Webber wins but team tensions hit new high (Red Bull race review)

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2010

Red Bull began the weekend trying to put psychological pressure on McLaren’s drivers, saying the friendly relationship between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button is purely for show.

Maybe it is, but there’s no hiding the growing animosity within the Red Bull camp as the team again found themselves accused of favouring Sebastian Vettel over Mark Webber.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 1 2
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’29.615 (-0.143) 1’29.758
Race position 7 1
Average race lap 1’38.364 (+0.706) 1’37.658
Laps 52/52 52/52
Pit stops 1 1

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Sebastian Vettel

The controversy over Vettel being given a new front wing that had been taken off Webber’s car has been covered extensively in earlier articles.

And although the wound which destroyed Vettel’s race was inflicted not by Webber, but by the front wing of Lewis Hamilton’s car, it came as Vettel was straining to stay alongside his team mate who had out-accelerated him into the first corner.

A slow return to the pits for a new tyre condemned Vettel to finishing outside the points. His race was saved by the safety car, which cut his 83-second deficit to the leader to just ten.

He picked cars off quickly, including Felipe Massa at Club, then the likes of Jaime Alguersuari, Vitaly Petrov and Nico H???lkenberg who were less well-equipped to defend.

It took him ten laps to find a way past Adrian Sutil, finally barging his way down the inside at The Loop on the penultimate lap to salvage six points for seventh place.

Compare Sebastian Vettel’s form against his team mate in 2010

Mark Webber

Vettel squeezed Webber hard as the Australian made the best start but Webber said afterwards it hadn’t been a concern: “[There was] plenty of room, you could drive a bus down the middle.”

From then on his race was quite straightforward. He pulled away from Hamilton seemingly at will, only coming under pressure during the restart.

Despite having carried the day he had more sharp words for his team afterwards, accusingly describing his performance as “not bad for a number two”. Christian Horner replied “You can smile now”.

It’s going to take more than a cheesy PR photo to sort this one out. Despite having a 0.8s margin over their rivals in qualifying, Red Bull only reduced McLaren’s constructors’ championship lead by a single point.

Compare Mark Webber’s form against his team mate in 2010

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149 comments on Webber wins but team tensions hit new high (Red Bull race review)

  1. Jay M said on 12th July 2010, 4:22

    I’m trying to stimulate a debate, spread opinions and ask questions, not infuriate people.

    My Opinion on the Wing Situation is that Horner chose the right move, but ultimately the wrong move.

    You have two wings, one breaks so you give the remaining wing too the driver that is currently higher in the championship to increase the chances of scoring a World Drivers Title. Wether it was Vettel’s wing or Webber’s wing that broke in practice is irrelevant. – That is at least the thinking behind Horner.

    Taking the new wing off Webber’s car and onto Vettel’s was not a good idea though for the mind set and relationship of Mark Webber and the RedBull team. He might see it as “hey you broke the wing you were given, tough luck”. Then he might see it as “Not fair, that’s my wing, the team must be favouring him” – understandable but possibly a bit illogical and immature to think that for Formula 1?

    The Wing did not make much of a difference so the BBC Commentary were saying, but they were saying Adrian Newey wanted to run it to collect data for further development. So was the new wing really the difference between the two drivers in Qualifying? Mark Webber quoted after valancia qualifying when he was beaten by team mate Sebastian Vettel “I just wasn’t good enough, so second is all I could do” Was this the same but this time Webber blamed it on the front wing advantage of which it was very minute? If they put the standard wing on Webber’s car to make it equal with Vettel’s would Webber then be upset by having his front wing taken away because Vettel’s broke?

    Red Bull had the theory right, but the drivers emotions were all wrong and now things between them will just get worst.

    • christopheraser said on 12th July 2010, 4:34

      I don’t remember Webber blaming the front wing for him being second in qual at any stage, although it clearly would have played a part. Probably more physiologically than aerodynamically.

      I think Vettel would have taken it a lot harder than Webber if it was him loosing his wing.

    • MacademiaNut said on 12th July 2010, 5:35

      It’s not illogical at all. Firstly, (1) you forget is that this is just mid-season. There are plenty of races to go. (2) This year, the points system is revised. Their difference was 12, when a win gives you 25. That’s not much at all. and (3) That 12 point is also because of Webber not scoring any point at Valencia due to his accident.

