Christian Horner on Vettel: “He probably underestimated the effect of his actions”

Christian Horner has given some interesting extra insight into the Multi 21 affair, and in confirming that Sebastian Vettel has extended his apologies to the whole team, has tried to draw a line under the affair.

In a lengthy interview with Sky’s Ted Kravitz he suggested that Vettel’s decision to ignore the team orders was at least partly prompted by the fact that the German had saved new tyres for that final stint.

“I think it was fairly obvious what we wanted to achieve,” said Horner. “I think he decided to take things into his own hands at that point, and obviously achieved his target of making the pass on Mark and winning the race.

“Obviously he was quite surprised at the reaction after the race. Again he received a call from his engineer pretty soon after that final stop, and then I spoke to him a couple of times. And so I think the message that we were trying to convey was quite clear.

“The situation was that he was very focussed and very transfixed on making the most of the tyre he had on the car, a new set of tyres that he’d saved from the previous day, and capitalising on that in the early laps after that final pit stop.

“He probably underestimated the effect of his actions. But he’s a race driver, he’s a fiercely competitive individual, you don’t win 27 Grands Prix and three World Championships and the amount of pole positions that he’s achieved without being a very driven individual.

“He had a new set of tyres available at that last stint and he wanted to make the most of it. We all know there’s a bit of history between the two of them, and I’m sure that was somewhere at the back of his mind as well.”

Pressed by Kravitz Horner on RBR’s failure to control the situation he continually came back to the fact that racing drivers are competitive.

“I think with any race driver, any seriously competitive race driver, of course team orders goes against what they compete for. We saw it with Mark in 2011 at Silverstone, we saw it on previous occasions, we saw it at the final race in Brazil at the end of last year only two races ago. It’s a tricky one, because obviously the interests of the driver are different to that of the interests of the team.

“Team orders are permitted, they exist in F1. The constructors’ championship for the team has equal or more important to the drivers’ championship, because the constructors’ championship where the funds are distributed on.

“So of course, there are different objectives going on within a Grand Prix, that of the drivers, and that of the teams.”

Horner stressed once more that concerns about tyre wear prompted the order to hold station.

“I think he was very motivated to win that race. I think he recognised that stopping when he did in the damp conditions at the beginning of the race was what dropped him behind Mark. Mark drove a great race. Our approach has always been to give priority to the lead car, which we automatically assumed was Mark, after that first round of pit stops. Having effectively got to that final stop with the cars in order we had concerns over tyre wear.

“It was something we’d been monitoring through the Grand Prix – and had genuine concerns of not running out of tyres before the end of the race. And with the Mercedes not too far behind, having shown better degradation that we had on Friday, for us it was vital to then manage that part of the race, to ensure that we navigated our way safely to the end.

“Of course the two drivers fighting each other, following in close proximity wasn’t part of that game plan, because that’s the one way to really quickly burn up your tyres.”

22 Comments

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22 responses to “Christian Horner on Vettel: “He probably underestimated the effect of his actions”

  1. Rick

    “Our approach has always been to give priority to the lead car”

    Therefore Mark should have stopped first for the last stop. Vettel undercut Webber to fend off Hamilton, without it he wouldn’t have been close. That alone is reason to stick to the deal. If he doesn’t want any team orders Vettel would have stopped second and battled the Mercs for the rest of the race.

    Don’t think Horner is helping the more he says!

  2. Anand Jayaraman

    The more he talks, the more Silly it becomes. Why give reasons and simply say Vettel did a mistake and I will make sure it wont happen again.

  3. ross

    If their approach was to give priority to the lead car, then why did they pit Vet first in the last round of stops??

  4. Greg Cunneen

    What is not much recalled is that Vettel and or the team tried to pass Webber using the undercut at the last stop. If Webber had been allowed to stop first, the problem likely would not have occurred. I think Webber should be just as pissed off about that.

  5. CTP

    I hear you mew, Christian. Here kitty, kitty, kitty…

  6. Cabby

    “Our approach has always been to give priority to the lead car, which we automatically assumed was Mark, after that first round of pit stops. Having effectively got to that final stop with the cars in order we had concerns over tyre wear.”
    Well, Vettel apparently unautomatically assumed something else.

