Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Webber reveals Vettel’s “Multi-21” legal threat

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing

At the end of Mark Webber’s appearance on Australian Story (ABC TV) a graphic appeared warning there would be “carnage” when his autobiography was released. Mark’s book, Aussie Grit, was released in Australia today and in it he reveals how Sebastian Vettel escaped punishment from the Red Bull Racing hierarchy.

First, here’s was Mark had to say on Australian Story on Monday night:

So we got off the podium [Malaysia 2013] and yeah. He [Vettel] just come over. Just, “We need to talk,” you know. He said, “I’ve just fucked up. I fucked up, mate. I fucked up so bad,” you know. I said, “Mate, well,” I said, “Well, let’s just talk, let’s talk next week.”

I don’t know who spoke to him between Malaysia and China but we had a discussion in China and the discussion didn’t go well. And yeah, he just said that yeah: he had massive respect for me as a driver and, and not much as a person. So that really affected the relationship, obviously. At the time, we would hardly stand the sight of each other.

We now know who spoke to Vettel about the Multi-21 fiasco between Malaysia and China. That’s if we’re to believe this claim made by Mark in his new book:

When Ann (Neal, Webber’s partner) later pressed (Christian Horner) about why the team had never reprimanded Seb or issued any punishment for the ‘Multi 21’ incident, he admitted that the team had received a two-page letter from Seb’s lawyer a few days after the Malaysian race stating that they were in breach of his contract by giving him an ‘unreasonable instruction/team order’.

So, when running back to the team for support didn’t work, Sebastian was happy to get his lawyers to provide protection.

Just when you think Vettel might be likeable, along comes another story—and let’s not forget, it is only one side of the story—to make you think what an absolute tool the guy can be.

[Source: Fox Sports]

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Multi 21: The movie

Multi 21 movie parody

Cast your mind back to the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix and the subsequent Multi 21 controversy between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. Instead of filling yourself with rage, go and see the movie!

Yes, really. Okay, maybe not really. But there is a parody movie trailer ready for you after the break.

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Vettel: I was faster, I passed him, I won

Sebastian Vettel

Look, we don’t want to keep talking about the fallout from the Malaysian Grand Prix, but it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Despite the weeks that have passed, Formula 1’s media spotlight is still pointing directly at Sebastian Vettel. And the three-time champ is only too happy to make the most of the opportunity.

Interviewed by Reuters ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, Vettel says he was faster and Webber didn’t deserve to win at Sepang.

Still claiming he didn’t understand the now infamous ‘multi 21’ instruction Vettel said: “Had I understood the message, then I think I would have thought about it, reflected on what it means, what the team wants me to do, to leave Mark in first place and me finishing second.

“And I think I would have thought about it and probably done the same thing because Mark doesn’t deserve that.”

When asked to expand on his comment that Mark didn’t deserve victory Vettel replied: “I don’t like to talk ill of other people. It’s not my style. I think I said enough. The bottom line is that I was racing, I was faster, I passed him, I won.”

On the question of trust with his Australian teammate Vettel added: “Being completely honest, I never have support from his side. I’ve got a lot of support from the team and I think the team is supporting both of us the same way.

“I respect him a lot as a racing driver but I think there were more than one occasions in the past where he could have helped the team and he didn’t.

“I wouldn’t call it trust to be honest. I think we have a professional relationship.”

The Webber–Vettel rift began after the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix and back then Red Bull was able to stage manage a reconciliation between the pair. We don’t think that will be happening again. It will be fascinating to see how the pair’s on-track relationship develops over the course of the year. This could get very ugly.

[Source: Reuters | Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

No multi 21, no orders, no bull?

Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko wants us to believe there will be no more team orders at the reigning championship constructor. “Team orders won’t be given by us anymore,” he told Germany’s Sport Bild.

