Christian Horner: “They’ve never been the best of mates…”

Christian Horner says that Sebastian Vettel has apologised to Mark Webber and Red Bull for disobeying team instructions in Malaysia.

Vettel was told to hold station immediately after coming out of the final pit stop behind his team mate, but instead continued to fight for the lead. Horner admitted that the situation was not ideal for the team.

“We’ve conducted a debrief and I’ve spoken to both drivers,” said Horner. “And Sebastian has apologised to both Mark and the team. So we’ve conducted our debrief as we usually do, and now we focus on the next race.

“At the end of the day in a situation like today you have a position from a team, which is clear, which is from our position to maximise the points from a team point of view from that last pit stop to the end of the race. From our point of view as soon as that pit stop was complete, Mark was ahead, it was very close on the pit exit, but as far as we were concerned it was a matter of managing the tyres to the end of the race. The tyres we’ve obviously been marginal with all weekend and last weekend, and the instruction was given to both cars effectively to hold position.

“At that point Sebastian has obviously chose to ignore that. The interests of a driver compared to the interests of a team are different, and he’s focussed on the eight point difference between a win and second, the team is focussed on the 43 points, and for us it didn’t matter which way round it finished, we just want to close the result off.

“Obviously it wasn’t right what he did, he accepts that. I think he’s clearly said if he could wind the clocks back he wouldn’t do it again. That’s the way it is. That’s the way it is. We need to put it behind us, we need to move on, it’s not like it hasn’t happened before, it’s not like it wasn’t happening just behind us.”

Horner has some sympathy with both drivers: “We employ these guys because they are competitive, because they do push each other, because they are very driven individuals. If either one was submissive to the other it’s not part of what we want in a racing driver. So of course it’s uncomfortable for the team, a situation like that. We managed to convert the 43 points, and it shouldn’t mar what was a fantastic team performance today.”

Horner said that Vettel told the team he hadn’t understood the position, although the team boss made it clear that he felt Vettel had chosen not to hear it.

“He felt that he hadn’t heard the call and it was unclear to him what the instruction was. But then again we had just the same in Brazil the other way round so these things happen.

“He’s obviously chosen to hear what he wants to hear. He’s a race driver, he’s hungry, he hasn’t achieved the championships that he has by not pushing the limits. He’s pushed that today with his team mate and his team.

“They’ve never been the best of mates, they’re never going to spend Christmas together, but there is a respect between the two of them, and I’m sure with a little bit of time to reflect, we’ll quickly move on from this.”

Asked if the team could have told Vettel to give the lead back, he said: “Do you honestly think if we’d told him to slow down and give the place back he would have slowed down and given it back? There’s no point. He’d made it quite clear what his intention was by making the move. He knew what the communication was, he had the communication, he chose to ignore it.

“He put his own interests beyond what the team’s position was, he was focussed on those eight points difference between second and first place. It was wrong and he’s accepted it was wrong.”

17 Comments

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17 responses to “Christian Horner: “They’ve never been the best of mates…”

  1. CTP

    I’d like to see webber have some difficulty hearing pit-to-car messages in the next few races… Just because.

    • Guga

      He already had… Silverstone 2011 rings a bell? Quote: “I ignored the team and I was battling to the end.” I remember him being very proud and vocal about it. The only difference between these two cases, he didn’t manage the pass, Vettel today did. In my book, that’s tit for tat. The thing I disagree with, is Seb apologizing for it… Just because.

    • Adam S

      Christian Horner: ““Asked what Vettel meant when he said he hadn’t done it deliberately, Horner said: ‘He felt he hadn’t heard the call. That it was unclear to him what the instruction was. But then again we had the same thing in Brazil the other way around.’”

      there you go. And in Brazil there was a championship at stake.

      Realistically RedBull completely mismanaged the race. They held Vettel back right after the first pitstop with all the “it’s a long race” blah blah, they gave Mark the undercut next two stops accompanied with more “it’s a long race blah blah”. They never should put themselves in this position. Mark, nice guy as he may be, is basically on his way to retirement. Vettel’s a triple world champion, racing against Ferrari that have no issue shafting Massa to help Alonso out. All this “equality” from RB is nonsense.

  2. Mike

    A classic case of driver bigger than the team as Red Bull are terrified of losing vettel to Ferrari so they will let him get away with anything. Very poor team management and they will regret not taking action later. Imagine title closing race and vettel needs webber to hold back an opponent it doesn’t take a genius to know the outcome. Personally I would put him in the wall but that’s just me. Vettel may be fast but he has no class.

  3. Turbo4

    If Vettel’s so sorry, i wonder if he’d properly apologise and re-gift a win to Mark in the next few races? Somehow, I doubt it. Maybe when he’s wrapped up his 4th title…. maybe. When it doesnt help Webber.

  4. He did exactly that at Silverstone in 2011.

    • AJ

      It’s not exactly the same because Webber did not overtake Vettel than.

      Webber is a very very good driver but he has a lenght and weight disadvantage.

  5. In most situations, an employee would be fired for violating the contract, but Vettel is too good. Vettel’s self-interested action should have been punished if the team was right about the tires, but they were obviously wrong, and Vettel was rewarded, but he has no friends. Does he need friends?

  6. Iceman

    Vettel is a racing driver not a taxi driver like Massa in Ferrari. Let the fastest driver win.

  7. forestial

    His friend is Helmut Marko. So he can do whatever he wants and Christian and Mark just have to shut up and move on to Shanghai.

  8. pj

    All Horner had to do was call in Vettel with a telemetry problem that Vettel couldn’t argue with and then wave him back out, or would the FIA fine them for race fixing which is what MB and Red Bull were doing anyway

  9. James Colebourne

    Difference is, Mark did listen in 2011, much to his digust. He was CLEARLY faster, he was getting OUT of the throttle to stay behind Vettel. End of the race, Vettel retained P2 and Webber P3.

  10. KenC

    7 points Christian, not 8.

    • pj

      apology! be hard not to punch his teeth down his throat! There’s no do overs He screwed a team mate deliberately. Maybe fine Vettel for any bonus tied to points in his contract. Vettel knows no one will touch him as long as hes winning. Worst kind of arrogance

  11. AEC

    Didn’t realize that Vettel owned Red Bull and was running the show. Tell him his place or he will be doing as he pleases.Come on Mark play hard.

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