Should Webber have got Red Bull’s new front wing instead of Vettel? (Poll)

Sebastian Vettel is on pole position for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix.

But team mate Mark Webber could be starting from the coveted P1 had Red Bull team principal Christian Horner not taken a controversial decision to take the team’s new front wing off Webber’s car and put it on Vettel’s.

Did Horner make the right call?

Red Bull brought two of their new front wings to Silverstone. But the first was broken when it failed on Vettel’s car during final practice this morning.

After practice the sole remaining example of the new design was taken off Webber’s car and put on Vettel’s. Horner explained his reasons for doing it:

After this morning?s incident we only had one new spec front wing available for qualifying, which Adrian [Newey] was very keen to run; not necessarily because it was better, but because it offered a new direction to look at.

Therefore it came to me to make a difficult decision as to which car it went on. A situation like that is not ideal and it doesn?t happen very often. It went to Sebastian based on Championship position, his performance in P3 and the drivers? feedback on the different front wings from yesterday.
Christian Horner

Leaving the new wing in the garage for the sake of fairness between the drivers would have been senseless – in F1, you have to seize every advantage you can lay your hands on.

But it’s easy to see why Horner’s decision will be seen as favouring Vettel. Vettel may be 12 points ahead of Webber in the championship – but he only moved ahead of him in the last round.

And while Horner points to the difference between them in P3 as being part of the reason for the decision, the gap between them was very small. Vettel was just 0.034s faster, Webber having spent the early part of the session running a higher fuel load due to losing track time with a car problem.

The team’s drivers have been very closely matched this year – they have won the same number of races and are almost inseparable on single-lap pace.

Their immediate rivals are not likely to take points off them this weekend. Having brought two wings to the track surely the reasonable thing to do would have been to let each driver keep one for the weekend – particularly given they are so evenly matched on performance.

Red Bull faced accusations of favouring Vettel after the Turkish Grand Prix, when they blamed Webber for a collision between the two which was widely perceived to have been Vettel’s fault.

This is not a new dilemma. The pace of development in F1 is so fast that teams often have to choose between which driver gets a development first.

It remains to be seen whether Red Bull will have another new front wing ready to put on Webber’s car in time for tomorrow’s race.

Who should have got the new front wing?

  • Sebastian Vettel (13%)
  • Mark Webber (79%)
  • Neither (8%)

Total Voters: 2,440

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218 comments on Should Webber have got Red Bull’s new front wing instead of Vettel? (Poll)

  1. Helmut Marko said on 10th July 2010, 16:45

    If Seb damages his helmet, we’ll take Marks and give it to Seb. We could care less if Mark drives with a helmet or not.

    • Pedro Andrade said on 10th July 2010, 16:50

      I bet if Vettel flat-spots all his tires, you’ll give all of Webber’s to him! After all, he is leading Webber in the championship. Unless he gets stuck behind Webber with the McLarens behind, than it’s just sensible to have Webber surrender the position.

    • Mouse_Nightshirt (@mouse_nightshirt) said on 11th July 2010, 3:04

      Seb doesn’t need Webber’s helmet. He already has a spare and it’s called “Marko”.

  2. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 10th July 2010, 16:49

    I don’t think it really matters. For PR they could have given it to Webber, but at they end of they day if they think Vettel is the one most capable of delivering a championship then why not give him the wing? I’m no fan of Vettel but mechanically he’s had the short end of the stick and were it not for that then he’d be way ahead of Webber anyway.

    • Pedro Andrade said on 10th July 2010, 16:54

      It’s more a question of ethics. In the Schumacher-Ferrari days, everyone knew the second driver was screwed (and even then they managed to stuff up big!). And both Barrichello and Irvine never had a chance of competing against Schumacher (even in 2004 and 2002 Barrichello would race with the other teams, instead of always going second behind Schumacher).

      Now Red Bull are pretending to be so fair to their drivers, but are consistently undermining Webber. Webber has been much faster than in previous years, even if making mistakes here and there.

      • Daniel said on 10th July 2010, 17:11

        Irvine would have won the Championship the year Schumacher broke his leg, except that Irvine had to let Schumacher past in an earlier race. If he hadn’t had to do that, Schumacher could have moved over in the final race and Irvine would have won. How’s that for irony?

