Rebel Racing: There’s No ‘I’ In Team

“The only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say ‘you will stand out one race'”.

Former Grand Prix winner, John Watson was outspoken about the scandal that hit F1 this weekend when Sebastian Vettel disobeyed team orders to take victory in the Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix. The triple world champion and his teammate Mark Webber were asked to limit their engine revs and coast to the finish to preserve tyres. The Red Bull pair had previously agreed with the team to not race each other beyond the last round of pitstops. In the lead after shrewd pitstops and tyre choices, Webber should have had his first victory of 2013 all sewn up. But Vettel had other ideas. The young German ignored pleas from Team Principal Christian Horner to back off to no avail, and Vettel, after a number of close shaves with his teammate, passed Webber to steal the twenty-five points.

Mark Webber vents his frustrations toward Red Bull teammate, Sebastian Vettel

Mark Webber vents his frustrations toward Red Bull teammate, Sebastian Vettel

Podium and post-race interviews made two things clear: Webber’s outrage, and Vettel’s lack of shits given. Vettel has since apologised, citing adrenaline and heat of the moment, “I didn’t ignore it on purpose, but I messed up in that situation and obviously took the lead which, I can see now he’s upset, but yeah, I want to be honest at least and stick to the truth and apologise”. He later came off as ingenuous when Horner later rubbished claims that Vettel didn’t overtake Webber ‘deliberately’: “He had made it quite clear what his intention was by making the move. He knew what the communication was. He had had the communication. He chose to ignore it”.

Red Bull team bosses will be left scratching their heads after Malaysia

Red Bull team bosses will be left scratching their heads after Malaysia

A few F1 personalities have come to Vettel’s defense such as former McLaren and Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger, who said no driver could achieve the successes Vettel has without showing the kind of ‘selfishness’ seen in Malaysia.

But if you ask me, Vettel’s actions are indefensible. The long and short of it is that each team wants to win the Constructors’, and each driver, the Drivers’. Red Bull compromised and met the drivers in the middle, allowing them to indulge their own interest up until the last round of pitstops, whereupon the team’s interests would be respected thereafter. Vettel ignored the team (and his employers), and I completely agree with John Watson’s solution to the matter.

“It is the head and not the foot that is instrumental in any one driver’s achievements” – Peter Sauber.


About Mike O'Keeffe

I live and breath racing. Especially, F1. Here you'll find an ocassional word or two on the ins and outs, the highs and lows and the controversies of motorsport's pinnacle.
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