed at lower revs for the last 40 laps. As for the overtake.. would either car have made the corner, that far over to the left, even if they hadn’t touched?

    Christian Horner said “we have one rule – you give each other room”. That being the case, would it not be reasonable of Vettel, having already won the corner, to expect Webber to move over and not crowd him right up to the white line all the way into the corner? Would it not have been more reasonable of Webber to have accepted that he lost the corner and move over ready to try to cut back under Vettel on the way out of the corner, rather than, if you look at Webber’s in-car replay again, pulling a fraction further to the left presumably in the hope of either pushing Vettel off the track or so far onto the dirty side that he couldnt make the corner? Which again would have taken both cars out…

    Anyone remember a similarly aggressive blocking move by Webber on his team-mate on the run down to the first corner of the first lap of another race this year? Is this perhaps the sign of a driver in the twilight of a lacklustre career a little too conscious of the fact that his team-mate is younger and generally more highly rated, and thrashed him last year?

    It did seem a little abrupt the way Vettel speared right into Webber… it’d be interesting to see the psychology evolve if it turns out Vettel had a rear suspension failure or something at the critical moment..

  82. Good stuff Joe, and thanx to the Beeb for providing the link.
    Of course we all want to delve deeper into the controversy but not in a dumb, sensationalist way. ( At least I do…). My opinion – for what it’s worth – is that for the moment you should back off from suggesting Red Bull are actively promoting Vettel. It doesn’t do anyone any good, at least not at this stage of the competition. To suggest there may be crimes and misdemeanours going on in Mark Webber’s setup is pure paranoia and furthermore an insult to his back up team. Red Bull may be favouring Vettel for the reasons you stated but Mark should just keep his head down and get on with the job. He’s got a good car, a good set up and undoubtedly a good team behind him. Vettel is an impetuous idiot and surely will be the architect of his own downfall.

    1. rory

      I am sure that Webber will do exactly that. He will get his head down and win from the front. That is what any great driver would do. I do not think that Vettel is an idiot by any means. He made a mistake, that’s all. The real problem is the way the situation was managed and I think that the role of Helmut Marko needs to be analysed closely. as someone else has said in one of these posts, Horner is an employee and a survivor.

  83. When I was watching some replays of the scene this other moment came to mind, Webber and Massa in Fuji in 2008. Those tiny little swerves into the line of the opponent look somewhat familiar:
    I still think they are both at fault here yet the majority of “guilt” seems to lie at Vettel’s door. Then again the guy is 22 and he does what many people that age tend to do: act first, think about it later, taking things for granted that clearly are not likely to happen, like Webber moving over thus handing him the victory.

  84. They say a picture is worth a thousand workds and the ones Joe posted pretty much end the argument that Webber was at fault. Clearly, it is Vettel who was in the wrong. The fact that RB team bosses are defending Vettel show outright favoritism for their golden boy.

    If I am Webber I cut off Vettel from all data sharing going forward and I make sure to rally his side of the garage to make sure that he isn’t getting screwed somewhere.

    And what another poster said….I think the new term for team orders is “switch to fuel savings map.” If I am Webber, I don’t switch….not with the lead. If he did that in Turkey, that was a bad move, because he was just as fast as the front 4. He was not holding Vettel up at any point, and Hamilton was not going to be a threat to Vettel thanks to turn 8.

  85. Great article-found you via a BBC link! I agree it was mostly Vettel’s fault perhaps Webber should have yielded but why should he? I probs wouldn’t.

    Concerning Crom’s comment…the misunderstanding between Jenson and Lewis was about the Vettel-Webber incident.

    Webber told Lewis what happened and Lewis said he did the same to me. Jenson thought he meant him but Lewis had to explain it was a move Vettel made on him earlier.

  86. The viewers that are siding with Vettel seem not to understand that incremental steering wheel movements make significant direction changes. The external tv footage shows it all

  87. McLaren laughing at Red Bull? Alonso versus Hamilton springs to mind. Not to mention Button overtaking Hamilton shortly after the showdown.

