Helmut Marko on Vettel: “At this stage it went out of control…”

Calm before the storm - Webber's final stop. Photo: AC

Calm before the storm – Webber’s final stop. Photo: AC

It’s a measure of just how much turmoil Sebastian Vettel created in the Red Bull camp that even his number one supporter and mentor Helmut Marko was frustrated at the way the Malaysian GP turned out.

Intriguingly he tried to defend the team’s awkward situation by implying that Mercedes had favoured Lewis Hamilton.

“We have to go through everything,” Dr Marko told this blog. “Obviously it’s not what we expected. After the last stop we saw that Seb was very, very quick on his out lap, so it was obvious that they would come together, or side to side. That was the problem. Before then it was not necessary, because they were so much apart.

“The team did the right thing, we told the drivers to keep positions, and all of a sudden they were side-by-side, and at this stage it went out of control. But it shows that we don’t have this number one and number two like Mercedes. But it shouldn’t be like it was, because we were all worried about the tyre wear, and we were lucky to finish one-two.”

Marko admitted that it was not easy to manage two very competitive drivers: “We have to work it out internally. It’s a positive thing, it’s not like Mercedes where it’s ‘bang, you stay behind.’ When you do have guys like Sebastian and Mark in such a situation there’s no way of controlling it.”

He conceded that in an era where saving tyres is so important such situations are bound to arise.

“It’s very hard to manage, but in the end we were lucky, because the tyres stayed together much better than we expected. They both did very fast laps in the last stint, so maybe we have to be a little less critical to Pirelli.”

Marko said he had no problem with Vettel telling the team earlier in the race that Webber was too slow and they should “get him out of the way,” a message that led to considerable criticism of the German’s attitude.

“It was correct, because Hamilton was behind him, and was getting into DRS. Mark got the message and immediately went faster, so that worked as a team should work. He just said Mark is too slow. Look what was in the rear – it was Hamilton and Rosberg, not only were they coming into DRS, there was a danger that they could do an undercut.”


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23 responses to “Helmut Marko on Vettel: “At this stage it went out of control…”

  1. elcrowley

    Excuse Helmut…..you said “The team did the right thing, we told the drivers to keep positions”

    and then you have the balls to say “We have to work it out internally. It’s a positive thing, it’s not like Mercedes where it’s ‘bang, you stay behind.’

    Your team ordered the same thing than Mercedes! Hold the positions!!!!

  2. wizzfrizzle

    Did he seriously say that RB doesn’t have a number 1 and 2 driver??? I guess his nose grew when he did… It is obvious for years that Mark is 2nd in the pecking order. Dr. Marko is turning into a laugh, first the attack on Mark in their company magazine and now this.

  3. wizzfrizzle

    I guess Marko’s nose grew a fair bit when he said that RB has not got a number 1 and 2 driver..
    Webber has been 2nd in the pecking order for years now.
    Dr.Marko is becoming a bit of a laugh, first attacking Webber through the company magazine and now this.
    At least Brawn tells his drivers outright how it is going to be instead of giving messages like “Seb, this is getting silly”. Total lack of respect from Vettel to everyone in his team.
    And I understand his drive for more points, but this was stupid. If the WDC is down the wire and Webber gets in a position he should give up for Vettel to win it I wonder what Mark will do

  4. beth

    I wish Mercedes Austrian would become outspoken like this plonker. And i am happy that i have never heard Lewis Hamilton say to his team i am faster than my team mate let me pass, why? Because Lewis can overtake

  5. Gareth

    I think Red Bull wants to take a good long look at themselves and there management, As it looks like to the outside world you can not control one of your drivers and you are not sure what to do about it ! On top of that he has lied to you and the world. What a load of rubbish he didn’t understand the communication, That’s a lame excuse that a spotty thirteen year old would come up with, that no one would believe, for crying out loud you have meetings before the race where you go through all the different senireo’s
    you work out your little codes and then go forward in to battle as a team for the team. I think Seb has let down the whole team and all those hundreds of hours they have put in and a feeble “sorry” just doesn’t cut it ! Mr Horner and Red bull really need to show the same sort of disapline that you would to any of your other employees who would bring the company into dis repute. He is not GOD and he is not unique, He is just a talented driver just like at least 18 others on the grid but he is lucky enough to have a very fast car. So keep the factory and the brands reputation and ACT.

  6. Sorry to disagree, Dr Marko.
    It was a typical people management situation. We had two teams, two different managers, similar circumstances.
    – The manager of the first team was cryptic: “Multi 21”. Vettel ignored the command and used his DRS to pass his team mate. His boss reacted with a tap on the wrist: “That was naughty, Seb”.
    – The manager of the second team was clear: “Negative. Stay where you are. Open the gap. We are in control”. Nico would not dare the defy his boss.
    Result: we have war at RBR and harmony at Mercedes.
    My conclusion: Brawn was by far a better manager than Horner.

  7. petes

    Your final point is b/s Marko because you knew from team radio what the situation was at Mercedes.

  8. maybe they should change the name to vettle raceing as he seems to have total control of the team

  9. Stone the crows

    It appears that currently, neither Red Bull driver gives a hoot in hell what the team thinks, and yet the team is still half-heartedly trying to tell them what to do. That situation is healthy for no one.
    So long as Vettel gets to keep the points and the trophy whatever Horner, Helmut Marko or Red Bull Corporate says is irrelevant. At this juncture Sebastian Vettel is the team Principal by default. And before any one feels sorry for Mark Webber because he’s all alone in this, Bernie Ecclestone’s comments the other day indicate that Webber himself is protected by the loyalty of Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz. So he’s not so helpless as one might think.

