Horner denies Red Bull favours Vettel

Red Bull Racing has insisted that Mark Webber receives the full support of the team, despite the Australian claiming the outfit was emotionally in favour of Sebastian Vettel

Horner denies Red Bull favours Vettel

Ahead of the final two races of the campaign, Webber suggested that his bosses would prefer it if Vettel came out on top at the end of the season.

Those suggestions have come as a surprise to team principal Christian Horner, who says that claims of favouritism towards Vettel were unfounded.

"I think the members of the team would be greatly hurt to see that Mark has said that, if he has said that, and I can only think it's been taken out of context because he has a great deal of support within the team, within Austria and with Dietrich Mateschitz, who has ultimately provided the opportunity that is there now," said Horner when asked for his response to Webber's suggestions.

"The team have provided a great car and we're determined to finish the season on a high.

"We've got two great drivers, we're in a unique situation where we've got two drivers competing for the championship. It would've been wrong from the team's point of view to back one driver over the other.

"As we saw in Korea, Mark went into that race leading the world championship. For 15 laps behind the pace car he was extending his lead, then potentially Sebastian went into the lead of the championship, only for Fernando Alonso to be gifted a victory, and that then changes the dynamic of the situation again."

Horner suggested that Webber's feelings may be based on the views of Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko - who is known to be close to Vettel.

"I would say I'd have to understand what Mark was meaning by those comments because he's had tremendous support from the team, not just this year but in all the years that he's been with Red Bull," he explained.

"He's probably referring to the support of Helmut Marko for Sebastian Vettel, but that doesn't influence the way the team operates or the way it supports its drivers. We gave both drivers a great car this year.

"We gave Mark the tools to get the job done. All his race victories have been in Red Bull cars and it's a great opportunity for both of them to compete and win this championship. Mark's had a lot of support not just this year but in all the time that he's driven for Red Bull."

He added: "I'm sure Mark would love the team to say 'yes, after whatever point in the year your team-mate will now be your rear gunner' but Red Bull is about giving both drivers opportunity. They've both driven well, they've both made mistakes this year, as have other drivers, but we're determined to continue giving them as much support as we can.

"The focus of the team is obviously the constructors' title and the drivers' title, and that's very much our objective going into the last two races."

Horner also dismissed a comment from Webber who suggested his speed this year had been an 'inconvenience'.

"It's not been inconvenient at all," said Horner. "Mark has had tremendous support from the team since his leg-breaking accident last year. He came back strongly last year and he's been even stronger this year.

"He's delivered well. The team's given him a great car and we've done our best to treat both drivers with absolute equality.

"It's been interesting to see how over the season the balance of pace between the two of them has varied.

"Had Mark finished in Korea, he'd have probably won and be leading the championship. It was a rare mistake from Mark, all the drivers have made mistakes this year. Had Sebastian finished the race, he'd have been the championship leader.

"Unfortunately that situation didn't turn out for either of them and now Fernando Alonso is the leader and we're the chasing pack. It's not been inconvenient at all for Mark to be leading at any point."

Horner also did not share Webber's frustrations about critical comments from Gerhard Berger appearing on Red Bull's own television channel.

"The comments were made by an individual who has nothing to do with the team," said Horner.

"Gerhard Berger has driven a lot of grands prix, he's got his own opinions without all of the facts, but it's not a Red Bull position, it's just something that's been broadcast on a TV station that's always believed in giving freedom of speech. But it's not a Red Bull position, it's not a team view, it's purely a Gerhard Berger opinion."

The team boss concluded that tensions such as those expressed by Webber today were a natural part of a title fight involving team-mates.

"Obviously with a drivers' world championship there's a huge amount at stake, and when one of the competitors you're racing against is your team-mate then inevitably certain emotions will come in," said Horner.

"Mark has tremendous support both within Red Bull, within Milton Keynes, within Austria, within all the technical group, within all the technicians, within the garage - you've only got to look at the way that the mechanics from the two cars interact to see what a close-knit team this is.

"But inevitably when there's so much at stake it's sometimes understandable for drivers' emotions to bubble over."

shares
comments
RBR open to giving Webber priority

Previous article

RBR open to giving Webber priority

Next article

Vettel defends Red Bull's fairness

Vettel defends Red Bull's fairness
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

Formula 1
May 9, 2021
How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021