Red Bull aim to get second for Webber

2011 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner aims to get Mark Webber into second in the drivers’ championship.

Horner said: “Our priority is to get Mark up into second in the drivers’ championship. It’d be great to see him win a race this year before the year’s out.

“We’re just going to be going for it every race between now and Brazil. And, of course, what we learn in in the remaining races only stands us in good stead for next year.”

Webber is 13 points off second

Webber is currently fourth in the championship, 13 points behind second-placed Jenson Button.

Speaking at the team’s constructors’ championship victory celebration earlier this week, Horner said the team had many highlights to reflect on from their dominant season.

“There’s been so many,” he said, naming their wins in Monza, Melbourne and Monaco as among the most memorable.

“To win for the first time in Spa and achieve a one-two there,” he added. “After the problems we had in Istanbul last year, to go back and get a one-two this year in the manner that we did. So it’s hard to name one.”

But chief technical officer singled out one race win as being particularly special: “If I had to say a single stand-out in many ways it would be Monza.

“That’s not been a happy hunting ground for us the last few years. We’ve been off the pace. We went into that race fearing that it would be a damage limitation race, that we wouldn’t really be competitive. So to qualify on pole there and far Sebastian to disappear in the race was a great surprise. And I think it’s those surprises that always become most memorable.”

Newey said the team’s emphatic championship victory was one to savour after last year’s last-gasp win:

“I think the circumstances are slightly different. Last year we made a lot of mistakes. We had some unreliability problems, one or two driver mistakes. We chucked away a lot of points so it was a very difficult year where we had a quick car but didn’t seem to be able to make that work at times.

“The result was that certainly the drivers’ went right down to the wire and we really went into the last race on the back foot, Fernando [Alonso] looking really strong. So to actually come away with the drivers’ championship in Abu Dhabi last year was an amazing feeling. We’d come as the underdogs and don e it at the last moment.

“This year we come out of the blocks strongly in Melbourne, we’ve led the championship throughout. It’s been nip-and-tuck at times – we haven’t always had the fastest car – but we’ve managed to keep our nose ahead. So to demonstrate that we could do that has been satisfaction. Last year was sort of ‘wow, amazing’, but this year has been real satisfaction that we’ve just managed to keep it there.”

2011 F1 season

Browse all 2011 F1 season articles

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

59 comments on “Red Bull aim to get second for Webber”

  1. To me that sounds far too much Ferrari early 2000s with Schumacher handing wins to Barrichello to get him into second after the title was over early.

    I am not even shure what is the worst way for them to actually do this.

    Just imagine Vettel pulling over in a situation close to Silverstone like and let Webber through for a win or second place. What would that tell us? Indeed it would show how all the talk about Webber not getting team calls to hold back were just blurring the picture. It would confirm what many have been feeling about Red Bull since Turkey last year. I would lose a lot of respect for both drivers and for the team if they did.

    But would it be much better, if Webber suddenly started to get the poles and wins in on sheer pace, fairly winning over both Vettel and all the others? Wouldn’t that rather show that Red Bull could have done something to help Webber get better starts and races earlier, if only they had decided to do so?

    Sure, it might be this is only about Red Bull trying to keep the car fast so it will get more 2nd places for Webber, right behind Vettel. But even for that, they will have to give Webber the first choice of strategy more often than not and finally solve his starting problem.

    1. soundscape (@)
      21st October 2011, 10:41

      Webber will need to be running second in a race (behind Vettel) for this to even be possible.
      And regarding Horner’s comment, I’ll believe it when I see it.

      1. Webber will need to be running second in a race (behind Vettel) for this to even be possible.

        True. He’s only even managed it twice all year.

    2. Yes it does leave a rather nasty taste about it.

      If there’s more to do to get Webber 2nd in the championship, why aren’t they doing it now? And if they’re doing everything they can and any more effort will detract from Vettel’s races, why should his be compromised? the title may be won but there’s still 3 race wins, pole positions and fastest laps to add to his hard-earned stats.

      And who says it won’t just give Webber one more place at the end, but also his rivals overtaking Seb? Picture Hamilton and Alonso winning the last races with Vettel 2nd twice and 3rd another. That’s not going to do Mark much good is it?

      The announcement is 99% PR and 1% substance as far as I’m concerned. Not because Red Bull secretly have it in for Webber, just that their best intentions won’t equal the best result for them.

      1. The announcement is 99% PR and 1% substance as far as I’m concerned

        Couldn’t agree more.

    3. @BasCB

      As I understand, Barrichello didn’t enjoy it at that time. He once said that he wasn’t lucky to “overtake” Schumacher in the final lap of the USA GP 2002 but had no choice as Schumacher was slowing down more and more and otherwise they both “would still be standing there today”.

