Alonso and Hamilton ‘would have done the same as Vettel’ – Horner

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Christian Horner says Sebastian Vettel’s defiance of team orders during the Malaysian Grand Prix showed he has the competitive instincts of the F1 elite.

“He’s a very, very driven individual,” said Horner in an interview with Sky. “You don’t win the amount of events he’s won, the amount of grands prix he’s won, the amount of success he’s had in his career by being a driver that is submissive, that sits back.”

“If Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton had been in that position they’d have done the same, if Mark Webber had been in that position we’ve seen him do the same. So let’s not kid ourselves that this is something unique to Sebastian, this is something that’s in any competitive, driven driver’s DNA.”

Horner admitted there had been previous occasions where he’d attempted to impose team orders on his drivers without success: “I think any race driver, any seriously competitive race driver, teams orders go against what they compete for.”

“We saw it with Mark in 2011 at Silverstone, we saw it on previous occasions with the team, the final in race in Brazil last year, only two races ago.

“It’s a tricky one because obviously the interest of the driver is different from the interests of the team. Team orders are permitted, they exist in Formula One. The constructors’ championship for the team has equal or more importance than the drivers’ championship. The constructors’ championships is where the funds are distributed.

“So of course there are different objectives going on within a Grand Prix: that of the driver and that of the teams.”

Red Bull ‘takes equality seriously’

However Horner added he believes Vettel genuinely regrets his actions: “Sebastian’s a very honest guy. I think he was shocked after the race I think he was surprised and then the feeling came over him, you could see that, that he felt he had done wrong.”

“I believe his apology was sincere and he repeated that apology in private in the briefing that we had later that evening.”

The Red Bull team principal insisted both his drivers will continue to be treated the same: “[Webber] will have equal opportunity to Sebastian as we’ve done our very best to do for both drivers at every Grand Prix that we compete at.”

“Mark knows the equipment that we make and the lengths we go to ensure parity. We even, from weekend to weekend, switch who going to go first in qualifying, who talks first in the debrief, it’s switched from weekend to weekend to ensure there is completely parity in the way we treat our drivers.

“It’s something we take very seriously within the team and I think Mark knows the support that he has.”

“I think we’re going to give up on that code”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Horner also gave further insight into the events during the final laps of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, pointing out that Webber had to run his engine on a lower setting because he had used more fuel:

“Mark and Seb were on opposing strategies they were running different tyres at different points in time. After that final stop of course fuel consumption between the two cars had been slightly different, Mark’s had been slightly higher than Sebastian’s so he was in a slightly more fuel saving mode than Sebastian.”

After the race Webber was heard pointing out to Vettel they had been given the instruction “multi 21″ during the race. “Multi 21 means car two ahead of car one,” Horner explained.

“Multi 12 means car one ahead of car two. It’s not complicated. It’s not that difficult to translate but both our drivers in the last three races have failed to understand both of those messages.”

“I think we’re going to give up on that code,” he added. “We need to probably try something else.”

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238 comments on Alonso and Hamilton ‘would have done the same as Vettel’ – Horner

  1. karter22 (@karter22) said on 29th March 2013, 14:31

    Horner admitted there had been previous occasions where he’d attempted to impose team orders on his drivers without success

    If that is true, then he really isn´t in charge of the team is he?
    BTW, will the news of them justifying Vettel´s move ever stop? It´s getting to be a drag already!

    • If that is true, then he really isn´t in charge of the team is he?

      This is the reality of team orders in F1.

      1) All teams try to employ them fairly frequently.
      2) About 50% of the time all drivers ignore them.

      In spite of the best efforts of some fans and members of the press to pretend otherwise, nothing particularly unusual happened between Vettel, Webber, and Horner last Sunday. Keith did a roundup of some of the other team orders issued by various teams at Sepang – in some cases the orders were obeyed, in other cases they were not.