    Helmut Marko (no, not Horner) blaming Webber? He is not the only one – which I admit is surprising.. unless this post forgets the other side of the story.

    What is very clear is that Vettel was ahead of Webber (pictures above). As for what the other teams do think about politics in formula one..

    Domenicali “I have a lot of respect for the others so I don’t want to comment on that.”.

    Richard Branson must have an opinion, who knows?

  88. Joe,

    Just a quick comment to counter another poster who seems to not like your posting opinion pieces. Your opinion posts are exactly the posts that attract me to your blog. Those and news pieces that one does not find anywhere else are what I value most from your blog. If there are posts that I find less interesting/valuable it would be those summarizing practice and qualifying times, since I get that news from either watching it on TV or from other news sites dedicated and resourced for just that type of ‘results’ news.
    Keep up the excellent work!

  89. I hope that Mark Webber takes heart from the fact that he is leading the championship possibly due to Vettel’s/his team’s stupidity, Vettel is now 15 points shy of Mark’s tally. An eagle eye will now be on Red Bull’s team tactics. The events in Turkey may have done Mark a favour and put his main competitor behind him, with both McLaren driver’s now between Seb and himself.

  90. A great article. Can’t believe Webber will be too happy at the way his team appear to be blaming him for having his team mate drive him off the road!

    I ‘d like to second F1jocker12’s recommendation andpoint people to Gordon McCabe’s piece on the same subject though – and in particular his speculation that Webber and Vettel weren’t the only team mates not entirely happy with each other on Sunday evening…

  91. horner doesn’t own this team , he is an employee ; if he wants to keep his job he will have to say what he is told …
    he has changed his story once , will he change it again ?

  92. Good work on the pictures Joe. Really does show how much Vettel moved over on Webber.

    This whole situation will simmer for a while I’m sure. It’s not good at all for Red Bull, especially after an excellent showing by McLaren this weekend.

  93. It gets me to wondering whether Andrian Newey is having second thoughts about staying on with the disfunctional house that is now Red Bull.

  94. Excellent summary and analysis, Joe. Perhaps I am being naive, but I find it a disappointing that SV didn’t display a bit more patience. I believe the incident occurred with a few more laps/passing opps left in the race. If SV were so much faster surely he would have been able to try again next lap. At the worst SV could have held station himself, win full manufacturer points and walk away with only a a 7 point deficit to MW leaving the team reputation intact. 12 races left (If I count correctly), SV, plenty of time to make that back, especially with the new points system in place. Instead RBR is left with a public controversy, team stress and division, a hit to its integrity, massive loss of points to McLaren, and a broken car. So explain to me please, why was RBR was “cuddling” (Whitmarsh’s words) SV back in pit lane?

  95. I think any projections about a rift in the Mclaren team seem a little premature. Both drivers seemed to be very happy (with eachother) at the end of the race. They hugged directly after exiting the cars and seemed upbeat at the team celebration too. Judging by their interviews it would appear that both Lewis and Jenson took the on-track battle as a simple racing incident. Hamilton did say that he was ‘surprised’ when Button appeared but the drivers are professionals and both want to win the WC. He cannot expect Button to simply give up as his team-mate is in front and I don’t think that he was particularly upset with Button for having a go. The two quite obviously get on and have built a noticeably warm working relationship.

    Talk of Button ‘favouritism’ within the Mclaren team is utterly unfounded. Jenson has raced with them for half a season and delivered performances which are roughly on par with Lewis to date. Lewis has raced with McLaren since 1998 and has won 12 Grands Prix and a world championship. I find it unlikely that McLaren would already be favouring Button. I still believe that Lewis will finish ahead of him in the standings as he slightly edges him on outright pace and has matured significantly this season but endured some bad luck.

    Essentially then McLaren have two very fast, competitive and British world champions racing on track and bringing home two on-two finishes. They already head the Constructors Championship and are noted as the most progressive team during the course of the season. It seems likely that Red Bull will be affected by their current troubles and I think that McLaren are developing sufficient pace, both in the title race and the car, to edge them out by the end of the season.

