Ecclestone defends Vettel after latest apology

F1 Fanatic round-up

Sebastian Vettel, Bernie Ecclestone, Monza, 2011In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone defends Sebastian Vettel as the Red Bull driver makes another apology to his team.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Bernie backs Vettel decision (Sky)

“If I was Sebastian Vettel, having won three world championships for the team and somebody came on the radio and started giving me instructions, I’d probably do exactly the same as Kimi Raikkonen did when he came back and they gave him some instructions. I’d say, ‘I know what I’m doing’.”

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel: Red Bull say row is settled (BBC)

Christian Horner: “He’s apologised to the team and to every single member of staff for his actions, because he recognises the team is vitally important and being part of the team is a crucial aspect to being able to challenge for those championships.”

Mercedes hails Rosberg’s team spirit (Autosport)

Toto Wolff: “Imagine the two Red Bulls crashing; you look like an idiot and he looks like an idiot. So we took a conservative approach. Because of where we were last year, it was a good call.”

On the pace and in the points (Toro Rosso)

Jean-Eric Vergne: “At the start I was blocked by everyone on the outside, so I had to take an inside line. At that point I decided to back it off. I knew I was going to lose a lot of positions but I just wanted to stay out of trouble. If I had held the position I would almost certainly have crashed.”

Marussia look to Russia to boost budget (Reuters)

Chief executive officer Andy Webb: “It costs us 1.25 million pounds ($1.89 million) per week just to stay in Formula One, to maintain this level. Obviously if you want to move up you need a much bigger budget.”

Born in the USA (ESPN)

Alexander Rossi: “The fight with Marussia wasn’t a major surprise, mainly because we knew that for the first four races we’re running a 2012/2013 hybrid car, one that realistically wasn’t going to be our full 2013 spec car that could possibly help us challenge the midfield until Barcelona.”

Thailand planning for 2015 (Joe Saward)

“The route agreed includes the main Ratchadamnoen Avenue, with the track using Din So Road to the Giant Swing and Wat Suthat Temple and then down to the Grand Palace and the Navy Club, with a run close to the Chao Phraya River.”

Silverstone works to avoid rain chaos (Crash)

“As well as improving the drainage systems, Silverstone has also worked to improve transport links and will improve the shuttle services for users planning to travel by train or by bus.”

F1 Engine Maps (F1 Framework)

“The engine torque map. This is a 2-dimension table with engine speed and throttle as inputs and torque as output. This map is defined point-by-point or by ramps at the test rig with the fired engine and the torque meter. Sometimes is trimmed on track if the car is equipped with torque meters on the transmission.”

The Finishing Line – with Sebastian Vettel (F1)

“The last time I lost my temper was??
SV: I lose my temper over small things – but calm down again very fast. A well-tempered personality…”

Vettel is true heir to Senna (The Telegraph)

“Why did he insult his inquisitors? intelligence by mumbling that the move was ‘not deliberate’, only then to shrug, ‘I f—– up’? Here was no ordinary competitor but a calculating marksman, far more of an heir presumptive to Senna and Schumacher than even his most strident advocates had imagined.”


Comment of the day

@Red-Andy on Mark Webber’s dissatisfaction with the current generation of tyres:

I remember Damon Hill saying that one of the reasons he fell out of love with F1 was that he couldn?t get acquainted with the change from slick to grooved tyres.

Webber?s a similar age now to Damon in 1998 when that change happened. Sometimes the rules change and the older drivers find it difficult to adapt ?ǣ some suggested that Michael Schumacher?s struggles on his F1 return were because he found it hard to get used to the way the cars had changed between 2006 and 2010 ?ǣ but I don?t think that?s a reason to go back to the old way of doing things.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Blake, Hatebreeder, thekingofspa and Fanl!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Mika Hakkinen made it two wins in a row at the start of the 1998 season by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Team mate David Coulthard was second ahead of Michael Schumacher. But more controversially, the stewards ordered McLaren to remove a ‘brake-steer’ system they had been running since the season before.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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119 comments on Ecclestone defends Vettel after latest apology

  1. SlackBladder said on 29th March 2013, 8:17

    ‘WallyHood’ coud not have scripted a better attention getter if their careers depended on it!

