Why Webber’s greatest misfortune was to be Vettel’s team mate

2013 F1 season review

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Put two top drivers in a car capable of winning the world championship and there will inevitably be points of friction. That was certainly true of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel during their five years together at Red Bull, which came to an end at the close of this season.

Though closely matched at first, with time Vettel gradually asserted himself over Webber, to the point that in their final season together all 13 of Red Bull’s victories were score by Vettel.

This could be explained as Vettel’s precocious young talent maturing into one of the most formidable forces on the track today. But others perceived sinister forces were at work within the team, striving to undermine Webber. Which is the more compelling explanation for the superiority Vettel came to exert within the team?

The first season

In 2009 Webber began his third year with Red Bull. Both were yet to win a grand prix, but new team mate Vettel had brought cheer to the Red Bull project by scoring his first victory with sister team Toro Rosso the year before. That inevitably provoked questions why the rebranded Minardi squad had achieved the feat before the main team had.

Vettel put that right three races into his Red Bull career with a superb victory at a rain-soaked Chinese Grand Prix. But from the outset Webber was on the back foot – almost literally, having broken his leg in a pre-season cycling accident. Merely starting the season was a brave effort on his part, and in China he followed Vettel home to give the team a one-two.

In these early days there were times when the more experienced Webber was able to exploit Vettel’s lack of polish.

In the Turkish Grand Prix, their seventh race together, Vettel went off on the first lap and fell behind his team mate. Towards the end of the race Vettel caught second-placed Webber and, despite being ahead of his team mate in the championship, was ordered to hold position behind him. He did, and followed Webber home in third place.

This was unremarkable at the time but became significant in the light of subsequent events.

The Istanbul incident

Twelve months later at the same track a similar situation played out. Once again Webber led Vettel, who had been slowed by a brake problem in qualifying, with the two McLarens bearing down on them.

Vettel made to pass his team mate and was on the verge of completing the move when he edged back towards the racing line. It was too soon. The two RB6s touched, spinning Vettel into retirement, sending Webber into the pits with a broken wing and handing McLaren a one-two finish.

Television cameras caught an unimpressed Vettel making a ‘crazy’ gesture in reference to his team mate’s driving. Afterwards Red Bull’s Helmut Marko, the architect of the driver programme which had brought Vettel to the team, backed his young charge instead of the patently blameless Webber.

In any tension between the two team mates Marko invariably came down on Vettel’s side, which unquestionably undermined Red Bull’s insistence that the pair were receiving equal treatment. And the mishandling of a situation at Silverstone later that year did even more damage.

The team had brought two new front wings for the weekend, one each for Vettel and Webber, the latter trialling his team mate in the championship by eight points. When the mounting on Vettel’s wing failed during final practice, the sole remaining example of the new wing was allocated to him instead of Webber.

Vettel duly took pole position at Silverstone but first-corner contact with Lewis Hamilton left him with a puncture and Webber won the race. But his status within the team was fixed in the minds of many by his infamous post-race retort to Christian Horner: “Not bad for a number two driver”.

Despite the growing friction between their drivers Red Bull tried to use team tactics to their advantage when they could. During a Safety Car period in the Hungarian Grand Prix Vettel, who had pitted, was asked to delay the field to assist Webber, who was running in front of him and yet to make his pit stop.

However Vettel, whose radio was not working properly, failed to heed a reminder not to break the rules by holding up the field too much and inadvertently earned himself a drive-through penalty, handing the win to Webber. At the time the team kept quiet about the tactical error.

Vettel snatches 2010 title

In the second half of 2010, as Adrian Newey began to exploit the opportunities for boosting downforce by blowing exhaust gasses into the diffuser, Red Bull became increasingly unstoppable.

However it seemed Vettel was better able to adapt his driving style to access this extra performance than Webber was. What also helped Vettel’s cause in the latter stages of 2010 was that Webber was nursing another injury, this time to his shoulder, which wasn’t disclosed until after the season had ended.

Vettel went into the final races of 2010 as the driver to beat on race day, but at a disadvantage in the points standings after an error-strewn race in Belgium and a late-race engine failure while leading in Korea. Both drivers arrived at the Abu Dhabi finale with a chance of keeping points leader Fernando Alonso from the crown. But in the race Webber flailed, Ferrari missed an open goal, and Vettel sealed his first of four world championships.

The 2011 season continued as 2010 had ended. Vettel routed everyone – Webber included – and the deepening rift between them widened further following events in the closing stages of the British Grand Prix.

Webber was instructed to hold position as he closed on his second-placed team mate but showed how little he cared for the order by making a determined attempt to overtake Vettel. In the context of Vettel’s domination of the season it was inconsequential at the time, but later events would show Webber’s insubordination had made its mark.

That race saw Ferrari’s only victory of the season, which coincided with a one-off restriction on the use of exhaust-blown diffusers. The technology was further limited in 2012 which was welcome news for them and Webber, who regained some of the ground he had lost to his team mate.

The Pirelli factor

But it was the 2011 introduction of ‘designed to degrade’ tyres, provided by Pirelli, that was Webber’s real bete noire, and something he recently identified as part of the reason why he fell further behind Vettel.

“I think he’s been very strong on the Pirellis,” said Webber in India this year. “Obviously [on] the Bridgestones was probably a little bit tighter but on Pirellis he’s certainly been very strong and no real weaknesses on those tyres so it’s been strong for him.”

Nonetheless with the value of exhaust-blowing greatly reduced an injury-free Webber enjoyed a much more competitive start to 2012. As late as round 11 he headed Vettel in the points table following victories in Monaco and Britain.

But a succession of misfortunes blunted Webber’s championship chances in the second half of 2012: gearbox change penalties in Germany and Belgium, a differential fault in Hungary, and contact at Suzuka and Abu Dhabi.

Parallel to the claims of Red Bull persistently favouring Vettel there have been insinuations of Webber receiving inferior or less reliable equipment. But the data from the five years they spent as team mates debunks the view that either driver had considerably worse or better machinery at their disposal.

Vettel’s race-ending technical failures outnumbered Webber’s seven to four during their five years as team mates. And taking non-terminal failures into account shows the pair were reasonably closely matched in this respect.

The final race of 2012 pitted Vettel against Alonso in a straight fight for the championship, with Webber long out of contention. The support each of the title rivals received from their respective team mates could hardly have contrasted more strikingly.

In the penultimate round Felipe Massa had accepted being given a gearbox change he did not require, in order to earn a grid penalty which moved Alonso one place forwards. In the Brazil finale Massa twice made way for his team mate.

Webber, however, made no concessions to his team mate at the start, squeezing him hard at turn one. Vettel fell back and was involved in a collision that nearly cost him the championship. Another marker had been laid down between the pair, and this would have repercussions just two races later.

“I was racing, I was faster, I passed him”

According to Webber he made his mind up about his future before the first race of 2013, at which he took a group of journalists out for a meal. One week later they were writing about the latest episode of the Webber-Vettel soap opera.

On a wet track in Malaysia, Vettel threw away the lead by pitting too soon, ending up behind Webber. In a scenario not dissimilar to Istanbul three years earlier Vettel found himself staring at his team mate’s rear wing while under attack from another team – in this case the two Mercedes drivers.

Professional sportsmen and women have no time for niceties in the thick of battle and Vettel is no different. “Mark is too slow,” he told the pit wall, “get him out of the way”. But Red Bull showed no desire to change the running order.

Later in the race the threat from Mercedes dissipated and Webber emerged from his final pit stop ahead of Vettel. Now Red Bull laid down an order and it was not what Vettel wanted to hear. The infamous coded instruction “Multi 21″ – meaning car number two followed by car number one – was an order for Vettel to stay behind Webber, and one which does not fit a narrative of Webber always receiving second-class treatment from the team.