  96. Joe, why did Vettel not drive back to the pits, he was only a corner away? Was the car too damaged it does not look like anything other than the tire damage.
    If it is the case that just the tire was it Vettel has shot himself in the foot two fold.

  97. As martin brundle said today, had mark webber ‘conceded’ in that move he might have well packed up his world championship challenge and gone home. He is tougher than that and showed it. Another german who needs little introduction was known to be pretty tough on track at times too if we all choose to remember. Champions are decided on track based on how hard they race. Webber showed his mettle and did not simply open the door for vettel in what was an overly presumptuous move. Let’s get this staight, vettel cracked under pressure and red bull management clearly favour him. Thankfully he might think twice about trying to barge past webber next time. Oh if they allow webber the opportunity…

  98. Excellent article and comments, I’m a Red Bull fan and have been for a few years and was rooting for either driver to win, but the reaction by top brass at RB stinks to high heaven. They are going to lose plenty of credibilty and plenty of fans over this. Seb probably didn’t need help to win the championship but now if he does it will be tainted with suggestions that he was helped. The thing that proves the bias is Helmut Marko’s suggestion that Seb would have been overtaken by Hamilton if he didn’t pass Mark, so they basically said that only Mark was good enough to defend against Hamilton cos they still wanted a 1-2, so Mark was to give up first place cos Seb couldn’t defend against Hamilton and needed protecting by Mark?!? RB now reeks as one bad fish (Helmut Marko) will make all the others rotten… Seb needs to accept blame pronto to salvage what scraps of his reputation is left… And Red Bull owner DM needs to understand that the very reputation of his whole organization is at stake here since F1 is the biggest shop window Red Bull has.

  99. The sequence of pictures only show a couple of seconds at the most. This is after they have topped the hill. The squeezing took place before that. On the run up the hill. It was well camouflaged by Webber but it was there.

    Take a look at 0:45. Webber has made turn 11 and starts to drift right to take the racing line for turn 12. He realizes that Vettel is closer than he thought. You see him taking a quick look in the right mirror at 0:46. At 0:47 he makes the slight movement of the wheel to the left. Thats all it takes. So from 0:47 to 0:50 you see the gap between Webbers left front and the white line decreasing. He does this to try and intimidate Vettel to lift. You dont do that at 300 kph to a teammate. And according to Horner that is certainly not their policy either.

  100. Excellent blog, Joe – spot on comments!

    After the comments of Horner and Marko, I am definitely no longer a RBR fan. They have shown their hand despite all previous claims that their drivers have equal status, and Vettel is obviously the driver they want to win. Their comments are a sham, and their handling of the whole situation has been amateurish at best.

    Everyone with a passing knowledge of F1 agrees that Vettel was at fault, including current and ex F1 drivers and team managers.

    No doubt about it, as the pictures show, Webber clearly
    holds his line as he is entitled to do, while Vettel just as clearly pushes over onto Webber causing the accident.

    As Hamilton told Webber in the post race interviews, Vettel did a very similar thing to him earlier in the race. When talking to Webber, Hamilton’s hand movements clearly showed a sudden movement to the right, and Hamilton would have had a good view of the incident. Don’t forget also how Vettel veered across on Hamilton when they were side by side in the pits a couple of races ago. He’s not the angel and “fair” racer the PR machine would have everyone believe.

    From the pictures there is no way that Vettel is 2 metres ahead which he said in an interview he was and entitled him to take the racing line. It’s either extreme arrogance to expect that Webber will just step aside (despite the physical impossibility of being able to do so at that speed) or over confidence that the team has fed him the expectation that he is entitled to do so. If this is the case, the team management only have themselves to blame for the result.

