Red Bull win teams title but risk throwing drivers championship away

Red Bull race review

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2010

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2010

Red Bull decided against using team orders in the Brazilian Grand Prix to increase their chances of having one of their drivers win the championship.

But a comfortable one-two at Interlagos secured the constructors’ championship for the team.

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were never threatened after passing pole sitter Nico Hulkenberg.

Sebastian Vettel Mark Webber
Qualifying position 2 3
Qualifying time comparison (Q3) 1’15.519 (-0.118) 1’15.637
Race position 1 2
Laps 71/71 71/71
Pit stops 1 1

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Sebastian Vettel

Having been fastest in both sessions on Friday he was somewhat surprised to be beaten to pole position by Nico Hulkenberg but praised the Williams driver’s performance.

He then picked off Hulkenberg at the first corner to take a lead that was never seriously challenged by his team mate, or anyone else.

Lapped traffic kept Vettel busy in the middle part of the race but after the safety car period he re-established his lead to take his fourth victory of 2010.

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

Mark Webber

Started the weekend on a sour note, telling the press the team was “emotionally behind” Vettel.

As usual there was a hair’s breadth gap between them in qualifying with Vettel narrowly ahead.

Webber followed Vettel past Hulkenberg at the start, harrying the Williams driver into running wide.

But he was delayed by an overheating problem:

It’s never nice when they have to ask you to manage something. The safety car helped a bit but then very quickly it was back again the first lap after the safety car.
Mark Webber

Even at this late stage Red Bull are still giving both their drivers the chance to win the championship.

But by passing up the opportunity to swap their drivers in Brazil, and bring Webber within one point of Alonso instead of eight, the team have made life more difficult for themselves in Abu Dhabi.

They now need to get both cars home in front of Alonso instead of just Webber’s to guarantee the title. The drivers were quizzed about it in the press conference afterwards:

[Swapping the drivers] helps but it’s not in the team’s philosophy. That’s how it is. It was a good drive by Seb today for the win and that’s how it is. I think the team’s position has always been on the sporting side and that’s how it is.

Obviously Fernando got some points in Hockenheim, which has happened in the past in Formula One and will happen again in the future. Everyone has different ideas, but that’s how it is at the moment, so I will go there and do my best.
Mark Webber

If the Brazil top three is repeated at Abu Dhabi, Alonso would be champion. Vettel refused to say whether he would let Webber past and make him champion in those circumstances:

It’s one week away. As a kid, I never liked it when my parents teased me for something and didn’t answer my question, so now I’m in a good position to tease you, so you will see.
Sebastian Vettel

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

2010 Brazilian Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

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91 comments on Red Bull win teams title but risk throwing drivers championship away

  1. Mach1 said on 8th November 2010, 15:20

    I don’t know if I mis-heard Brundel, but I think he said Webber still has one fresh engine and Vettel did not during this race. Did he therfore mean that Webber will have a fresh engine for Abu Dabi and Vettel will not.

    • What Brundle said was that Webber has an engine that he doesnt have to use all weekend, ie he has one with enough mileage to do the testing in FP1,2 and 3 and then can bolt on his race engine for quali and the race, whereas Vettel has to use the same weekend for practice and the race.

    • Ben Curly said on 8th November 2010, 15:40

      Mark used his last engine in Korea, Vettel in Suzuka, and Fernando at Monza. They are all reusing their old engines now.

    • rubin said on 9th November 2010, 0:58

      I heard that as well, but I believe he means a ‘fresher’ engine.

      As samS mentioned WEB has, at last count, 2 quality engines left, and Vettel only has the one.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the rules allow a driver to use any engine from their allotment in the final race, and could, theorteically use 4 different engines (1 each for P1,2 and 3, and the one more for Qualy and race).

      • true, they can do that, but it takes quite a while to change an engine. It is barely possible to do what alonso did and change between FP1 and FP2. If teams could not use there race engine in FP3 then they wouldn’t. But it takes all teh mechanics more than an hour to do so, and hence they can’t do both, and if one of the cars picks up damage, then they don’t have time to do engine replacement and fix up damage.

        WEbber has a newer engine than vettel.
        Webber’s abu dhabi race engine will have done:
        Korea FP3
        Korea quali
        Korea race – only a few laps out of SC conditions, and in wet
        Brazil FP3 – did he get any laps in?
        Brazil quali
        Brazil race
        Abu Dhabi fp3
        Abu Dhabi quali
        Abu dhabi race

        Vettel’s on the other hand
        Some race before hand FP3
        “””” Quali
        “””” Race
        Brazil FP1 – 1.5 hours
        Brazil FP2 – 1.5 hours
        Brazil FP3
        Brazil Quali
        Brazil Race
        Abu Dhabi FP1 – 1.5 hours
        Abu Dhabi FP2 – 1.5 hours
        Abu Dhabi FP3
        Abu Dhabi Quali
        Abu Dhabi Race

        That is a significant amount of running more for vettel’s engine. 6 hours of free practice!