      I believe noone really cares much about the 2nd place in the championship, such talk is just PR stuff. People praise champions incomparably more than runners-up so I don’t expect Red Bull to change their approach.

      I don’t think there’s an easy solution to Webber’s problem with the starts this season; it’s something similar to Trulli’s “power steering”. It’s not like Lotus don’t care about Trulli’s preferences but obviously it is impossible to resolve such problems without either changing the concept of the car or making it slower.

      1. Well in the last two races Webber’s starts haven’t been that bad have they?

        1. You are right, they have been OK. In Japan, Webber retained the starting position, whereas in Korea he had moved up by one place after the 1st lap. But I don’t think that means the problem is resolved. Webber has already had a couple of similar starts earlier this year and in Korea he actually lost one position first before passing Massa & Button later on the lap.

        2. They weren’t bad because he was no threat to Vettel. Blow the air with the same map as Vettel, give him the same launch set up and Webber will do the rest. The PR is a bitch slap.

          1. Bad starts (which he has owned up to making) or not, he is no threat to Vettel.

    4. @BasCB It is a bit of a delicate situation for them and if Webber starts suddenly improving his form, questions will be asked. Personally, I don’t believe in much of that but I know the conspiracy theorists will love it.

      Vettel really shouldn’t be yielding anything though, that would tarnish their season and there’s only one way to go when you’re at the top!

      1. You are absoluetly right about Vettel not letting Webber past if that sort of situation plays out. I happen to personally like Webber but feel that he is now pigeon holed in the team and will never get the best of his teammate this year, next year or into the future. This team would benefit from having a new second driver. Dare I suggest Hamilton as something is rotten at McLaren . Who else??? My point is to say that Webber seems completely pysched out by what Vettel has accomplished. During most races Webber is at best barely staying level with Alonso, Button and Hamilton. Vettel is in another league and for the team to improve and grow young mister Vettel would stand to benefit from a challenge in the team from a top notch driver like Lewis. The next three races will support this is Webber doesn’t win at least one of them. If Vettel gives away a race win at this point then I believe this to become a certain moment where REDBULL will start to lose their momentum.

  2. I would loose alot of respect for Vettel if he pulls over to give Webber a win

    1. I am not trying to be rude but, why?

      1. Because its manufactured, just like when ferrari do it. At the moment Vettel’s season is about records and seeing how many races he can win in a season. For him to give Webber a victory would be a shame. Webber has to be fair, had a very average year and hasnt ever been in the position to win a race… or help Vettel on the way to one. He shouldnt be given help just because he cant get the job done in the same machine. Thats the way i feel anyway… But to be fair I would of course loose more respect for Webber and Red Bull than Vettel just going along with team orders.

  3. I don’t think Webber would be happy being gifted a win anyway.

    I think Horner is just talking about doing the best they can for him so he has a chance to win off his own pace, rather than making Vettel move over.

    I hope that’s the case anyway.

    1. I agree with you. I also doubt Webber would be satisfied with being gifted a win he didn’t get 100% on his own merits.
      Maybe they’ll just give Webber first preference for strategy calls and the like. This way Vettel isn’t hugely disadvantaged and it could make a difference.

      I personally want to see Mark reach the top step of the podium at least once before the season ends.

    2. I also agree. I think what Horner means is that they are not going to take it easy now that they have the drivers and constructors championship wrapped up. It would be very easy for Red Bull to be like “well we’ve won everything lets just kick back for the next couple of races, and put all our efforts into next years car”. But I think they are hungry, they want a drivers 1, 2, and who can blame them? And they can do it without having to gift races to Webber, not that he’s the sort of guy who would accept a gifted win anyway.

  4. Well Senna did it for Berger (Suzuka 1991) can’t see many complaining about that. Vettel can do what he wants, he’s earned the right to give up a win or whatever although as a fan of hs I’d rather he grinds Webber and his opponents into the dirt by winning more.

    1. I still see the example you give as a different thing entirely. Berger had supported Senna throughout the year, on and off track and this was a gesture of thanks to Berger.

      Webber and Vettel’s relationship, although better than last year, is still frosty and any gesture from Vettel would be for the team rather than out of respect for Webber.

      As someone has mentioned, Webber will need to be directly behind Vettel in order for this to occur anyway – which seems unlikely!

    2. The usual problem with fans here is, if RedBull does help Webber it is ‘OMG they did this – ‘. If they don’t help Webber, then it’s ‘OMG even after winning the championship they would not help a driver in the same team –

      1. Hit the nail on it’s head. With an incredibly heavy sledgehammer…

        RBR can’t make Vettel pull over without being hated (they won’t have broken any rules, but no-one will like them), the best way of doing things is letting them race.. However dangerous that may be..