    The same can be said for Vettel’s hand gestures after the crash and after he took off his helmet … it shows hims as being a petulant little brat but again this may be a product of the way Horner and co are managing (or not!) his expectations. He clearly expects to be the top dog at RBR and has not been happy that Webber has out raced him in recent times. When things go wrong for him it always seems to be someone else at fault, and its not the first time he has thrown the rattle out of his cot when he has made an error or something has broken on his car.

    I guess that’s what happens when you have people telling you all the time how great you are and that you are going to be a world champion. Hamilton went through a similar period but seems to have matured a lot this year. Vettel should be so lucky …

  101. “although the Spanish media has convinced itself that the English team favoured the English driver”, jajajaja, not only the spanish media. Ron Dennis: “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando”. Do you think that that is not favouring one driver 😉

  102. I am absolutely a Mclaren fan and a huge Lewis Hamilton fan but throughout this season i have been coming to the conclusion that there is ONE driver out there who deserves to be world champ more than all the others.
    !!!!!!!!WEBBER for 2010 world champ!!!!!!!!!

  103. @joesaward
    Nice pics. Makes it abundantly clear.

    Interestingly this is what’s on the official F1 website regarding overtaking:

    In overtaking battles the driver in front’s best defense is his ability to pick braking points and cornering lines. A skillful driver can hold off an opponent by adopting a ‘defensive’ driving style. Typically this means reducing the angle available for the car behind to use going into corners where there is a substantial risk of being passed. Providing that the driver ahead only changes his line once going into a corner (not deliberately attempting to block the car behind) this is a perfectly justifiable form of racing, and with it a driver in an inferior car can successfully hold off a faster rival. Narrowing the car behind’s angle through corners can also force it to take a later apex and even run wide, even if it has successfully made the pass – and this can result in the slower car getting back in front again! A side-effect of this defensive driving is that it tends to slow both drivers down, which is why you often see these close battles dropping away from cars ahead.

  104. ^^ In that third shot there’s enough room for uber-overtaker Lewis to make a pass past BOTH of them on Vettel’s left hand side…..

    Vettel is a spoilt brat. Webber left room for another car and gave him another two or three feet after the pass began, but that still wasn’t enough for the German.

  105. Great article Joe and thankyou!

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it yet or if it’s been resolved but do you know why webber came out first for his last qualifying lap, he seemed a little suprised that they sent him out ahead of Vettel when it should have been the other way round. More favouritism?

  106. Joe,

    Fantastic post, this is the reason i keep coming back to your blog! just one thing i can’t see that you touched on it at all (and sorry if you did) but the whole weekend was a display of dihonesty by RBR, firstly Webber was supposed to be the last car out of the box in qually but somehow Seb got that honour (for all the good it did him!) and then as the leader Webber had the first option on pitstops but somehow Seb got that also! this was touched on by Mark himself and dismissed untill the uproar happened after the incident! to me it is not being hidden very well at all that they are favouring Seb and the only thing i can hope for is that Karma gets them all and Mark wins the WDC! Oh and i have lost my taste for Red Bull after this and Today on my way to work i bought my first ever Monster Energy drink (not so bad i must say!)

  107. Perfectly summed up. First they give Vettel a new chassis to massage his ego and provide an excuse as to why Mark is faster. When that doesn’t work in qualifying they engineered a race situation by instructing Webber to dial-back. Then, when Vettel screws that up totally they give him a hug and denounce Webber in public despite overwhelming evidence and expert opinion to the contrary.

    It’s lucky Webber is in tune with his car and is a “technical” driver, he’s going to have to check and re-check every piece of it before the next qualifying.

  108. Joe, great article as per usual. Red Bull don’t seem to have learnt much from history do they? I thought Vettel was pretty good when he won Monza in 2008 but now am not too sure particularly as Webber has now out qualified him 4-3 and that he seems a little emotionally fragile (witness last year’s German GP when he couldn’t match Webber’s pace after winning at Silverstone the week before.) Does he think that everyone should let him through or is this a trait shared with the other German who won a few drivers’ championships? Would be a shame if Red Bull were to become Ferrari Mk2 as that would damage their sporting reputation.

