Vettel defies team orders to seize victory

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix review

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013The two Red Bull RB9s, identical except for the two men holding the steering wheels, danced around the sinuous curves of the Sepang International Circuit as if they were choreographed.

But Sebastian Vettel’s audacious bid for the lead on lap 46 of the Malaysian Grand Prix was anything but stage-managed. On the Red Bull pitwall lips were bitten, heads in hands, breaths held.

Between Mark Webber and the pitwall there had been a space a few centimetres wider than an RB9. Vettel did not hesitate to seize it – and claim the inside line for the next corner.

He walked Webber to the outside of the corner but stopped short of shoving him off – this was his team mate, after all – allowing Webber to reclaim the inside line for the next corner, and the lead.

Approaching turn four Webber had Vettel on his outside and they swung into the corner together. This time it was Webber’s turn to stay his hand, declining to give Vettel the push onto the kerbs any other driver would surely have received.

That proved decisive. Vettel was on his way to victory number 27. Webber raised his middle finger at his disappearing team mate, and Red Bull’s troubles were just beginning.

Alonso out early

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013When Vettel took his place at the front of the grid an hour and a half earlier the two Ferraris directly behind him seemed a more pressing threat than Webber. On top of that, a late rain shower had doused the circuit, leading everyone to start on intermediate tyres.

But within minutes of the start Fernando Alonso removed himself from contention with two very un-Alonso-like mistakes. Caught out by Vettel’s caution in the second corner, the Ferrari driver nudged the back of the Red Bull, damaging his front wing which now hung from the nose of his F138 by a single pylon.

With the track drying quickly he and Ferrari gambled on staying out until they could make a pit stop for slicks while replacing the damaged wing. But he never got that far. Webber – who had made an atypically excellent start from fifth – was slipstreaming past him on the pit straight when the second pylon gave way. The wing folded under Alonso’s front wheels and he skated helplessly into a gravel trap.

Alonso had battled valiantly to keep Webber behind him on the first lap but it served only to hand Vettel a useful three-and-a-half second lead as they began lap two. However Vettel’s hasty switch to slick tyres a few laps later squandered that advantage.

Webber takes the lead

Vettel’s stop on lap six was timed well enough for him to emerge from the pits ahead of Sergio Perez, Adrian Sutil and Romain Grosjean. But the first sector was where the track was wettest, and Vettel slipped behind all three. In the dry middle sector he quickly re-passed Grosjean and Sutil, but the damage was done.

On the next lap Vettel set the fastest middle sector time and that was Webber’s cue. He appeared in the pits, selected the hard tyres in contrast to his team mate’s mediums, and had Vettel in his mirrors after he returned to the track.

Nico Rosberg briefly held the lead before pitting, and resumed in fourth behind his team mate and the Red Bulls. Behind them Jenson Button and Nico Hulkenberg were demonstrating their usual flair for damp conditions.

In seventh place was Felipe Massa, who started second but was held up by his team mate’s wounded car in the opening corners. He then lost more time by pitting for slicks on the same lap as Vettel.

Perez was eighth but came under pressure from the two Lotuses. First Grosjean, then Kimi Raikkonen picked off the McLaren, the latter having fallen behind his team mate when he went off at turn 12.

“Mark is too slow”

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Having run the opening phase of the race on wet weather tyres the drivers now essentially faced a truncated Malaysian Grand Prix in dry conditions.

But severe tyre degradation remained a major factor, especially for the Red Bulls. “Sebastian also looking after his tyres,” Simon Rennie told Webber shortly after his first pit stop. “We need to look after our tyres as well.”

Webber spent five laps less on the hard tyres than Vettel could manage on the mediums. After their second pit stops Vettel quickly arrived on Webber’s tail, hotly pursued by Hamilton.

“Mark is too slow, get him out of the way, he’s too slow,” Vettel urged on the radio. But Red Bull were not issuing orders – for now. “Be patient, only half race yet,” replied engineer Guillaume Rocquelin.

Mercedes spied an opportunity and brought Hamilton in for his third stop on lap 31. Red Bull had to respond and leader Webber had to be protected first. He and Vettel pitted on consecutive laps and while Webber retained the lead Vettel slipped to third behind Hamilton.

But Vettel’s irritation at this development proved short-lived. Hamilton had switched to the hard tyres and found them not to his liking, losing up to a second per lap to Webber. He was also short of fuel – Mercedes had begun telling him to “lift and coast” before lap 20.

On lap 39 Vettel pressed his DRS button and restored himself to second place. The stage was set for a dramatic and controversial conclusion.

Lotus gain ground with three-stopper

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Sepang, 2013Despite making his second pit stop before the four-stopping Vettel, Button was aiming to get through the race with just three visits to the pit lane. But the third of those did not go to plan – the front-right wheel was not secured properly and Button had to stop in the pit lane and be pushed back to his box before having replacement tyres fitted.

McLaren later retired his car due to the amount of wear on his front-left tyre. Perez suffered a similar problem and had to make a late pit stop for a fourth set of tyres, suggesting a three-stopper was beyond the MP4-28 on this day.

It was possible for the Lotus pair, but unlike in Australia it was not enough to keep Ferrari behind. Massa easily caught and re-passed both drivers after his last stop, while Raikkonen went off at turn 12 for a second time.

Raikkonen had spent several laps trying to find a way around Hulkenberg. He emerged from the pits right on the tail of the Sauber on lap 35 and soon after complained about his rival’s defensive driving: “Did you see what he’s been doing? He pushes me off and now he hits me.” He eventually found a way around the Sauber, who in turn demoted the hobbling Perez later in the race for eighth.

War breaks out at Red Bull

On lap 43 Vettel dived for the pits. His in- and out-laps were blistering: despite a pit stop that was just a hundredth of a second faster than Webber’s he went from being four seconds behind his team mate to attacking him on the outside of turn one as Webber emerged from the pits.

Webber went fully defensive, repeatedly forcing Vettel to the outside and doggedly protecting his lead. Vettel received a message warning him to be “careful” – Red Bull instruct their drivers not to race each other for position after the final pit stop. Instead of Rocquelin it was Christian Horner who reminded Vettel of that on the radio: “This is silly, Seb, come on.”

Vettel wasn’t listening. Perhaps, as Horner suggested afterwards, he was thinking of how Webber could have been more co-operative when there was a world championship on the line at Interlagos last year. “Unfortunately the history goes back to Brazil and beyond that,” said Horner. “These guys race each other hard.”

Or perhaps he’d cast his mind back to Silverstone the year before, when Webber had been given a similar order to hold position and paid no heed to it. Now Vettel returned the favour, but where Webber had been unsuccessful in his attempt to pass Vettel on that occasion, it was not the case this time. Two laps later, Webber was waving goodbye to his team mate with one raised finger.

Rosberg acquiesces

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sepang, 2013Ten seconds behind them much the same situation was being played out at Mercedes. Both drivers had been told to save fuel but Hamilton’s instructions were more frequent and more urgent.

Fortunately for Hamilton, his team mate plays by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules. Rosberg confined his attempts to pass him to repeated entreaties to Ross Brawn on the radio. A firm “negative” was the response.

“He can go a lot faster as well,” said Brawn, referring to Hamilton and seemingly contradicting the need to save fuel. Hamilton said afterwards he was “fuel saving for a long, long time” and was “unable to keep the pace of the guys in front”.

“So let’s go get the Red Bulls,” urged Rosberg, to no avail. “Understood,” replied Brawn, “but hold position.”

No smiles on the podium

Podium, Sepang, 2013As Vettel crossed the line to clinch victory Webber roared up behind him and chopped across his team mate’s bows.