Vettel, of course, did not comply. He behaved exactly as Webber had done at Silverstone in 2011 but with one significant difference: unlike Webber, he made a move stick and won the race. A furious Webber chopped across Vettel’s bows after they took the chequered flag.

At first Vettel indicated remorse for what had unfolded. “For sure it’s not a victory I’m very proud of,” he said after the race, “because it should have been Mark’s”.

But after a few days his view had hardened. “He didn’t deserve it,” Vettel said in China. “There is quite a conflict, because on the one hand I am the kind of guy who respects team decisions and the other hand, probably Mark is not the one who deserved it at the time.”

“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.”

This was an uncompromising verdict on his team mate. Yet at the same time it was clear Webber’s chickens had come home to roost. This was not a view widely heard in coverage of the race, which largely ignored the four-year history between them and portrayed Vettel as the villain.

Time to move on

Malaysia was one of few occasions the pair went wheel-to-wheel on track during 2013. The ever-widening gap between them had grown even further, and by the end of the year Vettel had almost double Webber’s points tally.

It’s easy to forget how highly regarded Webber was before his five-year pummelling at Vettel’s hands began. And that even towards the end of their final season together he could still keep Vettel honest – as he did by snatching pole position in Abu Dhabi.

It’s not hard to understand why any racing driver would baulk at being ordered to let his team mate past or stay his hand in the heat of battle. But those who try to claim that only Webber has been asked to make those sacrifices for Red Bull, or that only Vettel has defied them, are selectively ignoring the facts.

Does the Silverstone wing decision reflect badly on Red Bull? Yes. And the same is true of the crashingly unsubtle partiality of Helmut Marko. But points like this do not come close to accounting for why Vettel won 31 races more than Webber during their five years together. That is a reflection on Vettel’s skill as a driver, and especially how well he has adapted to post-2010 Formula One.

Given Webber’s recent lapse in form the timing of his departure from Formula One seems to be very well-judged. It will add much interest to next year’s World Endurance Championship to see him campaigning a works Porsche on the kind of classic old circuits he thrives at, such as Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and the mighty La Sarthe.

Before he joined Red Bull Webber already had a reputation for misfortune. Whether it was a string of car failures which always seemed to strike when he was on the point of some giant-killing feat, or the unfortunate timing of his switch to Williams, Webber often seemed to have more than his share of bad luck.

But his greatest misfortune probably occurred when he finally got his hands on car that was capable of winning races and championships – at the very same time he was partnered with the prodigious talent of Sebastian Vettel.

2013 F1 season

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Images © Red Bull/Getty

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...

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140 comments on “Why Webber’s greatest misfortune was to be Vettel’s team mate”

  1. There are two elements to the Malaysia incident that are missing from what is an otherwise fairly balanced assessment of the two drivers’ five years together.

    Firstly that Vettel waited until Webber had turned his engine down before attacking, knowing that Webber believed – because he had been told as much by the pit wall – that the race was over.

    And secondly Webber’s telling observation, in the post-race interviews, that “Seb will be protected as usual,” in which he was undoubtedly proven correct. Red Bull’s tactics in the race may not support the idea that Vettel was favoured within the team, but what happened afterwards continues to raise more questions than it answers.

    1. Can you prove Webber’s engine had been turned down?

      1. @malik – Webber talks about turning the engine down in this article. And anyway, even if Webber wasn’t leaned out, he was unquestionably ordered to coast because Red Bull had been experiencing massive degradation that weekend, and the race had been won on raw pace by that point, so the engine mode is largely irrelevant. Vettel knew the plan and used that knowledge to his advantage, and a win at the cost of sportsmanship is not a measure of a champion’s ruthlessness, it is plain cheating. For me, Multi 2-1 and Schumacher’s Monaco parking are filed in the same column.

        1. @william-brierty: I re-read the article twice and could find nothing about Webber talking about turning the engine down.. Can you please find it for me?
          and can I ask what about this one:

          1. @malik Ha! I forgot to link it to the article! Here it is.

            And regarding that video: Yes, I found it funny. No, I don’t to descend into a childish Vettel vs Alonso slanging match, because, quite frankly there is no competition. Without those extra seven points Alonso would not have found himself within a dodgy strategy in Abu Dhabi of winning the championship, and it was not unsporting on the part of Alonso, if was unsporting on the part of the team. Alonso was simply a victim of a year in which there was no DRS and team orders were illegal, two things reversed just 12 months later.

          2. It was a great victory, just like Singapore 2008! Because Alonso.

          3. @william-brierty Team orders were not a problem in 2010, cf. Hockenheim 2010 ;)

          4. @william-brierty

            No, I don’t to descend into a childish Vettel vs Alonso slanging match, because, quite frankly there is no competition

            I completely disagree, as do the statistics (four world championships to two). If that is of course what you are referring to, the competition between both drivers.

            On the “engine map” excuse (and it is an excuse), Webber shouldn’t have been so naive. He will have been well informed of Vettel’s position, he will have been familiar with the situation he initiated in Silverstone 2011 so simply Vettel beat him fair and square with judicious strategic employment.

            Malaysia 2013 was a completely legitimate racing victory.

          5. Early on 2013 Pirellis, by the end of the stints lap time was increased as much as 4 sec.
            Common practice was to pit the leading driver of the team first (which would mean a 4 secs benefit over teammate). Being Vettel under threat of both McLarens, red Bull inverted the order and Pitted Vettel before Webber who was leading, (giving him a valuable 8 secs delta against the opposite order) in the light team orders would maintain track positions.
            Once Webber engine was turned down Vettel went on the attack.

            Vettel is (with Alonso) the better driver of F1, but calling this was a fair win is so untrue as stating all his success is because of Red Bull/Newey.

        2. How the tyres degradation is relevant ?

          At the end of the race, Webber put on fresh new Prime tyres, few laps AFTER Vettel put on new Option tyres.

          So, if one of the two drivers had to turn something down to save his tyres, then it was Vettel, not Webber.

        3. @william-brierty: Thanks a lot for the link. This is the first time I read such a thing…

        4. @william-brierty rewatch the race please. No coasting. No engine turned down. That pass was not unfair in terms of sports, it was against a team order. But they had equal possibilities. You can bet on it.

        5. Yet he set the fastest lap before Vettel overtook him!

          1. Not bad for a #2 driver with his engine turned down! ;-)

        6. @william-brierty

          Horner has stated that Vettel had his engine turned down as well, just not as much since Vettel had saved more fuel.

          1. So Vettel had made a better job and deserved to win.

            Vettel was faster than Webber the whole race, he just pitted 2 laps too early and lost a lot of time. Coming back and overtaking your team mate in the same car just shows how good Vettel is.

        7. I really don’t get this argument about Webber turning his engine down. If he did, as he claims, it isn’t as if he couldn’t see Vettel bearing right down on him. When it came to the dual, Vettel out-smarted Webber with a fantastic overtake to earn a well-deserved win.

          In my opinion, Vettel was more than within his rights to go for it because, as stated, Webber did similar at Silverstone 2011, he just didn’t get the job done. Quite ironic. And after how uncooperative and obstructive Webber was to his team-mate’s in the title deciding race of 2012, which led to Vettel almost losing the title, I would’ve been disappointed if Vettel didn’t take this opportunity for some pay-back.

          Rather than being slated for his Malaysia 2013 win, Vettel should be applauded for it.

      2. Horner confirmed for the BBC after the race that both cars were on the same engine map. Vettel had a fresh set of options available and saves fuel earlier in the race. Webber did the opposite.

        1. Exactly, Vettel’s startegy was planned to be strong in that last stint, and Webber’s, to lead before it. It would have been almost unfair not to let Vettel at least try to pass.