  2. I’ve been thinking… Had Vettel and Webber’s positions been swapped, would Red Bull have asked Webber to let Vettel through to improve his position (so that he were one point behind Alonso)?

    • Ned Flanders said on 8th November 2010, 16:27

      I wondered that. An interesting question we will never know the answer to…

      • BasCB said on 8th November 2010, 16:58

        James Allen posted a statement from Mateschitz on his blog where he says he is dead set against any use of team orders, even if it would mean losing it to Alonso!

        Let the two drivers race and what will be will be. if Alonso wins we will have been unlucky. I predict a Hollywood ending. Worst case scenario we don’t become champion? We’ll do it next year. But our philosophy stays the same because this is sport and it must remain sport. We don’t manipulate things like Ferrari do.

        Shall we call that great sportmanship or just plain folly?

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 8th November 2010, 17:18

          It’s sad that the question can even be put. More so that some will say the latter.

        • Jim N said on 8th November 2010, 17:24

          Actually that sums up very well what I have always seen as the difference between the privateer teams and the Manufacturer teams. When there is a difficult decision to make the privateer teams usually (but admittedly not always) put the sport first above their own self interest. Whereas the manufacturers always seem to put their own self interest above that of the sport. Which is why I suppose we only have two and a half manufacturer teams left (Renault being the half). Great sentiments from Mateschitz, great for us as fans, even though it almost certainly means his drivers will loose out.

          • RaulZ said on 8th November 2010, 18:02

            I think you’re wrong, The idea you tell us is just the idea that Ecclestone and FIA want. Very romantic but false.

            Manufacters spend much money and they want to win and also to sell. Only if it’s not your money (as privateer teams) you can throw a championship to rubish.

          • Jim N said on 8th November 2010, 19:36

            RaulZ – Exactly! For the manufacturers it’s just part of their business….. for most privateers it’s their life…. although not in the case of Mateschitz, which makes his stance more interesting.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 8th November 2010, 19:07

          Mateschitz sure knows how to ball talk. When Sebastian is leading Webber and Alonso respectively, I can GUARANTEE you that Seb will move over for Mark. Horner said that it would happen, maybe he just didn’t give Mateschitz the update.

          • vettel moving for webber? After saying that if webber needs help he better call the medical car?. Very unlikely.

          • Todfod, don’t be a numpty, it’s the last race, (and in the example you give) if Vettel doesn’t move over, Red Bull will lose the driver’s title to Alonso. Criticising red bull for this is hugely hypocritical, considering which side of the argument you were on after the German GP.

        • tharris19 said on 8th November 2010, 20:03

          Whether he meant it or not no one knows. With that in mind, I will take him at his word. Besides, I like the idea that as a fan there are owners who are great sportman.
          What ever happens in Abu Dabi will unfold before our eyes. Will Red Bull be able to get another 1-2 and shutout Alonso? If Seb is in the lead, will he give it up to Marc?
          do either of them have the racecraft to race Alonso for P-1 and P-2 for the entire race? All any of us can do is speculate and pontificate our feelings, about what we would like to see as opposed to what will be.
          If the Red Bull drivers come prepared win this is going to be a super race. If either of them choke Alonso will attack with a vengence. I only hope the drama last until the last lap like Brazil 2008.

          • Omar Roncal said on 8th November 2010, 20:31

            The trill of 2008… I will never know if that year was not plain luck for Hamilton to become champion, I mean, Vettel overcame Hamilton and Glock (Massa would have been champ) and then Timo slipped (accidentally?)for Hamilton’s good. As well as Ferrari’s mistakes that year. I’m not dismissing Lewis, I think with a better car he could have won 2010’s WDC. Next race, the less mistaken pilot will be champion.

        • IffNav said on 8th November 2010, 21:53

          Let’s wait until Sunday.

          Then we’ll see if it’s just PR ******** or he does indeed mean it.

          In any case, I’ve got a feeling…

        • Mikos said on 8th November 2010, 22:10

          Plain folly.

          Without swapping drivers they can / should have given webber priority in the race – eg have him pit for the faster tyres before Vettel even though Vettel was leading. Example 2, have webber last on track (behind Vettel that is) in qualifying.