      If you can have this much emotion (in the name of stimulating a debate or whatever you want to call it) for a sport that you watch, you can’t blame the emotions of drivers who put their heart out every day on the track.

  2. karl said on 12th July 2010, 4:26

    we must keep in mind that Vettel has come into the sport at a very early stage, he is only 23 remember, and he is bound to make mistakes. Webber has been around racing for many years and is ‘hardened’ by that experience. I think the relationship between the drivers is ‘strained’, and the decisions that Horner needs to make as a team manager will not alway’s make people happy. Perhaps the driver ‘relationship’ got off on the wrong foot. Let’s not forget in 07 in Japan, webber was hit by then a very new boy in F1, one S Vettel….I think at the time Webber mouthed off about the new boy not having any experience as he blamed vettel. Replay’s suggested later that in fact that vettel wasn’t at fault. Webber needs to move on and continue doing what he is currently doing well, and that’s focus on the driving…stay away from the ‘ppor me’ garbage

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 12th July 2010, 7:52

      Agreed. I know there’s lots of hate for Vettel around here, and most won’t agree with this, but for his age Vettel’s clearly more mature than the much older Webber. Webber should take his fight to the team and keep his mouth shut with the press…

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th July 2010, 8:02

        I know there’s lots of hate for Vettel around here

        Actually in the live blog before the race we did a poll on who people wanted to well and Webber and Vettel weren’t separated by much:

        29% Webber
        22% Vettel
        20% Hamilton
        17% Alonso

        British Grand Prix Live Blog

        • Bertie said on 12th July 2010, 9:30

          It a shame we don’t have any stats on support for a driver. Because I am certain vettel must have lost a lot.

      • Rob said on 12th July 2010, 11:52

        Does that maturity extend to making ‘insane’ or ‘crazy’ hand gestures after being involved in an accident with your team mate that you were far from an innocent party in?

        • Rob said on 12th July 2010, 11:54

          …or running wheel-to-wheel with another car down a pitlane and contributing to (not saying it was 100% his fault) a dangerous situation?

  3. Don said on 12th July 2010, 4:31

    There were two new aero wings, one fell off. It appears because that driver had more points, the other driver’s car had his taken off and reverted to the older nose.

    That is an important part of this thread.

    • Gagan said on 12th July 2010, 5:43

      HOw many more points did Vettel have and how many races are left in the season.
      This is favoutism and nothing else. we all have our fav drivers in F1 and we all want them to win and want good things written abt them. Fernando is my fav driver but I still think that the penalty could have been avoided and it was all his fault.
      IF vettel’s front wing fell off, Red Bull should have given him the old wing and not Webber’s wing ( I am not a webber fan). This is not the last race and championship isnt decided here. Red Bull is screwing their driver’s camaradrie.

  4. Splint3r said on 12th July 2010, 5:33

    I think RBR is managing this situation very poorly. As a result Mclaren is benefited immensely. They need to have a proper conversation with the drivers and clear up issues quick if a RBR driver is to win the 2010 championship.

  5. Namesis said on 12th July 2010, 6:17

    I have to say that I have not been a fan of RBR but after Turkey and the blaming of webber I have been pulling for him. That not bad for a #2 is pretty damning for team dynamics if in theory everyone is equal.

  6. Jay M said on 12th July 2010, 7:10

    A lot of you don’t agree with my thoughts, this is all very subjective and I’m cool with that,

    ” Red Bull is screwing their driver’s camaradrie.” – Gagan

    ” That not bad for a #2 is pretty damning for team dynamics if in theory everyone is equal. ” – Namesis

    ” “Webber’s mechanics were said to have removed the ‘old’ front wing that Webber had been forced to race with and waved it at Vettel’s side of the garage” ” – Cunning Stunt 8

    ” I think RBR is managing this situation very poorly. As a result Mclaren is benefited immensely ” – Splint3r

    It does seem to be apparent that Vettel biased (and I know I am as much as I try not being… which I don’t do very well!) or Webber biased, RBR will loose the championship from their own undoing. The question is Can they solve it? When will they solve it? and How will they solve it?

    I might be wrong but wasn’t Alonso contracted for more then a year at Mclaren but after his feud’s with Hamilton he reduced it too one year? So will Vettel or Webber change?