  109. joesaward
    i think you missunderstand me. I never said vettel was given team orders to pass. Also when you see your team mate passing with ease and the game is up which it was. The best thing to do is to make sure you dont both crash out as is what happened. Hamilton and Button reacted in the correct way by giving each other space when they realized it was getting to close. However after seeing these images that someone just posted , you can see Vettel looses control of the car and veers dramatically in to Webbers path. So forget everything i said.

  110. Superb article Joe Saward !!!

    Only thing you left out was Horner and Marko each need a can of Bull piss kicked up their backsides where the sun don’t shine.

    I am still fuming that the one classy sportsman in all of F-1 got “thrown under the [bus]”* (*PT) , I mean under the Bull.

    Hopefully, Dietrich Mateschitz will come forward and say the two above blockheads had a bad moment and mis-spoke after each of their heads accidentally got clipped by a Red Bull that was attempting to kick cans up their backsides.

    And young Vettel has a diaper that needs changing.

    Sorry, Joe. Sometimes the worst in me flows off this damn keyboard.

  111. Going way on a limb: Does anyone think the McLaren “battle” may have been staged just rub salt in Red Bull’s wounds?

  112. Hi Joe, as always your take on things, to me, seems balanced and fair, not only in respect to this situation, i now just hope that Mark can put this truly behind him and it doesnt mess with his head, i believe that quite often the race is a race of minds as much as anything else, assuming the playing field is also level.

  113. Dietrich Mateschitz is a marketing man, and what Red Bull now faces is a F**king marketing disaster.

    If the team continues to blame Webber, Red Bull is going to take a massive publicity hit. Not just the team, the drinks business could certainly be impacted. If things continue to be handled as poorly as they have over the past few days, Red Bull could suffer real and lasting damage to the brand.

    Fixing race results doesn’t go over well with fans, the management then telling a provably outrageous series of lies makes the situation even worse. At least when Ferrari sent down team orders they were honest about it. In any event, Red Bull are not Ferrari. Most Ferrari fans will never ever sit in one of their cars let alone buy one. Every F1 fan can afford to buy a soft drink, or as it may be, decide NOT to buy one.

    One hopes Dietrich will take personal charge of this mess and set things right, but if Deitrich is the man behind the Vettel favoritism then the team may be on an unalterable path of self destruction.

    Mateschitz needs to ask himself which is more important, a Red Bull championship or a Vettel championship? That latter option seems far less likely than the former, and carries with it the prospect of significant damage to Red Bull’s brand.

  114. 7 races down in a 19 race season. Plenty of further water to go under the bridge. As I said, if Webber finishes all races, his car is fast enough.

    So the good part about Vettel and Webbers’ crash is that it brings out into the open the German/Austrian alliance that we talked about. Exemplified by the pit crew asking Webber to slow down to preserve fuel.

    Now it is exposed. it will be very hard for them to do it again.

    This incident, in the long run, helps Webber a lot.

  115. While the images show what we already knew – i.e. Vettel moved to the right and Webber stayed straight – I think Webber should still have been able to avoid coming together.

    Mark was way over to the left to block/squeeze Seb which is understandable but once he was past him by half a car-length (second last image) Mark probably should’ve given Vettel some room, for two reasons:

    1) With some distance still to go to the corner he could’ve re-taken the racing line and get the optimum entry to the next corner to attempt to re-take the position like Lewis did some laps later.

    2) They are team-mates and it should be his first priority not to (help) cause a collision. Sure, Vettel should not have moved so suddenly to the right as well but he probably assumed Webber had already conceded the corner being 2/3 car-lengths behind and falling back farther.

    Jenson did both of these things perfectly coming down the start-finish straight and into corner 1 when Lewis was tucked down the inside. As the guy behind (even ever so slightly) you ought to yield some space for your team-mate.

    Just my two cents…

    1. It was not for Webber to back down. He is racing for the World Championship and his team-mate had to make the pass. If Webber had let him by, Webber might as well retire from racing…

  116. I just became a Mark Weber Fan! Good on him for racing for the WDC out of instinct because there was certainly not enough time for deliberation in that instant.

