Webber ignored Red Bull’s order not to pass Vettel

2011 British Grand Prix

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2011

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2011

Mark Webber said he ignored Red Bull’s order not to try to pass Sebastian Vettel at the end of the British Grand Prix.

Webber was closing on Vettel in the final laps of the race and was one second behind his team mate with two laps to go.

Webber was told on the team radio “Mark, we need to maintain the gap”.

After the race Horner said: “It’s a team result. Circumstances earlier in the race… Sebastian had a KERS issue that we were dealing with and the last thing you want to do is see the team give away a whole load of points.

“From a team point of view we decided that it was best to hold the positions in the final two laps.

“Obviously Mark disagreed with that. The thing is, I can understand he’s maybe a little bit frustrated, but from a team point of view we can’t afford to give away a whole load of points.

Asked if this meant Webber could no longer fight for the championship Horner said: “No, not at all.

“But you get to that stage in the race we’d managed situation earlier in the race to get Mark ahead, give him the undercut effectively, and with the final two laps it was entirely the sensible thing to do.

“The last thing you want to see is both of your drivers in the fence which is how that probably would have ended up.

“The message was quite clear to him, what the team expected of him – not what I expected, what the team collectively expected.”

Horner said Webber: “should be fine” with the team orders, adding: “It was crystal clear this morning when we went into the race that it was all about getting the most points we can out of this event.

“Obviously we’ve had a rear jack issue with Sebastian that cost him the track position to Fernando. That’s racing sometimes, these things can happen. Ferrari was quick today, second and third is still a very strong team result.”

But speaking in the post-race press conference Webber said he was not happy with the instructions.

He revealed the team had first instructed him to hold position “four or five laps” before the end.

He said: “I ignored the team and I was battling to the end.”

Were Red Bull right to order Webber not to pass Vettel?

  • Yes (21%)
  • No (76%)
  • No opinion (2%)

Total Voters: 377

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347 comments on Webber ignored Red Bull’s order not to pass Vettel

  1. StefK said on 10th July 2011, 15:38


    I’m surprised at your increasing lack of impartiality.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th July 2011, 15:43

      I’ll express my opinion on anything I choose to. I have never claimed to be impartial.

      That said, I don’t know what you’re referring to in this article (as you haven’t said).

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th July 2011, 16:55

      I don’t get it StefK.

      Based on the situation that was visible for everyone on TV during the race and in the press conference and described mostly using direct quotes, Keith asked us to give our opinion by vote.

    • Herman said on 10th July 2011, 18:51

      I have reread the article and cannot see the impartiality you are referring to. Actually, I like this site because of its impartiality; many other media outlets in my opinion are much less impartial than this site.

  2. James said on 10th July 2011, 15:41

    Just do a quick search on Google ‘Horner – team orders’

    No one was more critical last year of the Fez than Horner. The guy is a smarmy hypocrite.

    • Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 10th July 2011, 16:04

      In fairness, last year team orders were illegal, and the prancing Ponies deserved all the **** that was thrown at them. A disgrace to the sport. This year, it’s OK, and Horner is free to do what he wants in this regard. Don’t want team orders, lobby the FIA!

  3. Steph said on 10th July 2011, 15:41

    I don’t agree with team orders at all but if I put myself in Horner’s shoes I can understand it (not saying they’re right just as I didn’t with Hockheinem). Vettel’s by far the best bet and Webber has been nowhere in comparison. From a team point of view I can understand Red Bull wanting to wrap the title up as quickly as possible however if Webber ignored him four times I don’t think it was handled at all well.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th July 2011, 16:56

      I can agree with you on this, guess most if not all Team Principles would have done the same.
      That’s why I felt the ban on team orders was right, to prevent many of them from doing so.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 11th July 2011, 18:43

      From a team point of view I can understand Red Bull wanting to wrap the title up as quickly as possible

      To be honest, I dont see exactly why they are in such a hurry to wrap up the title. It will take a miracle for Seb to lose the title after the gigantic lead he has built up, and I really doubt these 3 points he would have lost to Mark were going to be a game changer in any way.

      If Horner was such a good team principal, he should have kept in mind that by going back on his word, he is more likely to do harm to the Red Bull brand image, and destroy the spirit within the team.

  4. Toro Stevo said on 10th July 2011, 15:42


    Horner speaking on Alonso/Massa last year

    “Martin Brundle said that if he were Stefan he would have done the same thing. In that position would you have done the same thing”
    Horner: No, we let our drivers race.

    Horner: It’s wrong, it’s wrong for the sport. The drivers should have been allowed to race.