There were three glum faces on the podium. Vettel deflected questions about what had happened. Webber had challenged him about the team’s ‘multi 21′ code before they took to the rostrum. Hamilton said Rosberg should have been in his place and looked like he meant every word.

Vettel’s win propelled him into the lead of the drivers’ championship but it may carry a price for his team. Afterwards his team spoke ominously of having “a lot of thoughts going through my mind in the last 15 laps”.

For Webber, this may have been the last straw.

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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298 comments on Vettel defies team orders to seize victory

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  1. frankus28 (@frankus28) said on 25th March 2013, 0:24

    Christian Horner’s said to Sky post-race that there’s a lot of history between Seb and Mark. His point made me think about the 2011 British GP when in the closing laps of the race Webber attacked Vettel for 2nd place against team orders but without success.

    This weekend, it was Webber who was the innocent party, but in regards to obeying team-orders, neither driver can claim the high ground.

    I’ll let Webber have the last word on the issue:

    “The team radioed me about four times, asking that I maintain the gap to Seb.

    “But I wasn’t happy with that because you should never give up in F1, so I continued to push. If Fernando had retired on the last lap, we would have been battling for the lead.

    “The team was worried about Seb and me crashing because it wanted the points for the constructors’ championship. I understand that, but I wanted points for the championship too and we proved that we can race without making contact.”

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th March 2013, 0:29

      @frankus28 Definitely an apposite quote in the circumstances!

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th March 2013, 1:55

        @keithcollantine, “Webber was waving goodbye to his finger with one raised finger.”
        Surely you meant “Webber was waving goodbye to THE finger…..

      • rahul1810 (@rahul1810) said on 25th March 2013, 10:17

        The situation was different because Webber was genuinely faster than Vettel in Britain, quite similar to Rosberg and Hamilton in this race.

        Now came the controversial moment of the race as the flying Webber reeled in Vettel by over a second per lap.

        Vettel had not turned down the engine, he was genuinely struggling on pace and he knew that Webber was way quicker than him.

        I was struggling, Mark was faster. And then there was the chequered flag.

        On this occassion, Webber had turned down the engine, thinking his team mate had done the same. And then his team mate goes hammer and tongs and sets 2 blistering in and out laps and closes down the gap and then fights like hell (brilliant for the audience though) and takes the lead.
        I have to agree with Webber feeling betrayed on this occasion.

      • If Fernando had retired on the last lap, we would have been battling for the lead.

        However, this is a valid justification from Webber which Vettel did not have this weekend.

        • ^Mo^ said on 25th March 2013, 11:02

          @MJ4 Fighting for a win isn’t a valid justification? In Webber’s case it was about a potential win, in Vettel’s case it was about an actual win. Both are valid justifications in my opinion.

          It’s all about likability. If Webber does it it’s okay, and he gets applauded for growing a pair. If Vettel does it, he’s a bad guy. People like Webber, I get that. He appears to be a nice guy, and I don’t think he’s faking that (unlike some other drivers). Vettel went against team orders, that’s not right, and I’m sure he’ll get a slap on the wrist for it. Do I blame him? No. Last year’s championship was decided by only 3 points, and what he did yesterday might just be the difference between winning another WDC or being the first loser. Nice guys hardly ever finish first.

          • David BR2 said on 25th March 2013, 11:57

            For me – and I’m sure Webber – the issue is whether Webber turned down his engine settings and assumed that Vettel would do the same, as per team orders. I’m no fan of team orders and would much prefer to see the drivers race, but basically Vettel was being sneaky and a bit treacherous even with their competitive and hostile back history. Even with his apology would Webber or anyone else ever trust him again on the race track? It would be stupid to. So what bases are there for race discussions and strategies in the Red Bull team if there is zero trust between drivers? And the different crews for each driver? That’s what Webber means by headaches for a lot of people.

          • I understood Webber’s attitude (at the 2011 race) as someone not actually fighting his teammate in wheel-to-wheel battle, but as someone simply trying to keep as close as possible, just in case.

            That’s what I thought to be a valid justification to keep pushing instead of backing out. Full-out taking the battle to his team mate (like Vettel did yesterday) would have made the two situation equal, just like you suggest, but did that actually happen back then?

            I’m not a Webber fan, by the way (to me, he’s kind of a fake “rugged individual” type), although I’d still prefer him winning to Vettel.

    • Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 25th March 2013, 0:37

      Did both Vettel and Webber have their engines turned down during the closing laps of Silverstone 2011? Or just Vettel?

      • frankus28 (@frankus28) said on 25th March 2013, 0:48

        @oblong_cheese Looking at the quotes of both Vettel and Webber in Keith’s team report from 2011, never driver talked about disparities in engine performance.

      • Drop Valencia! said on 25th March 2013, 0:57

        in Silverstone Vettel was going as fast as possible, but to be fair RBR had comprimised his position to assist Marks. In Malaysia, Webber was not going as hard as possible he was coasting that’s where the issue lies, neither driver will be able to coast in formation now.

      • antifia (@antifia) said on 25th March 2013, 9:12

        Given that their tussle lasted a couple of laps, with Vettel making no secret of what he was trying to do, is it concievable that Mark kept his engine down all the way to the moment he was overtaken?

        Sometimes I wonder what people would be saying if it was the other way around….. Woundn’t be something along this line… Mark, a man’s man, would no longer submit to team orders and the preferrencial treatment Redbull bestows on Vettel – it would be down to who could driver faster this time. He went for it and even though Vettel did a Shumi and squeezed him against the wall in a very dangerous manner, Mark wouldn’t surrender. A few corners later Mark finally pulled the trick with a masterly move on the outside of corner 5. Vettel compounded his defeat by giving Mark the middle finger – showing what a spoiled sour loser he really is. Congratulations to Mark for showing that there is still place for strong personalities in F1 – eat that Helmut Marko.
        But not all is well in F1: Lewis was outrageously held up by his team, having to settle for 4th while Rosberg took the last place on the podium in front of him. Rosberg offered a belated appology after the race saying Lewis should have had the podium – which is odd, given the fact that he had 15+ laps to make it right during the race and decided not to do so.

        Now seriously. Having been beaten by his team mate in the 4 years they race together (with Vettle winning 3 championships in a row), Webber could consider himself lucky to have equal status in the team – expecting team orders in his favor is a little rich, or am I going crazy here?

        • TMF (@tmf42) said on 25th March 2013, 10:00

          @antifia – good one.
          actually Mark was beaten 5 years in a row. Vettel outscored Mark in the Torro Rosso too.

        • Dragon (@dragon88) said on 25th March 2013, 11:22

          Webber *did not* make a Schumi.
          He went to his right on the straight to defend his position into Turn 1 and Vettel squeezed between him and the pit wall. That’s very different.

        • dennis (@dennis) said on 25th March 2013, 13:45

          COTD if it was for me.

        • bpacman (@bpacman) said on 25th March 2013, 17:50

          I think you have a point. As the vitriol was being aimed at Vettel after the race, I couldn’t help wondering how the media and fans would perceive it if the roles had been reversed and Webber had been the one who’d taken the race win off Vettel.

          The key for me is whether the drivers themselves agreed with the team before the race that they’d hold station after the final pit-stops – or if this order was imposed by the team during the race itself.

          If the former is true, then Vettel’s actions would seem to be a bit underhand and unsporting to me and he would deserve the criticism that’s coming his way.

          If the latter is true, I’d probably say well done Vettel for ignoring team orders!

          In any event, it brought great drama to the race and you’ve got to hand it to Vettel – that (ultimately unsuccesful) move on the pit straight was extremely brave.

        • @ antifia Nicely said. Nationalism and F1 seems to go hand in hand these days. Just 7 days ago, Vettel was booed whilst on the podium in Melbourne. What did he do wrong?