  2. I don’t like the way Horner has delivered this interview, but I think the point he is trying to get across has been misinterpreted: he is not defending Vettel’s actions, rather trying to dispel this notion that Webber was defenceless to Vettel and that Vettel has no morality whereas every other driver, particularly Webber, does.

    What I would have preferred he do though is make a point of highlighting why Red Bull imposed team orders at all – that was the root cause of the uproar after all.

  3. tmax (@tmax) said on 29th March 2013, 14:41

    The Tale of 2 Drivers :

    2 Drivers are conserving fuel through conservative driving in the final stint of the race. Their team mates who are better on fuel are chasing them down to the chequered flag. 2 Team principals sensing the fuel shortage, Tire wear and the potential of a team mates crash order the chasers to back down and hold position. One Driver says okay I dont like it but fine i will do as you say. The other says ofcourse I don’t like it but I am going to take that position.

    So now the driver who held his position is called a loser and his team mate embarrassed, the driver who went on to take the position is a villian and his team mate angry. Eventually there are 4 unhappy drivers , 2 unhappy Team principals and Drama All around.

    Mr Eccolstone must be loving this. No amount of money can buy this publicity for F1 :)

  4. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 29th March 2013, 14:45

    Utter codswallop. In China 2010, Hamilton was faster than the struggling Button, but Hamilton held position in accordance with his team’s wishes. In Australia the same year, Alonso was faster than Massa for the entire race, but was unable to overtake; until the finals laps when Massa’s tyres were gone. Alonso was all over him but obeyed team orders and stayed behind. Now whilst Alonso and Hamilton are of course extremely determined and motivated racing drivers, they don’t share Vettel’s irrational desperation to win. Alonso and Hamilton don’t feel quite so bloody entitled to win, so whilst they fight hard for the win every weekend, they don’t come out the other end all miserable if they don’t win. And here’s another difference, both Alonso and Hamilton would, and have, said that their teammates have out-performed them on merit, however if Vettel attempted to do the same he would have a nose-bleed. Alonso and Hamilton know the value of a united team, however Vettel clearly feels he is running the show, and this attitude will, and has, caused damage to his career.

    • +100. Well said

    • F1fanNL (@) said on 29th March 2013, 23:14

      @william-brierty

      Shall I remind you of Hungary 2007? Or have you remembered Hamilton’s disobedience towards Ron Dennis on your own.

      Hypocrites will remain hypocrites.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 1st April 2013, 11:10

        @f1fannl So you are comparing a contextually sensible decision to hold ground and minimize tyre wear with a poorly justified order from the dictatorial Ron Dennis aimed at merely appeasing the frankly disenfranchised Alonso? Hamilton was flying, and there was no need for him to pull over and let Alonso pass, so he was completely right to ignore a non-official decision that had probably been suggested by Alonso himself. These orders need to put into context before you can compare them. On the one hand Red Bull had some of the worst tyre wear seen in the Pirelli era, but faced no threat from the grossly under-fueled Mercedes of Hamilton, so sensibly sought to neutralize the race and get the cars home. Let’s not forget the fact that the first laps of the race were wet, when cars use less fuel anyway, so had the race been completely dry, Hamilton may not have finished the race at all. However the Mercedes weren’t struggling like Red Bulls on tyres so would have been able to pressurize them in the final laps had Hamilton been fueled up properly. Contrast that with a factional plea that simply aimed at restoring the status of Alonso in a paddock that was very much doubting his abilities at the time, and you can see that Hamilton’s decision was perfectly justified and was therefore not resented in the least by the team, the paddock, the media or the world. Frankly, it seems rather hypocritical of you to suggest that that is remotely similar to a desperate and irrational move by a man that clearly feels that his status as the youngest triple world champion entitles him to the win every time he sits in the car.

  5. “We saw it with Mark in 2011 at Silverstone, we saw it on previous occasions with the team, the final in race in Brazil last year, only two races ago.”