    3. Berger wasn’t best pleased about being gifted the Japan ’91 because of the way it was done.

      Mansell needed to win that race to keep his WDC hopes alive but Berger led, from Senna and Mansell for the first ten laps. Then Mansell spun off, meaning Senna was champion. Senna then shot off, passed Berger then had to slow down considerably to let Berger past on the very last lap for his first win as a McLaren driver in two years. Senna’s message was obvious and rather patronising – I’m faster but I’m sparing a few crumbs from my plate.

      Completely unlike Stirling Moss and Juan Manual Fangio at the 1955 British GP – Moss nipped past at the last corner but Fangio always denied that he had let Moss past. To this day, Moss isn’t 100% sure Fangio let him through or whether he won on merit.

  5. Call me cynical, but how is this news? It’s been RBR’s aim all season to get Webber into 2nd position.

    1. @TribalTalker You’re cynical.

      And if you weren’t so cynical, you’d see why it’s newsworthy :-)

      1. Ha! But hey, it’s Friday… And that’s about as good an excuse as “it took me all season to get used to the new tyres”.

      2. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner aims to get Mark Webber into second in the constructors’ championship.

        Ha! So now Red Bull admit they constructed a completely different car for Webber! ;)

        re. the news: to be honest, it sounds more than anything that Red Bull are simply bored and haven’t much else to achieve this season!

  6. Oh i how feel for mark… So his team is so concerned about vettel and winning him the title mark has ended up in the position as Massa, a back up plan which is a massive shame and waste of talent. “Oh right yeah now we sorted out seb and got him the glory we will drag you into 2nd so we can gain maximum championship points” Did they like forget mark even drove for them?

  7. I’m sure Webber would rather do this himself. He’s aware of his bad starts and bad qualifying this year, and that he’s got sort this one out himself. That’s been his downfall this year which is a shame because in the races he has been feisty and terrific.

    1. Yep. I reckon he’d rather Seb defended his position. That would actually really hurt him if Vettel moved over, I think. He’d feel like the team have no trust in him any more.

  8. Are they admitting that Mark gets second rate treatment? Or are they simply the worst communicators in the game? I’m sure they were always working for a one-two finish but their form of words makes it sound like Mark is an afterthought. Note to RB management, get a PR hack who can write without ambiguity, or at least get someone to sub your press releases.

    1. It wouldn’t matter what they wrote, people will still try and twist any words in something that sounds more sensational than it actually is – it’s human nature.

  9. Bah… leave him alone, or don’t say anything. This really spoils it.

    I don’t want Mark to be handed victories. I want him to earn it by himself, like he did in 2010. And if he doesn’t win, well, tough luck, he’ll do it next year.

    It’s not like he’s not willing to win anyway, and he needs the whole team to support him more than ever to do it.

    Horner, you’re despicable!!

    1. I don’t see what Red Bull can gain from this. If he does win then everyone will say he only did it because the team and Vettel let him which as you say @fer-no65, would spoil it for him. If he doesn’t win (which even if he beats Vettel, isn’t guaranteed considering the pace of McLaren and Ferrari) then it damages his reputation even more.

      It sounds a lot like the ‘we treat our drivers equally’ stuff that Horner hopes someone out there will believe.

  10. I think this puts Vettel in a bit of a no-win PR situation: if he does what he’s told to ensure a Webber win, there will be people attacking him for not being a serious competitor, being nothing but a tool of RBR, etc.; if he ignores such an order, people will attack him for being selfish, not being a team player, etc. (Then again, people criticize him whatever he does, up to and including celebrating victories and pole positions.) Even if that’s not what Horner had in mind with those comments, that’s obviously how people are interpreting them.

    Personally, I would be unhappy if Vettel blew a chance to get thirteen wins this season to hand Webber a win he probably wouldn’t want anyway.

    1. Despite whatever his action Vettel will suffer Public Crucification – His 13 wins will be publicised like 13 sins

  11. Red Bull will have to do it, if only just for mathematics.

    2009: 4th
    2010: 3rd
    2011: 2nd?
    2012: 1st? :-P

    1. lolz how did you get to that… hey maybe thats the plan …

    2. Have anyone though that maybe is not about giving Webber wins, but you know let him choose strategies first, giving him priority on pits stops… Or maybe Seb will help by winning all the remaining races, hey at least Button and Alonso won´t win them so it will help Webber

      I don´t see anything wrong with it. They are no saying they are gonna let him past, Webber himself had said that Vettel totally beat him this year…

  12. I don’t think Vettel would hand Webber anything and after everything Red Bull said last year there’s no way they’d switch positions surely. :P JK because I really don’t think they would, I don’t think Vettel would give up a win just to help his team mate who has failed most of the year become runner up in the title. That’s Mark’s lookout not Seb’s. Seb has done his bit by getting the WDC and doing his utmost for RBR for their WCC.