        • nannini said on 8th November 2010, 23:51

          I would be disappointed if RBR gave alonso the WDC.

        • Plain hypocritical folly!

    • RBR only cares about vettel becoming WC, they are not interested at all in webber becoming WC. This has been shown for the whole year. As Webber said he has become an inconvenience for RBR. I am afraid to say that soon after the end of the last race they will announce that webber won’t race for them again in 2011.

  3. Silly move by Red Bull to not switch Vettel and Webber. I understand the logic that you’d rather not throw all of your weight behind a single driver when you have two very talented guys in the RB6’s.

    Obviously, Webber is a good bit closer to Alonso in points and could have been more so if he’d taken first instead of second. Why shut out a legitimate shot at the driver’s championship? They’re basically leaving their bid for the WDC entirely in Alonso’s hands when that didn’t have to be the case.

    • I’m with you on this issue Murph. The SPEED commentators here in the U.S. were equally dumbfounded by RB’s unwillingness to make the swap. Especially when the Safety Car came out; it was a perfect chance for Webber to “overtake” Vettel.

      More pressure on Alonso at Abu Dhabi, the better.

    • Robert said on 10th November 2010, 14:51

      And if they’d swapped them so Webber won only for him to go out early in Abu-Dhabi, leaving Seb unable to win the WDC because of the swap.. How silly would they have then looked?

  4. Palle said on 8th November 2010, 16:13

    If RBR had made Vettel and Webber switch places this race how would they then look in Abu Dhabi, if Webber makes another suzuka and crashes into the wall after an unprovoked mistake? Their drivers are so close, that any decision or non-decision can be criticised in hindsight.
    In order not to create even more internal fighting in the team, they do right in making the Non-decision and leave it to Alonso to ****-up. Anyway RBR are the big time moral winners, as they have not used the TO against rules to improve their chances…It indicates that RBR are not all cynical result-oriented no matter what, as is the case with Ferrari and Alonso.

  5. I really appreciate that Red Bull didn’t give any team orders.Maybe I get it wrong, but I think since F1 is a sport, the best should win and not the one that had the best tactic or something.
    I know that Alonso drove a great championship, but I personally would prefer it if Vettel would win ( I know that his chances aren’t best, but a girl’s allowed to dream, right?). I just think he is a great and friendly guy and a fantastic and very talented driver.

    • RaulZ said on 8th November 2010, 18:31

      It is not that one driver is the best and then he should win. NO. The thing is that if you win then you are the best. So, first they must win and then it’s allways deserved.

      That kind of “best” people talking about is only for pools, where, coriously, Alonso is the best.

    • Omar Roncal said on 8th November 2010, 20:37

      It doesn’t matter if he’s friendly or not, but a stronger car was the only thing RB didn’t bring to Vettel, he could have already be champion by now without car failures such as Australia and the BIGGEST DISSAPOINTING RESULT in Korea (He could have been champ even counting his disastrous moves in Turkey and Spa)

      • Ilanin said on 8th November 2010, 22:27

        I can only assume your memory doesn’t stretch back to 1997. Trust me, it can get plenty worse than Korea.

      • Parabolica said on 8th November 2010, 23:50

        Horner said it himself. ‘You need to be consistent, have luck and not make mistakes’, and he’s made way too many (Hungary was unforgivable). That’s why Webber is leading him. Vettel reminds me of Montoya (brilliant in qualy, but a mistake ridden, hot-headed child in race form).

      • What happens is the vettel breakes his cars due to his driving style, Webber seems to be more soft on his cars than vettel.

  6. The Limit said on 8th November 2010, 16:30

    Despite all the money Red Bull will aquire for their success at claiming the 2010 Constructors Championship, they are still taking a massive gamble for the drivers title.
    If they do pull off a one-two victory in Abu Dhabi on Sunday then they will look like heroes, but that is a big ‘if’. All it will take is a bad pitstop for one of their cars and Alonso is champion.
    If that turns out to be the case, 2010 will be remembered as the season that Red Bull through away a shot at the drivers championship. At this level a team has to be ruthless and not wastefull of any opportunities afforded to them.
    I seriously doubt Ferrari would have done what Red Bull did yesterday, if Massa had been leading Alonso. And, rightly or wrongly, that is what makes some teams champions and others runners up.
    Despite all the furore of Ferrari’s Hockenheim antics, their driver sits upon the drivers championship table with an eight point advantage. All but one of those points came due to the decision made all those months ago at Germany.
    Now, if Alonso does turn out to be this year’s champion, the German victory will only be a part of the story, but a decisive one. Since Germany, Fernando has looked more and more like a champion. Ferrari have looked more and more like a championship winning team.
    For me, if Red Bull’s gamble fails to pay off, they may look back at this year with more than just a little bit of regret. And thats a shame.