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th March 2013, 8:40

    Based on Saward’s article, I’m guessing the circuit will probably look something like this:

    Or possibly this:

    Or … actually, I should stop before I spend all day coming up with layouts.

  3. Well, Vettel now has one thing in common with ‘Bernie’ – no one with any sense would now put any trust in him.

  4. Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 29th March 2013, 9:23

    The similarities are certainly there between Seb and Senna. Rather than look at the differences between them though, I think its useful to look at the differences between Senna and other drivers. Things like pulling up at Blanchimont to help a crashed driver in a practice session, visiting Rubens in hospital, even having an Austrian flag furled up in his car to honour Ratzenberger. He seemed to be aware of the ruthlessness required to race and still be respectful of the danger. Its a huge contradiction: to be able to intentionally put people at risk, and still be concerned for their safety, and to have these two facets fairly well resolved with each other. In this way, I’d argue his driving was less ‘dirty’ [than it could have been]. He took a lot from racing, but he also felt a need to put something back.

    Vettel and Schumacher both represent, to me, a step above the usual will-to-win of most drivers, but this isn’t balanced by other parts of their approach to racing.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st April 2013, 18:59

      @splittimes – That is an interesting post, and your examples that show that Senna had a respect for the danger are good.

      While I agree Vettel does appear to have that ruthless streak of Senna/Schumi, I believe he does respect the history and danger of the sport also. One of the first things he did after winning in Singapore was to dedicate the win to the recently deceased Sid Watkins on the radio. On the podium, he said he was “one of the biggest reasons that we can go out on a circuit like this and enjoy ourselves, and be reasonably safe”.

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 1st April 2013, 22:34

      @splittimes I’m inclined to agree with regards to Schumacher, although he does clearly also show a certain level of compassion (remember him breaking into tears after he beat Senna’s record for pole positions I believe). @david-a has also stated a good example with regards to Vettel, but indeed Senna was a great human being, if not a ruthless competitor.

  5. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 29th March 2013, 9:34

    I hate it when people keep drawing comparisons to Shuey and Vettel.

    For me, the big difference between them in my view is that Shumacher was a great driver and Vettel drives a great car.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 29th March 2013, 13:19


      For me, the big difference between them in my view is that Shumacher was a great driver and Vettel drives a great car.

      Tell me which great didn’t drive a great car? I’d like to see you respond. I could get a good chuckle.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 2nd April 2013, 12:52

        @david-a Can someone remind me which one of Hamilton’s cars was “great”? Actually, I’ll go through them myself…
        MP4-22 – Lacking in front downforce in comparison to the Ferrari and was very much underdeveloped in the later half of the season.
        MP4-23 – Often poorly balanced because McLaren over compensated for its predecessor’s poor front downforce by creating a car that was very rear-limited and that often overheated its rear tyres whilst badly wearing its fronts.
        MP4-24 – A dog of a car plagued by a fundamental lack of downforce.
        MP4-25 – A car that required an incredibly stiff setup in order for it to work. This made development avenues very narrow, and was far behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris by the end of the season.
        MP4-26 – A complex concept that forced McLaren once again along a narrow path of setup and development. The unchallenged but ever distant second fastest car of the season.
        MP4-27 – Fast but unreliable. Once again McLaren made a car that forced them along a narrow setup pathway, but if the car was correctly setup with its favoured rear-limited orientation it was unquestionably the fastest car on-track, however McLaren were unable to do this consistently.

        Hardly a catalogue of McLaren’s “great” cars is it? I believe that for only a handful of races in 2012 and 2007 could Hamilton put his hand on his heart and say, “I have the fastest car in F1″; something that Vettel has had since the 2009 British Grand Prix.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 2nd April 2013, 16:19

          @william-brierty – The 2007 and 2008 Mclarens were more or less the best cars of their respective years, having been voted the Autosport Racing Car of the year for 2007 and 2008. In 2007, their combined driver points would have won them the constructor’s title. In 2008, they won the driver’s title (with Kovalainen just being lacklustre).