    Did anyone follow up with questions about Brazil? It’s obvious that Webber defied team orders there, but for some reason it seems that no F1 reporter wants to know about it.

  6. Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 29th March 2013, 15:14

    @keithcollantine — “Little Christian Horner sat on the corner (of his stool), and watched greedy Sebastian defy; Mark gave Seb’ the finger, for his resentment did linger, ’cause Christian swallowed all the twerp’s lies. The sports world did wonder, who would allow such a blunder, ’cause surely they’d have to be dumb; then Horner did speak, and prove just how weak, he’d become when he sits on his thumbs!”

  7. Mark Webbers former opinion of team orders: they are rough guidelines, suggestions, to be followed or not as the driver sees fit.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/14145893

    • MNM101 (@mnm101) said on 29th March 2013, 16:34

      Someone should have handed him a copy of this when he got out of the car

    • Earlier in the race, there is still plenty to go on, and you are helping a guy who at that point of the race is quicker because of strategy or whatever.
      But when you are coming to the line and you’ve only got five laps to go, there is no more strategy to be played out. It’s just a straight fight.
      In that case, any driver is going to be a little bit less inclined to accept a request like that, because they know that is what the result is going to be.

      So When Mark does this he can sleep well but when his Team mate does the same. He can’t and cry in front of Media.

      • MNM101 (@mnm101) said on 29th March 2013, 16:51

        @harsha my thoughts exactly

      • Palle (@palle) said on 29th March 2013, 20:26

        After reading this I simply can’t understand how on Earth Mark can look himself in the mirror, putting on that act after the recent race? HYPOCRITE, what a jerk. Now I feel he needs to apologize, before I can regain some respect for him again.
        But again RBR management made a complete ass of themselves issuing Team-orders like that, knowing that often the drivers don’t follow them. The blatant loss of face is probably also what upset RBR the most. Seb did the only right thing, and in the aftermath of this both drivers should agree that when they are driving on track, they are in control and the teams role is down to servicing and recommendations.

    • F1fanNL (@) said on 29th March 2013, 23:20

      @jonsan

      COTD

  8. Rodney said on 29th March 2013, 18:05

    Sadly, what many people here don’t get is why the team orders are implemented in the first place, its because of the current regulations surrounding this sport. Yes they do promote ‘racing’ and overtaking in some situations, but are clearly failing in some regards.

    You can’t say this was about protecting their number 1 driver, since the team wanted Mark to win. So team orders here clearly arent for that reason. Whats the reason then?

    My take is its the tyres fault. Why? I shall attempt to explain it simply. With tyres that wear so quickly, the teams do not want an inter team battle that could cost both drivers tyres to wear quickly at the same time. This will give other teams an advantage if an extra pitstop is required.

    Why would they wear more quickly? Simply because the tyres are so ridiculous that you cannot drive the car to its full potential, as have been mentioned by many drivers such as Webber and Hamilton. When you are battling with another driver, you ahve to push the car closer to the edge than what team would like, and the tyres wear more quickly. All the drivers are now driving to a delta lap time, set by the engineers and strategists, and are not driving the car anywhere near its potential.

    What does all of this have to do with the events that happened that day, I hear you ask… Well, think about it this way, why do teams deliberately under fuel their car for the race? Are engineers that stupid they can’t even calculate the fuel needed?

    NO. Its because since the tyres do not allow a car to be driven closer to its full potential, the drivers use less fuel as they are pushing less, leading engineers to calculate the fuel needed based on those delta lap times. As we saw with Webber and Hamilton, any time in the race they tried to go faster, they paid for it through the tyres and fuel at a later stage.

    Is this what we want? The Bridgestones were equally ridiculous in the sense they never wore out, but these Pirellis are on the other end of the spectrum, wearing out too quickly. Surely a compromise between the two can be found?

    We already have DRS to aid racing, which so far in the first two tracks proved that its beginning to work as intended, making passing easier but not too easy. But what have these tyres done? They stopped the racing because no team would risk it.

