Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 26th March 2013

This page will be updated throughout the day.

Whitmarsh on team orders

Having been questioned over team orders, Martin Whitmarsh had this to say. “It is very easy for me to get pious that we don’t do it, and condemn others – but I don’t want to do that. Anyone can turn around to us and say in 2007 ‘you threw away a championship: you didn’t give team orders, you could have favoured either driver and they would have been world champion'”.

untitled“That is the truth, but it doesn’t feel right that we could have sat arbitrarily in an office in Woking and said: ‘right, we are going to have Alonso as a world champion or Lewis as a world champion’. There is a part of me that says, ‘bugger we should have had the championship’, but overall I don’t feel right about it.

If I was in the same situation I hope I would do the same again.”

Well nothing like telling us how easy it is to do something and then demonstrating it eh Martin?

Mateschitz supports Webber?

Alan Webber is a most likeable chap and he was on the TV screens following the podium presentation in Malaysia and he quickly dismissed the idea that his son was inferring he would consider quitting the team. He is now confirming this to be true and that Mark has the full support of Mateschitz.

Speaking to Australia’s ABC today he said, “I’ll say this, I read the text (message) that Mr. Mateschitz sent Mark and I think Mark’s position is assured”. On the other hand Alan appears to believe that Vettel is in trouble with the team.

untitled“The team aren’t altogether happy with Sebastian I’m afraid. I know [they] aren’t happy with him at all. Up and down the pit lane I even had FIA people come up to me and say they felt sorry for him [Mark]. Up and down the pit lane Mark hasn’t lost any credibility at all, it’s probably Sebastian [who] has lost an awful lot.”

Likeable or not, I’m afraid Alan has got this one wrong. Vettel will get off scott free or at best with a token reprimand and the team will hope Webber doesn’t find ways to ensure the extra 7 points Seb stole in Sepang are not 25 points lost later in the year.

Horner ‘weak’ and with no ‘balls’

Flavio is the latest to wade in and give his six-penneth on all matters of the bull. He told RAI radio, “Vettel is the boss there. If there was a manager with balls, he would have had them switch positions again. The problem is that there are two people with different ideas on the pit wall, with Helmut [Marko] behind them doing the talking with Mateschitz, so you understand they are all scared.”

untitledI’m sure TJ13 readers will tell Flav whether he has historic precedent for his next assertion, “Normally the team principal goes on the podium at the first race win of the season. Christian didn’t even have the strength to get on the podium – because they’re terrified with a driver in charge instead of the team manager. You’d first go yourself if you win the championship or the first race, and after that you’d send race engineers or your technical director.

The fact that Christian didn’t go on the podium after scoring a one-two says a lot about his weakness compared to the others.”

TJ13 readers in the poll so far suggest by 4:1 that Vettel should be sanctioned by the team, but I’m afraid the signs are already clear how Red Bull will deal with this. They have banged on and on about how it is their team work and togetherness that gives them the edge over their rivals, so Sebastian will apologise to the people at Milton Keynes.

Vettel’s post race explanation of ‘I heard but I didn’t understand’ line – will become a claim that Vettel heard but didn’t compute the ‘multi 21’ code he was given because driving a Formula 1 car is a pretty hectic thing with lots and lots going on. Mmm.

The problem with this is that there were other radio calls that were not in code which were crystal clear in their intent like the one when Horner told him to stop being ‘silly’. Further, Horner told Martin Brundle of SKY late on Sunday night that they had been telling Seb for 3 laps to hold station.

Vettel will continue the self justification refusing to apologise for winning a race ‘for the team’ and join Horner in the chorus that sing songs of how Webber’s ‘previous’ disregard for team orders in Silverstone and Brazil makes everything ‘all square’.

Will Horner care that the F1 world see him as impotent and the puppet of Marko and Vettel? Probably not. He’ll draw comfort from the 3 WDCs and 3 WCCs he has overseen and retrench into the Milton Keynes machine to urge the troops onwards and upwards for the 2013 fight.

The rhetoric will be that Red Bull are much maligned by the FIA and the other teams. Ask Sir Alex Ferguson about the power of instilling a siege mentality within the troops, it’s a trick he has used time and again when things are tight.

Christian is no Ron Dennis or Sir Frank Williams and even Dominicali when cut, bleeds not just blood, but blood that is precisely the Maranello shade of red blood. Horner is merely a well paid manager of someone else’s company and somebody else’s brand. He and Red Bull are ‘new money’ whilst the others are old; they have the scars of their F1 traditions and a pride in what they stand for as both as teams and organisations.

You may have missed this: Webber cuts right across Vettel after chequered flag in Sepang

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19 responses to “Daily News and Comment: Tuesday 26th March 2013

  1. Well Lotus sent Alan Permane up to the podium in Australia. Boullier didn’t go up himself. I’m not sure, have to check but I don’t think Boullier went up for last years win in abu dhabi either.

  2. I don’t know if anybody else caught it, but talksport(uk sports radio station) tried to cover the events of the Malaysian GP and made a terrible job of it. Darren Gough was supposed to be the ‘fan’ of the 2 presenters and Adrian Durham was the occasional watcher. They proceeded to state wrong facts, ill informed judgements and had opinions based upon watching Go Kart races. It was very frustrating to hear people from outside of F1 trying to discuss things they didn’t really understand. By the end of it though, I realised how tough F1 is to keep up with for the casual supporter, it’s rules, regulations and quirks don’t lend themselves well to new viewers, so I suppose the presenters did show me that F1 needs to do some work before the next lot of fans come on board.

    62 points on the predictor this week for me!!