          It’s funny how some people hate Hockenheim 2010 AND hate Malaysia 2013.

          1. @magon4

            It would have been almost unfair not to let Vettel at least try to pass.

            Which is exactly what the team attempted to do. The decision to continue to race was Vettel’s alone.

            It’s funny how some people hate Hockenheim 2010 AND hate Malaysia 2013.

            Indeed… the height of hypocrisy. Personally I loathed Ferrari’s tactics at Hockenheim, but admired Webber’s defiance at Silverstone 2011 as well as Vettel in Malaysia. Team orders have their tactile uses in F1 to be sure, I’m not naive enough to deny that, but when the two drivers are racing on merit and not under direct threat from others, they should be allowed to race.

      3. I don’t know but to say this.

        Do you still turn down the engine when you see your another car charging right behind in your wing mirrors?

        I think no F1 driver will do that.

        1. If you know that you cannot finish the race without turning down your engine, then yes, most drivers would probably turn their engines down.

          There is no reward for dropping out of a race earlier – from the point of view of the driver, it is better to ensure that you’re still in the race for as long as possible just in case something happens to the drivers around you.
          Remember Smedley telling Massa to let another driver go, which he duly did, in the 2010 Spanish GP when having to limp home because a malfunctioning fuel pump left him short of fuel? Not to mention countless examples of drivers during the turbo era being powerless to stop other drivers passing them because they’d overshot their fuel consumption in the opening stages of a race and had to cut their boost levels in the closing stages.

      4. I can…. Webber had a 10 second lead when they went for the last pit stop. After that pit stop they were suposed to turn the engine down…. Webber did, Vettel didn’t otherwise Vettel wouldn’t “eat” 10 seconds of webber…

        Vettel is faster than Webber, but not by that amount… When Vettel tried to overtake webber, I think webber did put his engine with full power again, but seb was just a bit faster

        1. @oliveiraz33: 10s? I see you don’t remember what happened in that race. Vettel was about 3s behind when he went for his last pit stop – one lap before Webber.

        2. @oliveiraz33

          Webber had a 10 second lead when they went for the last pit stop.

          That’s a long way out. Webber’s lead was 16 seconds, but that was only because Vettel had just pitted. Prior to that his lead was 4.2 seconds, which is the significant figure.

    2. Some could also argue that Vettel saved fuel in the earlier stages to make full use of his fresh set of tyres for the last stint. After all, he almost missed Q3 to have this advantage. And I guess Webber’s observation is the complete opposite to what happened during the race when he has been advantaged by the team order! Like in Silverstone 2011, where he misobeyed them, Vettel misobeyed them here.

    3. @red-andy

      Webber believed – because he had been told as much by the pit wall – that the race was over

      Why shouldn’t the same have been true for Vettel at Silverstone in 2011? And that being so, shouldn’t Webber have realised that Vettel was every bit of capable of ignoring an order from the team to hold position as he was, and protected his position accordingly?

      Webber’s telling observation, in the post-race interviews, that “Seb will be protected as usual,” in which he was undoubtedly proven correct

      I don’t see what action Red Bull could have taken against Vettel that would have had any meaningful effect. Benching him for a race was completely out of the question – it would have hurt them as much as it hurt him. Cutting his pay would have been seen as an inconsequential slap on the wrist.

      1. Well said :)

      2. @keithcollantine – I don’t quite get that, Keith, because, are you saying that Webber should have ploughed on into what was a lengthy final stint knowing that if he pushed to keep Vettel behind he’d become a victim on the rear chunking Red Bull had been suffering all weekend, simply in the knowledge that Vettel was “capable” of the defiance her nearly showed in Silverstone 2011? It was a logical strategy in Red Bull’s case at Malaysia because of their degradation (which makes it not necessarily comparable with Silverstone 2011), so I find it difficult to justify such self-centered disobedience in that instance.

        In terms of penalizing Vettel, a symbolic statement of remonstrance would’ve sufficed. Alonso was a subject of it, why not Vettel? Surely a dilution of his ego and not that abomination of a press conference in China would have been better for the team in the long term? Humiliation is an incredibly meaningful effect, and it was that that Vettel was feeling immediately after the race…before some pea-brained marketing man got hold of him to tell him that he could use it as an example of Senna-esc ruthlessness…

        1. @william-brierty
          I think Vettel has over the past three years proved that if anyone knows what conditions his tyres are in, it’s him. The team is often panicking, ordering him to slow down, yet he doesn’t. And at the end it becomes perfectly clear that his tyres are fine.

          Secondly, why should Red Bull have given Vettel, even a symbolic punishment? They didn’t do that to Webber in Silverstone. Heck, Vettel got quite an earful in the drivers room by Adrian Newey after the race. Red Bull’s dissatisfaction with his actions was much more obvious then with Webber after Silverstone 2011. Or after Brazil 2012 where he almost, indirectly, lost Vettel the championship. Where nothing was said.

          1. Folks keep saying how Marko has Vettel’s back, including Webber, but Dietrich M has Webber’s back. Of course it’s convenient to ignore that.

    4. But first, Horner and Webber said, after the race, that Webber never turned his engine down or anything. He would have done this after his pit stop, but he didn’t because Vettel was already behind him when he came out of the pit lane.

      And secondly, Vettel hasn’t been “protected” since he’s not the villain here. Webber was “protected” exactly in the same way after Silverstone 2011. Everybody, fans who criticize Vettel’s move now included, applaused Webber’s move after Silverstone. “Such heroic. Only listening to his brave heart, ignoring unfair team orders. He was 100% right”. Nobody said he was selfish or things like that.
      If Vettel is protected by not have been “punished” by his team in Malaysia, then Webber is clearly protected exactly in the same way by not have been “punished” by his team in Silverstone.

    5. @red-andy if Mark believed Seb would follow the order, given his own opinions towards team orders, then bad call.

      I still mantain Webber got what he asked for while at Red Bull. Fair treatment, let both of them have a go at the win. And they did, their scrap was the highlight of the season in terms of wheel-to-wheel battle, for me, even if Mark ended up being the loser.

      But he took his own medicine. Vettel was the real racer that day, something Webber has been praised for. He turned the roles around, yet won no hearts… strange how this world works, I suppose. I, for one, welcome our new Wonderboy overlord. Even as a MASSIVE Webber fan.

      1. But he took his own medicine. Vettel was the real racer that day, something Webber has been praised for. He turned the roles around, yet won no hearts… strange how this world works, I suppose.

        That’s the worst, hypocrit people saying Webber is a gentlemen driver, he was such a gentlemen at Silverstone 2011 or Brazil 2012 where he squeezed Vettel at turn one …

      2. This comming from a strong Webber fan has a lot of weight

    6. That engine setting must be something pretty hard to turn back up. Because Mark pitted on lap 43 and actual pass happened on lap 46.
      Not to mention, Seb was assured by Rocky that there were opportunities available, this by lap 26 before Lewis actually caught Seb.

    7. @red-andy watch the race my friend – he did not turn his engine down at all!!!

    8. They both came within .5 seconds after Mark’s last stop and for 2 and a half laps Vettel was quite aggressive and Webber almost pushing him against the wall made clear that he wasn’t surprised but was willing to fight for it – the engine map is used as an excuse that Vettel simply made it stick unlike Mark in Silverstone the year before.
      After the race he just did what he did best in the past 3 years – playing the victim – but bottom line he got what he asked for after Silverstone 2011 and Abu Dhabi, Brazil 2012.

      Also it’s quite strange how Vettel was hammered for this move – while Mark was praised in 2011. And compare Vettel’s move to what Senna did back in the day and everything seems to be way out of proportion.