          In 2009, while they started poorly, mid-season developments led to the car actually becoming very competitive come the end of the year.

          In 2010/2011, Mclaren did not have the best car, but were competitive with the Ferraris and Red Bulls- taking 11 wins in that time.

          In 2012, yes, they were definitely the fastest (and for more than a “handful of races”), but unreliable (much like Red Bull in 2010, actually).

          Collectively, I fail to see how anyone can claim Hamilton hasn’t driven “great cars” in his time with that team.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 2nd April 2013, 20:15

            @david-a Being the Autosport Racing Car of the year has nothing to do with whether it was actually the best car on track. The Red Bull RB8 was the 2012 Racing Car of the year, although it was, as you say, slower than the McLaren for much of the year. In 2007, McLaren had one of the best driver line-ups in their history, so no wonder they scored more points than Ferrari. However both the F2007 and the F2008 were unquestionably faster than their chromed rivals, and had none of the setup, tyre and balance issues that plagued the MP4-23 in particular. In 2009 we do see a positive performance curve at McLaren, but even though they managed to cure some of the traction and balance issues of the car (thus enabling them to regain speed in slower corners and giving them fair performance at tracks like Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Valencia, Monza and the Hungaroring) fixing the inherent and fundamental lack of downforce was too big a task to be taken on in-season. At no point was the MP4-24 “very competitive”. And then we arrive at the MP4-27, perhaps the most inconsistant car of Hamilton’s career. Although, as admitted at the MP4-28 launch, McLaren had the fastest car for 14 Grands Prix last year, the reliability, setup and balance issues of the car made the raw speed of the car very difficult to extract. The McLaren MP4-27 could have been a great car, but McLaren failed to extract the available performance and ultimately couldn’t understand the immense complexity of the chassis, and so it is thrown onto the same dump as the MP4-20; cars that were “great”…on paper. Every car that Hamilton has driven has either been naturally slow, as with 2009, or limited by excessive complexity thus narrowing development and setup pathways, and therefore not allowing McLaren to maintain winning momentum throughout the entire season. Seldom has Hamilton had the clear fastest car on track, and never has had a “great” car, like the Red Bull RB7, the Brawn BGP01, the Renault R25 or the Ferrari F2004. And let’s not forget, McLaren have not won the constructor’s championship since Hamilton joined the team.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 2nd April 2013, 20:35

            @william-brierty – Well, it depends on your definition of “great”, when it comes to cars. I consider a “great” car to be a championship contending one, while your definition may differ.

            For me, his 2007 (WCC winning, if not for the DQ) and 2008 cars at least, were great. Not dominant, but great in my eyes. The MP4-24 was surely the worst LH drove, and not “great”, but still, helped him win 2 races and 4 poles, in addition to 3rd in the constructors championship, hence I believed that in the 2nd half of 2009, it was “very competitive”. Only during that season was his Mclaren not competitive with the frontrunners.

            Going back to what @full-throttle-f1 said, he considers Schumacher to be a great driver, but Vettel only to be in “great cars”. SV has enjoyed a run of success in “great cars”, having drove midfield cars early in his career. Thus the appropriate thing would have been to claim that Vettel is a “great driver, currently in a great car”.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd April 2013, 11:57