    • I stopped listening to them on that station when I realised they don’t actually know that much about their own sports either.
      To be honest they had some good presenters a few years back that could provoke an audience, but they have either been replaced by those 2 ex Sky presenters, Andy Gray and someone or have been moved to the midnight hours.
      Personally, all they ever talked about was football, golf and cricket.. I never realised they were the only sports.

  3. A couple of things that I’ll say about this. First, lots of people have claimed this incident will hurt the Red Bull brand. Red Bull didn’t have any problem funding and having their logo’s all over Felix Baumgartner when he jumped out of a balloon at 127,000 feet which could have ended with him splattered all over the New Mexico desert. How good would that have done the brand image. Second, who’s the future of Red Bull Racing, Vettel or Webber? At 25 Vettel has the potential to race for another 10 years and add more WC’s to his name. Webber is a slightly above average driver at best that is at the end of his career. His value to another top team is zero. Are Red Bull going to risk letting Vettel walk so Webber’s feeling aren’t hurt. No.

    • I don’t disagree with you on who’s the future of the team and Ferrari did the same with Schumacher and Alonso now, but there is a difference, no other top driver has disregarded his team principal and team so blatantly. I know it’s not the same, but Tevez spent a year on the sidelines when he refused to come as a change, Mancini had balls. Horner/Mateschisz…?

      • Diffficult to call. Like Mancini, Horner is the team manager. He is not the owner.
        Mateschitz owns two F1 teams and his company, sponsor sports all over the world.
        Marko is the round peg in all this. Is he really the man in charge? If he was Webber would be out, but Dieter is a strong supporter of Mark.
        Let’s face it, this is a non story. Webber hasn’t got the balls to go up against Seb. Backing off when they were side by side?
        If they had been told to hold position and Webber “accidently” gets hit by his idiot team-mate, who gets the blame? The team didn’t look particularly enamoured by Vettel’s actions.
        Even DC said post race, there were times when he spun his team-mate out. It’s racing.

        Another thing that frustrates, is people misunderstanding what team orders actually mean.
        Team orders are normally used to change 2 drivers positions to advantage one drivers position for a championship. This was a team action, once they had completed their final stop, they hold position to the line.
        This was a tactic used years ago in unreliable eras, Villeneuve/Pironi being one such, but you saw it with Mclaren, Williams and then Ferrari during the 2000’s, even though reliability was bullet proof.
        If Vettel had come out ahead after the final stop, Mark would have been upset but that’s racing. It was supposedly agreed pre race.
        I believe that why Mark is so pee’d off.

        Anyway, how much publicity has this given the brand, Red Bull, or the brand F1. Were the casual viewers going to watch more of Vettel dominating? This way there’s friction.
        Benetton some years ago ran adverts with dying people in them.
        Outrage, people wouldn’t buy their products. But Benetton said any publicity is good publicity.

    • CR “who’s the future of Red Bull Racing, Vettel or Webber?”

      And that is exactly the point – Are Alonso, Massa, Button, Perez, Maldonado or Bottas the future of their teams?

      Vettel is Red Bull – Alonso was not McLaren and neither was Senna

      • Indeed.
        Locked in to a perceived sh1t as the future of your brand is not the ideal place to be.

    • In some ways I wonder. Vettel is the one giving the team the success but Mark is a whole lot close to the Red Bull ‘brand’ than Seb is.

      You can’t argue that the team will get more success from Seb but Mark maybe does more for the image as a whole. What Seb did could well do a lot of harm to the image and it may well be that fact that gets something done.

      • What does most for the image is success.

        Mark might look better, but Sebastian will succeed more. Red Bull will secure and foster Seb.

  4. I thought at the time that the choice of Adrian to go up on the podium was a little strange but probably the best one in the circumstances. Both drivers would understand his interest is technical so there was little point in engaging him in an argument on what happened. If Horner had gone up there was a high change of a very public spat which would have made things worse.

    It was interesting also at the finisht that Mark pulled as far from the pit wall as possible and also only came in to the driver’s room at the last minute before they went up on to the podium. I don’t think he could have distanced himself much further without walking out of the press conference or not turning up on the podium at all.

    • ‘As far away from the pitwall as possible….”??… Was this not just to add effect when he then proceeded to cut across the track and almost take off sebs front wing in what appears to me to almost be a threat? And I’m sure that I read on TJ13 on Sunday evening that Mark had initially refused to go onto the podium, but had been persuaded to by a team member, hence his last minute arrival in the ready room?

      • Could be either. I read it as not wanting to acknowledge the team on the pitwall. It is probably harder to judge a chop from that far away as well, sticking closer would have allowed him to cut it even finer.

        Did we ever find out why the drivers left the podium before coming back to be interviewed by Brundle?

  5. It would be interesting to have DM’s thoughts on this saga although we will never know. Although this is a business to him I have always thought he was a a sporting inclined person with a sense of fair play as evidenced by his support for sporting endeavours gemerally.

    • He’d be LOVING it. What a disproportionate amount of advertising RBR has gotten in the last few days. It’s mega. All over the world, all over news stations, all over websites, all over forums.

      Honestly, in the last few days it has been Ferrari who? McLaren who?

  6. Markko has just gone on to say that “There was a debrief and a handshake afterwards, so for us the issue is settled.”

    There are also rumours RBR are poised to change their name to Vettel Bull Racing (VBR). Their marketing department insist on Red Vettel Racing (RVR) however.

  7. On the bright side, the other top teams now have a 3rd driver in their virtual line up for the world championship this year: the 7 extra points Vettel picked up in Sepang may prove expensive when it’s all said and done. I certainly hope so.

    Having said that, RBR is Vettel’s team and Mark knows that. I hope he enjoys the waves down under and comes back “refreshed” and ready to pull another couple of wins with a trademarked: “not bad for a #2 driver”.

    As for Horner growing a pair? Yeah, right.

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