    9. You must think f1 drivers are lazy or too stupid to turn a nob and control their engine map. When Webber came out of the pits he could clearly see Vettel attacking him. In fact Vettel was on his wing that entire lap. If indeed his engine was turned down Vettel would have overtaken him on the start finish straight which he dint (the speed difference on the straight is massive if your engine is turned down and the car behind also has the advantage of using Kers and Drs. Vettel only managed to over take Webber because he got better traction out of turn 3 or 4 because he has saved his best tyres for the 3rd stint. All Mark said was I was asked to turn my engine down and coast he never said I turned my engine down. And if Mark couldnt fight back to take the position it was only because Vettel used the faster tyre on his last stint while mark had already used them before his final pitstop

  2. I don’t think the tyre effect can be exaggerated here. Perhaps the greatest example of just how fundamental and influential the four contact patches are, is the change in dynamic between Vettel and Webber, with Webber going from a genuine title contender in 2010 to a mere supporting act in the subsequent years. Obviously we must factor in the growing brilliance of Sebastian Vettel and the receding motivation of Webber when analyzing the dynamic, but the fact that Webber scored more victories in 2010 alone than he did in three years of Pirellis really is too overt a correlation to ignore. In 2010, Webber could keep Vettel in sight in both qualifying and the race, and on tracks he liked, such as Silverstone and Monaco, he often had an edge, but with Pirellis he’d be on the top step just three times, often in cars more dominant than the 2010 RB6.

    The same is true to a lesser extent at McLaren, with Hamilton having an extremely comfortable margin over Button in 2010 to finding himself behind him on the table in 2011, but with Lewis redressing that balance in 2012. Whilst it is certainly too simplistic to put drivers into columns of drivers that can look after their tyres and those that can’t, and the chassis must also be factored in, Hamilton and Webber unquestionably to a hit in 2011.

    I would argue not so much that Webber’s greatest misfortune was being Vettel’s teammate, but that he had a teammate that already had an array of skills and a driving style honed throughout the junior categories perfect for the Pirelli era. Also had Vettel hypothetically followed compatriot Andre Lotterer to Le Mans in 2007 rather than race in F1, would Webber have been champion? Obviously the fact that he wasn’t second in the championship in any of Vettel’s championship years doesn’t automatically make that a “no”; I do actually think he would have won in 2010, but I still couldn’t see him beating Alonso or Button on Pirellis, even with truly great chassis like the RB7 and RB9 at his disposal. And this is a man that was very much on the pace of his destined four-time champion teammate in 2010! Shows how important those black things are…

    1. Webber was never (and I mean never) on vettel’s pace during 2010. Be it quali or race. Just about every time he was ahead was because of some sort of mechanical problem for vettel.

      1. Yes, Vettel was very very unlucky that year AND made two mistakes.

      2. @juzh – So I guess Vettel had mechanical problems in Barcelona, Monaco, Silverstone, Turkey, Spa and Monza, oh, and of course the harder tyre which Webber qualified on in Canada was faster than the soft tyre Vettel was on. For a man that had a potentially championship ending crash at Brazil last year, but still finished sixth, that’s a whole load of bad luck. Webber was often on Vettel’s pace in 2010. Fact. Deal with it.

        1. If you’re talking about 2010, off the top of my head, Vettel had a cracked chassis for Monaco and one other race I don’t remember (possibly Barcelona?), Silverstone he had a puncture, Turkey he had a brake issue in qualifying, Monza he had a gearbox problem or something like that that caused him to lose drive. As for Spa, he was an idiot. And I can’t remember Canada.

        2. Anti-roll bar failure in Monaco, Rear torsion bar failure in Turkey. I don’t want to bring your attention to the cracked chassis anyways. Question – which Silverstone are you talking about?

          Webber was often on Vettel’s pace in 2010

          How often is often in your terminology?

        3. @william-brierty the fact however still remains that he was never going to beat Vettel over the course of a season ignoring misfortunes. Especially given Vettel lacked the polish he now has, I would place all my poker chips on Vettel to beat an on-peak Webber with Bridgestone tyres and no DRS.

          He’s a good driver Webber, but no chance would he beat Vettel over a season without other contributing factors which fell in his favour.

          1. @vettel1 @william-brierty

            ^ This!

            I just love it, when people assume that Webber had any real chance of beating Vettel on a more “durable” set of tyres. Be it Michelin or Bridgestone, Webber will need an enormous amount of luck to beat Vettel over a season.

            Long story short, Vettel in equal machinery is unbeatable. Alonso would of course give him a close run, but that’s about it. The man’s raw pace (including qualifying) and his uncanny ability to bring it home weekend after weekend even when the odds are against him, makes him the best on the grid along with Alonso. A depressing assessment as a Ferrari supporter :( , but we’ll just have to live with it.

        4. @william-brierty
          Barcelona: a severe front left brake problem
          Monaco: Cracked chassis
          Silverstone: Puncture at turn 1
          Turkey: some kind of problem at the rear of the car in quali
          Spa: Simple mistake at turn 1, costing him 0.8 seconds in quali, and he was terrible in the race
          Monza: Brakes sticking in the race
          I think that answers your rhetorical question perfectly

        5. @ridiculous @vettel1 @sankalp88 @xjr15jaaag – People are clearly having problems remembering 2010. Yes, Vettel was the faster the Red Bull driver, but Webber was “often” on his pace, and stunning qualifying laps in Barcelona (In both Italy and Spain the brake problem didn’t emerge on Vettel’s car until midway through the first stint – i.e. didn’t have any impact on qualifying), Monza and Canada, where he beat Vettel to a front row spot on the slower tyre, I remember finding very impressive for a driver reaching the autumn of his career. And if you broaden out the analysis beyond just pace, and consider the often impetuous nature of Vettel midway through 2010, then it must we be said that at times in 2010 Webber was the better driver than Vettel. That is something that I would have had no problem asserting this time three years ago; it is simply the context of having watched Vettel take four consecutive championships that makes it so indigestible, but the facts remain: in a year where Vettel had both the car and the talent to win at a canter, a mixture of bad luck and poor judgement saw Vettel fail to extract the maximum from both himself and the car at every race, something he has since redressed.

          1. @william-brierty
            ahahahahahHAHAHAHhAHA. cool story bro.
            “stunning qualifying laps in Barcelona” –> is this a joke? Vettel was 1/10 slower with a cracked chassis.
            “then it must we be said that at times in 2010 Webber was the better driver than Vettel.”
            another joke surely.
            Pretty much everyone on the top end of the grid failed to maximize their points in 2010 as everyone made quite a lot of mistakes that year. Be it vettel, webber, alonso or hamilton.

          2. People are clearly having problems remembering 2010. Yes, Vettel was the faster the Red Bull driver, but Webber was “often” on his pace

            @william-brierty – Both the RedBulls qualified on the harder Tyre in Canada expecting higher degradation. And thanks for clarifying that “often” means two instances.

          3. @william-brierty

            I’d agree that at time – at times – Webber was the better of the two drivers. Though flying over Heikki at Valencia wasn’t one of those times, nor was losing it in the rain in Korea.

            One thing to note, is that Vettel was only 22 at the time, then 23. Still maturing, and you can see that maturation over the last several years.

            But here’s the thing, we can talk all day and night about the slight differences in speed and the tires and etc. But the real difference between Vettel and Webber, and this is universally true across sports and disciplines, is mental. Webber had a championship in his hand and threw it away.

            Take the last 5 races of the seasons, a seasons where Alonso said after (or before, I forget) Italy, that for him to win the WDC, he’d need to finish on the podium at all the remaining races. Vettel basically had to win at all the remaining races to have a chance. He finished P2 in Singapore, P1 in Japan, DNF in Korea, then P1 in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

            Alonso also won 3 races from Italy onwards, and critically finished off the final podium in Abu Dhabi.