    • Oblong_Cheese (@oblong_cheese) said on 25th March 2013, 0:57

      Webber says: “But I wasn’t happy with that because you should never give up in F1, so I continued to push.”
      Vettel says: “All I can say is that I didn’t do it deliberately.”

    • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 25th March 2013, 1:40

      @frankus28 Mhmm… that is definitely a good find… Webber really can’t argue can he, it just makes him a hypocrite.

    • ross.willow (@ross-willow) said on 25th March 2013, 5:28

      I think the photo of Vettel and Newey on this page, and SV’s slimy grin gives away his true feelings about the result.

    • Kazihno (@kazinho) said on 25th March 2013, 11:23

      In my opinion, bringing up the 2011 British GP doesn’t compare.

      All throughout the 2010 season the public were told at every occasion that “Red Bull will never do team orders.” Even Dietrich Mateschitz got involved to announce it in public. That refusal to back Webber while he was leading during the back end of the season cost him the world title and Red Bull/Vettel only escaped with the title because of Ferrari’s incompetence in the heat of battle in Abu Dhabi.

      So when Silverstone rolls around the next year and Mark is effectively given a team order without any prior warning, he was well within his rights to choose to ignore it given the history of intra-team rivalry fostered by Red Bull.

      Sepang doesn’t compare. The 1-2 situation was clearly pre-examined as a potential outcome with a the team agreeing to resulting action (Multi 21) for both drivers to perform.

      One driver chose to ignore it for his own personal glory.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th March 2013, 19:39

      I think the difference compared to Silverstone 2011 is that FA was leading, so MW and SV were battling for 2nd. Yesterday the battle, or not having a battle, would not have changed the results for the team. They were looking to place 1-2 either way. In 2011, as MW points out, if FA had an issue that would have changed things.

  2. George (@george) said on 25th March 2013, 0:34

    Am I correct in thinking this was a more detailed report than usual Keith? If so I think it was a good call, this was a very strange race, no doubt we will be talking about it again as this season progresses.

  3. schooner (@schooner) said on 25th March 2013, 0:40

    The scene in the drivers’ room afterward was one for the ages. Webber’s eyes shooting daggers, and Vettel looking like the proverbial kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar. The glum faces on the podium were quite the sight as well. It must have been a bit embarrassing for the local dignitaries up there.

  4. Sankalp Sharma (@sankalp88) said on 25th March 2013, 0:40

    So to summarize:

    1. Alonso wasn’t prepared to concede ground to Vettel’s lead and paid the price. Very Un-Alonso like considering he’s the long game player.
    2. Massa still struggles in mixed conditions. Only consolation, I got his race position correct in the predictions!
    3. Raikkonen’s setup was terrible. All in all a poor race weekend for Lotus.
    4. Vettel may be portrayed as the villain this weekend, but both he and Webber made it a cracking race.
    5. Tough luck Jenson :/
    6. Hamilton no.1 at Merc?

    • Mike (@mike) said on 25th March 2013, 2:50

      I think on #6, it’s a case of, the team comes first. As opposed to Lewis comes first.

      • Sankalp Sharma (@sankalp88) said on 25th March 2013, 3:01

        Well the team would have still gotten 3rd and 4th. Albeit in a different order. All of a sudden Nico must be missing Michael as his teammate!

        • Neusalz (@dpod) said on 25th March 2013, 8:56

          Exactly! No way on earth should we he have seen team orders in that situation. It is too early for such decisions, since the drivers have not even established themselves. For all we know Nico might be the better driver, and after the result it would have been 1-1.

          • Palle (@palle) said on 25th March 2013, 10:52

            No, the fact that Nico accepted the team-order shows that it was right. Nico isn’t the stuff a World Champion is made of, when he accepts in that situation. Surely it is unthinkable that Senna had accepted a team-order in that situation? And why should Vettel – he is the 3 times WDC and he has beaten Webber for 5 seasons, surely RBR should prioritise getting him the maximum points if possible. When we reach the end of the season and he maybe wins over Alonso with a margin of less than 7 points the team will realise that Vettel was right. So why be ashamed over it?

    • Jono (@me262) said on 25th March 2013, 7:00

      Massa seemed to lose his focal point when alonso went out

  5. tmax (@tmax) said on 25th March 2013, 0:40

    @keithcollaintine very well written article . I enjoyed reading it well balanced with details.

    I think this will be spoken for a long time to come. I was surprised that the team never reprimanded webber so severely both in brazil 2012 and Britain 2011.

    • cg22me (@cg22me) said on 25th March 2013, 0:52

      Although the circumstances of this race were different, in the sense that Webber’s decreased performance was by mutual choice, rather than due to an issue (KERS for Vettel, Silverstone 2011)… There is still a large element of hypocrisy on Webber’s side.

      Vettel should only get a reprimand if Webber is willing to accept one, also, for those incidents.

      Still doesn’t mean what Vettel did was right. It wasn’t the most dignified win for Vettel, that’s for sure.

  6. CanadianF1Fan said on 25th March 2013, 0:44

    I think this proves there should be no team orders in F1 in regards to passing for position. Fans want to see racing, not faster drivers held on a leash. Good on Vettel for doing what he should, race to win. Those points could make the difference in the end, and Seb has repeatedly proven he’s a more capable driver, why hold him back? Not to mention the only reason Webber was in that position was Seb took a gamble early on the slicks which gave Webber the information to stay out. I don’t buy Webber wasn’t able to hold him off, Seb made his intentions to pass clear, Webber could have put the engine up, and it’s not like he just pulled over and let him pass, he was clearly out-raced.

    Rosberg should have done the same. Instead of intense competition we got a lame dramafest at the end, it looks bad on the sport and it’s not good for fans.

    • saywut? said on 25th March 2013, 3:24

      And that explains the 4 second lead Mark had that mysteriously disappeared when Vettel exited the pits?

    • Dave in NZL (now AUS) said on 25th March 2013, 3:43

      It is not fair to expect teams to favour racing over points when they are rewarded for points. Two drivers entertaining the crowd makes for good viewing, but currently teams are paid on championship points and fulfilling sponsor duties.

    • OOliver said on 25th March 2013, 5:12

      Remember the last time RBR drivers made contact? The team can’t survive, if they have their drivers taking each other out at every race, so there must be established rules for ensuring there is order at some point in the race. They were free to race until the final pit stop.
      Regarding Mercedes, it was not the drivers who chose their fuel levels, and it was understandable why Brawn would have had them hold station, seeing on driver could not respond even if he had the pace to. Had Hamilton sufficient fuel, it is likely he would have been further ahead of Rosberg.
      These decisions are not easy to accept sometimes, but they are in the teams interest, and without the teams there will be no F1.

    • MNM101 (@mnm101) said on 25th March 2013, 7:58

      Completely agree with you, they both proved in the past that they can race without crashing into each other, so why hold them back ?
      I think the team is at fault for putting both of them in this situation, and i think Mark would have done the exact same thing, and if not he would have complained after the race for being treated like a N.2 driver, so i have no idea what he’s complaining about.
      Plus we got to see an awesome battle on track

      • MNM101 (@mnm101) said on 25th March 2013, 8:42

        Also,it is infuriating how people ignore this, Mark DID THIS before, and with much higher stakes (Brazil 2012 comes to mind), but because he is perceived as RB’s “whipping boy” and/or “underdog”, he gets everyone’s support, an also that he could never reep any benefits from defying team orders (Silverstone 2011).
        I agree that Seb is in the wrong, but only towards the team for disobeying an order, but as far as Mark is concerned, i think he got a taste of his own medicine and has nothing to gripe about.

