Look, it's Red Bull's team; they can run it however they choose to. Should they wish to take a component from one driver and give it to the other, then that's their prerogative. But it's then entirely natural that the disadvantaged driver gets seriously hacked off and refuses to blandly cover up that feeling.
It's then predictable that the tension this creates within the team makes for a certain volatility that can translate on track and it's difficult not to feel this played a part in the first-corner no-compromise choreography between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. In that moment, Red Bull's points haul from this race was defined as 29 instead of 43. McLaren - with a car that qualified 0.7s slower - took just one point less.
McLaren, with a car that has taken one pole this year to Red Bull's nine, has its drivers one-two in the championship and leads the constructors' points.
World-class F1 drivers are at an extreme emotional pitch and paranoia is almost a default state - and is very often justified. Pair two of them in the same team and there's an inherent volatility. McLaren has been here many times over the years and often failed to prevent that sparking into full-on conflict, but it's a seasoned organisation and under Martin Whitmarsh's leadership somewhat less neurotic than under Ron Dennis's.
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, British GP © LAT
It goes to a lot of effort to show openness and equality between its drivers, and it's helped by the fact that Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have a friendly rapport. They go back a long way. Beyond that, Button is unusually chilled. But you can bet that even he would have been seriously disenchanted with having the faster front wing removed from his car and given to his team-mate on the eve of qualifying.
Red Bull's actions show a naivety - a view supported by their surprise at the media and fan reaction - in not anticipating how they might impact upon the outcome. There are enough tensions already without unnecessarily introducing more. When that choice was made their drivers were separated by the equivalent of one fourth-place finish and we were only half-way through the season. Vettel could have had no reasonable complaint if he'd been told, 'Sorry it's happened on your car, mate, just one of those things.'
Physically removing it from Webber's car and fitting it to Vettel's was a hand-written RSVP invitation to trouble and the team management seemed the only people in the paddock that could not see this. As a team you can jump up and down and demand your driver behave like a meek, grateful employee and just accept it without complaint. But any guy capable of that is not psychologically equipped to be a great racing driver.
Personal dynamics are everything here and that's something the sport's fan base understands well. In the aftermath of the Webber/Vettel Turkey incident the team tried - again naively - to smooth the waters with a sickly series of 'oh well' posed pictures between the two. Predictably it seemed to enrage people more than the apparent favouritism had in the first place, because it was insulting - to the two drivers, the fans and the media.
As this is written there's a promise of another 'clear the air' meeting at Red Bull - and again, that's the team's own business, just as was giving the wing to Vettel. But if that turns out to be followed by more insincere PR crap, then the team - and its product - will become yet less popular; which would be a shame, because it's an exciting, dynamic entity that's come in and really stirred up the competitive order.
There's something to be said for a team operating on the edge of implosion, like a super-powerful engine always on the verge of detonating. But don't be surprised when trouble arrives and don't try conning the world that it hasn't.
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