  10. The Doctor

    Webber has every right to be pissed and Vettel is completely wrong in this issue. Something needs to be done. They can’t afford to let Vettel sit out a race or two so the next best thing in my opinion is to give Mark the preferential strategy during the next few races regardless of which driver is ahead.

    • Stone the Crows

      And there’s the rub, they can’t afford to let Vettel sit out, but if they’re serious about team orders being obeyed that’s probably what they’ll have to do, otherwise giving even more team orders which favor Webber will only fan the flames between these two. At this point Christian Horner has very little leverage short of holding Vettel in breech of his contract, which I’m sure they’d be loathe to do, and would take quite a bit of time, and Vettel is the hottest property in Formula One, he could walk away from Red Bull and be hired in a second. He’d be foolish to do so, but Red Bull can’t risk that either. Horner has gotten himself into quite a corner with his drivers. It will be interesting to see in the coming weeks how he gets himself out of it and if at all possible having his team working as such again.

      • grat

        Drop Buemi into the car for FP1 in China. It doesn’t really mean anything, as FP1 is about data collection, but it’ll be a warning shot to Vettel, and might convince the media that Horner isn’t Vettel’s stooge, instead of the other way around.

  11. Chriss

    Prost, Senna and Schumacher have shown that you do not get to be multiple world champion by letting the team dissipate its effort on 2 drivers. The foundation of much of the success they had in the car was laid outside the car by getting the full backing of the team. Success in F1 is determined as much by actions outside of the car as in it. This season will be very close fought as there are at least 5 serious contenders for the driver’s and the constructor’s titles, so every point from potential champions is vital right from the start of the season.
    RB have had a facade about their driver strategy for around 3 years now and SV’s actions should now make them come clean: SV is there to win the Driver’s Championship and MW is there to make sure they win the Constructor’s. Whether stated or not the same position is apparent between FA and PM at Ferrari. Deitrich Mateschitz is not in F1 purely for fun. In building his energy drink empire he will have been every bit as ruthless as anyone in F1 can be. Red Bull Racing (and other RB promotional activities) are there to provide image and boost the sales Red Bull drinks. Failing to gain a 4th double title is not an option to him.
    He needs to make it very clear that the team orders are that MW is there to support SV and can only win when SV can’t. Further he needs to make sure that CH enforces this, he needs to make sure that there is no fall off in the performance of MW or CH, and he needs to create the situation that Niko Hulkenberg and Ross Brawn are available to RBR at short notice, if necessary.

  12. Jason Benseman

    I am torn by this issue. My initial reaction to Vettel passing Mark was shock, but thinking about it, the racing was exhilarating and that is what I want as a fan. Yes a driver should work for the team, but as a fan, I would rather see the best drivers in the world race it out to the end. Hamilton’s despair at being third was evident, he knows he didn’t deserve his podium and he wasn’t the third best driver on the day. Team orders should simply be, preserve the car, win the race!

    • The whole point is it wasn’t a fair race, Mark had turned down the engine, was not expecting an attack, and had to defend at the last minute. That is no more “racing” than if he had pulled over and waved him past…

  13. peterg

    Despite my utter distaste for what Vettel has did on track & that the ever PR, image conscious Red Bull organisation has finally realised they are now being tarred with the unsporting Schumacher/Ferrari era brush, I have a thought.

    Marko, Horner & Matershitz have realised how Vettel has completely usurped their authority AND publicly disrespected them. However, how do you respond to this?

    “Gentleman, in the last 3 years I have delivered you – and your sometimes unreliable/fragile car – 3 WC’s & I have scored the lion’s share of the manufacturer points for your 3 constructors titles. In Malaysia those extra 7 points could mean the difference to a WC at the end of the year, as you all well know, discussion closed”

    Red Bull have created this problem, literally, I’m afraid they are going to have to live with it, even if it offends the teams image. Ironically, image is what the whole Red Bull Energy drink company & all of it sports marketing is about.

    • rocky

      You speak wisely and I agree on many things but it can also be seen the other way around if you think about it … without the [one way] team support and a fast car Vettel would still be midfield, there would be no results, plus that doesn’t give him the right to disobey orders or make him think he is bigger than red bull itself !

      I would like to further stress, he did not develop that car, [with his input]. he is not an engineer ”ala schumi feedback/ferrari/merc.” he could not go into a midfield team and make them front runners within 3/4 seasons. Vettel my arse ! Thanks to Adrian Newey and co plus vital feedback and input from [Webber/ Coulthard], it took about 3/4 years [just like Mercedes now] and Vettel found himself in the right place at the right time. Also in regards to unreliable car , past seasons have shown that Vettel is hopeless as well as a big sook when the car is not up to it unlike Webber who shines.

      If anyone wants to argue what about Monza 08 in the STR … the team had the car set up for those conditions unlike many of the front runners who opted for a dry set up, hence why the win in the inferior car.

  14. Gus

    Everyone was happy with the current system. By favouring Vettel with parts and data he was consistently in front and therefore the “team orders” worked in his favour. A good start and drive by Mark threw the cat amongst the pigeons. I’d like to see them use this as a catalyst for a level playing field. At least until later in the season until one or the other is a genuine favorite for the championship. Would be the sporting thing to do, but then again, based on the tiny slap of the wrist Vettel received there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of sportsmanship going on.

  15. Paul

    It would be great to see all the drivers going for it every lap of every race but that just is not going to happen. This ‘incident’ will be forgotten soon enough.
    Also it’s getting more difficult to convince my son that this is actually racing when cars are driving round in single file at 80% speed. The tyres should not be dictating the race, the drivers should.

  16. Biggest problem of all for this issue is that there’s a three-week gap to the next GP and not much else to talk about…

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