    • Splint3r said on 12th July 2010, 7:25

      They can solve this by not showing favoritism to any driver. I think its fair to say that both drivers have a chance at the championship now so the RBR management should make decisions unbiased in any occasion from here on.

      For example put a coin toss to decide who gets the next upgrade?

      But if things go from bad to worse i believe RBR will back SV because he is young and has more potential than MW. So his contract may be stripped like FA with Mclaren.

    • Julie said on 14th July 2010, 9:58

      I don’t remember when i think it was after qualifiers and the front wing issue. Webber made some thinly veiled comments that if he had known he wasn’t going to be treated equal he wouldn’t have signed the contract for another year. Clearly RBR said all the right things at the time but he feels they have already gone back on that now.

      I am a Vettel fan but to me the obvious favouritism is embarrassing and divisive, Vettel is under the impression he is invincible and he’s taking impulsive risks that are not paying off.

      RBR should have this season in the bag but it is the fight off the track and not on it that is deciding the result – and they are handing it to McLaren and Christian Horner has his work cut out to sort this out and fast.

  7. rashid hasan said on 12th July 2010, 7:14

    webber is right. period.

  8. simon. said on 12th July 2010, 7:32

    I think we need to see past the Webber vs Vettel debate and look deeper into the decision process that lead to Vettel getting the new wing. Who made this decision? Was it Christian Horner alone? Or, as I suspect, was it a directive from Helmut Marko? This will be key to any discussions about 2011 contracts, or the breaking of them. I don’t actually believe that MW will quit – he is simply forcing Red Bull to make a public statement of support and hopefully put an end to #1/#2 driver talk.

    What is most intriguing is that the combination of Newey/Webber/Vettel is so impressive why would management do anything – no matter how small – to shake this? There are clearly personal agendas at play in the Red Bull management team and Webber, quite correctly, is now seeking to have these made known.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 12th July 2010, 7:55

      According to SPEED, Horner said the order came direct from Matteschitz and that his hands were tied. Don’t know if that’s the case or not.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th July 2010, 8:03

        First I’ve heard of that. Takes Horner’s feet out from underneath him if true…

      • DaveW said on 12th July 2010, 16:35

        Heard the same thing. After Turkey, with Marko talking over Horner and speaking up for Vettel, it was clear that the shots are not being called in Milton-Keynes. If RBR wants to micro manage this, it will end badly. I’m starting to actually feel bad for Horner and starting to wonder just how much of race day operations is being run from Austria.

        Managing a closely-held soda corporation no more qualifies you to run an F1 team than it qualifies Coca Cola to start a communications satellite subsidiary—and then start kibbitzing about what part should go where from the board room. They need to back off and let the team do the job.

  9. Peter said on 12th July 2010, 8:36

    You know, I don’t know if Webber has a beef as such with Vettel (off track that is, on track he’ll fight Seb every inch of the way). It seems to be more with team management and their not so subtle way of playing favourites with its two drivers.

    Webber’s comments of “Not bad for a number two driver” and “I would never have signed a contract for next year if I knew that this was the way it was going” probably won’t do him any favors with Red Bull team management privately (publicly I think they’ll do the usual “everything’s great” act). But I can’t see the team doing anything to sabotage Mark’s chances of winning the 2010 Drivers’ Championship. That would be like committing corporate suicide because doing so would also hurt their chance at the constructors title, especially with the 2 McLaren drivers scoring consistent podium and point finishes.

    Red Bull’s house might be a place of high tension right now but I can’t see it hurting them on track. It didn’t hurt Mclaren back in 1989 when Prost & Senna were in their feud and Prost was accusing the team (and especially engine supplier Honda) of favouring Senna. In that situation McLaren continued to decimate the field because both drivers were determined to win with what was clearly the best car. I think it might be the same at Red Bull, the difference being that I don’t think Webber has a problem on a personal level with Vettel, just team management.

  10. zeke said on 12th July 2010, 8:39

    I guess the real question is who is doing the most on the set up of the Redbull cars . Is it Webber with his years of experience that is being relied on and is Vettel gaining from this knowledge in his cars set up.

    • Aussie Fan said on 12th July 2010, 12:11

      Yep, & Webber was quick to point out to James Allen after qualifying that Vettel’s side of the garage copied his setup this weekend, & that they have done this quite a few times…

  11. hawkfist said on 12th July 2010, 10:01

    I thought Webber’s comment about lots of drivers offering him a new wing but not Seb, and Sebs comment after the race about seeing peoples true faces suggest they’re starting to have a personal problem as well now.

