Fuming Webber goes surfing to cool off

Publish Date : 2021-04-03


Fuming Webber goes surfing to cool off

Has there ever been a rivalry in a sporting team quite like the one between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber?

Their fractious, not to say poisonous, relationship reached a new low on Sunday, after the three-time world champion ignored Red Bull team orders to snatch victory from Australian Webber at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

With another three weeks before the next grand prix -- the Chinese GP on April 14 -- Webber plans to going surfing as he reflects on his treatment by Vettel and his place in the Red Bull hierarchy.



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'I'll be catching a few waves on my surfboard and reflecting on everything that's happened,' Webber told reporters.

'There were a lot of things going through my head in those closing laps,' he said. 'Not just from today, but from the past as well.'

The past probably includes the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix, a race in which Webber was flying when, on the verge of a hat-trick of wins, he and Vettel famously crashed -- leading to a sense of ill feeling within the team.

Read: Vettel apologizes after controversial F1 win in Malaysia

Despite protestations in public to say otherwise from team principal Christian Horner, the frustration for Webber is that he is very much the team's understudy.

Vettel has long been nurtured by Helmut Marko, titled a motorsport consultant at Red Bull but widely regarded as the eyes, ears and mouth piece of team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, and a figure Webber has not always seen eye to eye with.

'Seb made his own decisions and will have protection as usual,' continued Webber after Sunday's race, a not too subtle reference to the Australian's apparent place in the Red Bull pecking order.

'It's something that Sebastian has apologized for and it's something that we will discuss internally as a team,' added Horner, who in February at the launch of the RB9 had insisted: 'As a team we will do the very best we can to support both drivers.'

But former McLaren driver John Watson went so far as to say that Red Bull should suspend Vettel for one race.

'If Christian Horner doesn't reassert his authority in the team -- because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel yesterday -- then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be,' Watson told BBC Radio on Monday.

'The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix.

'You can't take the points away from him and give them to Mark Webber - that's now history and Sebastian has the benefit of those seven additional points.'

After the event, Vettel was apologetic, suggesting the incident had been a misunderstanding rather than a direct violation of team orders.

'I didn't mean to and I apologize, ' Vettel told reporters. 'I'm not happy I've won, I made a mistake and if I could undo it I would. It's not easy right now and I owe apologies to Mark and the team.'

The Malaysia Grand Prix also raised more questions about the very essence of the sport with teams handing down orders to drivers rather than allowing them to race.

While Vettel ignored a call to stay behind his teammate Webber, Lewis Hamilton benefited from team orders.

The 2008 world champion claimed his first podium finish for Mercedes after colleague Nico Rosberg was told not to attack him as both drivers were seeking to maintain their cars.

Team orders have long been a controversial part of F1, and were banned in 2002. However, that rule was dropped in 2011 after it became apparent that teams were finding ways around it.

Read: Vettel apologizes after controversial F1 win in Malaysia The Malaysia Grand Prix also raised more questions about the very essence of the sport with teams handing down orders to drivers rather than allowing them to race. 'Seb made his own decisions and will have protection as usual,' continued Webber after Sunday's race, a not too subtle reference to the Australian's apparent place in the Red Bull pecking order. The Malaysia Grand Prix also raised more questions about the very essence of the sport with teams handing down orders to drivers rather than allowing them to race. Read: Vettel apologizes after controversial F1 win in Malaysia After the event, Vettel was apologetic, suggesting the incident had been a misunderstanding rather than a direct violation of team orders. 'I'll be catching a few waves on my surfboard and reflecting on everything that's happened,' Webber told reporters. 'Seb made his own decisions and will have protection as usual,' continued Webber after Sunday's race, a not too subtle reference to the Australian's apparent place in the Red Bull pecking order. Read: Vettel apologizes after controversial F1 win in Malaysia 'I didn't mean to and I apologize, ' Vettel told reporters. 'I'm not happy I've won, I made a mistake and if I could undo it I would. It's not easy right now and I owe apologies to Mark and the team.'

#newsupdatenow



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