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
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023