    1. @Steph Yep, and Vettel is trying to break records as well! Besides, I think Webber would feel awful if the team had to make Seb move over for him. He must be feeling bad enough as it is.

  13. I have the same feeling reading this that I did at the point in the season just before Eric Boullier started having a go at Nick Heidfeld at every available opportunity.

    There’s no way that this works out well for Webber. If he starts doing better, it could imply that the team actually weren’t fully behind him this season, and if he doesn’t improve then it’s a case of even with the team’s support, he can’t get the job done.

    Are they trying to ruin his confidence?

    1. Contrary to the popular Horner/Marko/Vettel bashing this does make sense. Irrespective of what Mark has in mind(race wins or second place in WDC) this will add more pressure on him. Lets see if he can perform better under pressure

  14. Richard F150 - I am not a truck
    21st October 2011, 14:59

    In other news Mark Webbers season long KERS issues are finally resolved and he is given another chassis after serious manufacturing flaws were discovered during routine maintenance…

  15. It’s really just putting Webber under even more pressure, and putting his lack of results more in the spotlight. Just think that, Vettel has racked up an historic run of pole positions in the other car. Hamilton, who is not even driving an RB7, has been 7 times on the front row, and even has a pole position of his own. Six races have been won by drivers beside Vettel this year. So based on the record, not looking good. And now, with Button in good form and if Hamilton is not crashing, in addition to Alonso doing his normal heroics on Sundays, I am not holding my breath for a Webber victory this year.

    1. Nicely said and 100% accurate…

    2. Your reasoning for pressure on Webber is fine, he really has totally underperformed. The only flaw is why would Red Bull want to put pressure on him? They don’t seem in the least bit unhappy with how the season turned out and he was signed on for next year based on these results. Whatever the reason for Mark Webber’s drop in competitiveness compared to 2/3 of last season, it hasn’t hurt Vettel at all – in fact the opposite, it’s ensured none of the ‘damaging’ rivalry we saw at Turkey 2010 and elsewhere and ensured he wrapped up the championship early with his huge points haul.

      1. Payback? Mark acts like the worst employee ever!!!!!!

        Every times something don´t go his way is “oh the team don´t support me” “oh they like Seb more than they like me just because he is younger” … he is the one that feeds all the comspiracy theories and Dietrich Mateschitz is a saint not to put Webber in his place… so how to give a little “humble pie” to Webber, easy “Don´t worry mate, we are gonna help you to get a win” (not that is what is happening is what my twisted mind want to think they are doing)… for all that I have listen and see from the event it seem like Horner was asked about what was the target now and then Seb was asked about Horner´s answer and what was suppose Seb to answer? “Sc*** Mark and going for the glory and to beat everyone one of Michael´s records” (either way Seb´s gonna be the villian in front of Webber´s fans, and his critics).

        Anyway is not the first time that Horner say that he wants Webber to win a race, he has said so on Japan and Singapore…

  16. I didn’t think putting Vettel in Marks car was permitted…I cant think what else they must mean

    perhaps vettels going to crash into both Mclarens and Alonso

    1. perhaps vettels going to crash into both Mclarens and Alonso

      omg, this topic is getting hillarious…

    2. LOL, One driver each weekend, huh?:)

      1. No, the three at once… imagine the level of skill required to do that!!!!

          1. You have to hand it to Liuzzi, that was really hard…

            So Sebastian will have to do something amazing to take out three of the fastest and best drivers at once… it is actually worth to wath the last 3 GP to see how he would do that ;)

  17. He has the possibilty to do so, but if Button resumes his pre-Korea formit’l be hard (he was good in Korea but Webber was better).

  18. I think no matter what happens or what they say, Red Bull will still be catching flak from people. Webber’s a likeable driver and I admit that even I prefer him over Vettel. And though I’m not Red Bull fan, all I can do at this point is go by what I see and hear them do and say. And already I’ve heard them say “we don’t do team orders” and then give team orders -twice this year- which has not done much for making them seem trustworthy.

  19. sid_prasher (@)
    21st October 2011, 20:54

    I would assume RBR might be more supportive of webber in terms of strategies and setup…but I dont think Vettel is going to get off the pace – he wants to win them all and will go for it – after all you never know how good the car will be next year…
    Webber has been poor this year for the car he has had…

  20. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    22nd October 2011, 0:05

    Those 13 points look so hard to shorten if you compare points between Webber and Button such as the start, the average performance in race and (why not) the bad luck Webber sometimes has in pits.
    Besides that, let’s not forget Alonso and Hamilton are on the run for it as well

Comments are closed.