  7. sm4all said on 8th November 2010, 16:52

    Dietrich Mateschitz says that he doesn’t want to ‘manipulate’ things between his drivers even if it means losing the title to Alonso.

    That explains it all I guess.

  8. Fixy (@fixy) said on 8th November 2010, 16:52

    I hope all this claiming that RBR have lost the WDC doesn’t bring bad luck. What if this happened: ?

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 8th November 2010, 16:53

      Obviously I hope not and I don’t think Vettel will let Webber through.

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 8th November 2010, 16:53

        Or Alonso, Webber and Vettel retiring and Hamilton winning the race and WDC.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 9th November 2010, 0:47

        If they were running VET,WEB,ALO of COURSE Vettel will let Webber through. He’s not stupid and he’s not an ***hole. He’ll wait until the last lap to do it though, in hopes that Alonso’s engine might blow, and rightfully so. If he let Webber through earlier and Alonso did suffer a failure, Vettel would feel pretty silly having given the championship away.

        • vettel is not a team player and I believe that he will extract extra pleasure in not letting Webber become WDC.

          • Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th November 2010, 8:00

            Its not about Vettel not being a team player. Webber has just not been quicker than his teammate since the British GP. Mark has also been responsible for a lot of the bad blood between him and Vettel. Now, all of a sudden he realises that his title hopes depend on Vettel letting him past for a win. Mark should try and focus on beating his teammate during qualifying or the race, although the way Vettel is driving, he doesn’t stand a chance.

        • Stevo said on 9th November 2010, 10:11

          I would hope, if that situation occurred, that Webber would give him back the position. I don’t think any driver would though.

    • Omar Roncal said on 8th November 2010, 20:43

      In less than one week the IFs will be gone and there will be a different champion)or a three-times one). A comment apart, I read somewhere in this web about “one great wonders” champions as Button, a good driver but not as for being a champion (the Brawn was unstoppable last year), and now probabbly comes Webber, another “Just OK” pilot

  9. Griggs said on 8th November 2010, 16:54

    I think this year has shown what a great job Brawn GP and Button did last year.

    When you have the fastest car and the advantage you have to be absolutely consistent and ruthless. Jenson may have had the fastest car at the start of last season but he made it count and didn’t throw away the chance. It ultimately won him the championship.

    Red Bull should have a world champion to add to the constructors crown they have just won. It would be a shame if they didn’t, but they can only blame themselves.

    I can’t wait for Sunday, it should be pretty exciting. I don’t mind who wins, I just want the race to be fun. :D

  10. I hope team orders are left to one side.

    I hope Mark Webber wipes the floor with Vettel and Alonso as we all know he can.

    If Mark can put in a drive like he did at Silverstone and Hungaroring, there’s no reason why he can’t do it again.

    I hope he can do it!

    Abu Dhabi will be a stormer!

    • Parabolica said on 8th November 2010, 23:59

      Exactly, has anybody entertained the idea that Mark will bash them both fair and square? Dominated Catalunya, dominated Monaco, dominated Silverstone and dominated Hungary (so much he virtually got himself a free pitstop). If alonso fails, I hope Mark isn’t punted off track again by Vettel.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 9th November 2010, 0:50

      Silverstone where Vettel was rear ended by Hamilton, or Hungaroring where Vettel got a drive through? If you really want to reference great drives from Webber, Barcelona and Monaco are better examples, those were both won with authority, the other two were luck at Vettel’s misfortunes.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 9th November 2010, 8:05

      I hope Mark Webber wipes the floor with Vettel and Alonso as we all know he can.

      Dont make me laugh.

      Mark doesn’t stand a chance of beating his teammate. He has been outqualified by him since the British GP, and Seb seems to have finished his quota of driver errors and mechanical problems for the season. Webber is at Vettel’s mercy, cause there is no way in hell that he is in the same league as Vettel on raw pace.

      • David BR said on 9th November 2010, 17:53

        Yeah, but if you think about, Webber’s lucky he has a team mate who will fight for pole and the race: just means he has to follow him in second and wait for him to hand over on the final lap. He’d be more at mercy if Vettel was Raikonnen and nobody knew which Kimi would turn up to the race: the one after a FLAP, or the one after an ice cream.