            @david-a Exactly, it does depend on perspective, but if you consider a “great car” to be a car that contended for the championship, would the Ferrari F2012 be considered “great” your eyes? For me “great cars” are milestones, leaps forward like the Lotus 79, the McLaren MP4-4, the Ferrari F2002 and the Red Bull RB6, and dominant because of technical advances, not driver skill. However, that is simply perspective, so let me introduce a new word: dominant. Has Hamilton driven a dominant car? My answer would still be no. There is no doubt in my mind that the 2007-8 McLarens were slower than their Italian rivals, and therefore were not in the least bit dominant. The 2009 car, which you claim to be “very competitive” was interestingly on pole through the slow corners of Valencia (and would have won had McLaren not had a pit-stop error), and purple through the “point-and-squirt” final sector of Spa, but over a second off in the middle sector, through corners like pouhon, curva paul frere and the fangia chicane. Do you see what I am getting at? Even though McLaren had a car that was competent through low speed corners by the second half of the season, at no point was the car able to find the downforce needed to maintain pace through high-speed corners. And if a car is compromised to this extent, how can it be called “very competitive”? I shall enter another phase of this debate by asking, has Vettel ever driven a dominant car? Now at this point you are probably rolling your eyes and muttering something along the lines of “so subjective…”, but the Red Bulls of the past years have been dominant. I don’t think you can question the fact that the Red Bull RB7 was dominant. In qualifying at Silverstone 2011, the Red Bulls were taking abbey flat with the DRS open, whilst the McLaren of Button was having a lift and keeping his DRS very much closed. The Red Bull RB7 was a dominant car. Fact. So was the Red Bull RB6, and the only reason that Vettel and Red Bull didn’t wrap up the championship sooner was the fact that they were fighting teams and drivers accustomed to fighting for the championship on a regular basis…twinned with the occasional reliability issue. And although both the Red Bull RB5 and the RB8 were at times not the fastest cars on track, in the second half of both seasons, Red Bull development made them very much the dominant team. The Red Bulls RB5-9 are an enviable line-up of cars for any driver, and certainly better than the equivalent line-up of McLarens. So if I go back to what @full-throttle-f1 said, there can be no denial that Vettel drives “a great car”, but it is Vettel himself that is the difficult one. Vettel is a conundrum, and I think the whole “Vettel: benchmark or benificary” is one of the best debates around F1 at the moment. What I see in Vettel is not what I see in Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Di Resta or Hulkenberg, who all very much dominated in the lower formulae. Vettel, who was rather mediocre in the lower formulae, is more comparable to a Button, a Massa or a Perez; a driver that lacks a natural versatility, but can get the maximum out of himself and his machinery if he gets the balance and feel that his driving style requires. So I would amend the initial statement made by @full-throttle-f1, to “Schumacher was a great driver, but Vettel can be a great driver if he gets a great car.” I know it not very catchy, but it seems more representative to me!

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 3rd April 2013, 13:59


            I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on these “great cars”. While I agree that the RB5-9 have surely been better than the Mclaren equivalents (MP4/22-27), it wasn’t by such a significant margin, in my opinion. I can see where you’re coming from regarding the F2012, but the general consensus was that it was “dragged” into contention, rather than being outright good enough, like Vettel’s last 3 Red Bulls, Hamilton’s first 2 Mclarens, or Schumacher’s 2000-2004 Ferraris.

            I still believe the 09 Mclaren chassis, while not “dominant” or “great”, while not capable of fighting for the championship, was developed mid-season to become “competitive”. Back then, Jonathan Neale of Mclaren obviously didn’t believe they had the best package, but knew that they had a decent package, and claimed there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the car- just that they needed to develop.


            I would also say that I do not believe Vettel was mediocre in junior formulae, in comparison to the drivers you mentioned (except Lewis Hamilton and maybe Nico Hulkenberg, who have probably the best junior CVs on the current grid). Vettel was leading the World Series By Renault Championship, but finished 5th because he missed over half the season- after leaving to make his F1 debut. The common result used against the driver is that he didn’t win the F3 Euroseries title, coming 2nd behind Paul Di Resta- Rosberg failed to win this in his 2nd attempt, coming 4th. Even Fernando Alonso was 4th in Formula 3000, behind a certain Mark Webber.

            For the last few years, SV has driven championship winning cars. While you do raise an interesting point with Vettel doing even better when he gets a balance an feel for the car, I believe that he can still get amazing results when not in a frontrunning car (top 8 WDC finish in 2008), so I stick by my amendment to Lucas Wilson’s comment.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd April 2013, 14:09


            Vettel, who was rather mediocre in the lower formulae

            I’m interested to hear which of his junior career feats you think was the most “mediocre”: winning 18 out of 20 races in Formula BMW in 2004 or winning his first two starts in World Series by Renault?