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 25th March 2013, 9:34


          I thought people disapprove Vettel’s move not because of his move, but because both Vettel and Webber were told to slow down and coast to a 1-2. Webber did slow down but Vettel didn’t, the latter’s action allowed him to catch the former and then stand a change to get the prize. Like someone said before, it’s like firing under cease fire.

          Maybe I misunderstood the whole thing…

    • FLIG (@flig) said on 25th March 2013, 8:15

      I agree. I find it so strange that most people who are bashing Vettel for what he did, are also saying that what Mercedes did was wrong. If what Mercedes did was wrong, then what Vettel did was, by consequence, brave and right. You can only say Vettel did wrong if you think Mercedes is right, and Rosberg acted 100% properly. In the end, it’s all taken a turn for the worse: team orders may mean that after the final pit stop round, there is no racing. Drivers agree to things beforehand and disrespect those agreements (Vettel backstabbing Webber). Drivers get backstabbed and don’t have the guts or pace to return the stabbing (Webber could have done something, instead there was a finger shown and a gap built in a couple of laps). Crews can’t make simple math of how much fuel a car needs (Hamilton), and then lie to the driver who has enough fuel (Hamilton could also go faster) so he doesn’t try to overtake. Drivers meekly obey such preposterous orders (Rosberg could have tried to overtake, I doubt Hamilton would have put that much effort in defense).

      All things considered, perhaps we should start a campaign to have one driver per team.

      • Jake (@jleigh) said on 25th March 2013, 19:05

        Or, what Merc did was wrong, what Rosberg did was right, and what Vettel did was wrong.

      • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 26th March 2013, 13:37

        You can only say Vettel did wrong if you think Mercedes is right, and Rosberg acted 100% properly.

        Not true. It’s not as simple as that.

        RB told both drivers to turn their engines down and coast home in formation. Therefore Mark was going slowly (by F1 standards). Vettel chose to ignore that, put in some fast laps and caught Webber. This is, at the very least, unsporting, especially if Mark did not receive any indication from his team that this was happening. Suddenly, Vettel was on him, his gap gone and they are fighting. By then Webber’s concentration will have slightly dulled, too, as he was expecting a formation finish.

        If nothing else, a move such as this will sour their relationship even further. I can’t see how the team can expect either of them to obey team orders any more, which could easily cost the team many points.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 25th March 2013, 8:33

      I’m with you.
      F1 was always political and about strategy but it was a sideshow to racing now racing became the sideshow to everything else that’s going on in F1 and I don’t like it.
      The problem as I see it is that the WCC became too important money wise. If they would distribute money equally instead of sharing it based on points then teams would be inclined to let their drivers loose and go for the WDC.

  7. TruthTeller (@litepad) said on 25th March 2013, 0:47

    I would say Webber is more at fault last season. … start of the Brazilian GP when he deliberately impeded Vettel …
    All these team order should’ve never been allowed to return … It’s becoming a joke really. I do not agree with those who say it could not be enforce… Put it into the drivers contract, allow FIA or even Bernie to approve it, punish teams vigorously …..

  8. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 25th March 2013, 0:57

    Whether it was right or wrong for Seb to do what he did today, my jaw was on the floor watching the two Red Bulls drive side by side within inches of each other, with both drivers totally committed to fighting each other. It was great to watch.

  9. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 25th March 2013, 1:03

    “Mark is too slow, get him out of the way, he’s too slow,” Vettel urged on the radio.

    Red Bull instruct their drivers not to race each other for position after the final pit stop. Instead of Rocquelin it was Christian Horner who reminded Vettel of that on the radio: “This is silly, Seb, come on.”

    Vettel wasn’t listening.

    Uh, so first he requests Mark to move out of his way, pointing towards team-orders in his favor. Then, when Red Bull give him a team order, he doesn’t even bother to listen.

    Amazing, isn’t it? Red Bull have paid this guy thousands of euros to support his karting career, millions to support his career in Formula junior; and have given him 3 WDC. Then, he completely ignores the first team order he receives since Turkey ’09, four years ago.

    What a hypocrite.

  10. Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 1:14

    I loved what Vettel did. Showed character. Showed he’s there to race and will if half a chance is presented. If anything, I was disappointed by his team’s belittling comments on the radio, “This is stupid”, “This is silly”, and yet they were the first to bash Ferrari’s team orders years back as a bad spectacle for the fans at the stands. LOL

    Also, if the drivers involved were Senna, Piquet, Mansell or Alesi, they would have had words right there in front of the camera, not caring what the world and sponsors thought, unlike the silent treatment dished by Webber, then poking his frustrations on a microphone. For a while I questioned if these were men or kids on the podium?
    The Mark’s excuse of turning down his engine was laughable. Just didn’t want to admit he couldn’t over take Seb after that.

    • himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 25th March 2013, 1:19

      You loved it…but did Vettel have the balls to man up and say that “hey look, I defied team orders, but only because I was much quicker than mark”? No, he didn’t.. Instead, he hid behind a facade, feigning ignorance and accepting no responsibility whatsoever. This is was irks me to no end.

      • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 1:29


        Did you not see the podium interviews?

        • himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 25th March 2013, 1:42

          I did. And I am certain at no point did Vettel acknowledge that he defied team orders. He said things along the lines of “I’m sure we are both pleased with the result for the team today”, totally sidestepping the issue at hand and brashly speaking on the behalf of Mark.

          • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 1:45

            Mark had his chance to speak, to be a man, to confront Seb like a man. But chose the silent treatment and the kiddy poke on the interview.

            Don’t care. He’s a three time world champion, he shouldn’t be told half way through the race to stop racing.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 25th March 2013, 2:52

            They both were told to slow down. Not just Vettel.

        • Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 25th March 2013, 2:14

          @ivano Just because he is a three time world champion does not mean he is excused of certain rules. Championships don’t matter in those situations, it’s not a fast pass ticket like Disneyland or something, it means nothing.
          He was told to stop racing because the team said so for their constructors points which is a perfectly valid reason to demand no racing between the two of them. The needs of many should outweigh the individual.
          Stop trying to justify his terrible actions on the premise that “he’s a racer and there to win”. Well no way! They are all there to win but that doesn’t excuse his selfish behaviour! The term ‘racer’ doesn’t even mean anything anyway, aren’t they all racers anyway?

          • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:27

            And yet most of the F1 world bashes Ferrari and Massa for their No2 status when defending constructor points.

            And yes, he’s there to win, he’s entitled to have No1 status at Redbull, he’s earned it, and I feel it’s Redbull that shouldn’t tell a 3 times world champion to hold his position half way through the race. Ron Dennis would have never told Senna to cover for constructor positions.

          • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 25th March 2013, 9:02

            I’m sorry but lap 44/56, is not halfway through the race, I personally dislike team orders BUT if they are issued then I expect the drivers to respect them. As for Mercedes, I have no issue with Nico’s first message, thats fine saying, “I am faster do I have permission to overtake” which is in stark contrasts to Vettels “get him out of my way”, one’s polite and respectful and one is arrogant and cocky.

            I lost a lot of respect for Vettel for disobeying orders and denying Mark a well deserved win.

        • @ivano: you are right Vettel is above all the ** of team orders, true champion. Takes the lead then apologizes. lol.

      • iAltair (@ialtair) said on 25th March 2013, 4:41

        No particular siding, but if RB pit wall did not ask Webber to turn down his engine, I don’t see why Webber should.

        And even if Webber did turn down his engine, does a third party other than himself actually know that his engine was being turned down?

        Its like, a woman having menses, and you met her in public. She started screaming at shouting at you. You won’t know what happened that caused that till she tell you that that is the time of the month.

        Another thing to note is that, Vettel weaved at the finish line. If he knew that Webber had turned down his engine and he overtake what it deems as a “slower” car, I think he will just cross the line and feel bad for his team mate.