            Webber binned it Korea and totally collapsed in Abu Dhabi. Win it and he’s the champion. He couldn’t perform under the pressure, all he could do was whine about not being “No. 1” in the team. What was all the talk about in Abu Dhabi? Whether Vettel would move over for Webber to let him win the race and the WDC. How pathetic. Conventional wisdom knew Vettel would win the race – that you could count on him to win the race – and that the odds on favorite for the WDC, Webber, wasn’t good enough to win on his own.

            Webber in Abu Dhabi – pretty good for a number 2 driver. No one ever brings that up, do they?

            Look at Hamilton, stupid errors in Singapore and Italy cost him the WDC as well. He more than likely would’ve finished P4 in both those races. Those 24 points would have him as the WDC.

            So the last 5 races of 2010 really separated Vettel from Webber, and if I was a team principal, I wouldn’t count on Webber to carry the torch for the team from that point on. That Webber doesn’t have a WDC is squarely on his shoulders alone. He’s a very good driver, but he’s not a championship driver. He should be grateful RBR continued to give him the opportunity to drive in one of the best teams on the grid, and always gave him a legitimate chance at winning races on his day.

            One of those days was in Abu Dhabi in 2012. With Vettel starting from pit lane and Webber P2, Webber had ever incentive to win the race, and he absolutely would have the full support of the team and Vettel to win the race. And he was already passed by Alonso before the second straight on the first lap and went backwards the entire race.

            So in the one area where it matters most, Webber doesn’t have it. I think Vettel is currently the strongest mentally in the field, followed by Alonso, then Raikkonen. As Webber himself pointed out, Vettel and Alonso are machines. And in sport where the cars and drivers are so closely matched, it’s the mental aspect that separates the drivers.

    2. @william-brierty, If Webber were to be the number one driver and another one were at his side for the past four year I’m quite sure he would at least have been a double world champion over four years. The development could be targeted for Webber his style of driving rather than having an R&D working on slow corner downforce/diffuser in which Vettel excelled.

      1. @william-brierty Newey doesn’t tailor his cars to anyone’s driving style though. He designs them to be as fast as they possibly can be and expects drivers to be able to adapt. Vettel was able to do that, Webber wasn’t as able. So saying the cars would have been different is probably a bit of a stretch. Newey would have exploited the same rules he did and built the same cars he did. Would Webber have performed differently from the psychological benefit of being treated as the driver’s #1? That may be a valid question, but then… he would have had some team mate and it could have been another driver who like Vettel was able to adapt to the EBD better than he was.

        1. Indeed. If RBR hadn’t developed the blown diffuser concept, they probably wouldn’t have won any championships.

      2. Review the last 3 races of 2010. Webber had a WDC clearly in his site. He crashed out in Korea, finished P2 in Brazil, and when a victory would wrap it up for him in Abu Dhabi, he completely collapsed and finished P8.

        You can’t blame Vettel for that. Or the team. That’s on Webber 100%. The pressure was too much for Webber.

        I know that sounds harsh, but I don’t hold it against him. He’s still capable of handling more pressure than most of us (me for sure!). I don’t think we can truly imagine that amount of pressure that drivers must feel in those circumstances. From the outside looking it, it all looks so serene. Then we so easily criticize drivers for letting the pressures get to them, as if they has some kind of panic attack walking to the kitchen to make a sandwich.

        But the harsh reality is that Webber just didn’t have that last bit of mental strength to win it all. Best number 2 driver on the grid by far.

      3. Fact is Vettel has been beating Webber right since 2008(in a redbull clone) 2009 double the wins compared to his experienced teammate. There was no way Redbull would build the 2009 car around Vettel. Its development had started in 2008 when Vettel was driving for Torro Rosso. And the men behind shaping the handling on the track were no other than coultard and Webber. So your point stand invalid that Redbull build their car around Vettels driving style because they dint know he would excel in them. The fact is they build the best car period. It is for the drivers to adapt their driving style and exploit it. How many times have Alonso changed teams. Have you heard him complain about the brakes in Ferrari or Mclaren or Renault being differnt to his liking? The best drivers learn to adapt thats what sets them apart from average drivers

    3. If only Lotterer had the 2003 Jaguar drive instead of Pizzonia.. then we would know how he compared with Webber.. same for Pantano and Jaguar, until he was trumped by Marko’s $10m from RB for Klien in early 2004.

  3. However it seemed Vettel was better able to adapt his driving style to access this extra performance than Webber was

    That’s not true, in 2010 Mark Webber was able to extract the most from the blown diffuser with his driving technique in the first half of the season, he carries more speed at the exit of the corners unlike Vettel who is very fast at the entry of the corners with his very late braking, however by mid season the team managed to control the exhaust gases with some kind of software in the engine mapping which cut the advantage that Mark was having over Seb

    1. This is the joke of the year :D

    2. @tifoso1989 – Yeah, if you’d have said pretty much the complete opposite, then that comment may have rung true. Allow me to talk you though the styles of Webber and Vettel…

      Vettel – Brakes quite early so have a quite neutral car mid-corner, before smashing the throttle sometimes even before the apex, rotates the car with the rear rotation, and the rear downforce from the blown diffuser coupled with a heavy front end prevents a slide and allows Vettel a perfect exit.

      Webber – Takes a lot of speed into a corner, scrubs off some speed with an aggressive turn-in which also, in qualifying, produces a small amount of passive rear slip to help Webber turn the car, but this small amount of “lift off oversteer” and the immense apex speed he takes often means he is on the throttle substantially later than Vettel. Because Webber is ideally looking for just a small amount of rear slip, he is also prone to struggle with a car that overtly understeers or oversteers.

    3. @tifoso1989
      Try watching this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A09vlmgw9HE
      In an up-shot, Vettel rotates the car much quicker then Webber does, hence Vettel can make the corners shorter, and therefore he arrives to the point where he can put the power down quite a bit earlier then Webber.

      1. This is a good example of what makes Raikkonen and Bottas so quick as well – they also shorten the corners, rotating the car well, which Kimi has a great feel for too. Kimi and Seb in the same car would be very, very close.. Horner knows that’s basically the WCC sewn up, with a WDC scrap. But now, Ferrari has the best driver pairing.. while RB have the ‘regenerated Webber’ – Ricciardo – fast 1 lap qualifier, Aussie, slow starter. But Marko tweaked his disposition!

      2. Related video from that one – Vettel teaches young girl how to drive. Entertaining to watch in this context!

    4. @malik @william-brierty @mads I don’t think what @tifoso1989 says is untrue.

      I remember Gary Anderson writing about it back in 2010. The blown diffuser was there in that Red Bull since winter testing. But the weird engine mappings appeared late in the season, giving Vettel the edge. Before that, the car still had a normal feeling, instead of the counter-intuitive attitude it got later in the development stage, which Mark didn’t like very much.

      That’s why he got strong when they limited the effect of the blown diffuser (first stages of 2010 because early stages of development, Silverstone 2011, and early part of 2012 because of Newey still working on the coanda effect). Each time, once the team sorted that out, Vettel adapted better.

      Says more about Vettel growing talent than Mark obviously being slow to get comfortable with new things, which seems obvious given he was on the later stages of his career. Maybe had this all happened 7 years ago, he’d have been able to match Seb a lot more often.

      1. @fer-no65
        But didn’t the engine maps do exactly the opposite?
        Without them the car would gain downforce, as the throttle is applied. Making rear grip hugely affected by the throttle position. I can’t see how that could be described as normal behaviour.

        On the other hand, with the funny engine maps that downforce would at least partly be maintained while off throttle.
        Giving the car an overall downforce gain at the rear, same as making the diffuser more powerful or a wider rear wing.

