If body language could speak, Red Bull driver Mark Webber’s would have been saying P*$$ Off! The row began with a front wing failure in qualifying for the British Grand Prix on Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull RB6. There were only two new front wings for the weekend and the team made the decision to put the other new wing on Vettel’s car leaving Webber with an older style front wing.
This has sprouted an all-new spate of “favoritism” accusations for the team and some terse words from Webber himself–currently drying the ink on a new contract with the Austrian team. AUTOSPORT has the story with Webber saying:
“I think the team is happy with the result today.”
“I would rather be third on the grid probably, we know second on the grid at most sides is s***,” said Webber. “If Fernando [Alonso] wants to change we will see if we can.”
In a follow up from the incident, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has denied team favortisim and added that there are times that a boss has to make a tough decision and today was one of them. The current standing in the world championship was the determining factor:
“Unfortunately we found ourselves in a situation with only one front wing of a certain specification which was slightly different in characteristics. Both drivers tried it yesterday and one had a better preference for it over the other. And it was tried by both again this morning.
“Unfortunately sometimes I have to make a difficult decision â€“ and with only one wing available and the facts to hand that we had, and based on championship position â€“ which was the criteria that we used â€“ that wing went to Sebastian today.”
“We don’t plan to have a scenario like this,” he said. “If we were favouring one driver we would give that driver a spare wing as well. We would not run with having two available to one driver.
“We will continue to support both drivers in the best and absolute fairest way that we can. But on some occasions you have to make a difficult decision, and today was one of those instances.”
With the remnants of the Turkish Grand Prix incident still a residue on the teams PR windscreen, today’s incident has a knock-on effect and while many are crying “foul” over the issue, Red Bull will again enjoy more PR and media coverage than ever before. F1 is truly a sport where any PR whether bad, good or indifferent is sought after. That precedent being set by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone many moons ago.
So how does Webber feel about the incident? Clearly his post race interview and body language suggested that he was incandescent over the incident but Horner feels his veteran driver should know the score at Red Bull:
“Mark knows the way we operate as a team. He knows that with that decision there was no malice behind it. There was no manipulation. It was purely that we found ourselves with a single component and, from a team point of view, some days I have to make difficult decisions.”
Is this favoritism? Can an argument be made for the new kit going to the points leader? Horner has suggested that team orders do exist on a lengthy interview with Motorsport Magazine’s latest podcast so is this any surprise? What do you think? If Vettel’s nose failed, shouldn’t he have to deal with it instead of Webber? It is a team sport and should the ultimate outcome always be to improve the teams chances for both titles over the course of the year?
Let us know your thoughts below and remember, keep it civil and to the point.