        However, his actions showed likewise. Webber posed a challenge to him at Lap 44/45. The battle was close, Vettel thought that he had made a promising overtake and is proud of it. Therefore, he weaved in delight till he crossed the line and realised that there are many things he is unaware about.

        Human behaviour can tell if he is blatantly lying or really ignorant to things around them.

    • Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 25th March 2013, 1:35

      Yeah, he showed character. A miserable character, but a character nonetheless.

      • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 1:42

        Just because he’s a racer and there to win, and not stop racing half way through the race?

        Just because he had the balls to tell management, no?

        Nope, he showed character that he’s his own man, a three time world champion that shouldn’t be told to not go for the win.

        • Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 25th March 2013, 1:49

          You’re twisting the facts. He demanded that his team get his team-mate out of the way. If you’re “your own man”, you don’t ask your team to play favorites.

          • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:03

            Never denied or twisted he said that. I like it he did, and feel he’s earned the right to say that as he’s three time WDC.

            And I’m not a Seb fan. Far from it. But I like what did today. Actually reminded me of the old days, Senna and Mansell that just went for it, and management let them.

          • Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 25th March 2013, 2:14

            Oh, yes, you twisted his meaning. He didn’t say “I will not be held back”. He didn’t say “no” to his management. He said get the guy in front of me out of my way. As I’ve said, if you’re “your own man”, if you have the balls, you don’t ask someone else to remove an obstacle for you. That’s at best childish and at worst cowardly.

          • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:53

            Ma Giuseppe, where did I twist? I stated my view, like you have yours.

            And yes, by over taking Webber, he did say no to management. And well done to him. It took balls to that on TV, and also for telling Mark to get out of the way. I loved it.

          • Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 25th March 2013, 3:09

            Alright, you didn’t twist anything. Still, I have to say you have a strange way of judging what takes balls. :)

            I mean, one guy has balls because he asked for a problem to be solved for him. Another guy doesn’t have balls because he didn’t react aggressively enough on the podium. To be fair, I probably would have reacted a lot more aggressively than Webber did; however I’m not sure if that would’ve made me a “bigger man” or anything like that.

            This discussion about balls reminds of a funny quote: “Why do people say grow some balls? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.” :))

          • iAltair (@ialtair) said on 25th March 2013, 4:47

            Double standards there?

            When Alonso is the rival of Vettel for the WDC, no one bashed Alonso for asking Massa to move over.

            Seriously. What has the F1 community becoming? Applying double standard just to play down Vettel success?

            I would say, British media propaganda has indeed made quite a big influence worldwide on Formula 1. Always bashing the German races, Vettel, Schumacher and Rosberg (When team orders were given for Rosberg to hold position and Hamilton received no bashing after).

        • Andrew Rosenstein (@badhatharry) said on 25th March 2013, 3:40

          He didn’t tell management “no.” He left Webber with a turned-down car and passed him. He knew Webber’s engine mapping because he was told to do the same.

        • JCost (@jcost) said on 25th March 2013, 10:05


          Own man? He still needs the team, he’s not Usain Bolt.

          I think what he did was wrong because both drivers were told to slow down and the situation was not similar with Nico and Lewis who had more fuel to save than Nico and, I think, should let him pass. However, Lewis words of praise to Nico standing on the podium were nice to hear, on the other hand Seb waved his car crossing the line and showed us his world famous finger after all that…

        • beneboy (@beneboy) said on 25th March 2013, 10:49


          Just because he’s a racer and there to win, and not stop racing half way through the race?

          Lap 44 isn’t half way through the race, catching and passing your team mate because they’ve been told to turn down their engine and stop pushing isn’t racing.

          Just because he had the balls to tell management, no?

          He didn’t have the balls to tell the management no, he claimed not to have heard/understood the message from the team – which is a cowardly excuse, at best.

          Nope, he showed character that he’s his own man, a three time world champion that shouldn’t be told to not go for the win.

          The character he showed was the character of a petulant, arrogant and selfish young boy who puts his own interests above the interests of the team that have invested millions of pounds into helping him develop his talent and have given him the opportunity to become a three times champion.

          • Palle (@palle) said on 25th March 2013, 12:47

            Totally with Ivano here. As with the conflict between Alonso and Hamilton, a conflict like this can’t be controlled by any team. The team who has the designers and resources to build an F1 racer capable of winning races also needs a driver line up, which has the will power and ability to put everything else than winning lower in the prioritising list. RBR pays Vettel to do that, so why do they try to control this urge to win and thus embarrass themselves, Vettel and Webber? Vettel has of course earned his right to be lead driver in that team, so I think it is unfair of RBR to try to order him to hold back for Webber. At Ferrari Massa would have been told to step back for Alsonso, and rightly so. Vettel and Alonso is in my view still the best bets for a WDC for 2013 and RBR should maximize Vettels points from race no 1. I think the most embarrassing part of it is that Vettel even working hard in the car on the race track has a more clear instinct for what is right than Newey and Horner on the pitwall, who let their fear of a collision and a double DNF cloud their minds.

    • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 25th March 2013, 1:48

      @ivano Silly post. How was Mark’s excuse laughable? Are you a stranger to logic? Because otherwise you’d understand that turning your engine down does hurt your performance. Much character he showed, overtaking someone who turned his engine down by team agreement which Seb didn’t protest beforehand, just when it didn’t suit him. So yes, SV showed character. Childish, pathetic character

      • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:10

        Okay… LOL

        Well, did the lap times show it hurt his performance? Regardless, don’t care what you think of me, or of Seb, eventhough I’m not a fan of his, he did something that real drivers use to do, that of against in telling him to not race. The same thing that was expected of Ferrari and Massa in Germany 2010. ;) Yet, Massa then got bashed for obeying team orders, here Seb doesn’t obey them but gets bashed?

  11. himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 25th March 2013, 1:17

    Today, many a people lost respect for Seb Vettel. Not many liked him to begin with, but today they are all justified in their feelings towards him. An act of cowardice is what he committed. The only fair thing for Red Bull to do is to issue a severe punishment, but we all know Vettel will just get a slap on the wrist and Mark a couple of hundred grands to soothe the situation.

    Vettel not only disobeyed team orders, but he demanded for one in his favour earlier on. He not only sneaked past his team mate who was running on limited engine revs, but he also feigned ignorance at the issuance and importance of the team orders. He not only doesn’t own up manly that he went against the team’s wishes, but he further issues an apology that is as fake as one could get.

    Whatever it is Seb, today you were at fault. 100%. Too bad if it were Mark you will be throwing out your toys, crying in front of the media, instigating Dr Marko to do something for you and demanding the team to take action against Mark.

    • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 1:33

      And so Seb should throw his toys. He’s three times world champion, and Mark isn’t. ;)
      And nah, he’s not at fault. He’s paid to race just like the 90% of F1 fans demand the Ferrari drivers to do.

      Also, this whole limited Revs story is really getting weak, as Mark was still pushing lap times to build a safety gap from the Mercs.

      • montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 25th March 2013, 1:52

        @ivano Your argument is weak. The Mercs were very slow, because of Hamilton’s lack of fuel and their own pathetic team orders. The fact MW was faster than them does not in any way prove that MW didn’t turn his engine down

      • Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall) said on 25th March 2013, 2:15

        He’s also paid by his team to obey team orders and do what they say. They are not paying him to overtake his team mate when he was clearly ordered not to.

      • JoeLegsssss said on 25th March 2013, 10:41

        it shocks me how people think that it takes more than a lap to change the engine mode, mark knew he had a tussle on for long enough to get the car into beast mode. its the click of a dial. plus if rosberg passed hamilton he would have been all over the red bulls

    • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 25th March 2013, 1:37

      Today, many a people lost respect for Seb Vettel. Not many liked him to begin with, but today they are all justified in their feelings towards him.