        1. It’s reacting to something new, but stragely new.. if suddenly full downforce was available to 0mph, it would become an exercise in getting throttle down as quickly as possible, etc. I’m sure when TC came in, those guys that excelled at applying throttle, like Montoya, Raikkonen etc. had their advantage slightly clipped, like Kobayashi or Hamilton and DRS.

          Driving involves a lot of muscle memory, and this would have to be reprogrammed, which is where a simulator can come in instead of track testing. Hence Gutierrez takes longer to get up to speed, as Sauber don’t have one and thus he has less track time than everybody else.

        2. @mads going faster (i.e. having the trotthle open) gives you more downforce with the normal engine mappings, just like the wings give you more downforce the faster you go.

          But then, when the engine mappings kicked in, they had downforce everywhere, and braking got weird. Mark apparently never got confortable with that. Throw the Pirellis in the mix, and you got a recipe for disaster from Mark’s point of view.

          Obviously I’m just sitting here commentating about it, but that’s what Gary Anderson (and few others) said about it back then, I’m just reproducing their comments, which obviously are a lot more accurate than mine ! I wish I know it first person :P

          1. @fer-no65
            But the downforce from the wings/floor is dependent on the speed. More throttle =/= more speed. It just means more power is applied to the ground.
            Say Vettel enters the a corner at 140km/h but lifts off mid corner, and Webber enters the same corner at 130km/h but on throttle all the way through. Normally Vettel would have more downforce in that situation.
            Without the engine maps on the other hand Webber would have more downforce, which is highly unnatural.
            It would also affect the driver in the sense that, if a driver looses a bit of rear traction, and therefore lifts off, then he will loose downforce and grip. Instead of just regaining grip on the rear tyres.
            I do believe that the it might have changed things under breaking, but I do think the car went from behaving weird, to normal’ish with the introduction of the engine maps, at least in respect to throttle movements and downforce levels.

          2. @mads I think many said it was the behaviour with the engine mappings was unnatural.

            Maybe there’s something more we can’t explain…

      2. Alonso vs. Webber in the 2005 Renault, with Raikkonen in the mix with the fast but unreliable McLaren, would definitely have been something to watch. As it turns out, Fisichella only notched a few wins when Alonso had a bad qualifying…

      3. @william-brierty,@mads,@fer-no65
        Sorry guys for this late post but my new internship program didn’t left me any time even to surf the internet, As for Vettel’s driving style i’m still pretty confident about what i said because i heard Giorgio Ascanelli himself saying that Vettel’s speed came from braking very late and managing to control the car in that situation, i just don’t have time but i if you like check my previous posts because i remember i posted the Autosprint interview in which he talks about Vettel, As for the blown diffuser i think @fer-no65 explained it better than me

  4. The points gap between Webber and Vettle is shocking, poor Massa got slated for his tame effort v Alonso but Webber got let off for some reason.

    While Vettle dominated in the Red Bull (to the point it was boring) Webber always seemed to be battling for a podium. 2010 aside Vettle won the WDC with a large points margin while Webber couldnt manage 2nd… Really fail to see why hes rated in F1 terms.. He didnt win a race in the sensational 2013 redbull, glad a young driver gets a chance in that car now as he hung around a season or two too many.

    1. Easy: Double standards.

    2. @kingshark

      The points gap between Webber and Vettle is shocking, poor Massa got slated for his tame effort v Alonso but Webber got let off for some reason.

      Massa’s performance compared to Alonso was much poorer than Webber’s was compared to Vettel. The 2013 season was Webber’s worst against Vettel and he still scored (just) more than half of Vettel’s points tally. Whereas Massa scored less than half of Alonso’s total in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

      1. Still no difference, Alonso is being hailed because of the difference to Massa
        Vettel has not failed with the best car so far? its even worse for Webber as the consensus is a monkey in the Redbull would still win the championship!
        The problem here is the Nepotism at Ferrari has helped Alonso become this over-rated driver he is today looking at this past season Alonso is the only driver in a top team not to feature on the front row even Massa was second in Malaysia, then Alonso keeps comparing his results to Massa in the other car, here’s where Vettel is better he’s thinking about improving his performance not bothered about what his team mate is doing hence gets better and better every season while Alonso rests on the fact fans think he’s out-performing the car, other than MSC and Kimi never seen a driver produce a season like Vettel did in 2013.

  5. infrequently guest
    22nd December 2013, 13:25

    I don’t like my races to be fixed. That simple. Hence, for me F1 isn’t the easiest sport to follow, although I enjoy it.
    But a race in which the first four places were (or rather “should have been”, cause Vettel didn’t obey) fixed is simply an outrage.
    And then, surprisingly, it’s not this “cheating” which causes the public disapproval, it’s one driver who doesn’t bow to this.
    Very good indeed.

  6. What a lovely Sunday afternoon read that was.

    At first Vettel indicated remorse for what had unfolded. “For sure it’s not a victory I’m very proud of,” he said after the race, “because it should have been Mark’s”.

    But after a few days his view had hardened. “He didn’t deserve it,” Vettel said in China. “There is quite a conflict, because on the one hand I am the kind of guy who respects team decisions and the other hand, probably Mark is not the one who deserved it at the time. 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.”

    I still think this is very confusing. In my opinion, there are two possible reasons why he had a change of mind: first, I guess he was afraid of people’s reaction to his ‘unsportsmanlike’ behaviour, i.e. damaging his reputation. But as soon as he realized there was a sizeable group of people backing his decision, he was confident enough to admit it.

    A second reason could be that he was afraid of Red Bull’s reaction. If he is the ‘bad boy’ and makes important decision without his team’s backing, would he still be welcome? Well, Horner wasn’t impressed, but maybe Marko convinced RB to let Vettel do his thing?

    Anyway, I still think it’s a very weird episode, one which took some of my respect away from both Vettel and Webber. They both behaved like children going through puberty, very unprofessional.

    1. @andae23 – I’m sure an idiotic marketing man got hold of Vettel before China and told him to portray the incident as a sign of his inner ruthless Senna…pffff…

      1. @william-brierty ww…whut? I’m just suggesting that between Malaysia and China he might have found the confidence to admit that victory is the only thing that matters to him. There are a lot of people (not me) who appreciate this attitude, so why not be honest about it?

        1. I agree more with this view. The Vettel in China looked more confident. I liked more Vettel giving honest answer in China

    2. @andae23, I shared that view. I have nothing of his driving this year but only praises, but off track sometimes it’s different story. on that post-race interview that weekend, Vettel showed a lot of different range of response:
      – race: “Mark is too slow, get him out of the way”
      – podium interview: “we need to discuss it behind the doors”
      – post race interview: “I didn’t ignore it on purpose but I messed up in that situation and obviously took the lead…. I want to be honest at least and stick to the truth and apologise…. yeah, all I can say is that I didn’t do it deliberately.”
      – more more interview with TV after race: “Obviously I’m the black sheep right now. Obviously I put myself in that position so, as I said, all I can say is apologies to Mark…. I made a mistake, simply.”
      – before China: “He didn’t deserve it. There is quite a conflict, because on the one hand I am the kind of guy who respects team decisions and the other hand, probably Mark is not the one who deserved it at the time. 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.”

      the paradox level is very high. I don’t know which one is his true emotion, whether his talk before China is just PR team suggestion or not, and I even don’t like it more when he bragged about Brazil 2012. while I actually cheered on the pass, after numbers of interview I could only say, ‘screw you, Seb.’
      He’s great driver no doubt about that, but he lacks of character. you can say he’s funny or whatever (which he really is), but that weekend is gonna be affect my view of him ever.

      1. I think it happened like this: after the race, Newey said to Seb that he had done something bad and apologised for it. But by the Chinese GP, he realised he had done the same as Webber in 2011 and therefore deserved to win it.

