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.”

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix articles

Images ?? Red Bull/Getty

Advert | Go Ad-free

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

  1. this is not formula 1 even if vettel breaks every record in f1 he cant be legend and he will never be .

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th March 2013, 18:38

      @aamir86 – Nonsense.

    • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 31st March 2013, 20:16

      (@aamir86) +1.

      (@david-a) All the statistics and records in the world don’t equal greatness.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 31st March 2013, 23:04

        @sgt-pepper – Give me a non-double standard argument that proves that Vettel isn’t and can never be great.

        • aamir waheed (@aamir86) said on 1st April 2013, 1:34

          first whats nonsense in it every one has its own perception ,
          second triple world champion or so don’t make u great , respect ,sports man spirit ,integrity, to honer commitments ,sacrifices , and mature decisions ,they all makes u great, and in f1 driving are your words not press conferences .
          to slap some one deliberately and say sorry its not greatness .
          time will tell as its already telling .

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st April 2013, 2:02

            @aamir86

            I said it was nonsense because much of the argument against Vettel (in order to diminish his achievements or show disrespect to him) contains some kind of double standard.

            In this scenario, SV disobeyed a team order. Team orders are often criticised by fans. In fact, another driver who disobeyed a team order was praised for his actions, and his “sportsman” image wasn’t tarnished.

            Second, who are you to doubt the “sacrifices” or “decisions” of the drivers on today’s grid? How would someone like Vettel get to where he is without doing everything possible to prepare himself for this level of competition?

            Finally, you’ve completely contradicted yourself. “Triple world champion or so don’t make u great”, yet “in f1 driving are your words not press conferences”. In fairness. I am no supporter of Vettel’s so called apology, nor of Horner’s words. But if the driving does the talking, then the mere fact that he is an F1 triple world champion means that Vettel has spoken.

          • aamir waheed (@aamir86) said on 1st April 2013, 8:36

            nops dear u r totally taking me wrong some times a line is enough to explain and some time a book is not enough and i think its difficult to content u .
            any ways i don’t want to argue with u bro its just every body’ s own opinion
            no hard feelings.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st April 2013, 12:48

            @aamir86 – I won’t continue to debate this because it’s clear that there is little to debate- other than pretty much saying “Vettel isn’t great because I say so”, you and @sgt-pepper have nothing solid to back up that opinion.

          • aamir waheed (@aamir86) said on 1st April 2013, 15:30

            bro no hard feelings take care

          • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 3rd April 2013, 14:59

            (@david-a) First of all, I wasn’t necessarily directly criticising Vettel, more making the point that I don’t believe driving greatness is derived of mere statistics and records. Although I wasn’t directly diminishing Vettel’s records as I’m getting rather bored of the fan-boy vs. critics debate, you do make some interesting points.

            In this scenario, SV disobeyed a team order. Team orders are often criticised by fans. In fact, another driver who disobeyed a team order was praised for his actions, and his “sportsman” image wasn’t tarnished.

            Although I see where you’re coming from in the sense that Mark was applauded for defying team orders, whereas Vettel was criticised, there are two key differences. First of all, Mark was preserving his tyres and had turned down the engine on the understanding that there would be no further racing – he could’ve maintained the gap if he’d known Vettel was going to fail to honour this agreement.

            Second, and I feel this is where the fans appear to split – the pit-to-car radio is extremely telling of Vettel’s true attitude towards Mark, even when he had gotten into the lead on merit. Vettel clearly only respects team orders when they suit him; ‘be wise now’ + ‘mark is too slow, get him out of the way’. The utter disdain for what is supposedly one’s teammate is appalling, and considering Vettel has clearly already had preferential treatment at least since 2010, people empathise with Mark hugely

        • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 1st April 2013, 13:10

          (@david-a) Actually I did reply asking you to clarify what you meant by ‘double-standards,’ I seem to remember you flinging that around before slightly nonsensically, but sometimes posts seem to take awhile to process.

          All I’m referring to is the fact that all the records in the world do not make a driver great. We all define greatness in different ways, and I think this is what separates those who don’t rate Vettel, to those who do. To me, true greatness derives from a mix of raw speed, an ability to put a poor car in places it shouldn’t be, dicing wheel to wheel, and an insatiable drive to push to the end. This is why drivers like Gilles Villeneuve are mentioned in the same breath as 7 times champion Schumacher, why people mention Senna’s drive at Monaco in 1984 or Donington 1993 etc – infact people refer to times like Villenuve vs. Arnoux in 1979 far more than Schumacher’s domination from 2000-2004. Noone doubts Schumacher’s ability, but greatness is derived of more than mere records.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 1st April 2013, 22:53

            @sgt-pepper

            What I meant is that the common arguments used to diminish SV’s achievements ask him to do something he has arguably already demonstrated, or says something that also applies to other drivers as well.