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 3rd April 2013, 18:01

            @david-a – I think we may have to agree to disagree with regards to “greatness”, however I would imagine that most F1 Fanatic readers would agree with me in saying that Vettel’s cars have been significantly better than Hamilton’s. Regarding your article, it proves nothing. This is a sport in which two articles can be found that almost contradict each other almost word for word, and that particular article seems little more than propaganda. The facts are these. McLaren developed the MP4-24 over the course of the 2009 and in doing so fixed the traction and balance issues of the car, but the inherent lack of downforce of the chassis was all too natural and fundamental to be fixed in season. I would imagine that McLaren copied Ferrari in 2009, and turned the focus to 2010 earlier than normal. Everything I am talking about regarding the MP4-24 can be seen in Hamilton’s Abu Dhabi pole lap; nervous through the high speed turns 2 and 3, but planted and well balanced through the clunky curbs of the rest of the terrible track.

            Perhaps “mediocre” was too strong a word, but he simply was not the sensation that Hamilton or Alonso were. Alonso appeared from nowhere and won the hugely competitive Euro Open by Nissan, and Hamilton won five different championships before arriving in F1 whereas Vettel only won one, although admittedly he would have won the championship in World Series had he not been parachuted into F1. I was in the paddock a lot in 2007 (it was back when I was still a journalist) and there simply was not the excitement surrounding Vettel that there was around Hamilton, Rosberg or Alonso, he simply “popped” onto the scene in F1. I think it is fair to say that Vettel was really noticed by F1 when he actually was in F1, however, that is me by no means saying that F1 soon didn’t sit up and see that they had a serious talent on their hands. However, not wanting to pour cold water on your argument, but I think it is all too easy to take Vettel’s 2008 Italian Grand Prix victory at face value and say that he won in a “midfield car”. The Toro Rosso STR3 was at the time, a very fast car. Bourdais only just lost the chance of a podium the race before, and had qualified fourth, and had the race pace to finish second to Vettel had he not had a clutch issue on the dummy grid. And this grand prix also puts Vettel in the scenario in which he has a clear advantage; the wet. Not wanting to compare him to Schumacher again, but he is the new “rainmeister”, and seems almost peerless in the wet. However, with regards to his dry weather performance I will vehemently stick to my gut hypothesis, and say that Vettel requires a heavy nose and a planted rear if he is to perform at his best. When this craved rear stability is not present, we see some of the lackluster performances we saw in early 2012, and becomes a really rather average driver.

            @keithcollantine Hi there, Keith, and thanks, as ever, for the effortless way in which you make us all look rather stupid. With regards to Vettel, I’m not really talking about statistics on a sheet of paper, as outlined above, I really mean the lack of excitement surrounding Vettel. He was rather like Timo Glock in that he was rather anonymous before he came to F1, but obviously did a bit better than Glock when he arrived. Vettel could have so easily become a Robert Wickens or an Edoardo Mortara, who have both melted away into DTM obscurity, and only really failed to get into F1 because they didn’t manage to impress in the only series that is consistently producing F1 drivers at the moment; GP2. Unlike Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Alonso or Rosberg, who all seemed very much destined for F1, Vettel’s future in F1 didn’t really become cogent until it hit in the face.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th April 2013, 4:22

            In fairness, it’s true that an article from a member of Mclaren’s staff that claims there was fundamentally nothing wrong with the MP4-24 doesn’t necessarily prove much. But nor does the claim that a car that finished 6th in the WCC was a “very fast car”, or the claim that that the MP4-22/23 were slow or lacking compared to their Ferrari counterparts.

            Given that Vettel was given a chance when so young, and that (as you said) he would have won a GP2-equivalent title had it not been for him being given an F1 debut, he certainly was “destined” for F1, like the other names you mentioned.

    • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 30th March 2013, 18:15


      For me, the big difference between them in my view is that Shumacher was a great driver and Vettel drives a great car.


      Beautifully summarised.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th March 2013, 9:58

    Chief executive officer Andy Webb: “It costs us 1.25 million pounds ($1.89 million) per week just to stay in Formula One, to maintain this level. Obviously if you want to move up you need a much bigger budget.”

    I also noticed this in that article:

    Andy Webb, chief executive officer the Russian-licenced team, did not reveal the financial details of the one-year deal with Liga Stavok (Betting League) but saw it as just the start of many good things to come.