  11. I cant believe everyone is fallin for the bs the rbr owner is blowing. Its deadly obvious that rbr want vettel and not mark to win the title. Even if it means sacrficing the wdc…. Hey if i was an owner from a certain country and one of my upcoming talents was driving and just so happened to be from my country, of course im going to back him and not the other. Say what you need to say, this guy is full of crap. The fact that vettels car broke on several occasions when he was winning doesnt win the argument for me. If anything, webber has had to make comebacks and limit damage on several occasions. Thats one thing vettel is incapable of. Vettel has won his majority of his races from the front row, thats merely an accomplishment. I feel bad for mark, he has worked hard for many yrs to be here he is today. I reckon if the championship positions were reveresed going into brazil, mark would be told “vettel is faster than you”… Its a shame that a stand up driver can be dealt with so unfairly. Like i said b4, if i was mark id take out vettel in abu dhabi, ensuring that neither wins, and that rbr wdc bid comes to an end once again.

    • Palle said on 8th November 2010, 18:44

      Mark isn’t that amateurish (to take out Vettel on purpose in the last race) and if he was so god as You claims, he would by means of the best car on the grid have bagged this title by now…Mark – as everyone else – makes mistakes now and then. This is also why RBR doesn’t trust him to do it.

      • TommyC said on 8th November 2010, 23:08

        well, on countback this season, i’d say vettels made more (and more crucial) mistakes, so i don’t know why they’d trust him any more than webber.

      • Parabolica said on 9th November 2010, 0:05

        Vettel smashes people off track (big ones in Spa, Turkey). And when has mark taken out Vettel? Webber is leading Vettel in da championship………. Vettel should race with a caravan on the back on some dirt.

  12. Everyone makes the good point that team orders aren’t sporting. Personally, I agree – it doesn’t let the fastest be the fastest and the slower guys stay at the back of the grid.

    However, playing devil’s advocate if it were my team it would seem foolish to not pile a WDC on top of the constructors – especially when you’ve got the two fastest cars on the grid and are positioned well for points. RB could have and should have easily asked Vettel to slow for Webber given the points championship differential and with Alonso in a solid 3rd place. However, they continue to say “we don’t want to pick favorites” but the team’s actions to date have shown favoritism to Vettel.

    So I guess they’ll only enact team orders when it helps the driver they would rather support? As someone else already said, if things don’t go in their favor on Sunday it’s going to be a smudge on the constructors championship when you look back and see that they could have easily won both championships.

    • It’s easy. RBR should instruct vettel to help Webber this Sunday and Webber help vettel next year. It’s a win win situation.

      • Yeah, ask Vettel to assist Mark this year, as Mark will probably be gone next year anyway, either on his own decision or Mr. “We don’t play Favorites” Matschitz’s call.

        Someone else stated it earlier, his teams actions in regards to favoring Vettel speak louder then his denials.

      • Robert said on 10th November 2010, 15:05

        Except for the fans, of course, who get to watch another rigged race. Indeed a rigged race to then win a rigged WDC.

        If RBR act as Dietrich proposes then good on em. Should Webber fail to take the WDC it wont be RBR’s fault for not switching them, it’s his fault for running up the back of Hami early in the season, hitting the wall in Korea etc..

        Same for Vettel, his points lost at Spa etc..

        RBR are under no obligation to fix the WDC for one of them and nor should they be.

  13. Calum said on 8th November 2010, 18:53

    Lewis and Jenson could be in the mix…… But it’s unlikely they will have a say.

    We ended up discussing how Lewis could win (all the different ways the other 3 would DNF :P) and I ended up drawing him in our sweepstakes. doe!

  14. I think RBR are doing the right thing, as much as I’d like to see Mark win. Who knows what’s going to happen – if they switched them in Brazil and if Mark’s engine blows up in the Abu Dhabi and Vettel wins but loses the championship by a couple of points, they’ll be kicking themselves. At this stage, with things being so close, I would bet that they will only switch on the last corner of the last lap if Vet is in the lead from Mark and Alonso is third.

    If Alonso’s engine blows in Abu Dhabi, and Vet leads home a 1-2, Vet will win the Championship. If RBR switched them in Brazil, then Vet would be out – we know that’s not going to happen.

  15. Its 2007 all over again, almost exactly. I fear RB are going to do exactly what McLaren did then, claiming impartiality but really wanting their golden boy to win it, failing to put all their weight behind one driver, and gifting the WDC to Ferrari.
    I know Ferrari have been around the longest, but you would think the other teams would have got the idea by now.

    • f1yankee said on 8th November 2010, 20:10

      i would have thought f1 fans would have got the idea by now, too. perhaps these are the same people that enroll their kids in non-competitive sports leagues, where there is no score and everyone gets a trophy.

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