      @himmatsj You obviously don’t count the country of Germany. Where many there follow their countryman, much like many in this forum gravitate to Hamilton.

      Please do not mistake your own opinion for everyone’s opinion.

    • Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 25th March 2013, 2:00

      Today, many a people lost respect for Seb Vettel. Not many liked him to begin with, but today they are all justified in their feelings towards him. An act of cowardice is what he committed.

      I was never one of his fans, but I did used to respect him. What he said over the radio reminded me of a spoiled brat that expects his parents to “fix” things for him and throws hissy fits if they don’t immediately do so.

      • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:11

        How is that any diffirent to the posted hissy fits here against him?

        • Nick.UK (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:16

          @ivano How about the fact that none of us a public figures that people might hold as a role model?

          • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:23

            I disagree, plenty of adults and kids here that look at each other’s views, and as proven by witchhunts for example, you don’t have to be a public figure to obtain an auidance, especially on the internet.

        • Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 25th March 2013, 2:24

          The difference is that he did over the radio during a Formula 1 race watched by tens or hundreds of millions of people. The difference is that he’s a three times world champion, so you’d expect that he doesn’t need his team’s help to overtake his team-mate. The difference is that he’s Sportsman of the Year 2012, a title which would lead people to think his fairness and respect towards his fellow competitors is of the highest standard.

          You know, there are some minor differences.

          • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:41

            Fairness of sportmanship in a sport that consumes billions of Dollars and as much resources and manpower to make cars go in a circle, all while every week on the Unicef site, thousands more kids around the world have died of famine. He’s already racing in a selfish trade for millionaires that provides the masses a bit of Sunday entertainment before Monday morning’s shift. But I guess fairness towards fellow racers is more important?

            Look, I get why people are defending Webber, but I don’t care, Seb said no to his management today, and for me, that was awesome. So refreshing that a driver didn’t budge down to the above law. At the end if Massa back in 2010 defended his position from Alonso, Massa would have been a hero for the F1 community, otherwise Alfonso and Ferrari wouldn’t had been bashed then… which brings me to this, I’m sure not every F1 site and it’s fans have been hypocrtical today, but most have, and so what, I actually like all this chatter, even most of you who don’t like my view, I’ve enjoyed this as it shows passion, the same passion Seb showed earlier. And that for me is great and all that matters. :)

          • Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 25th March 2013, 2:51

            Yes, of course, if you don’t like the explanations as to why it’s “any different”, you can just ignore or rationalize them.

            Also, I don’t speak for other commenters here, but I’m not defending Webber. I’m accusing a triple world champion (who also happens to be “Sportsman of the Year”) of behaving like child with entitlement issues. That’s putting it lightly. I’d rather say he behaved like a ****.

          • Giuseppe (@giuseppe) said on 25th March 2013, 2:54

            Yes, of course, if you don’t like the explanations as to why it’s “any different”, you can just ignore or rationalize them.

            Also, I don’t speak for other commenters here, but I’m not defending Webber. I’m accusing a triple world champion (who also happens to be “Sportsman of the Year”) of behaving like child with entitlement issues. That’s putting it lightly. I’d rather say he behaved like a d…… I’ll let other fill in the letter; it appears the filter won’t even let me use asterisks :))

          • Palle (@palle) said on 25th March 2013, 13:58

            @guiseppe Fairness of sportsmanship is something the naive audience tries to believe in, but in top sports it doesn’t exist. No one reaches that level without the ability to be utterly selfish despite the negative consequences for other people. Look at any other sport – true sportsmanship doesn’t exist at top level. Only if the athlete are no longer being threatened or the chance of victory is lost, then they are sometimes able to show something You would translate into sportsmanship. Exactly the ability to behave like a spoiled child, when he don’t get what he wants (including a racecar which is performing top of its class) is perhaps what is parting a WDC from a midfield driver. These guys are competitive beyond our dreams and they don’t take no for an answer – OK, Rosberg did, but he is not a WDC is he?

    • Robbie Hopkins (@potsie9000) said on 25th March 2013, 2:29

      Whatever it is Seb, today you were at fault. 100%. Too bad if it were Mark you will be throwing out your toys, crying in front of the media, instigating Dr Marko to do something for you and demanding the team to take action against Mark.

      I agree with himmatsj. One thing that I did note in Ted Kravitz’ ‘notebook’ summary of the race on Sky Sports was that Ted said that he had ‘lost respect for Seb’ due to his actions. It has seemed to me that Ted gets on well with Seb, so I found that a telling comment.

  12. Klint said on 25th March 2013, 1:33

    I agree with kingshark that Vettel appears such a hypocrite. Vettel seems to suggest that he didn’t deliberately overtake Mark in his interview, but it didn’t look exactly accidental on the TV! We may never know whether Mark had the car (and engine power) to really defend, but Vettel certainly gives a good impression of the arrogant kid who doesn’t care about anybody or anything except winning. Shades of Schumacher anyone? I’d dock his salary for 3 races if my name was Dietrich.

    • iAltair (@ialtair) said on 25th March 2013, 4:51

      It is very obvious that Dietrich Mateschitz sided Vettel as his #1 driver.

    • Pietro said on 25th March 2013, 9:34

      Vettel’s emotions before and after he came out of the car appeared SO different.
      While crossing the finish line he zigged and zagged on the final straight like Alonso did in the past.
      I assume it was a clear sign he was really happy.
      Then in the pre-podium waiting room while speaking to Newey he was serious but quite calm and a few seconds later he put on a stone face he has kept for podium and on the podium public interview.
      If Newey satisfaction appearing in the linked picture ( is true, I guess who’s actualing directing the team, Horner or Newey? Or are they playing just the good cop/bad cop game in Vettel’s favor???
      Anyway the interview over the podium was ridiculous, Vettel’s race conduct was publicly discussed in front of the fans and his defense seemed really silly…

  13. Hairs (@hairs) said on 25th March 2013, 1:33

    I’ve been giving some thought to why Webber didn’t try to retake the place.

    As pointed out by @keithcollantine above, team orders are nothing new at Red Bull, and Webber has been outspoken and occasionally defiant of the team’s wishes in the past. The question remains then, why does this situation feel so different to ones that went before it, at Brazil, Silverstone, “front wing gate” and most infamously to Hockenheim 2010? I think the key is in the attitudes and body language of all the players at Red Bull. This is different, and for reasons they know a lot more about than we do. They know this is a much bigger deal, and they know that regardless of public attitudes to team orders, or favouritism, or anything else, that this was a major, major screw up. Worse than the one in Turkey.

    One of the things we tend to overlook in our demands of F1 drivers is that they’re human. Because they do such frankly incredible things in such incredible machinery, at incredible speeds, and with incredible precision, sometimes we get surprised at their mistakes and misjudgements (unless we happen to think that driver is crap and doesn’t belong in the car, of course, in which case the mistake is entirely expected). Mark had the race under control a lot of the time, and while he was pressured by Seb before, he was able to respond and either keep him behind, or absorb the pressure. When Seb asked for team orders to let him through, Webber pulled out a gap straight away to prove a point. Why didn’t he fight back after lap 44? I think it’s possible he could have done so. But he didn’t, he dropped back, and he let Seb go. He said he had “a lot going through my mind” after that lap. I’m not surprised.

    There’s no doubt that in previous situations, Red Bull have enforced team orders to help Vettel. Webber was outspoken but for the most part stuck to them. Towards the end of 2010, he said that as he was ahead in the championship, Vettel should be his wingman, just like the team stated publicly over the front wing affair “in a similar situation, we will direct the benefit towards the championship leader”. That didn’t happen. The front wing explanation seemed like a disingenuous excuse made up after the fact, once the team saw the public reaction to it. I don’t doubt personally that that’s exactly what it was. I think that during 2011 particularly, Webber would have been told multiple times some variation on “multi 21″. Through those last laps, Webber would have gone through all those times.