    I’m sure Liga Stavok are legitimate, but I couldn’t help but think back to the team’s time when they were known as Virgin Racing, and their ill-fated sponsorship deal with Full Tilt Poker which ended when Full Tilt was shut down by the FBI for violating gambling laws.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 29th March 2013, 13:04

      Online gambling and Bernie E. area good match morally speaking but back to the real point, $1,890,000 per week is a lot of money to field a tail-end team, one can only wonder at the amount being spent to win.
      You really would think that with these sort of budgets they could afford to re-build there engines and gearboxes between races, of course with 16 people employed, transported and accommodated at every race just to change tyres you can see how easy it must be to spend the money.
      The FIA should look more thoroughly at the costs imposed on teams by their efforts to spice-up the show, I for one would gladly trade pit-stops for engine development.

  7. sonia luff (@sonia54) said on 29th March 2013, 13:52

    Personally i think the Rosberg /Hamilton saga was worse. Nico was way faster than Lewis and should have been allowed to pass .I’ve watched the race again and haven’t heard anything about Nico being told to save fuel only Lewis. Regardless of what Mercedes say Lewis is number 1

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st April 2013, 17:09

      I disagree. It’s race 2 of the season. The teams are still learning about their cars and how their cars treat the tires and the tires treat the cars. The conditions in the first two races has been variable. I think all we saw with MW and LH is them driving a strategy used with team decisions, from lap one, and the other drivers on a slightly different strategy, because why put all your eggs in one basket in that regard? So why should MW and LH pay for racing a strategy they were told to use, which ultimately was perhaps not the best, but occurred at a time of a steep learning curve for all the teams and drivers at the start of the season?

      And given how contrite LH was post-race, saying that it was NR that should have been up on the podium instead of him, I doubt LH would accept a number 1 role this early on, nor feel it was deserved, and I am 100% confident that there was no intention to designate a team leader at Merc in race two of this season. They will have learned a lot about their cars and preferred strategies for the next race, albeit this last one was in variable weather so that may have shaded the strategies and their impact somewhat.

  8. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 29th March 2013, 14:55

    I’m sorry Bernie, but ***? So a driver that is very much ruining the excitement of your sport breaks direct team orders all out of irrational desperation to win, thus revealing himself as the spoilt “golden kid” he is, and you think he deserves your support? I’m sorry, but is he giving you a percentage of his salary?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th March 2013, 16:25


      a driver that is very much ruining the excitement of your sport

      By daring to race his team mate for the lead? Looked more exciting to me than what was going on at Mercedes.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 1st April 2013, 11:22

        @keithcollantine You have completely misunderstood my point. Vettel did not ruin the excitement of the Malaysian Grand Prix, quite the opposite in fact, he has ruined the excitement of the past few championship campaigns. Every since the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix, Vettel and Red Bull have been enjoying a sweet spot of performance and have stolen a degree of the intensity from WDC. I think the general tone in Brazil last year was that of sympathy for Alonso, not happiness for Vettel. Most would agree that last year would have been a greater spectacle had Alonso taken the championship he so deserved. In fact, by pulling that move on Webber, Vettel has already diluted the excitement of the championship in his inevitable march to his fourth consecutive championship.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st April 2013, 17:38


          Every since the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix, Vettel and Red Bull have been enjoying a sweet spot of performance and have stolen a degree of the intensity from WDC.

          That’s the “fault” (if one wants to put it that way) of the other teams and drivers, really.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 2nd April 2013, 11:18

            @david-a Once again, my point in misunderstood. At no point do assign “fault” to Vettel and Red Bull, I’m simply saying that a dominant figure in sport is never a good thing, so I really see little in the way of justification for Bernie’s die-hard support for Vettel. Also his argument is completely invalid. He, and Gerhard Berger, claim that the ruthlessness Vettel showed in the Malaysian Grand Prix is passive, a natural part of a champion’s make-up if you will. So on that basis all great racing drivers aren’t subject to team-orders and are therefore allowed to do as they please. Gilles Villieneauve was a great racing driver, but he was also an honourable man, a man that a) was mortified when Didier Pironi overtook him to win thus breaking an agreement, and b) would never consider turning up his engine again when he knew his teammate was in a lower mapping, thus “stealing” the win. Essentially this whole, hugely complex issue boils down to a single word: justification. Was there any justification for Vettel’s actions? Is there any justification for Bernie rather laughable support? No is the answer on both accounts. Vettel may be the youngest triple world champion, he may have put the name of a energy drink brand on the tongues of the most affluent sport in the world, and he may be on his way to the pantheon of all time motorsport greats, but nothing justifies such sheer irrationality and an oblivious, blinded desperation to win.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 2nd April 2013, 16:22