    Slightly different circumstances, team orders not allowed at the time (by the letter), and ordered to let overtake rather than not to overtake. However I can’t help thinking that his comments then are still valid in this circumstance, although Horner:

    “Obviously… disagreed with that.”

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th July 2011, 18:02

      Worst thing is the circumstances for Ferrari made sense from a championship battle point of view, when now it was just as much (not at all) needed as it was in 2002 at Ferrari!

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 11th July 2011, 18:46



        This was not a dire situation, and I do not know how Horner can justify the importance of this team order. At Hockenheim, Fernando had the slimmest of chances to challenge for the title and Ferrari decided to use team orders to help the cause.

  5. Paulipedia said on 10th July 2011, 15:43

    Brilliant race and thank god he ignored the orders. Was at the race and it was a great finish. F1 is all about the fans.

  6. DavidS (@davids) said on 10th July 2011, 15:46

    I think Horner made a wise decision. Having both the drivers off the track on the final lap would be disastrous.

    Besides, since Webber chose to ignore the transmission, it shows that he wasn’t able to pass Vettel on that lap anyway. Horner would have let Webber try to pass until they were through the final DRS activation, at which point he just needed to remind Webber not to consider a “Hail Mary Pass.”

    After the DRS zone, there was only really a couple really risky spots for an overtake. The old start/finish only had one dry line, they were in equal equipment on the Hangar Straight, so he couldn’t out-drag him. Overtaking into Stowe, or into Vale is risky (as evidenced by the contact between Hamilton/Massa).

    It was a sound, pragmatic decision, that’s not even illegal.

  7. Doance (@doance) said on 10th July 2011, 15:48

    Typical Webber, always pushing until the end. Vettel had given up and was going slow. Webber was still at it even until the last lap. That’s why Williams signed him in 2005. Great racer.

  8. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 10th July 2011, 15:50

    That gave me a bit of trouble to answer. If there had been a “divided on that” rather than “no opinion” I might have gone for that.

    On the one hand, what Eddie Jordan said about not risking a crash in the last lap, and making sure the points were in, would make it the right decision for any team does have merit, even if it is a spoiler for the race itself.

    Last year we had that discussion, more or less, with Ferrari. And Ferrari did a lot worse, making sure the slower driver behind got let past halfway through the race. Clearly, in F1 we have to conclude that at least since this year, the team has to have the right to tell its drivers to stay put to safeguard their points.

    On the other hand, this isn’t just any team, this is a team that has claimed several times that they wouldn’t want to win the way Ferrari did last year, and wanted their drivers to battle.

    Their claim was a bit curious given the earlier events that year between the two drivers/cars they had, so they confirmed it again and again. Ever since those events, Horner has had a big part of some post-race talk directed to very insincere explanations of why. Why it was perfectly fair, and moreover only done for the best of the team, could have been either of the two drivers it happened to, but sorry for Webber it was him this time. And again this time. None of those reasons were there for Webber, and they won’t ever be there.

    Sure, Vettel is doing a lot better than Webber so far this year, and they anyway like him better in the Red Bull management, so I can see why they are fully behind him. But that’s not what they claim, and thus it is wrong and dishonest for this team to act in this way.

    Had McLaren done this, it would equally have been weird and disappointing, although there they aren’t so clearly for or against a driver, so I wouldn’t know for which one they would decide.

    Ferrari, well, it would be a bit sad, but no one would expect otherwise, and I would praise Massa for having a go and showing Alonso he can still do something, but I can’t see it happening now.

    Any other team? Well, with Mercedes it wouldn’t work I would think, same for the Renault drivers. Other teams would probably do it, as is their right.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 10th July 2011, 15:54

      So, to give a summary: in principle a team would do the smart thing this way, but for a team that supposedly wanted their drivers to fight fairly, it is the wrong thing to do.

      And so it is for Red Bull: despite appearances, they keep saying they back both drivers equally, and want them to fight. No, they should not have done this.

    • Gaston said on 10th July 2011, 16:26

      Very well-written post and very reasonable. Like you said, I can understand the rationale behind issuing such a team order. But for Red Bull to have their holier-than-thou attitude towards sportsmanship and then giving out this team order… that’s just extremely hypocritical.

      Plus, if it is true that Webber ignored it, that just further shows how unnecessary it was. Vettel was more than capable of defending his position without incident without any external help.

      • Pink Pirelli said on 10th July 2011, 22:27

        I think Webber ignored it until the last lap, and RBR robbed us of a great finish. As always with RBR, both drivers are equal, but one more equal than the other (apologies to Orwell there).