    Think about it – these tyres are destroying racing. And that’s my take on it.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 29th March 2013, 19:14

      Apart from still disliking DRS I agree with you entirely but would also add that the engine and gearbox longevity rules also create a disincentive to allow intra-team racing, I am hoping for an early gearbox change for SV. but realise the odds are long.

    • Although it’s too early in the seasson (let’s not forget that Kimi won Australia with 2 stops “only”) your statement is an accurate reflection of what happened in Malasia and if this will be the norm in the next GPs I can only repeat your last sentence. Well put

  9. Jimmy Clark said on 29th March 2013, 20:54

    There is so much debate about Red Bouls “these” and “thats” and that is Vettel’s fault. He sould have just said “leave me alone, l know what I’m doing”,so we would have a comedy now and not a controversy.

  10. foleyger (@foleyger) said on 29th March 2013, 22:24

    Webber] will have equal opportunity to Sebastian as we’ve done our very best to do for both drivers at every Grand Prix that we compete at.” ehm, what about taking the new front off wing off Webber in Silverstone 2010 when Vettel’s wing failed? u can see why Webber was upset when he was blamed for Turkey when it wasn’t his fault. No wonder he didn’t respect team orders in Silverstone 2011 when he was being mistreated. surprised Webber has stayed this long at Red Bull to be honest. Whoever comes into Red Bull next year will be in as bad as position as Alonso’s teammate at Ferrari

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 29th March 2013, 23:14

      @foleyger

      what about taking the new front off wing off Webber in Silverstone 2010 when Vettel’s wing failed?

      Because Webber was happier with the older specification. But of course, he’s always the victim, even when the team use team orders to favour him…

      • foleyger (@foleyger) said on 30th March 2013, 11:26

        if u remember,Red Bull have an upgrade to their front wings for that Grand Prix. Both were given a new front wing in practice. Vettel’s one failed and Webber’s worked fine. Red Bull then decided to give the 1 new front wing to Vettel which Webber wasn’t happy as you could hear when he won the race. ‘not bad for a number 2 driver’ is what Webber said. Webber was the victim in Malaysia when you consider there was a team order and he was reassured twice about it. Vettel must be really proud of passing a teammate who had his engine turned down. If Vettel and Webber were racing without team orders and had the same engine settings then fair enough. Vettel comes out after and says he didn’t hear the teamorders. Horner would want to manage his team as this has been escalating since Turkey 2010.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th March 2013, 18:37

          @foleyger – Except that the front wing was only available for use because Webber preferred the old spec. “It went to Sebastian based on Championship position, his performance in P3 and the drivers’ feedback on the different front wings from yesterday.“- Horner.

          Webber was only a victim if somehow, coming out of the pits wheel to wheel wasn’t a sufficient sign to him that they were still racing. All from the same person that insists on “battling to the end”.

          Vettel must be really proud of passing a teammate who had his engine turned down.

          And MW must be proud of failing to pass a teammate with his engine turned down and KERS failing.

          • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 31st March 2013, 20:35

            (@david-a) So you’re comparing Webber’s blatant anger at Silverstone 2010 to the words of Christian Horner? The man’s a snake oil salesman.

            And MW must be proud of failing to pass a teammate with his engine turned down and KERS failing.

            He gave it a half-hearted attempt on a track renowned for its difficulty to pass, Vettel attacked an unsuspecting Webber on one of the ludicrous mile-wide tilke dromes.

            And blaming Webber for Vettel’s usual overtaking clumsiness in Turkey was disgusting, though to answer (@foleyger)’s question, Webber’s stayed there due to RB spending three years (and sadly it’s starting to look like a fourth) with far-and-away the best car on the grid. He’s clearly weighed up the benefits of having the best car, to being in a team where he has the best machinery, so you can’t really blame him for staying at RB.

          • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 31st March 2013, 20:36

            Woops, meant having the best machinery vs. being treated as a number 2 (even when he’s ahead in the championship).