    • Aussie Fan said on 12th July 2010, 12:12

      I think the last few months has shown people’s true faces, Seb probably doesn’t realise the irony of the very comment he makes applying to him more so than anyone else.

  12. AB576 said on 12th July 2010, 11:34

    As I have said before – RBR team management is appalling – If they lose the title this year (driver or team) it is entirely the managements fault – Taking the wing off Webber’s car and giving it to Vettel was just idiotic – If their intention was to make it fair – they should have ditched the wing entirely or left it on Webber’s car (as it was his wing in the first place)

    Vettel lost out at the start – SO WHAT? He is not complaining! He realised that he had a bad start, tried to fight for position without driving into Webber, and threw himself into the grass when Webber drove his ‘overly aggressive’ line.

    For all the Vettel haters out there, I hope none of you like Schumi, Hamilton, Alonso either because they have all fought their teammates on track and arguably have all been favored by their teams at some point. IT IS THE NATURE OF THE SPORT! So stop whining and hating on Vettel. He is a great driver and will prove himself this year or the next. Webber is a gentleman and although I give him 1/2 the blame for Turkey, and all the blame for Valencia, he acted as any other driver would have at Silverstone.

    At this rate RBR will not win either championship. Horner deserves to be sacked for horrible team management.

    • dragon said on 12th July 2010, 12:01

      There’s only one time I really HATED Vettel for his character, and that was after Turkey. All other times, I disliked him because he was so damn quick, and I’m a huge Webber fan. Even after this incident, I was jumping for joy after the first corner – then immediately felt ashamed that I cheered Vettel’s misfortune. It’s not Seb who I’m angry with, it’s Horner / Marko / Mateschitz. I actually thought Seb handled himself just fine after this race – he was just disappointed in himself after his poor start, and it’s never easy to put into words when you’re bombarded by the media like that. Sure, I think he’s whiny, immature, and arrogant – but he IS a racing driver.

  13. Bernard said on 12th July 2010, 12:05

    Keith, on the redbull website there are some comments suggesting that Horner has been sacked, any substance to this from your angle?

    • pSynrg said on 12th July 2010, 12:32

      I doubt there is any truth to this – merely some Red Bull ‘fans’ declaring their feelings.

      To sack Horner at this or any stage would be akin to simply hitting the Red Bull self-destruct button!

      • Bernard said on 12th July 2010, 12:52

        Yeah, I would hope not. He seems caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment.

        • Julie said on 14th July 2010, 10:10

          Yes I don’t think these decisions are down to Horner, I think his hands are tied. Getting rid of Horner would be the death nail for RBR this season.

  14. zeke said on 12th July 2010, 12:14

    The real reason behind the Vettle,Webber battle.
    Vettel is threatening to leave Redbull at the end of 2010 if not given N0.1 status. His management already has an offer on the table from Ferrari to replace Massa at years end and is using it as leverage.
    Redbull are trying their best to accomodate Vettel to retain his services for a further 3 years unfortunatly at Webbers expence. Massa’s management is already talking to Renault to replace Petrov.
    For Mateschitz and Marko to loose Vettel with or without a title after funding his entire career would be seen as a major fumble

  15. Blik said on 12th July 2010, 12:35

    Webber now leads Vettel in points and has stated that he now expects #1 treatment (or words to that effect) In other words if only one ‘better ‘ wing is available he, Webber should get it now because he has the points lead. Why therefore was he so miserable when the team gave the ‘better’ wing which happens to belong to the team and not Webber, to the points leader before the Silverstone race? Maybe the team were afraid MW would stuff the new wing up a Lotus exhaust due to poor overtaking judgement once again.

    • Ral said on 12th July 2010, 13:05

      You’ve got cause and effect mixed up. Webber said he expected to be given the better equipment next time around if only one item is available _because_ of how things were handled this time. But really, he did not see any reason for the wing to be taken off him in the first place.

    • DaveW said on 12th July 2010, 16:44

      The point is, RBR have set a disasterous precedent by setting out a new team rule that the driver ahead in points gets dibs on new parts, to the extent of stripping the other car. Webber is basically stating that by the new rules, in Hockenheim he gets a go at Vettel’s car with a screw driver if he sees something he likes, and he is correct.

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