            I agree with your definition of what makes a driver “great”. Looking at it and applying it to Vettel:

            True greatness derives from a mix of raw speed, an ability to put a poor car in places it shouldn’t be, dicing wheel to wheel, and an insatiable drive to push to the end.

            Has Vettel demonstrated raw speed? Someone far more qualified to judge than you or I believes so. Giorgio Ascanelli, who worked with Ayrton Senna as well as Sebastian Vettel, said: “Twice in my life I have experienced perfection; once with Senna, again with Vettel. In one respect Michael was different because he had to work harder for his success than did Senna and Vettel. With those two it was something else.” That isn’t a statistic, like pole positions, or his record against his teammates. That is praise for his natural ability from someone who worked with the great Senna.

            Can he put a poor car in places where it shouldn’t be? In general terms, a “poor car” would be one that that is in the midfield or worse. Vettel spent most of his early career with Toro Rosso. He finished his first full year 8th in the championship, scoring 35 points of the team’s 39 points. He won at Monza, passed Hamilton in Brazil to come 4th, scored on 7 other occasions, and beat both Toyotas, Red Bulls, Williams, and a Renault in the championship. The team even reckoned in 2009 that SV made the difference.

            Can he dice wheel-to-wheel? Now, I’ll give you the fact that Vettel has made errors. He isn’t perect in this regard. But would you use those to rule that he absolutely cannot race wheel to wheel? He fought through the field three times last year, the highlight for me being Spa, where he did almost all of his passes out of the DRS zone, including on his teammate, and a car that his teammate was stuck behind, for extensive periods of the race.

            Does Vettel drive to the end? His engineers telling him off for setting fastest laps at the end of a race is proof of that.

            But some people vehemently deny all of this, or come up with a questionable excuse (e.g. overrating the abilities of Toro Rosso, or deliberately underrating Mark Webber as a driver/teammate/benchmark). Okay, Vettel is 25, and has a long career still ahead of him. But given all he has done and shown, I do not believe it is fair to simply dismiss this driver, by saying stuff like “even if vettel breaks every record in F1 he can’t be a legend and he will never be”.

      • aamir waheed (@aamir86) said on 1st April 2013, 1:19

        totally agreed

        • M Dickens (@sgt-pepper) said on 3rd April 2013, 15:47

          (@david-a) I really didn’t want to get into this, so I’ll be quick.

          Has Vettel demonstrated raw speed?

          Yup.

          Can he put a poor car in places where it shouldn’t be?

          Nope.

          overrating the abilities of Toro Rosso

          The STR3 was the RB4 with a Ferrari engine and gearbox. The legendary Bourdais qualified 4th. Hamilton and Kimi were stuck at the back of the pack, the most competition he had was from legendary…Kovalainen.

          or deliberately underrating Mark Webber as a driver/teammate/benchmark)

          I actually think Mark is an excellent driver, but I feel he can’t make these new regulations work for him or his driving style – it’s a real shame because I’m a huge Webber fan.

          fought through the field three times last year

          I’ll hand it to you that Spa was one of this stronger perfromances, but to say he ‘fought through the field’ when Grosjean took out half the pack is a little silly. He crashed twice in Abu Dhabi, and had two safety cars, as well as the best car since the Asia update. In Brazil basically the whole field jumped out of the way, and his crash into Senna was his fault – he turns into corners expecting people to either yield, or dissapear.

          Does Vettel drive to the end? His engineers telling him off for setting fastest laps at the end of a race is proof of that.

          That’s indicative of the utter lack of discipline RB have over him, as proven by the events in Malaysia. This, combined with the disgusting way with which he talks about his teammate only prove to tarnish his already questionable personality.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 3rd April 2013, 16:57

          @sgt-pepper

          The STR3 was the RB4 with a Ferrari engine and gearbox. The legendary Bourdais qualified 4th. Hamilton and Kimi were stuck at the back of the pack, the most competition he had was from legendary…Kovalainen.

          You (unsurprisingly) forgot to mention that the RB4 wasn’t exactly a good car. It finished 7th in the constructor’s championship, in the hands of two experienced drivers (one of whom you believe is “excellent”. STR didn’t start the season with that car, and Newey only changed RBR from using the Ferrari engines in the first place, because he felt the Renault to be superior for his designs.

          And at Monza, Bourdais qualified 4th… with a wet setup. Vettel was on pole with a dry setup. Bourdais, like Webber, would have slid down the order- being 40 seconds slower in the race. Not to mention that “Hamilton and Kimi were stuck at the back of the pack” because they simply didn’t do as good a job as their respective teammates on that weekend, let alone Vettel.

          When people try discrediting Monza 08, they forget that it wasn’t even Vettel’s only great performance in a midfield car that year- he scored excellent results on a consistent basis. Hence he definitely put that car in places it shouldn’t have been.

          I’ll hand it to you that Spa was one of this stronger perfromances, but to say he ‘fought through the field’ when Grosjean took out half the pack is a little silly. He crashed twice in Abu Dhabi, and had two safety cars, as well as the best car since the Asia update. In Brazil basically the whole field jumped out of the way, and his crash into Senna was his fault – he turns into corners expecting people to either yield, or dissapear.