We’re not sure if Team Principal Christian Horner got the internal memo from Marko or is simply living in reality, but he has already told Sky Sports F1 that the team’s controversial multi 2-1 and multi 1-2 codes need some work, “both our drivers in the last three races have failed to understand both of those messages.”

Hinting that team orders may still be given from pitlane Horner added, “I think we’re going to give up on that code. We need to probably try something else.”

We’re not buying Marko’s claim. If the circumstances dictate and a championship result for Red Bull rests on the fate of team orders, management will not hesitate to make the call, make no mistake about that. This is Formula 1 and, like it or not, team orders are part of the sport’s culture.

[Source: Planet F1 | Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Vettel-Webber fallout continues

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

The media’s ability to take a topic, run with it and blow it completely out of all proportion has been in full effect in the wake of Sebastian Vettel’s decision to ignore team orders on the way to victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix fallout. Mostly, we’re concerned with the Australian media, because that’s where our little world exists. The amount of ill-informed quasi-F1 fans in the media who have the luxury of a platform to display their ignorance is staggering.

Although, even the German media is getting stuck into Sebastian Vettel, well, kind of. Frank Schneider a contributor to Bild, Germany’s largest selling newspaper, has called Vettel a “dirtbag”.

“Sebastian Vettel has said it himself—on the track you have to be a dirtbag,” Schneider said. “For his win in Malaysia that’s exactly what he did. He behaved like a dirtbag then apologised for it afterwards.

“Vettel appears as though he was surprised by his own brutality. His killer instinct won’t make him more popular with his Formula 1 colleagues. But it is also what sets him apart from middle-of-the-road drivers.

“Vettel increasingly mirrors his idol Michael Schumacher whose lack of mercy led him to seven titles. Schumi was loved or hated. Vettel is on the way to being the same.”

Three-time world champion Niki Lauda also weighed into the debate, in his role as a German TV pundit, “He forced the win against the team ethos and at any cost. That was a big mistake.”

Former racer Gerhard Berger finally added some calm and reminded us that what we saw Vettel do on the weekend has happened before and will happen again. “To be a race winner you need to be very, very talented but to be a world champion, or to be world champion three, four, five times, you need to be extremely selfish,” said Berger.

“So of course after the race he is saying he is very sorry about it and that he cannot sleep, but I think he sleeps very well because this is his nature. And nobody, no team, no team chief, no team-mate is going to change it.”

Meanwhile, in Australia much of the talk has been about Webber returning home to consider his future in the sport. Really?! C’mon guys Mark is made from sterner stuff than that. Thankfully, his old man has put things right this morning on ABC radio, confirming Mark will be ready to race in China.

And even Red Bull themselves have felt obliged to issue a team statement explaining that they’re dealing with the mess in-house (see below). Perhaps the biggest surprise in the fallout from Vettel is the gravity felt inside the walls of Red Bull. Publicly, at least, Sebastian hasn’t been given an armchair ride through this controversy from his employers.

Here at AUSmotive we’ve wanted to rant and rave at Vettel’s actions but just haven’t been able to find the anger within. And there’s two reasons why.

First, let’s assume Mark and Sebastian were free to race to the line at Sepang, at full pace with full engine power and scant regard for tyre wear. The chances are Sebastian would have found a way past.

Sebastian is a better driver than Mark, it’s that simple.

Secondly, is anyone surprised that Sebastian Vettel has proved himself, once again, to be a self-serving little prick? True, he has matured a lot in recent years and he does, at times, display a charming personality. But we’ve seen enough to know that nobody should have been surprised by Vettel’s actions.

So, let’s all move on shall we.

[Source: The Sun | Pic: Red Bull/Getty Images]

Formula 1 Mercedes-Benz Red Bull Racing

Sebastian Vettel wins 2013 Malaysian GP

Sebastian Vettel wins 2013 Malaysian GP

If ever you doubt that Formula 1 is a sport where egos rule just come back and refer to this race, the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix. It was won this evening by Red Bull ace Sebastian Vettel. On paper the results are nothing out of the ordinary but the three drivers on the podium may as well have been at a funeral such were the glum faces and all thanks to the dark shadows of team orders.