            @william-brierty – You could say the “justification”, is that Red Bull and Mercedes don’t need to be using team orders at this early stage of the season.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 2nd April 2013, 19:43

            @david-a OK, it was rather harsh on Rosberg that Mercedes used team orders, but Hamilton definitely had less fuel than Mercedes would have intended, especially bearing in mind the fact that there was a “wet phase” where the cars use less fuel anyway. I would wager that there was some form of operational error on Hamilton’s car, because I have never seen a car struggling for fuel in a declared wet race, so Mercedes must have thought that it was only fair that he kept the position and did not loose it all out of a simple team mistake. However, that is sheer speculation and it was rather harsh. At Red Bull the scenario is far more cogent. As I have said, Red Bull had tyre degradation in practice to an extent I that have never seen on such a front-running car before. Preserving the tyres and fully exploiting the gap created by Hamilton’s fuel issues therefore cementing the one, two was the only sensible decision. Red Bull weren’t under any pressure from behind, so holding station seems perfectly justified don’t you think? Also racing to the final pit-stop has been used by many teams for many years now, regardless of how early in the season. Its not about driver preference or championship standings in either case, its was all motivated by the want for mechanical and vehicular preservation, although Vettel had other ideas.

    • @william-breirty – it was great to watch and has generated huge amounts of publicisty for F1, so it’s reasonable to assume Bernie’s happy.

        • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 1st April 2013, 11:34

          @vettel1 It’s not the on-track battle I have an issue with, its the resultant diluted championship on top of Bernie’s frankly puzzling and rather die-hard loyalty to Vettel that irritates me. Here he is, F1’s “golden boy”, and he’s flouting a frankly sensible plea from Red Bull thus damaging his global image, but as you so rightly say, generating a hugely complex global debate (one that you can probably guess which side I’m on). I don’t see why Bernie has to enter the fray, defending motorsport’s latest darling. And by stating that his ruthless nature is some kind of justification of his actions, he is essentially saying that drivers of a certain level are allowed to practically do as they please; which is frankly, a rather laughable argument.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 30th March 2013, 13:57

      I am sure Bernie was more looking at the millions of people being exited to see the Red bulls fighting for the lead a week ago, as well as all of us now making headlines and letting the internet boil with comments about this matter doing F1 a great favor @william-brierty

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st April 2013, 17:25

        Yeah for sure @bascb controversy equals dollars for BE. Think of the audience there will be for the next race. BE is eating this all up. He couldn’t be happier.

        @william-brierty I think you make a great point if I’m correct in your assertion. Sure, as, according to Keith, he and many would far rather see SV snub the team order and pass his teammate for the excitement of it vs. a procession, but what if that were to now mean SV is the designated number one on the team and that would then mean the remaining 90% of the season will be a bore-fest at Red Bull.

        Fortunately for now I think that the team order was in fact to favour MW(well…that’s a fact), it was SV’s selfishness and giving the middle finger to the team and it’s sponsors that caused himself the win, and given the win’s unpopularity and the awkward position SV put himself and the team in, including harming the atmosphere on the team, I doubt we will see Red Bull now favouring SV from now on. But now their jobs are certainly much harder and the balance between the drivers has been thrown way out of whack. No other team would envy the postion Horner is in right now.

        • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 2nd April 2013, 12:04

          @robbie My point has little to do with team status. If anything the incident has acted to centralize the team balance, with more alienated team members swaying away from Vettel and towards Webber. However team status is a non-tactile concept anyway, because although Barrichello was nailed in a number two position, that didn’t stop him from driving faster than Schumacher, he just wasn’t fast enough. The problem here is that Vettel flouted a sensible team order and there is nothing stopping him from doing it again. He gave an insight into an irrational, oblivious part of his mentality, a part blinded and bleached by a love of winning. Another problem is he has corrupted the championship ranking, a ranking that Webber should be heading, but is instead lead by Vettel…again. I’m sure Vettel some how mentally justified his actions by feeling that he was short-changed by a premature move to slicks, a move that should have lost him the race. But that decision was Vettel’s through and through, so there is in fact no justification for what is the blackest mark on his gleaming C.V. to date.

  9. DaveD (@daved) said on 30th March 2013, 1:48

    Bernie’s man crush on Seb borders on ridiculous. He needs to at least pretend his interest is the sport rather than his favorite driver. It’s starting to feel like Prost and Balestre which takes away from the accomplishments of the driver ultimately. People will look back historically and ask if rules favored Red Bull which I don’t believe will be fair. It really comes down to Newey’s brilliance and the fact that Seb is a good, possibly, POSSIBLY a great driver. We’ll never know until Bernie gets out of the picture and Seb has to try and grab a car by the scruff of the neck the way Alonso did last year.

  10. Jeff Bird (@jedoublef91) said on 30th March 2013, 4:04

    You also forgot the fact who these drivers are racing for who is paying there wages and who is supplying them a championship winning car, it shows Vettel has NO respect for his team or teammate and only wants to rewrite all record books no matter what it takes

  11. JackFlash said on 31st March 2013, 3:00

    What should be set onto SV’s desk calendar at RBR… JF
    Honour is like a Ming Vase.
    If you drop it, then the pieces are not simply ‘put back together’. It takes a long time to glue the shards back into form, and it never holds the same appearance or value as it did prior.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st April 2013, 17:46

      Well said.

      I think that if SV wins the WDC this year, there will be an asterisk beside it. But ultimately that may not mean much. There are plenty of people that seem to feel the ends justify the means. That SV is simply ruthless and it is honourable because that is supposedly what it takes to be a winner. Forgetting of course that some guys win being of higher moral quality than that. Look at the MS/Ferrari era where year after year MS had a contracted subservient, so the results between the two Ferrari drivers were decided in the boardroom well before the season started, and yet he is revered by many. But it’s also polarizing. There are many who can never honour that. I don’t honour their one rooster policy as it takes away from the racing in the pinnacle of racing. But that doesn’t mean I honour SV for disobeying the team. MW did as he was asked all day long, and needn’t necessarily be blamed for the car needing dialing down. So why should he pay, and in fact he was not being made to pay, for the team strategy, that saw him as a sitting duck to SV come the closing stages. So while some applaud the ‘exciting racing’ that we saw with MW vs. SV thanks to SV giving everyone the middle finger, it kind of takes a lot of the excitement away knowing that MW’s car was on a lesser setting and really took the challenge out of the equation for SV. So…really SV…was the broken vase worth it? You totally changed the atmosphere at Red Bull, and gained an unpopular win, by passing a dialled down teammate. Is that really the type of ‘champion’ we want on the podium? For the sake of a little short term thrill?

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 2nd April 2013, 12:26

        @robbie Also fantastically well said.

        The atmosphere at Red Bull is transformed beyond recognition. Let’s leave the rather rosy ranking Red Bull currently holds in both championships to one side for the moment and focus on the fact that Red Bull is a weaker team now than it was a few weeks ago. They’ve had a PR nightmare. Meanwhile, at Maranello they are enjoying a nice few weeks improving a car that is already closer to the Red Bulls than the car that preceded it, a curvy Italian lady is feeding Alonso grapes and Massa is in for another session with the psychologist. Joking aside, Ferrari are loving this. They know they have the best driver in the world, they know they have a good car and they know they are running a team that was nearly operationally and strategically blemishless in 2012, unlike their rivals from Milton Keynes and particular those from Woking. Ferrari will be a force for the next few Grands Prix, and I’m not saying that in a die-hard Ferrari fan way either. OK, Hamilton and Mercedes will be the ones to watch in China and Monaco, but aside from that, these next few tracks have been traditionally very kind to Ferrari.

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