          Actually, at Spa Vettel was delayed by the events going on ahead of him- he was 12th after the restart, but finished ahead of Kimi, who had a relatively smooth race, and was 2nd after the restart. So it is anything but silly to say that he fought through the field.

          At Abu Dhabi, he had one minor collision (i.e. only breaking a front wing endplate) with Senna when fighting for position. The other was a silly mistake under the SC. Nevertheless, he made up for it, passing numerous cars to get that podium.

          In Brazil, you know it is an exaggeration to claim that “basically the whole field jumped out of the way”. Bruno Senna, I seem to remember, was 10th, with Vettel 7th. Bruno had outbraked 2 other cars to get to the inside of Vettel, where his front hit Vettel’s rear, suggesting it was a rather ambitious lunge.

          That’s indicative of the utter lack of discipline RB have over him

          Really? You’ve demonstrated that you’ll type anything, as a Webber fan to tarnish Vettel’s personality and skill. You want a driver to have an “insatiable drive to the end”, then criticise RBR and SV for pushing for records at the end. What’s the point?

  2. Chaz (@chaz) said on 31st March 2013, 2:37

    “Mark! Now more than ever is the time for that Ozzy Grit!”

  3. Bill B. (@grahamhill2) said on 31st March 2013, 16:27

    I’ve never liked the concept of Team Orders, but what’s more irritating is when someone like Christian Horner thinks he can run any kind of jive drivel by us with the expectation we’ll all react like a pack of Pavlov Dogs. “Oh, thank you Herr Doctor Horner for taking a moment out of your demanding schedule to acknowledge our existence (lick , slobber) ……..No, what Sebastian Vettel’s “defiance” of YOUR team orders” indicates is the weakness of your character and resolve.

    Just curious, but What do you think the reactions would be from say Frank Williams, Ron Dennis or Ross Braun if one of their drivers defied the man in charge. And no, this is not a multiple choice question. Oh, forget I asked.

    As to your “everybody does it at the elite level” mantra…you don’t really believe that, do you? I have never seen Alonso pull that sort of stunt, nor Hamilton, Button, or anyone I can recall. Marc Webber is a very good driver, but we all know Vettel is faster. Period. Webber predicted you would find a way to excuse Sebastian’s behavior and he was right.

  4. Jimmy_D (@jimmy_d) said on 31st March 2013, 21:36

    Why is Horner trying to treat F1 fans like idiots?

  5. Drezone said on 1st April 2013, 3:54

    I’m curious

    Horner said both his drivers failed to understand multi 21 in the last 3 races

    This would indicate webbers bad start off the front row with vettel in the last race in australia was organised as this was the only time they were near each other in the race

    Does this mean he was already ordered to let vettel into the first corner anyway???

  6. jpowell (@jpowell) said on 1st April 2013, 16:01

    I turned off before the incident ,got bored ,so for me Mark won anyway.

  7. Robbie (@robbie) said on 1st April 2013, 20:31

    If Horner is going to defend SV by saying he, like some other drivers, are not ones to obey orders to hold station, then why did he give team orders? Why would he have ever expected SV to obey? And why then the big uproar, the big surprise, the big tensions, the big apology, if Seb was just being a champion? And why didn’t Horner just radio MW that SV is way faster, please make way without incident? Sorry Mark, the strategy didn’t work out today but we were close. We’ll do better for you in China.

    Personally I think there was a genuine, solid order that was agreed upon at some point either before the race or before the last pits, that the leader was to remain the leader, or otherwise MW wouldn’t have seemed so obviously bent out of shape, and SV so obviously so sheepish about an unpopular win.

    Might I suggest, in case someone already hasn’t since I’ve found just too many comments to weed through, that perhaps SV has had so much glory in the last 3 years, and with this being race 2 of this season and with MW having a very strong showing and in fact leading, that the team was trying to throw MW a bone…an earned one, don’t get me wrong. And might I suggest that when folks around here have talked of hypocricy of MW’s for he has disobeyed team orders too, those team orders were within an atmosphere where MW was seeing so much of the weight go on SV’s side on the team, at least psychologically if nothing else. How many races has it been since MW uttered the words ‘not bad for a number 2, eh?’ I give MW a little more leaway when it comes to fighting against the team’s desires for SV to succeed, and fighting for his reputation and his career.

    I think one of the sad possiblities here is that those in favour of the excitement SV brought by defying an order in this one race, may end up ruing it because what top level driver now would go to Red Bull to partner SV who will steal a win out from under you even when the team claims there’s racing and all’s fair. Not only is it his team but even when it isn’t, it is. We might now be doomed to seeing SV and some up and comer, not there to compete, because that will make Horner’s and SV’s life easier, and we the fans the loser, ala Ferrari and their one-rooster rule.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.