        1. Never thought of it like that before. Thank you. :)

        2. A more simpler explanation could be that even after Vettel had initially shown his regret at disobeying the team order and accepted his mistake, Webber still kept at it throughout the next few days in the media while giving the impression that a deserved victory was robbed from him, and this must have infuriated Vettel to the extend that he decided to change his stance in the media and say that Webber didn’t deserve to be helped to a victory, considering that Vettel himself hadn’t said anything after what Webber did in Silverstone 2011 and Brazil 2012. I think Webber’s stance in the media after that race would have infuriated anybody.
          And a simple fact that no one had cared to mention was that when Vettel overtook Webber, there was still 13 laps to go to end of race which was almost 1/4th of the race still remaining, and two Mercedes not very far behind. 13 Laps is a long time to stay behind someone slower than you, when you can get ahead and build up a gap to cover any unforeseen mechanical issues that can happen anytime, especially when there are still 13 more laps to go. I think Vettel is a clever and thinking driver, who did what he did but definitely didn’t deserve all the slack he got, especially from Webber himself after all that he did before. This must have really ticked him off.

      2. After the race, Vettel was scared of being branded the bad guy in that situation. He had time to think about it, and by China, after discussing it with the team as well, he went on to say he deserved the win.

      3. The reason that Vettel said Webber was too slow and asked for him to “get out of the way” was that, at that time, Webber was backing Vettel up into the clutches of the two Mercedes. You have to consider the context in which things are said. Without the context it sounds petulant.

  7. I’ve watched live timing for years now and webber couldn’t match vettel’s pace if his life depended on it. Everything else is irrelevant.

    1. If you think F1 is that black and white maybe it is time to do something else…

      1. Besides, it came to black and white in this case, Vettel passed Webber, he stayed ahead, he won. The heat he took form his team its his problem not ours. He raced, he won. keep it simple, this is racing, keep policy, politics and PR behind the wall.

  8. Red Bull’s philosophy of racing between teammates have always been “If he gets a run on you don’t defend too hard”. No wonder Webber didn’t get any support from the team for Turkey 2010.
    But to do something like Brazil 2012 with the championship at stake and make accusations about “Protection”, I would like to know what Webber drinks

    1. Red Bull, obviously.

  9. About Turkey 2010.
    I don’t think it is a clear cut as @eithcollantine puts it. Not 100% Vettel’s fault.
    I would make it around 75-25 Vettel’s fault. Simply because I believe Mark should have backed up. It would have been the smart thing to do.
    He knew Vettel was faster the whole weekend, and I do give him respect for trying to let Seb not pass. But it was not a wise move.
    Vettel thought he had passed, that was his mistake. But his team mate did not give him much space to work with.

    1. Webber was on the racing line, and stayed on it, which he was fully entitled to do.

      1. Vettel had a car-width, but not an inch more. I think you should give your team-mate some extra space than the required car-width so I blame both drivers for the incident.

        1. @paeschli
          Not at the point of the contact though. At that point Vettel had at least one and ha half car width worth of space.

        2. “I have space. You know what, lets slowly push Mark away. Wait, he isnt moving. He probably will. *crash* OMG Mark hit me!”

    2. Same move like Petrov – Schumacher coming together(not that high speed) in the back-straight in Turkey, except that in this case they weren’t teammates and the blame was laid on the other driver

    3. But his team mate did not give him much space to work with.

      It’s funny you should say that. He gave him just enough room, which is more than either of those two on your avatar would give to anyone. They would have probably punted him off the road completely.

  10. Great article, but a few things are missing.
    Vettel was comfortably leading the first two races of 2010 (Barhain and Australia) before his car broke down.
    He probably would have led the whole season without those incidents.

    Also, regarding the front wing in Silverstone in 2010: I’ve heard Martin Brundle say, on the Motorsport podcast, that Webber said to him off the air that he didn’t like the new front wing and didn’t wanted it.
    Just shows you how Webber plays the political game. Since he can’t beat Vettel on the track, he will make it look like he’s at a disadvantage within the team and will get sympathy from the fans…

    1. And we all know how in the end ‘sympathy’ wins championships…

      1. Hey, he’s the one who complains about his team to the media but, off the record says the opposite.
        And, like I said, he couldn’t beat him on track so, might as well look like the good guy.

  11. Hey, he’s the one who complains about his team to the media but, off the record says the opposite.
    And, like I said, he couldn’t beat him on track so, might as well look like the good guy.

  12. As to the popular myth that Red Bull developed the car to Vettel’s liking – namely exploiting EBD effect

    Q: Did Sebastian Vettel’s driving style influence the design of the car? Was he the reason you concentrated on the blown diffuser even more?
    AN: I wouldn’t say that he was the driving force behind it. We developed in that direction, because CFD simulations and wind tunnel results confirmed our theories. Our discussions with Vettel and Webber in terms of car development did not influence us one way or the other. In fact Mark Webber was more sensible to aerodynamical changes on the car, so if anything he was to be the bigger influence. But the development of a car is never orientated towards a single driver. (source)

  13. Does the Silverstone wing decision reflect badly on Red Bull? Yes. And the same is true of the crashingly unsubtle partiality of Helmut Marko.

    It does, but not to the extent that is proclaimed IMO. Vettel didn’t break the wing, it failed. So if they only had one wing, logic would dictate they give it to the driver who is ahead in the championship and hence more likely to be able to maximise the advantage it would give over the older-spec wing.

    It was hard on Webber but quite a sensible decision.

    Marko doesn’t dictate the team decisions either, so I tend to just ignore him.

  14. The funny thing is the guy who did more scurrilous things than Vettel has ever thought of is a deigned as a god, Senna, in a case you still didn’t know. Yet Vettels name is dragged through the puritanical mud for whatever and whenever an indisgression is deemed to have made. Fact is winners do the necessary to win. The rest is bitching by the losers.

  15. This is pretty simple. Vettel is [a lot faster] than Webber, no doubt. People like webber because he’s a cool dude, not because of his F1 racing career.

    But the fact is that RB is VERY biased twards vettel:
    -The silverstone wings incident, were webber was fastest all weekend, and despite that, they still changed webber’s new wing, to vettel’s car…
    -Turkey incident, vettel’s fault, redbull did nothing…
    -Malasya incident, Vettel’s fault, redbull did nothing…

    This sucks… When hamilton went to mclaren, it was also the “golden child” but the team would reprimand him when they needed…
    Vettel has a team that’s in love with him, and it clearly shows… Helmut Markko makes sure that kind of love is clearly transparent, trying to defend vettel even when was vettel’s fault…

    And this pretty much sums up all the Hate vettel has… wich is not all his fault, but his team’s fault.

    1. @@oliveiraz33:

      -The silverstone wings incident, were webber was fastest all weekend, and despite that, they still changed webber’s new wing, to vettel’s car…

      No, Webber was only faster in FP2 and Q2, Vettel anywhere else. Besides he was the leading driver in the championship.

      -Turkey incident, vettel’s fault, redbull did nothing…
      -Malasya incident, Vettel’s fault, redbull did nothing…

      Silverstone 2011 incident: RedBull did nothing.

      This sucks… When hamilton went to mclaren, it was also the “golden child” but the team would reprimand him when they needed…

      When did they? Even when Hamilton tweeted the telemetry information, they didn’t do anything.

      It’s sad that people still try to make up stories despite the efforts Keith has made to prove them wrong and with sources.

      1. What happened at Silverstone 2011 again? Mark closed the gap and didn’t pass.

        1. Oh, he just happened to ignore team orders and admitted it afterwards. ;)

        2. @infi24r the only difference between the two events is that Vettel was successful in his attempts to pass, Webber wasn’t.

          Yet more ammunition for Vettel to suggest he’s a good racer.