        • Pedro Andrade said on 10th July 2010, 17:17

          Ha, yes, and Schumacher was not that far ahead in the championship when he broke his legs. :P

          But reportedly Ferrari were quite happy to wait another year to have their favoured win the title.

        • David A said on 10th July 2010, 18:36

          In which race did Irvine have to move over? The only race, pre-Silverstone that I remember Irvine finishing behind Schumacher without anyone inbetween was Monaco, where Schumacher drove off into the distance and Irvine passed Hakkinen in the pit stops.

          • Pedro Andrade said on 11th July 2010, 1:16

            Daniel is probably referring to Magny-Cours. Schumacher was ahead pf Irvine at the end of the race, but was going much slower, and the team ordered them to hold station. Later in the year Irvine mentioned this incident saying he could’ve been ahead of Hakkinen if the team had let him pass.

          • Toby Bushby said on 11th July 2010, 1:57

            But Schumacher let Irvine win in Malaysia, so…

          • Daniel said on 11th July 2010, 3:03

            Pedro is right, it was the 1999 French GP I was referring to. My memory isn’t as good as I thought it was, but that 1 point would have been enough if Shumacher had slowed to allow Irvine past in the last race of the season.

            And since team orders were common then, I don’t think anyone would have had any qualms about doing that.

            Ferrari instigated team orders too early in the season, and it cost them.

    • David BR said on 10th July 2010, 16:55

      Vettel more chance of the WDC? I think that’s a marginal call when the team is out in front, as of now. But *if* McLaren or Ferrari close the gap to zero or pull ahead, the RBR drivers will have to start overtaking on the track for real (not just pit-stop-assisted). And under that scenario Webber would be significantly ahead I think. If I was RBR I’d be keeping them both sweet.

    • No Favourites said on 11th July 2010, 15:43

      “I’m no fan of Vettel but mechanically he’s had the short end of the stick and were it not for that then he’d be way ahead of Webber anyway.”

      IMO, I actually think Webber is the better driver now.

      Vettel may have had raw pace at the beginning, same as most rookies with a decent car, but Webber has matched his pace and also appears to be a much smoother driver.

      Vettel’s failures may have more to do with his own rough driving style.

  3. Perf said on 10th July 2010, 16:58

    I found an interesting quote from Webber – I couldn’t find it in English, translated it goes something like this:

    “I think the team is pleased with today’s outcome – said Webber asked about the situation – but I’d rather be a third than the second, we know that the start from this side of track is hopeless. If Fernando (Alonso) would like to trade places, we’ll see if this is possible – added embittered Webber.”

    So I wonder: does the regulations allow such thing (trading places at the grid), if both drivers agree to it?

  4. Mike said on 10th July 2010, 16:59

    I voted it should be on Webber’s car.
    If both wings had broken and there was only one spare, that would be different.
    But this, isn’t quite so nice.

    I find it odd that they would have actually had to remove it from Webber’s car, to put in on Vettel’s.
    Unless Webber didn’t want it.

    But, I think it could also be us getting over excited about what amounts to not much.

  5. MacademiaNut said on 10th July 2010, 17:04

    I just hope SV loses his front wing in the first corner tomorrow.

  6. Vishy said on 10th July 2010, 17:08

    Do they think we are all fools to belive their statements and reasoning when it is so obvious they favour Vettel?

    It is like they are trying to keep him happy so he will sign with them for longer. Wouldn’t it be ironical if Vettel were to leave RBR after all this favoritism?

    If wishes could be true, “I wish Vettel and RBR lose badly and Webber wins the WDC”. Still a Hami fan but Webber deserves better.

  7. SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 10th July 2010, 17:10

    Only good reason can be when Webber had a slight preference for the old wing. Else it was his!

  8. Macca (@macca) said on 10th July 2010, 17:15

    Wow, I’m speechless. I have lost all respect for the Red Bull team. Christian Horner you can not seriously defend this decision.

  9. DavidS said on 10th July 2010, 17:16

    The question is, would RBR have taken the wing off Vettel’s car to put on Webbers car if the situation was exactly the same.

    No.

