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%)

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

  1. StandNThrow said on 10th July 2011, 17:33

    Just be fair.

    Let’s look at German GP back in 2009 where Massa was asked to let Alonso pass.

    IIRC, Alonso asked the team to ask Massa to let him pass.

    However, this wasn’t the case here in Silverstone.

    Webber was asked by the cockpit not to pass Vettel to prevent suicidal move to the team. I did not hear Vettel asking the cockpit to tell Webber not to pass him. I think this is still a fair fight that Vettel wants to put up for us who are watching Silverstone here. Fair or not? You decide. That just my 2 cents.

    • We don’t hear all the radio feed.

      Vettel also admitted his tyres were degrading, so it’s reasonable to assume that all this was discussed with the team. Asking Webber to “maintain a gap” was merely taking the pressure off Vettel (and his tyres). Both drivers were fighting each other and were pretty isolated from positions 1 and 4, so I would assume that Webber was the only threat that Vettel was concerned about at that time.

    • The Last Pope said on 10th July 2011, 17:53

      Marko does Vettel’s talking for him.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th July 2011, 18:12

      The fact we do not get played all radio communications makes your argument worth even less than those 2 cents.

      And does it really matter, anyhow? This is a team that was the loudest one in critisizing Ferrari last year, stating complete equality between their drivers. And it was not as if Vettel needed those few points that badly.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 10th July 2011, 18:43

      Vettel clearly felt the message to be unnecessary, so indeed Vettel cannot receive any hate or blame for Webber being told to hold station.

  2. Butler_F1 said on 10th July 2011, 17:50

    The thing that surprised me most was Horner saying that if they raced they would of ended up in the wall, thats why it stopped him.

    Does he not have trust in the drivers talent and judgement? Or there ability to be races and make overtaking manoeuvres that stick?

    The call was made on a presumption that they would bin it. That or its just a very poor excuse which was cobbled together when they realised the team radio was played and they would get called on it.

  3. Brian said on 10th July 2011, 17:50

    My favourite TEAM is Red Bull. Fact is I don’t really like Vettel, and I think that Mark is only an average driver. That being said, I still wanna see Mark win some races this year, and I would like to see him finish ahead of Vettel, but today I was a nervous wreck when I saw the last few laps.
    I know Mark really wanted to pass, and yes he tried to ignore the team orders. He could have kept pushing to line and tried to pass, but in the end, he decided to just take the points. Had he dnf’d and Vettel managed to finish… how would that have helped him? At least this way he keeps the points and for all we know, in the next race he may win and Vettel dnf’s and there you go.. those 3rd place points helped him.
    He made the right choice. The Team made the right choice.
    But when it comes right down to it ever team has three groups that want championships.. the drivers, and the constructor’s. The Constructors don’t care where the drivers finish in the standings, they just want the constructors title.

  4. 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 10th July 2011, 17:54

    good call by RB, why risk Seb understeering into Mark or contact was Webber lines him up at Stowe for 0 extra points. Of course Webber and his fans will cry foul and in webbers position i wouldn’t have been best pleased but it was the right call for me

    • StandNThrow said on 10th July 2011, 18:09

      I agree. It was a right call. No team would want to see both drivers ended up the dust and bagging 0 points at the end of a hard day.

    • John H said on 10th July 2011, 19:00

      It’s a bad call because it goes back on their position towards Ferrari last year, regardless of any points befenfit for the team.

      If you’re going to do it then don’t criticise others… that’s hypocrisy.

  5. Commendatore (@commendatore) said on 10th July 2011, 17:59

    Hmmm, who once said that RBR didn’t used team orders?
    Christian Horner? :)

  6. guido (@guidof1) said on 10th July 2011, 18:28

    why does everybody assume that the pair would have collided??

    • Aldo said on 10th July 2011, 19:09

      Guidof1, I asked myself the same question. I’ve been reading the same nonsense over and over and over… suddenly, it became a fact: “yeah, we need to swallow thar order or they would crash…”
      Jeezees, if RBR think their drivers would collide, fire them both and bring someone else…

  7. W-K (@w-k) said on 10th July 2011, 18:44

    So much for Horner’s promise of no team orders. With Vettel so far in front, he should be looking to ensure Mark finishes second in the Driver’s Championship.

    Therefore if there was to be any orders it should have been “Mark is quicker than you, let him through.”

  8. scoobiesnoop (@scoobiesnoop) said on 10th July 2011, 18:49

    So they were 2-3 and Webber was obviously faster. To swap them and allow Webber the extra 3 points to improve his position, would have no effect on the ‘team’ result and wouldnt effect Vettels championship lead. Vettel is almost certainly going to take the WDC given his form so to have him allow Webber past would not cause too many troubles. I find it incredibly insulting when Horner says ‘it was for the team’ as ther is no benefit to Vettel being ahead or Webber being ahead. When will Team bosses understand that we are not stupid, and we can see when they are trying to cover the fact that despite their insistance, there is a clear 1/2 driver hierarchy!

  9. mrgrieves (@mrgrieves) said on 10th July 2011, 18:55

    If i was team boss i’d have it written in the contracts that after the final pit stop hold position! Unless the team manager says otherwise!

  10. maxthecat said on 10th July 2011, 19:02

    2 laps to go, tyres on their last legs, 2 drivers who have hit each other before, yes red bull were right, anyone who says they weren’t really doesn’t understand F1.

    • Webber was outpacing Vettel during those final laps.

      The two have crashed before but why…


      It’s clear from the clip that Vettel completely misjudged how far ahead he needed to be before turning in.

      Vettel’s inexperience when it comes to overtaking, due to the fact that he’s usually out in front and doesn’t get much practice, means he’s not very good at overtaking.

      However, the same cannot be said for Webber and given the speed advantage that Webber had during the final stages of today’s race, it’s more than likely he would have gotten away cleanly after passing.

      The only distraction for Webber being the constant radio messages telling him to back off.

  11. Harry said on 10th July 2011, 19:08

    Two issues with this.

    Firstly is Horner’s banging on about how important the team is, ‘no driver is bigger than the team’ etc etc etc.

    Well Mr Horner, do you really think one drinks company is bigger than F1? Bigger than 120,000 fans who have paid more than £100 to watch the worlds most skilled drivers have a race?

    The second issue is his assumption that it ‘probably would have ended in the wall’.

    If he honestly thinks that I suggest he finds some new drivers. Utter nonsense as usual coming out of a team principal’s mouth.

  12. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 10th July 2011, 19:16

    Took me a while to get this:


    Mark for whatever reason was slower. He was getting lap by lap slower, and Vettel was getting faster and was coming under enormous pressure from Hamilton. So if he would have stayed behind Mark, he would have been overtaken. So he had to do something. And Mark knew that he was slower, so he should have let him past.
    Helmut Marko

    • Thanks for taking the time to find it. If only the tables were turned, so we could find out whether there was any bias within the team.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 10th July 2011, 19:55

      Yes, we know why Mark was getting slower, he had a commanding lead and was managing the race from the front, they could have told him to speed up but instead they told him to save fuel and thereby slow down.

  13. ducatiusa (@ducatiusa) said on 10th July 2011, 19:18

    i belived that webber COULD have pass vettel, if you watched the race he back up few times and on the breaking he has “made an effort” but he follow the orders….he is “turning into barrichello”

  14. ducatiusa (@ducatiusa) said on 10th July 2011, 19:21

    if ferrari would have act like this…..everyone would have been so MAd.

  15. DaveW said on 10th July 2011, 19:52

    If Hamilton is still thinking about driving for fizzy drinks he needs to take this into account.

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