Mark Webber, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2011

Webber ignored Red Bull’s order not to pass Vettel

2011 British Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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”

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  1. I don’t for one minute believe Mark disobeyed team orders, he is in the middle of contract negotiations, for me the question is did he make another “bad” start or did he make a million dollar start. I’ve said before when it’s going to be a Red Bull one-two Mark will not be allowed to be the”one”, same for 2 & 3 apparently.
    For all those people saying they both would have crashed if Mark had tried to pass, Mark has managed a lot of passes this year 2nd without crashing out, why would he not be able to make a clean pass on his team-mate?

    1. If Mark’s willing to accept being a number 2 driver then that’s exactly where he’ll end up and deserve to end up.

      I think this incident literally came down to Seb vs Web on track at the end. I don’t completely buy Horner’s arguments but then again Hamilton and Massa went bump at the end so he has a point. I’m cyncial but I think the only reason was to give Seb the points because he has such a lead and they just want to wrap the title up but that’s just my own speculation. The big problem with that is all the tosh Horner came out with after Germany last year.

      1. Steph, at Marks age and in the middle of contract negotiations he has no choice but to accept being a number two driver and be number 2 in the championship, Mark has served his time driving dogs,he doesn’t want to go back to that again.

        1. Mark has served his time driving dogs,he doesn’t want to go back to that again.

          Indeed, Mark has had a hard slog to get into a good car, which I have no issue with. The problem for me, is how in 2009 and 2010 he squandered his opportunity by not beating his teammate. Then the (understandable) favouritism kicked in.

          In contrast, Jenson Button grasped his opportunity with both hands in the first season he got a championship winning car. Now, he’s even giving Lewis Hamilton a consistently hard time.

          1. tattsbrah (@xbarrettmatex)
            11th July 2011, 10:35

            He hardly squandered it really, I mean in 2009 it was already known that Vettel was the favoured son in RBR, as he was a rare ‘success’ of their young driver program. As such, Webber always had to contend with Vettel and at times his own time, and also hit a stroke of bad luck towards the end of the ’09 championship with gearbox failures and crashes etc.

            When you look at 2010, it was announced by CH in 2009 that the 2010 car would be based around Vettel’s driving style, i.e. that of a maniac, so Webber had to contend with that, and the now blatant favouritism within the team for Vettel. When you reach 2011, you can now see that yes, the favouritism has kicked into top gear, but it’s not Mark’s fault – It’s a common case in his career – Wrong place at the Wrong time.

          2. Apparently, Senna was slightly favoured over Prost, but in 1989, Prost won.

            In 2007, it was expected that Hamilton would b the number 2 up against a reigning double world champ. Lewis matched Fernando anyway.

            That’s what Mark Webber never did over the course of a season (back to back seasons). Quite simply, Vettel is favoured because he has proven himself as by far the better bet for championships and wins within the team.

    2. i think horner knew the little spoiled german would have made it go tits up with the clumsy overtaking/defending he does, clear track the kid is untouchable but i think he lacks racecraft seems to be getting better though, i have to say as a maca fan of 10+ years but they are fluking up to often me thinks.

      1. Yeah that’s probably right right cause we saw the spoiled little Brit crash into Massa on the last lap.

        I can never see what nationality has to do with a drivers skill or personality. Hamilton’s behaviour is the most ugly of any driver while Jenson is the most positive and inspirational driver BOTH are Brits.

        Seriously when will Hamilton stop punting people off track. Lewis record makes him the crash kid.

  2. This makes Vettel looks even better!!!
    So all the talk about him doing better than Webber because Red Bull favoring him is baseless. As it turns out, Mark is indeed trying as hard as he can, but Vettel is simply better!!

    1. I don’ty quite understand that Sumedh! Sorry! :) Personally I think it gives Vettel a bad press -even though he had nothing to do with it- because it looks like he needed Horner to call Mark to leave him alone.

    2. or maby the car is designed to suit seb??? glad we never got to see that anoing finer today i bet thats the one he had up bernies rusty starfish when they decide he would be the new shumi

      1. What’s an anoing finer?

        1. my mistake i meant finger

  3. Of course they were justified asking Mark not to try to pass Seb. But then mark was equally justified in ignoring it. How anyone can think differently is baffling.