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 31st March 2013, 23:03

            @sgt-pepper

            So you’re comparing Webber’s blatant anger at Silverstone 2010 to the words of Christian Horner? The man’s a snake oil salesman.

            Yes, given that it was established that Webber hadn’t used the front wing in Satuday practice, because he preferred the original spec.

            He gave it a half-hearted attempt on a track renowned for its difficulty to pass

            “There was a lot of traffic coming to me, but I was still trying to do my best to pass the guy in front” – Mark Webber.

            Vettel attacked an unsuspecting Webber on one of the ludicrous mile-wide tilke dromes.

            Webber exited the pits next to Vettel. If he was “unsuspecting”, then he couldn’t be a particularly intelligent racing driver. You’re just insulting the Aussie.

            And blaming Webber for Vettel’s usual overtaking clumsiness in Turkey was disgusting

            Usual? Since when has he been clumsy in overtaking? Because he had a whole two incidents in 2010? Is Hamilton usually clumsy because he had a mare in 2011?

            Webber’s stayed there due to RB spending three years (and sadly it’s starting to look like a fourth) with far-and-away the best car on the grid.

            Far and away? Red Bull didn’t even have the fastest car in 2012.

  11. Jabosha (@jabosha) said on 29th March 2013, 23:46

    This era of double talk and no accountability astounds me. Horner knows this how? Even if they both told him they would, there’s no proof they would even go through with it.

    Let’s not kid ourselves Vet messed up that’s it. Time to move on. I don’t like Vet much but I won’t condemn him for what he did. It’s done and over. RBR shouldn’t have been holding him or Webber up in the first place. Not to condone what Vet did though.

    It’s like me getting into a argument with Keith Collantine (me being wrong) and then another poster knowing other peoples post history and ideas says well Klass and Vettel1 would have done the same thing as Jabosha let’s not kid ourselves. (No offense to the two names I bought up, if so, I apologise).

    I mean really? That’s what’s going on here and he stated his opinion as fact.

  12. Lompee said on 30th March 2013, 0:41

    sorry ferrari would have scored 15 points [ 10 + 5 ] placing them fourth in the standings not seventh.
    This would place them fourth and not third as we see today.
    sorry did this early this morning shoulda proofed better. 11 WCC points for a win and lets go racing?
    pardon me.

  13. Unawesomebeeswax said on 30th March 2013, 1:08

    Webber is just a bag full of excuses (like paul di resta). He rarely has a weekend where he is error free or drives a clean race. To think that vettel would obey team orders after so many years as his team mate, points to stupidity.

  14. OOliver said on 30th March 2013, 6:10

    Horner should have just stuck to the drivers he knows and not assume what other drivers would do. Hamilton has moved over for his team mate, both Button and Heikki in the past. What matters is what the team makes clear to the drivers, not what they try to engineer by deceit. Alonso has never been told to hold station, so we can’t know his reaction.
    Redbull should just sort out their internal issues and leave others out of it.

  15. As the dust settles I think the biggest loser is Horner. After Vettel ignored team orders and went racing, with Webber fuming, the F1 world looked to Horner for a reaction.

    He showed, for the first time, his weakness as a true leader – something Brawn would never have done. Despite his history as a driver and racer which may lean him towards the racing driver ruthlessness, he is a TEAM principle and he sold his number two driver down the river.

    If Mark was mad at Seb, he must be apoplectic about his boss, whose orders he followed and who is effectively now saying ‘A real racer would have ignored me’.

    If I was Mark, I’d be ignoring team orders from now on, as even the boss admits they are impotent. What does that say about the strength of the boss?

    • F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 30th March 2013, 7:21

      horner has displayed the most impotent leadership i can remember witnessing. he was made to look like a muppet in front of the whole world and his responses only confirmed it. since he completed building the team, he’s clearly only a passenger with occasional (and dreadful) public relations lip service. i have never liked the guy, and he has proven me right.

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