    When we talk about team orders, we tend as fans to concentrate on the effects it has on the drivers, those public icons of our attraction, and the ones we bestow our loyalty onto. We want racers to race, we want no holds barred action, and we don’t like the dead hand of a team principal determining the outcome of a race from a seat in front of an excel sheet of race forecasts. However, team orders have an effect on the whole team. If you tell Driver A to hold station, you’re telling the whole of Driver A’s side of the garage to hold station. You’re telling all the hundreds of members of the team who put their efforts into designing, building, testing, and running the cars “We’ve made a decision, this is what’s best for all of us as a whole”. Those people aren’t drivers. They’re competitive as hell, but ultimately they work in teams. They understand, in fact their whole dna rests, on the idea that sometimes what you individually would like isn’t what’s best for the team. You work for the team first and yourself second. Once that order comes down, Driver A has a decision to make to comply with it. If he does, his side of the garage have to accept that all their hard work is going to be effectively taken away. The two sets of engineers compete, don’t forget. That’s galling. If he doesn’t, then there’s a whole team of strategy guys, or maybe just a single individual, who came up with a decision to say “this is the best result for the team”, and they are being told “screw what you think, I’m doing my own thing”. So in order for team orders to be viable, everyone has to buy into the idea – drivers, team members, engineers. They need to be confident that when the decision comes down “We’re doing X”, then the decision has come down without favour or prejudice. That it’s simply the best thing for the team. “Just Business”, as Stringer Bell would say.

    Vettel’s actions today look like they have fundamentally broken that. Nobody on a driver’s side of the garage wants to hear an order “You’re taking one for the team”, but they will do it if they have to, and if they believe that it’s better for the team. Webber’s team will have heard that a lot. Today, they got the message “It’s your turn today guys. The other guy is taking one for the team”. Only he didn’t. He screwed them over. And that means that not just Webber, but all those guys that work for him, all day, every day, now know something: They will always get screwed over. Their efforts are not worthwhile. They are not valued. If they toe the company line, they get nothing. If they break the company line, they get nothing but pain, because the other side of the garage is backed by political power that’s effectively unimaginable. Power that overrides the Team Principal. I can’t think how utterly toxic that must be for those people. And I guarantee that whatever happens between Seb and Mark, there are a lot of hardworking, dedicated people that Red Bull rely on to be a winning team, who are no longer on board. Fixing that is a bigger job. If Webber leaves, there are other drivers. It took years to build up a winning team from the Jaguar group who function well as a unit, pull together, and don’t make mistakes. That’s why you hear drivers thanking their engineers. Breaking the morale and cohesion of that team up because of a selfish move by a driver who will take team orders when they benefit him, and ignore them when they don’t, is a massive thing to fix.

    I think the red mist came down, Vettel wanted to win, and he assumed that Webber fundamentally wasn’t as fast as him on this occassion (just as he did earlier in the race, before Webber whipped out half a second on him). I think Vettel wasn’t lying when he said he didn’t realise he’d made a mistake. He clearly didn’t think so, and he also didn’t think so when he started talking to Adrian Newey. Once he started to talk to Adrian, I think you could see the realisation dawn on his face. By the time Mark walked in, he was worried. By the time he got to the podium, he was clearly under no illusions what he’d done. Because he didn’t break Webber’s trust today, he broke the trust of a whole team of guys that work for Webber. And a whole team of guys that work for the team. And he undermined Christian Horner’s authority. Red Bull have a lot of things to fix, regardless of what Webber decides to do.

    As to Webber, I don’t know what he’ll do. Honestly, I hope he leaves the team, and gives us a defiant speech laying on the line why. Because that’s what, as a fan, I like to see Webber do; be honest, be hard, be a strong guy. Who knows.

    • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 1:39

      Webber missed his chance to be strong when getting out of the car today. He chose the silent treatment and the little poke with his podium interview. Showed no balls, didn’t even look Seb in the eyes. If it was a Senna or an Alesi, Seb might have been running for his life.

      • Hairs (@hairs) said on 25th March 2013, 1:54

        Losing your temper isn’t always showing balls. Sometimes it takes bigger balls to be quiet.

      • Nick.UK (@) said on 25th March 2013, 1:57

        @ivano Because real men respond with agression and tantrums? Mark showed a lot of self control for the public, but behind closed doors (where it belongs) he’ll hit the roof and as always, tell it like it is. Mark knew having a public cry about it wouldn’t change or achieve anything, so why do it. He dealt with the situation perfectly.

        • Jonny C (@loomx92) said on 25th March 2013, 2:11

          Agreed, nicely put. I was gonna post a reply, but thought better of having a post full of asterix’s. Been getting fed up all day of people having a go at Mark over it all.

        • Ivano (@) said on 25th March 2013, 2:16

          Well I disagree. I feel if Mark felt he was right, he should have told Seb right there, like real drivers use to, unless Senna and co was before your time, or you forgot, you’d understand, and Seb demostrated he’s a real racer, where winning is all that matters.

          And yeah, aggression in this competitive world gets people far, and not eaten. ;)

          • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 25th March 2013, 6:40

            I’m pretty sure along with millions of other viewers that he told Seb exactly what he thought!

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2013, 11:15

            he should have told Seb right there, like real drivers use to

            didn’t he just do that then? the “multi 21″ remark, and on the podium he let there be no mistake whatsoever about what he felt about the situation.
            Throwing punches is not the only way to show you are angry, and all of us saw Webber control his anger to be at least civil.

        • Hairs (@hairs) said on 25th March 2013, 2:27

          He told Seb, and the team, and the public, in very clear terms, in front of the full TV audience, what he thought. Throwing his helmet at him, or a fist, or having an incoherent rant would only have served to diminish his point, and him as a man.

          Seb knew how badly he was in the wrong. He realised it too late, but he knows. “Winning is all that matters”. What happens if the guys on Webber’s side of the garage decide, next race out, that they’ll dawdle while doing Vettel’s pitstop, to give Webber an advantage? How well will the “real racer” be able to go racing with no wheels?

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 25th March 2013, 2:18

        How dare he not punch Vettel to the ground like a man!

      • Mike (@mike) said on 25th March 2013, 2:59

        Webber is too much of a professional to do something drastic in front of the media.

      • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 25th March 2013, 9:09

        The thing is, public displays of anger and aggression aren’t Mark’s style, he’d rather deal with it in his own way. And he made his anger very clear in his comments, just because he didn’t confront Vettel in front of millions of TV viewers. I think maybe you don’t quite understand the Australasian way of doing things. We do things and sort issues in our own way, and that’s the way Mark dealt with it on the podium, behind closed doors I have no doubt it was a different story entirely.

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 25th March 2013, 1:54

      I really enjoyed reading that. You’ve framed this controversy in a different light, and while we never will know exactly what went through the minds of Vettel, Webber and Horner today I wouldn’t be surprised if you were close to the truth.

      Webber’s autobiography is going to be a must read!

    • David BR2 said on 25th March 2013, 2:03

      My thoughts exactly, only much more elegantly expressed, thanks for taking the time to write that. I was really taken aback by the mixture of anger and disbelief that emerged from the Red Bull team immediately after the race, despite their obvious need for restraint in front of the cameras. Newey looked incredibly angry and disappointed. I think you’ve described exactly why it was such a huge letdown. Apart for Marko apparently, he seemed just fine about it to be honest.

    • I love the Pope said on 25th March 2013, 2:23

      Good! I hope he does quit! He is not a championship driver and he complains far too much. Bring in Buemi, who I bet would do just as well if not better.