  4. well said steph

  5. Horner had every right to say what he said… He was trying to get maximum points for the team. No-one in the Red Bull garage wanted to see a repeat of Turkey ’10, Horner was warning Webber not to risk it, he was thinking about the team. If Webber overtook Vettel, they’d have still got 33 points, but the points difference between the top 2 would have been 6 points less (Vettel losing 3, Webber gaining 3) therefore it made more sense for Horner to tell Webber to stay in 3rd and bring home the points in the constructors championship. I can’t see what the argument is all about!

    Bad point to all of this? I’ve never in the past 3 or 4 years, agreed with Eddie Jordan so well. The Schumacher incident is another matter for me though.

  6. Massive fail from Horner admitting he didn’t trust them not to make contact. That means he’s either trying to cover something up or expresses a lack of confidence in his drivers. I’d be fuming if my boss told me I couldn’t be trusted to pass someone without hitting them.

    And even if it’s totally innocent, it’s still stupid. A collision would be far worse than fuelling the old favouritism rumours from last year. Besides, why say “maintain the gap”? Why not “give each other extra space if you want to race?” Then it’s the driver’s fault if anything happens.

    I don’t know about anyone else but every aspect of Horner’s order and then justification offends me as a racing fan.

    1. A collision would be far worse than fuelling the old favouritism rumours from last year.

      A collision would be less worse than fuelling the old favouritism rumours from last year. Bad grammar and bad choice of words ;)

      1. Try “better” before PM jumps on you.

  7. Jagogen (@)
    10th July 2011, 21:43

    I think that team orders make to motor racing a preset reality show.Every driver is noble in his way of racing,and their efforts make this sport so special.Webber wasn’t particulary fast during the race.But he is seating in that seat to race and not to cruise to the finish line.Probably webber wouldn’t pass him for another 3 laps if the race was longer,probably he will never win a championship,but he should have been left to race his team mate,at that exact moment,otherwise he will be highly demotivated for the rest of the season.Today I would be much proud if I was Hamilton which defended his place the way he did and finishing fourth,than vettel finishing second as his team mate is told not to race him.I would only understand a team order if it was last race of the season,and definitive for his team mate to win the championship!No excuse for what red bull did today cosiderning vettel’s lead and their critics to ferrari last year.

    1. Spot on, sir.

  8. I’d greatly agree with you Steph in the above 2 comments and as an f1 fan would add, Webber did chose to be #2 after having mechnical problems at the beginning of the season.
    only now he wants to show he can drive prety well and it’s that time of the season when drivers are fishing for new contracts and as far as I remember, Mark does not have one.
    Horner just as most of the principals are huge manipulators, hurts my intelligence. Webber’s pass on Vettel would hurt Vettel’s unstable psyche and there good be tons of other reasons.
    Iam more sorry for Mark than for Massa because he gives us better fights.

  9. Team orders make fools of F1 fans. I hate seeing it and I hate being part of a so-called sport that cheats its fans. I hate watching Vettel glorying in his victories while knowing he’s being handed them on a plate.
    The whole thing’s a complete farce.

    1. I agree with you in that the team orders are disturbing as a fan. The race was pretty good up until Webber was ordered to backed down. The fact that they would order a racer to do such a thing is appalling. It is extremely unfair to Webber who earned the right to compete for his spot. He was clearly in position to make a pass. It makes me less excited as a fan. It goes against the spirit of competition which is what F1 should be about.

    2. He isn’t being handed wins on a plate, he earns them like everyone else.

  10. a quetion for someone more knowlagbe than myself eg, keith,shurly they have some sort of manual spanner to put on wheel nuts could they have not legged it up the pit lane and got that wheel bak on even if jenson was far far back they could have useds him as a buffer for lewis by delebritly but not delibtly hold ind the bulls and the we cant be trusted to race guys?? and if any one says you cant move around an active pit lane there was at least 5 ferrari guys runing the entire length when massa decided to take the hose with him in singapore a few years back.

    1. Sadly they are only allowed to work on the car in the pits.

  11. woner wich lucky person went to that last corner when they where alowed on track and got lewis’s endplate that would be the firt place i would be going.