    RBR would’ve said “That’s unfortunate for Mark, having a failure that’s not his fault,” and left done nothing. But because Vettel is the wunderkind, so he gets given the good parts.

    The RB6 is a fast car that’s filled with niggles, the drivers have to accept their share of bad luck that happens to their cars. If you take parts off Mark’s car to put on Vettels, that’s effectively saying that Mark’s car/race is less important.

    • Steph90 (@steph90) said on 10th July 2010, 17:39

      “The question is, would RBR have taken the wing off Vettel’s car to put on Webbers car if the situation was exactly the same.

      No.”

      We don’t actually know that. We can thnik that RBr would prefer Vettel as champion but there isn’t any proof, we don’t know what they would do roles reversed but we can speculate and the speculation alone suggests something uncomfortable about the entire situation there.

  10. grosjeans.rubble said on 10th July 2010, 17:26

    Red Bull takes your wings…

  11. Guilherme Teixeira said on 10th July 2010, 17:27

    Vettel’s front wing? Webber’s front wing? The way I see it, it is *RBR’s* front wing, and they decide what they want to do with it and who is going to use it if there is only one available. Please remember that this is a team sport, not and individual one, and if the team thinks that giving the front wing to one driver instead of the other will bring them (the team) a advantage at the race, then it has the right to do so. We have seen this happening countless times in the past, and this will not be the last time we will see it. But since an anti-Vettel army has formed since Turkey, it was innevitable that such a decision would attract controversy…

    But now people, just think as a team principal. Forget whom you support, or whom do you think was at fault for the crash or whatever. You have one front wing for two drivers. You give it to the driver who higher on the standings or to the one who is at a lower position? It really seems quite logical to me – I’d give it to the one who is in front on the standings, regardless who was using the front wing on free practice.

    And finally, given how they were closely matched on qualifying, I don’t think this front wing makes much of a difference…

    • Dougie (@f1droid) said on 10th July 2010, 17:43

      And finally, given how they were closely matched on qualifying, I don’t think this front wing makes much of a difference…

      For sure, the front wing was only giving an advantage of say 0.1 of a second… err… hold on… then that would mean that Webber is on Pole.

      It makes all the difference. RBR suck as a team, I used to rate them highly, now they are the lowest of the low. Simple.

      • Guilherme Teixeira said on 10th July 2010, 18:02

        How do you know that Seb’s wing has a 0.1secs of advantage over Mark’s? I haven’t seen any figures around… do you work with Newey by the way…?

        Now everyting Red Bull does will sound like favouritism towards Vettel. Well, that’s just what the press wanted…

        • Dougie (@f1droid) said on 10th July 2010, 18:13

          Funnily enough… I have no idea how much of a difference the wing makes. LOL!! You’re response is hilarious!

          I was just using the small amount of time, that 0.1 of a second is, as an example to show how much even a small amount of difference can make.

    • Toby Bushby said on 11th July 2010, 2:04

      “You give it to the driver who higher on the standings or to the one who is at a lower position? It really seems quite logical to me – I’d give it to the one who is in front on the standings, regardless who was using the front wing on free practice.”

      And a good part of the reason one is in a lower position than the other is because the other took out the one in a previous race. In fact, the same race that arguably is responsible for the team being behind in both Championships. But he’s still obviously the guy you’d give the wing to, right?

      • Steph90 (@steph90) said on 11th July 2010, 11:14

        “And a good part of the reason one is in a lower position than the other is because the other took out the one in a previous race. ”

        If you’re referring to Webber than that isn’t true. Webber gained more points on Seb that race by Seb being unable to finish than if they had trundled home in a 1-2

  12. Steph90 (@steph90) said on 10th July 2010, 17:37

    To be fair, they were so far ahead this weekend I doubt it would have mattered so the fair but perhaps stupid route would be neither.

    However, Vettel’s ahead so give it to him. It isn’t perhaps the mroal thing but it is how to win. It’s short sighted though and risks annoying the other driver greatly as well as your own fanbase. It may be worth it in the short term but if this situation isn’t managed right then it’ll harm them more in the long run. For Mark though, I feel sympathetic.

