Apparently, he hasn’t been watching this Formula 1 season nor has he heard himself give orders to team boss Christian Horner. Heck, if I’m not mistaken, even Mark Webber seemed pretty sure there was a No. 1 and a No. 2 driver at the team. (And he, Mark, was No. 2, if you missed the British Grand Prix.)
Well hold on to your Red Bull cans, kiddies. Because that just isn’t the case, after all. Here’s how the BBC has it:
“If you ask me today who will be champion, I say one of our two drivers,” Mateschitz said.
“The pits must not interfere because then problems begin in earnest.”
Webber and team principal Christian Horner met last week to discuss the team’s decision to swap front wings and clear any simmering resentments.
Now, Red Bull founder Mateschitz has also moved to quell any further tensions within the team and to prevent accusations of favouritism escalating by insisting there is no driver preference.
“This philosophy is not in keeping with my understanding of racing,” Mateschitz told Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung .
“We do not have a number one and a number two driver.
“Both drivers have cars to exactly the same standard. The problem with the new wing at Silverstone was the first exception.”
Mateschitz has no intention of stopping either driver speaking their minds in the public arena.
“Such a thing would not be our style,” added the Austrian tycoon. “Everyone can tell the truth – which is one of the highest virtues of Red Bull.”
Neither will Mateschitz stop his drivers going head-to-head on the track, even if it could potentially harm the team’s championship chances.
Vettel and Webber lost out on a potential one-two at the Turkish Grand Prix as the pair collided when disputing the lead in Istanbul.
“Our two drivers know that they have to beat the other and they still need each other to take away as many points as possible from the competition,” stated Mateschitz.
“You cannot just program a champion.
“We are talking about racing – the image of blood, sweat and tears is not by chance.”
OK, so most of that sounds pretty good. And it sounds like how you’d want your boss to be acting if you were a Formula 1 driver (or any driver, for that matter). But did you notice the mention of the wing thing being the “first exception”? That strikes me as the little loose thread that can unwind Mateschitz’s statement. First there’s one, then there’s another, maybe a third and before you know it Sebastian Vettel has a whole new car and Mark Webber’s driving a glorified Toro Rosso.
So, I give Mateschitz an A for effort on this PR spin — precisely because he’s left the opening for the team to keep favoring Vettel. Which I can’t but believe is the preference, even as it seems like fans are turning against the German (except maybe in Germany?).
If we haven’t started it yet, can we official begin the “Webbo Oh-Ten” campaign?