Red Bull’s other driver war

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You’ve most likely been inundated with the continuing saga over Sebastian Vettel’s pass on Mark Webber in the Malaysian Grand Prix and the team admits that Sebastian’s car was not turned down as much as Mark’s was during the final laps. This is a tad counter to the teams commentary that they  know Mark understands the team meant no malice and had every intent on him winning the race. While I am sure this is the case, one could argue whether the team actually did corral Vettel in radio communication or not. But that is an ongoing debate.

What is also apparent is that Red Bull have another team on the grid and they seem to be having intra-team battles going on as well. Just prior to the season opening race in Australia, Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne said that he and teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, were not friends and suggested a real tension between the two. The junior Red Bull team is supposed to be a driver development operation where one fo the drivers could have a shot at a seat at the main team, Red Bull, Racing.

While the stakes are high, if you consider a seat along side Sebastian Vettel the ultimate prize, and Ricciardo and Vergne are gunning for the opportunity. Vergne suggested this consternation between the drivers but from the outside, I’ve seen very little to indicate there was a big war of words or any pressure put ont he drivers from within the team. It surely is there but not revealed at any public level. One presumes the pressure is internal. Vergne said:

“People want to make out that there is a big fight,” he said. “I don’t care. I’m here to do my job and get the best result for the team.

“If I can be the driver that picks up the best result then I definitely want to be this driver and I will do everything for this.

“If we have the worst car though and always finish 17th or 18th every weekend I will not be happy at all.

“[In Australia] I was in front of Daniel after qualifying, but I was really pissed off and sad that I didn’t make it through into Q3.

“The [intra-team] fight isn’t enough for me; I want better performances.”

Seems that Vergne isn’t falling for cheap parlor tricks at STR and even turned the tables a tad by suggesting that the team can place all the pressure they want but without a competitive car, he’s not going to get hung up on the intra-team battle.

While I have no doubt that there is a battle between teammates, just as there is at all the teams, I am unclear of where all these “people” making out a big fight at STR are? Suffice to say, Sebastien Buemi and Jamie Alguersuari both suffered at STR and were ultimately let go so I am not sure Vergne or Ricciardo should feel the only thing they have to do to win a Red Bull seat is beat the other teammate.

Rumor has it that Lewis Hamilton was attempting to open talks with the team when he wanted to move from McLaren and Red Bull aren’t going to settle for a driver they have in their junior program so much as find the right driver to team Vettel should Webber leave. Vergne may have pressure placed on him with a carrot on a stick about a seat at Red Bull but I’d argue he’s facing competition from a host of driver, not just Ricciardo.


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