  9. Dash said on 10th July 2011, 15:53

    Disgusting display by Horner & co at Red Bull. Last year they were all over Ferrari for their team orders saying they let their drivers race. Well obviously that isn’t the case and I’m expecting the F1 to penalise them for it just as they penalised Ferrari last year. Completely appalling hopocritical team orders. What’s the point in even watching when you just know that one driver can’t even race against another?? It just defeats the whole point of the sport in the first place! Explain it however you want Horner but we all heard the call “maintain the Gap” means “Don’t pass” which is blatent and disgusting team orders at their worst. You just have to feel for Mark who just keeps rolling with the punches over and over again while the golden haired boy Seb gets whatever he wants. The terms pathetic, disgusting, ashamed, disrespectful, hipocritical and appaling all come to mind when thinking about what happened in what was a great race up to that point. F1 needs to stamp team orders out and make a good example of it trhis time or they are just goign to keep losing fans.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 10th July 2011, 15:56

      the FIA has only just allowed team orders to be brought back and be legal. Many fans (not me though) was in favour of Team orders.

    • Team orders are now allowed this season, there will be no penalty for Red Bull merely a debate between fans as to whether it was the right thing to do.

      • “Team orders are now allowed this season, there will be no penalty for Red Bull merely a debate between fans as to whether it was the right thing to do.”

        …And a slightly tarnished reputation for Red Bull.

  10. JustAnF1Fanatic (@justanf1fanatic) said on 10th July 2011, 15:54

    for Re Bull it was the best call, but for us it wasnt :(

    • Best call for Red Bull would surely have been for Webber and Vettel to swap positions. Vettel’s lead is already pretty unassailable, but Webber is not so secure in second place.

      Team orders telling Vettel to let Webber pass, because he had more pace, would have achieved exactly the same result for Red Bull without incident.

      • JustAnF1Fanatic (@justanf1fanatic) said on 10th July 2011, 18:11

        But if redbull want seb to win the WDC then he nees to come first, an i think there safe putting all their eggs in one basket, and the team still would have got the same number of points in the weekend for the WCC, even if they let webber through, i doubt he would have been able to both cathc up to alonso and taken the lea, what they id was right for the team, as i said.

        not saying i think it was the right thing to do for us, (and for Horners “we let our drivers race” reputation )

  11. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 10th July 2011, 15:54

    So Horner on the BBC forum said if there wasnt team orders, it would have ended in the wall.

    So, thats how much faith in his drivers he has. Although the memory of Istanbul still there.

  12. Ben said on 10th July 2011, 15:54

    wonder if Daniel Riccardo will get the call up a year early now…

  13. Ads21 (@ads21) said on 10th July 2011, 15:58

    I voted no opinion, I support the right of teams to use team orders but felt that it was unnecessary today with Vettel having the title lead that he does. But its hypocritical of Red Bull after they strongly criticised team orders last season on principle but now suddenly they support them.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 10th July 2011, 16:02

      I largely agree with you in this case, but decided on NO due to the hypocrisy (see that large, maybe too long, post above). Maybe it helped me make that decision that I was against team orders being allowed :)

    • I agree with you. I can see why they did it but I think it was pointless (or had very little point-3 to be precise :P ) and all it will achieve is upsetting one driver and thousands of fans.

      You’re right about them seemingly being hypocrites too and I think that’s the worst part of it.

      • Pink Pirelli said on 10th July 2011, 22:30

        +1. The hypocrisy is the hardest thing to swallow, almost as hard as swallowing a moutful of that poison in can Red Bull market as a drink.

  14. TheVillainF1 said on 10th July 2011, 16:10

    what I find most striking is Horner seems to claim it could have only ended up in the wall. If both drove sensibly while battling it could have very well been a clean pass. Most telling in all this drama is that Horner simply has no confidence at all in his driver’s racecraft.

    • Yes, I think we all know Horner’s explantion was disingenuous. The fact is Webber attempted overtakes several times and did so with due caution for the risks, which saw him back off and wait until the next opportunity.

      There would not have been a collision and frankly I don’t think Webber is the one Red Bull should be concerned about when it comes to drivers managing to overtake safely.

      Having said that I don’t think it was Horner’s own decision, a view he expressed on the pit wall. My suspicions lie elsewhere and with Helmut Marko in particular. It seems to be a case of the tail wagging the dog. Seriously though, what does Marko bring to the team?

  15. weebbt said on 10th July 2011, 16:11

    inappropriate title :(

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