    • Akshay91 said on 25th March 2013, 2:40

      You have conveyed exactly what I wanted to in brilliant words . COTD. Shame on vettel

    • Matt Clark (@mattc888) said on 25th March 2013, 2:50

      @hairs Awesome comment, easily the best I’ve read since the race, though it might be too long for COTD.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 25th March 2013, 3:00

      That was good to read. Should have it’s own opinion article!

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 25th March 2013, 3:09

      You know what would really screw up Red Bull? if Webber decided to leave immediately in the next few races, I’m having a hard time trying to think of a driver who could not only be fast, but also impervious to all this political mess they have in the team.

    • Victor. (@victor) said on 25th March 2013, 9:03

      Great post this.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 25th March 2013, 9:38

      Good post. But with your post in mind – it was a major screw up at the pit wall. Webber lost 4s in 2 laps and it would have been their responsibility to make sure they don’t cross paths at the pit exit. And not rely on Vettel’s ability to restrain himself, which he showed countless times with fastest lap times at the end of a GP, he doesn’t posses.

      About Mark I can only say that he suffers from a severe case of Barrichello syndrome.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2013, 10:50

      Very good post @hairs, I saw the same transition from Seb from happy race winner, to getting to understand all was not well, to being worried.

      I think the moment we all saw Marko, and then heard him being very worried talking about things getting out of control it was clear that this does change a lot, and it could well be the start of what breaks the bonds between Red Bull and Vettel (it could also mean having to look for a Horner replacement, after all who can work with a team principal who is not in control, does not command the respect from their drivers?). I had expected Marko to just brush it aside, but you could see how he was rearranging his thoughts around a whole new situation.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2013, 11:05

        On the topic a mr. Joe Sawart mentioned this

        If a driver is allowed to call the shots then the team management loses all of its authority. Christian Horner said that Vettel had done the wrong thing, but said that he could see no point in calling up the German and ordering him to give back the place. One team boss I spoke to after the race said that if Vettel had been his driver, he would have called him into the pits just to make the point that it is the team, rather than the driver, who calls the shots.

        And I really can see a Ross Brawn, but also a Frank Williams, Franz Tost, a John Booth, or even an Eric Boellier (and definitely a Jean Todt and a Ron Dennis) doing that if its a matter of his authority being questioned by their driver. Its not a coincidence that drivers ignoring team orders in this way have rarely had a long and happy life with that team after ignoring them.

        • Palle (@palle) said on 25th March 2013, 14:54

          @bascb Totally disagree. If a team principal would do that to one of the sports top 3 drivers, then he would not get a signature from that class of driver again. The problem of RBR management is exactly that they fail on leadership – they don’t realize that they demand something of a star-employee, which he has big problems with delivering. If a leader misjudges his employees ability to perform according to given instructions, then who is to blame – the employee or the leader? RB pitwall should have confined their fear of a loss of points and have let their drivers fight it out without any teamorders. Star performers in any kind of work, needs special treatment and special leadership. Racedrivers of this class isn’t just regular workers, who will click their heels together and say “Yes Sir!” If not motivated they will go their own way.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th March 2013, 16:53

            If a team principal would do that to one of the sports top 3 drivers, then he would not get a signature from that class of driver again

            That is just full nonsense, @palle. If he is the team principle of a team with a good car, every driver will consider going there. And even more so when they see he is serious business.
            You forget that the top drivers will never even consider that they would not be the ones benefiting from team orders, so they will want a team boss who keeps order and makes the team run well.

      • Hairs (@hairs) said on 25th March 2013, 11:25

        @bascb That was the defining moment for me too. We all expected Webber to be ****** off, and we expected Horner to waffle. But Marko has never been shy about speaking his mind or disabusing the notion that he has power in the team.

        He actually looked nervous. If Webber’s side of the garage is mutinous, that spells trouble every weekend. That means pitstops aren’t a fluid ballet.

        This is grassroots trouble, and I doubt Marko has many friends within the grassroots of the team. His politics hold no sway there.

    • Howard (@howard) said on 25th March 2013, 23:48

      @ Hairs – Fantastic post.

    • panache (@panache) said on 26th March 2013, 11:27

      @hairs Brilliant post. I particularly like your focus on the implications for the people on Mark Webber’s “side of the garage” instead of just the driver himself. Very astute observations.

    • drmouse (@drmouse) said on 26th March 2013, 14:00

      You get my nomination for COTD, hairs. This is what I have been saying, too, but worded much better than I could ever manage.

    • Hairs (@hairs) said on 26th March 2013, 18:42

      Thanks for all the positive comments. Looking back over it, I never actually addressed why Webber may not have gone back at Vettel! Just as well there’s no edit post function, or it might end up twice as long.

      I do think that for all the headlines about this incident, whether or not team orders are allowed, what the effect on the two drivers and Horner is, Red Bull are in serious trouble here. Webber has a lot of friends within the team, having stuck with them in the good and bad days, and loyalty counts for a lot. The “who did what when” to and fro is relevant certainly, but for Vettel to defy Horner at the second race of the season I think pits the team into much deeper waters than it would have towards the end. It poisons the team dynamic at such an early stage that the resentment is going to simmer on.

      The problem for Vettel is that he hasn’t outgrown the original source of his power (Helmut Marko) completely yet. The three championships and the fantastic results cement his position as the fastest driver in the squad, certainly. But having a political figure like Marko in the middle of a racing team isn’t healthy. It’s a diametrically opposed philosophy. While Vettel may have been able to use that backing in the big-picture wars, if it comes down to feet on the ground, he’s possibly in trouble. Marko has no power and influence among the engineers. He can’t fix anything and it’s unlikely that a divisive figure like that is capable of brokering a settlement even if he wanted to. If Horner can’t get control of his driver, then his influence among the lower ranks wanes. Marko’s interfering already means that he’s considered a partial lap dog to some people outside the team, but we can’t tell what his standing is inside it.

      The fact remains this is a team sport. Vettel can tell himself he’s number 1, the fastest man on earth, the team’s only hope of a championship if he likes. Without someone to boot up his car, give him a strategy, analyse his data, change his tyres, fuel him up…. he’s nothing more than a kid on a tricycle out there.

      We like to focus on drivers. Let’s see anybody’s favourite driver win a race if the front jack man decides to lean on his elbows and not jack the car up. I’m not suggesting the mechanics would do that, but it’s an example of how very precarious a driver’s position is. Without a good team on board, they’re going nowhere.

  14. Scott Baxter said on 25th March 2013, 1:56

    I’m just a poor yank stuck in NASCAR hell trying to savor some F1 salvation, and will say this as a neophyte: Vettel was wrong in every respect today and deserves to chew the carpet publicly. Webber as evidenced in the article has done the exact same thing himself, so he is not without sin also. Vettel needs to say this to Weber AND RBR mgmt: “After today we race and team orders be damned. From this day forward I will pass whoever I can pass within the bounds of safety and professional conduct. If that is not acceptable please release me from my contract forthwith so that I may race.”. There is no negotiation, there is no discussion. RBR either accepts or releases Vettel. THAT will ensure an appropriate level of drama.

  15. Irejag (@irejag) said on 25th March 2013, 2:05

    As fun as it was to watch Mark and Seb fight it out on track, I can understand why the team gave them orders. However, I feel that some changes need to made so that we don’t have anymore of this “coasting” junk in races. I want to see drivers pushing their cars to the limit on EVERY lap of the race. If every driver is pushing to the limits, but for one reason or another they slower than their team mate, then yes, I think they should be ordered to move over, but if they are both doing a good pace, let them race. I tune in to watch a race to the finish, not a coast to the finish..

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