To tell the full story we need to go back to the start. Actually, make sure you’re sitting down for this next bit: Mark Webber (Red Bull) made a blinding start and from P5 was dicing with renowned fast starter Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) for P2 for most of the first lap.

Alonso’s part in this melodrama was short lived, he tapped Vettel on the entry to turn two and damaged his front wing. Sparks were flying from Alonso’s car and the wing gave up, falling off the car just as Webber overtook him on the main straight at the start of lap 2. With no front wing Alonso found himself in the kitty litter out the race and probably wondering why on earth he didn’t pit for a new wing at the end of the opening lap.

In the first stint Webber didn’t ever challenge Vettel for the lead but after the first round of pit stops, for a change, things went in Mark’s favour and he was leading the race.

It was a lead that Webber was able to maintain, as well. Although after exiting the pits following his final tyre change he had Vettel screaming behind his gearbox and had to fight hard to keep his teammate at bay. Yet, with 12 laps still to race history told us the outcome was inevitable, Vettel would pass, but when?

It didn’t take long and to be fair it was an epic fight between the two, with some spectacular wheel to wheel racing that would have kept the Red Bull management on the egdes of their seats. Finally, Vettel found extra grip and was able to get past Webber. Although, the noises from the team over the radio were less than encouraging for Vettel.

After the race the team added a caveat to its congratulations to Vettel, saying he would have some explaining to do. Webber was clearly unimpressed with Vettel and prior to emerging on the podium was heard asking Seb “Multi 21?” with a shrug of the shoulders. It’s now widely accepted that Multi 21 is Red Bull’s code for the drivers to conserve their cars and maintain position.

And so we come back to the dreaded team order debate in F1. It has since been revealed that after Mark emerged in the lead following the final pit stop that both Red Bull drivers, with a comfortable gap back to third place, were asked to turn down their engines, conserve their tyres and hold position. That is, all being equal Mark should have won the race.

On the one hand we applaud Vettel for being a racer to the end and taking the fight to Webber. But, really, for all Red Bull has done for Vettel, would it have killed him to follow the team’s wishes?

Speaking on the podium Mark made his feelings of displeasure known. “After the last stop the team told me the race was over and we turned the engine down to go to the end,” said Webber. “In the end Seb made his own decisions today and will have protection as usual, and that’s the way it goes.”

In post-race interviews Vettel has acknowledged his “mistake” and apologised to his teammate. “I took the lead from Mark, which I can see now he is upset about, but I want to be honest and stick to truth, and apologise,” said Vettel. “I took quite a lot of risk to pass him and I should have behaved better.”

Of course, this won’t be the last we hear of that little spat. In the interests of balance, we suggest those angry at Vettel’s decision to ignore his team’s wishes remind themselves of Mark’s drive in the 2011 British Grand Prix.

Which brings us to the other glum face on the podium, that of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes AMG). Normally Lewis would be pretty happy with a podium finish, but in a second case of team orders for the race, he probably should have ended up fourth with teammate Nico Rosberg standing on the third step. Hamilton was ordered to conserve fuel which kept Rosberg behind him who asked the team if he could pass. Ross Brawn said no.

In the end Hamilton admitted he was a little embarrassed to be on the podium and that Rosberg should have been there. Although, perhaps Hamilton will be more red-faced about his first tyre stop when he drove into the McLaren pit before being waved away. He’s just lucky the Mercedes bay was not already behind him!

We’re not entirely sure what happened to Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) but after qualifying ahead of teammate Jean-Eric Vergne and spending a fair part of the race ahead of him he ended up being the last of the classified finishers in P18 some five laps behind Vettel. Vergne finished tenth and claimed the first championship point of the year for Toro Rosso.