  12. This just proves that Red Bull prefer Vettel, Webber could have easily got 2nd position, He’s a great driver so he knows that if its too dangerous to pass he wont attempt it. Just a lame excuse Red Bull have made up to cover the fact that they want to give Vettel the higher points to give him the boost towards the championship AGAIN!!
    Personally i feel sorry for Webber.

  13. This just proves that Red Bull prefer Vettel, Webber could have easily got 2nd position, He’s a great driver so he knows that if its too dangerous to pass he wont attempt it. Just a lame excuse Red Bull have made up to cover the fact that they want to give Vettel the higher points to give him the boost towards the championship AGAIN!!
    Personally i feel sorry for Webber.

  14. Horner must think we are all fools, (although I see some people have bought his propaganda nonsense)!

    He and/or the team, clearly wanted Vettel to take the most points as he has the chance to win the drivers title.

    Anything can happen in F1 and a couple of retirements from Vettel would put the title back in doubt, so they need to favour him to get the drivers title asap.

    It seemed more to me that they didn’t trust Vettel not to crash into Webber if he tried to pass, rather than the other way around and that Vettel would be very unhappy if the team allowed Webber to pass him with no team orders.

    I think keeping Vettel happy and giving him the most points, rather than the team, was the main purpose of the team order.

    1. i could not agree more my freind like damon hill said people come to watch the drivers do battle not the team decide whos wining finaly thought we got rid of that when shumi went in 06 but clearly not if i was webber id find a good drive somewere and do as much as he can to wreck vettels dominence while still in the team.if he can mage on track sand in tank lol

      1. Problem is, your “friend” Damon Hill benefitted at Spa EXACTLY in the same way Vettel did on Sunday.

        1. very critical of me arnt you

          1. Sorry mate. I didn’t realise it was the same person. I don’t look at the names just the comments themselves.

  15. Just watching the podium on a roundup program and the announcers comment made a light bulb go on in my head. No doubt having failed to give Sebastien a new record as the only driver to finish 1st. in every race, they are now trying to get the record for the most wins without being worse than second. It would have been pretty selfish of Mark to spoil Sebs chance of another record.

  16. I have no problem with a slower teammate being asked to cleanly and safely let a faster teammate pass. I feel very differently about asking a faster teammate to not pass a slower teammate, unless it’s critical to the slower winning a championship and the faster is not in contantion.

  17. If “the team is more important” then Horner should have told Vettel that Webber is faster. That would have been both sporting and sensible in terms of avoiding one or both drivers taking each other off.

    The overall benefit to the team in view of the current (at the time of the call) point standings would have been greater than the eventual outcome. Increasing the risk of loosing second place in the championship to Alonso and Ferrari surely isn’t in the teams best interest which exposes Horners assertion that “the team is more important” as… ********, imho.

    If… the points gap was significantly smaller I think the call made by Horner would have been understandable, if not sporting in the true sense, and the “team is more important” reasoning could be half way justyfied.

    But the call in the name of the greater good of the team just doesn’t stack up as things stand at the moment.

  18. For those (particularly David A) who says he couldn’t get the job done; Mark might say he ignored the radio messages, but in the back of his mind, he knows that the few gaps he had were just too risky. For the lead, and against a different car, I have no doubt he would have attempted to outbrake once or twice, and risked a lockup or running wide; but it can’t help your state of mind if you have saint Christian shouting in your ear to back off. Seb shouldn’t cop anything for this, his tryes were older, he defended well, Webber had a few half-hearted attempts to pass, but decided against it. There was maturity from both drivers.

    Then again, I haven’t heard any radio messages from Seb to the team; can anyone clarify if he asked Rocky to get Mark to back off?

    1. It is valid to say that the messages did not help Mark’s state of mind, but all things aside, it comes down to a simple yes or no. He didn’t get the pass done.

      Not to say his pace wasn’t very good in the latter stages of the race, it’s long overdue that he at least matches Vettel.

  19. Also, it’s a huge shame that Schumi hit Kamui; entirely his fault of course, and clumsy in that weather, but for the rest of the race he still seemed to have great pace and sharp overtaking skills. Praying that Merc can produce something half decent sooner or later!

  20. Mr Horner – You are a hypocrite.

    But I would have made the same call.

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