    Maybe Didi can console “wonderboy” First Kubica crashes him out in Austrailia in 09, now Webber does this to him, Boo Hoo. Nice gamble kid, keep flushing the points and the season is yours to blow.

    Red Bull “it gives you Hugs”, what was that famous Tom Hanks line from League of Our Own – “Theres no crying in Baseball”(as one of the girls crys because they are losing)

  117. The pictures make it totally obvious. As you said Joe, the big issue is not the accident, its the intent of the management at RBR. I have just spent 30 mins reading the comments on their own website… amazing how negative everyone is towards Red Bull. Surely they must make a public apology to Mark Webber! Even their website is bias towards Vettel! (e.g. race photos etc.)

  118. Joe- do we know that Webber ever had a fuel problem?

    How is it that after his pit-stop to replace the front wing he was then told by Red Bull to push (because the McLaren’s were short on fuel).

    Surely if he had his own fuel problem he wouldn’t have been able to do this? RB said that Seb had one more lap of full fuel before he had to change engine mix.

    Makes me wonder if the fuel issue is a red herring.

  119. I find it interesting that onlookers pretend to know better than the Red Bull team as to where the fault lies.

    Agreed that Vettels move seemed too rash. But that is not what Red Bull is looking at. They are looking at everything leading up to it. Including Vettel being faster than Mark and being under threat from Hamilton. He had been better at saving fuel at due to that got a run on Webber. In that case you leave some room for your teammate.

    0:47 to 0:50 shows Webber moving to the left to squeeze Vettel:

    Look at his move against Massa. Very similar and incredibly dangerous:

  120. hi all,

    did you read Hamiltons comments in the post race interview? I found it amusing.

    LH: It was great to watch, it was like an action movie in HD or 3D; it was fantastic. It was right ahead of me. No, I got the best view of it obviously but it’s the last thing you want to see and fortunately Sebastian is safe

  121. i’ll try to be as unbiased as possibly, but being an australian and a mark webber fan, what has happened has left a very strange feeling inside.

    obviously there is disapointment at the loss of a 3rd straight win as well as 5th career victory and of course anger at vettel who in my opinion finally showed his true colours and confirmed the feelings held myself as well as my friends and i’d say the majority of pundits out there. He is a spoilt young man who is being doted on by his team. Compare this to Mark, who had to leave home as a teenager, move to europe and worked hard for results, then be presented a chance to enter formula one only to be go from poor team to poor team and have unreliable cars at each.

    Vettel showed at Turkey that he is prepared to go at all lengths to destroy Webber’s championship ambitions. I know as a sportsman you don’t think this way, but could he not effectively allow Webber to win the championship and then go onto the glory that is sure to follow the young german in years to come.

    No, Vettel could not bare the thought of not being the first championship winner for RBR, a fact proven by his ‘sooking’ at each press conference following a Webber victory.

    Red Bull need to have some hard thinking, something needs to be done, and my fear is that something will involve the dismissal of one of the most loyal and talented drivers in Formula One, Mark Webber.

  122. Cheers Joe
    I have to stand by my “idiot” accusation not because of what happened last weekend but for what I’ve seen of Vettel so far. Anyone can be fast with the right car but this lad has a lot of growing up to do. The guy is an impetuous one-man car wrecker, who might have finished in the points if he’d had the sense to nurse his car in previous races. As for Marko, any football fan will tell you there is nothing worse than a meddling President.

  123. From where i was sat, it was definately Vettel at fault. I clearly heard both McLaren drivers being told to “conserve fuel.”
    I wonder if ‘that’ order is code for “DO NOT RACE YOUR TEAM MATE! HOLD YOUR POSITIONS?”

  124. apendix L of the FIA regulations stated:
    IV Overtaking
    “c) curves, as well as the approach and exit zones thereof, may be negotiated by the drivers in any way they wish, within the limits of the track. Overtaking, according to the circumstances, may be done either on the right or on the left.