    • Cabby

      Re-reading, he said first round of pit stops? Isn’t that a bit early, to decide the winner, should that be after the second pit stop? With things beeing so close, one could see why Vettel thought they were allowed to race. That said, he should have stopped when he was told to, whether he liked it or not…

  7. Barry Gardner

    A whitewash by Horner! He’s quite obviously under orders from Helmut Marko, who is in a Teutonic love affair with Vettel, and team owner Dietrich Mateschitz!!!

  8. Cabby

    “And so I think the message that we were trying to convey was quite clear.”

    Well, I guess Ross Brawns message was clerarer. Hearing it on TV, the “Don’t be silly…” sounded to me more like do not risk too much, but maybe we have not heard all the messages.

  9. Seb

    Horner, you’re such a p… Vettel lost all respect. He is nobody. He can dream to be like Ayrton. Team orders were for BOTH. They were told to stay this way. Both. It wasn’t a situation like Massa vs Schumacher where Massa had to give up the position multiple times because Schumi was #1. If I was Mark and in the final race of the season Vettel need to pass him to win the championship for example vs Fernando or Kimi, I would fight and not let him pass. Karma.

  10. B@rney

    Uh …no, Chris. Vettel knew full well what he was doing. He was bagging an additional seven WDC points, which is more than double the margin he won the 2012 WDC by.

    YOU, Chris, _YOU_ underestimate the effect of your ridiculous team order. And apparently you still fail to realise how your reinforcement of Webber’s “I am NOT a #2 driver” delusion hinders Vettel’s odds of winning his fourth WDC.

    Vettel would have been daft not to take those seven points from a teammate who stands no chance of taking WDC, and you were daft not ordering Webber to give them up.

  11. Stone the Crows

    Ron Dennis once said that the reason he lost control of Senna and Prost was because he was too close to them personally and too close to them in age. I think this is the case with Christian Horner. Its fairly obvious why both drivers use Horner for a doormat, all of this mincing of words wherein he seems to be apologizing for Vettel’s actions and obliquely for his own. My God Christian, these are men not children, they’re Formula One drivers not a litter of kittens; treat them like men and expect them to act like professionals, demand nothing less from them. Neither Vettel nor Webber appear to be prima donnas who need to be cossetted and coddled in order to keep them happy. Just give them a great car, and orders that are clear and enforced, they can handle the rest.

  12. “Obviously he was quite surprised at the reaction after the race.”

    This is fair given Horner didn’t ask him to stop fighting or to give the place back. “This is silly Seb” is not only weak but also unclear, if Vettel though this meant “don’t be so close to each other” then getting by Webber still seems pretty reasonable if he thought he was faster and could make a gap.

    As others have said Horner is coming off pretty weak in this whole thing or perhaps it’s that he’s never been the decision maker in the team.

  13. “simply say Vettel did a mistake”

    Vettel did not make a mistake – he knew exactly what he was doing.

  14. Racing Fan

    Is Webber in risk of loosing his Red Bull seat for the next races?

  15. Seb

    People talk about 7 points. IF Vettel wins the championship and Webber is second. It’s not only 7 points Vettel gained. It’s also 7 points Webber LOST. So Vettel better be +15 points on Webber or this will STINK!

  16. Steve W

    I wonder what the casual F1 fan makes of all this, if they even know about it or even care. What? They’re not supposed to race each other?

    • Stone the Crows

      That’s what I’ve heard from people who aren’t familiar with the inticracies of Formula One as a “team” sport, i.e., ‘what you mean they are told not to race?’ Position all of this next to what Rodger Penske said last sunday during the Indy race in St. Petersburg Flordia, when asked about his driver’s competing “I’ve told them that so long as they don’t take each other out they can race as much as they want.”

  17. ram

    I do not see the reason to set the alarm and get up in the middle of the night for a STAGED race.Formula 1 died last sunday.

  18. SonnieD

    Maybe Vettel didn’t care for the outcome of the DWC had he maintained position for on count back it would have been
    1. Webber 33
    2. Vettel 33
    3. Raikkonen 31

  19. DJV001

    What a load of garbage! As Webber said, the team will always protect Vettel. RBR has lost me as a fan. Vettel is like his countryman Schumaker… happy to cheat at anytime to get an advantage.

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