  13. silencer said on 10th July 2010, 17:53

    it is clear that Vettel is their long term investment

    pity goes to webber but hope he don’t lose his head on the track tomorrow otherwise Lotus is always there to make he flying without wings

  14. “Mark knows the way we operate as a team. He knows that with that decision there was no malice behind it. There was no manipulation. It was purely that we found ourselves with a single component and, from a team point of view, some days I have to make difficult decisions.” — This is from Christian Horner’s comments. (Taken from autosport)

    Issue here is, why Doesnt VETTEL know the way RBR operate as a team? And Horner, R u sure WEB knows theres wasnt any malice behind it, if not why is he shaming all of you in front of media?

    Also he says ” We found ourselves with a single component”- This doesnt Explain anything?! If you say you have no WINgs left at all, fair enough, but why cant VET use WEB’s older spec wing?

    And point to note , “I have to make difficult decisions” seems too much like a media statement. Instead, he should probably phrase it as ” oh, a decision take took less than a second”.

    Christian Horner is No where near a good team principal or if he wants to be biased towards his driver,i guess he needs to think before he speaks. Great examples of cunning , yet clever principals include Ron Dennis & Jean Todt.

    Well, Horner will throw both RBR championships sooner or later out of their own window. It wont take long before Mclaren & Ferrari Challenges them real soon.

  15. W-K said on 10th July 2010, 18:04

    Maybe the teams should be forced to ID all items, as is done with engines, gearboxes and tyres, as belonging to a specific car/driver.

    My opinion on the front wing, is that it doesn’t matter whether it is the driver or his engineer(s) that damage an item, it is still that (sub)team and they, the (sub)team should suffer the consequences.

  16. Palle said on 10th July 2010, 18:06

    Webber and Vettel don’t own the cars, their employer does. The two drivers clearly forgot this in Turkey, Webber more so than Vettel, because he, despite being reasonably slower, drove so defensively against his teammate, that they had an accident. I think Horner is just stating a point to the drivers: I’m the Boss – not You! And this message is not being accepted by the 75% majority of the fans on this site. It is perhaps not a smart move, neither from a marketing or team management point of view.

    • Brake BIAS said on 11th July 2010, 2:15

      Palle, in Turkwey, why was Webber ordered to turn his engine down & vettel was not? vettel moved into Webber, not the other way around – go watch the replays boy. Maybe RBR should start listening to the fans as CH keeps stating there is no favouritism between their drivers, yet the actions of the team seem to indicate otherwise is costing them a percentage of their fanbase.

  17. LeighJW said on 10th July 2010, 18:21

    My mother once bought my father two ties for Christmas. Later in the day he came downstairs wearing one of the ties. She asked him ‘what’s the matter, don’t you like the other one?’

    This poll is the same pointless question!

  18. xabregas said on 10th July 2010, 18:22

    Now i know why Ferrari and Mclaren don´t have those kind of problems, Massa and Button can´t even get close to their team mates, they bring home some good points and don´t mess with them, that´s a lesson Red Bull should learn.
    You can´t have 2 drivers fighting for the same spot and favoring one of them. Last time Red Bull went into problem, Mclaren brought home a victory, maybe tomorrow will be Ferrari the beneficiary.
    Maybe it´s time for Webber start doing his bags and surch another team to drive, he will get nothing from this one.
    He must be really p… off (i would be ).

  19. John Cousins said on 10th July 2010, 18:26

    Tough one… As I have said before, I am a huge fan of Mark. He’s a no-nonsense mature driver who just does his job well. A real man’s man not a pretty boy/metro-sexual. He has proven to be very very fast and while I think his raw speed may be slightly slower than Seb, his wheel work and general style seems much smoother than his team mate. We have all seen time and time again what happens when Mark moves away from his smooth style and tries to get aggressive. A wise man once said that mechanical sympathy is an important part of any racing driver and perhaps this is the reason for Sebastian’s poor reliability? Of course I have no way of proving this, it is just my opinion but it is for this reason that I believe that Mark should have kepth the wing… He didn’t break his…

    Just a quick question though as I am unclear on one thing… Did Mark qualify with the new wing, or did he just do practise with the new wing?

    • xabregas said on 10th July 2010, 18:38

      I think Webber tryed the new wing in practise and didn´t used it in qualifying because it went to Vetell´s

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