    However, maneuvers liable to hinder other drivers such as premature changes of direction, more than one change of direction, deliberate crowding of cars towards the inside or the outside of the curve or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited and shall be penalized, according to the importance and repetition of the offences, by penalties ranging from a fine to the exclusion from the race. ”

    Perhaps Seb will see a grid penalty in Montreal?

  125. Seb was clearly in the wrong here. If RBR does not come out and say that it was Seb’s fault, it will massage Seb’s ego further and will cause more problems for itself in the future.

    Seb loused up and cost the team a 1-2.

  126. Well said Joe, spot on.

    Another point is that it’s rather easy to burn more fuel dragging your team mate around in your slipstream for a number of laps, and benefits him when as a result he has 1 kg more fuel and doesn’t have to dial his engine back to make a passing manoeuvre, ill-advised as it was.

    Vettel, Christian Horner and Red Bull have all gone down in my estimations, and Mark Webber up.

  127. @josh
    good one – if that’s what the rules state then the issue should be resolved through the FIA even if the team brings no complaint. Post Mosely FIA needs to show it is in control. Are you reading this one, Bernie?

    1. Peter Coffman,

      I would need to ask The Mole his feelings. But he does tend to follow me around.

  128. My impression and hope are that, aided by French wine of adequate vintage, The Mole may be susceptible to persuasion. I shall eagerly await news.

  129. Joe,

    Sorry to go back to the Hamilton/Alonso thing in 2007, but I think Ron Dennis summed it up best after the Chinese GP that year:

    “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando.”

    This statement tallies perfectly with what Coulthard and others have said about how Dennis and McLaren worked (I use the past tense because I’m convinced the current management is very different). Remember Coulthard being ordered to move over twice in favour of the team’s and Ron’s golden boy? The reason why it’s easy to see that Alonso was treated unequally is because Dennis has so much form and a loose mouth.

    By the way, after years of reading I’ve only just discovered this site in the past few weeks. Already my favourite F1 resource: thanks.

  130. like I thought , horner twisted the tale again [pun intended]

    or more likely was told to do so

    and joe , I got 100 emails today , and 5 of them weren’t from you !

  131. F1 management have removed the footage from you tube – very intelligent – in the midst of a controversy that is gaining more and more interest in F1 the start playing silly beggars with copyright and thus turn people away again
    F1 mis-management more like!!

  132. From espn: When asked what Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz thought of the accident, he responded: “Dietrich has spoken with both drivers following the incident. He has always supported both drivers equally and summed it up by saying: ‘Shit happens… we shouldn’t talk about the past, but concentrate on the future. Fact is that we not only have the fastest car but also two of the best and fastest drivers’.

    The most intelligent comment to come out of the RBR camp since this incident happened.

  133. Hi all.

    “and the same happened in 2007 when Fernando Alonso found it impossible to accept the concept that Lewis Hamilton could be as fast as he was. This did serious damage to Alonso’s reputation, although the Spanish media has convinced itself that the English team favoured the English driver”.

    Mr. Saward, why do you talk about what happened in 2007 if it doesn´t fit with your words?


  134. Fantastic post Joe, I am so surprised that some people do not understand how important it was for Webber to stand his ground, he is racing for the F1 drivers world championship. If he moved over for Vettel he would be saying you want it more than me, take it, some are confused by all this, it’s called RACING. It is sad for I had a lot of respect for RBR, I believed they were a fun team that let there drivers race it out, not like many other F1 teams that have lost the spirit of what racing was meant to be.

    Vettel had the run on Webber, he could see as he pulled alongside Webber that Webber was racing him and left just enough room to pass, this is were Vettel should have known what Webber was up to and that Webber was not playing games.

    Vettel is young and not yet ready, but RBR have chosen sides, I no longer respect RBR, I have had enough, from now on I do not take F1 seriously, egos are killing it.

    Just when F1 is heading in the right direction, remove some more aero especially the defuser and it would be awesome.

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