    2. This sucks… When hamilton went to mclaren, it was also the “golden child” but the team would reprimand him when they needed…

      Show me the Source to this please.??

      Turkey incident, vettel’s fault, redbull did nothing…
      -Malasya incident, Vettel’s fault, redbull did nothing…

      Silverstone 2011 – Webber’s Fault , RBR did Nothing
      Brazil 2012 – Webber’s Fault RBR did Nothing.
      So is Dietrich makes sure that kind of love is clearly transparent?

  16. This is why I can’t wait to see what happens are Ferrari next year. I’m just hoping Kimi plays the part of Seb.

  17. I’m honestly tired of the “Webber did not help Vettel win the 2012 title” comments and so on.

    Who won the 2012 title exactly? Seb needed no help.

    1. The comments are “Webber made it an effort for Vettel to lose the 2012 title”. There’s a key difference.

      1. @mnmracer And those comments are lies, worthy of Vettel who lied by agreeing to multi-21 prior to Malaysia. Like driver like fans. BOO

        1. @montreal95

          Vettel who lied by agreeing to multi-21 prior to Malaysia.

          Which is also a lie. There is no proof, what so ever, of a pre-race agreement.

          1. @mads Right, so in that case you want me to believe that Webber is as naive as a sheep for slaughter? Otherwise, there’s no explanation to the fact that he turned his engine down by request of the team, relying on Vettel’s compliance with multi-21. I don’t believe he was that at all. Mark Webber directly said in the press conference on the podium that it was a decision made before the start of the race but “Seb made his own decisions today and will have protection as usual”. This wasn’t denied by anyone in the team too. So either MW is both a liar and a naive or Seb is a liar. You can always say(if you’re anti-Webber) that it’s him who’s the liar, but both a liar and a naive is stretching it. Especially coming from those(not saying you’re one of them) Webber-haters who say that he’s “manipulating the media”

          2. @montreal95
            Every single driver on the grid turns his engine down here and there every single race.
            Horner confirmed afterwards that they were running the SAME engine maps at the time. So presumably, Webber turned his engine map back up. It’s not like it’s irreversible. And he would see that overtaking coming a few laps earlier. So he had plenty of time to do so.
            Webber turned his engine down initially because he had to. He had used more fuel early in the race, which got him the lead. Vettel had saved his advantage to the last stint, and Webber came to suffer from that.
            That is racing. It was as fair as anything.
            And no, Webber did not say they made the descision to hold position. He talked about turning the engines down and saving the tyres towards the end. I don’t see why that should equal holding position. If it was, wouldn’t he have told us that?

          3. there’s no explanation to the fact that he turned his engine down by request of the team

            There’s no evidence at all that Webber ever “turned his engine down”. He racked up by far his fastest lap of the entire race while battling Vettel for the lead, after supposedly “turning his engine down”!

          4. @mads Here’s the transcript from the press conference for you:

            “then after the last stop obviously the team told me the race was over, we turned the engines down and we go to the end. I want to race as well, but in the end the team made a decision, which we always say before the race is probably how it’s going to be – we look after the tyres, get the car to the end and in the end Seb made his own decisions today and will have protection and that’s the way it goes.

            So you were surprised when he went past you?

            MW: Yeah, well I turned my engine down and started cruising on the tyres and the fight was off. Anyway, we know he’s a quick peddler but I was disappointed with the outcome of today’s race. In the end the team did a good job, I had some good fans here from Australia, so thanks guys. I did my best”

            I don’t think it gets any more clear than that really. Webber wanted to race, but the team told him to back-off because of the multi-21. There’s no evidence whatsoever that he had to do it. Webber got the lead because he judged the change to slicks to perfection not because he was abusing his car, or wasting too much fuel. At the beginning of the race the track was slow, you’re not abusing anything at such pace. Then afterwards he was saving some fuel and tires. Remeber when Seb came on the radio, to say “Mark’s too slow” and MW responded by setting the fastest lap of the race up to that point the next lap. He clearly was pacing it beautifully

          5. @jonsan Webber said so, the team said so, what more proof do you want telemetry? So Webber did his fastest lap of the race when fighting Seb? And Sergio Perez set the fastest lap of the race in the rubbish Mclaren on the last lap of the race, so what? We al know that these are meaningless with the fuel loads and drivers driving to a delta nowadays

          6. @montreal95
            And how does that prove or suggest that it was a pre-race agreement?
            Is it that Webber says that he was surprised to be overtaken?
            Of cause he would be. The team had told him that the fight was off, and then evidently, it wasn’t.
            But let’s not pretend like it was some sneak, back stabbing kind of attack. No. Vettel came out of the pits, guns blazing and put the pressure on from the moment he saw him.
            The battle took place over two laps or so, plenty of time for Webber to realize “oh hang on, I might have a fight on my hands here”.
            It was exactly like what happened in Silverstone two years earlier.
            Webber didn’t comply, and attacked.
            Perfectly fair and square racing.

          7. @mads Except it wasn’t like you said. Webber came out of the pits and then fought Vettel off. If Vettel would’ve came ahead then, it would be totally fair, since it’s not yet after the pitstops and Webber would’ve expected Vettel to fight him still. Then after he shaked him off it’s not like Vettel was on his tail on every corner for two straight laps. If that’s what you remember then you’re wrong and I suggest you watch the race again. Something happened in between the initial fight after Webber came out of the pits and the actual overtake. What happened was multi-21 and Vettel’s overtake was a clear back-stabbing as opposed to what you said.

            Here’s the interview with Webber where he explicitly says that they had a plan before the race. watch from 0:35 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKQYlpup_Rc&list=FL6dsdxhH_OOObJSV2pEHcTw&index=1 Watch until 1:42 I think it’s very clear what he said there, impossible to understand in any other way.

            So if the transcript from the press conference, the straight forward answer in the interview and what I wrote above with regards to your mistake about “all guns blazing relentless onslaught” does not convince you at least a little then nothing will. In that case, fair enough, we all have our preferences and our weaknesses. Love is blind and deaf as they say eh?

  18. More or less balanced article, apart from all the things re: team orders etc. @keithcollantine you say that some people are “selectively ignoring the facts” yet here I feel it’s the case of pot calling the kettle black. here are some fact you conveniently for you way of thinking left out:

    1) You say that the only difference between Silverstone 2011 and Malaysia 2013 is that Vettel made the move stick. Wrong! The big difference was that at Silverstone 2011 RBR asked Webber in the middle of the race to keep station after his team-mate, who also had a huge lead in the championship at the time without pre-race agreement. In Malaysia 2013 there was a clear agreement to multi-21 prior to the race with both drivers, and Vettel lied pure and simple. How can you condone such behavior is beyond me

    2) Your assessment of Brazil 2012 is one-sided to say the least(especially for someone who denies being anti-Webber). You say that Massa let Alonso through twice during the race yet you conveniently neglect to mention that Webber also let Vettel through the moment he was asked to do it. As for the start if you believe that Webber intentionally tried to sabotage Vettel’s championship at the start then it’s a conspiracy theory twice as ridiculous as the “RBR sabotage Webber” theories. As Martin Brundle said many times , you cannot plan for the start, you cannot execute team orders in a start procedure and no team has ever asked a driver to “let teammate go” at a start since the start is the most chaotic part of the race when all the drivers are together, and you cannot think of anyone but yourself and how to stay in one piece without losing too many positions(especially true given Webber’s problem with the starts).

    3) It was Vettel’s mistake that he lost the lead in Malaysia 2013. Mark drove brilliantly and judged the conditions to perfection. All I can say about the pass is that Vettel should thank Webber for not being a dangerous driver, he would never try that one on someone like Michael Schumacher otherwise he would be in the wall at 300kph and they would still be collecting bits and pieces of him from the track. Didn’t deserve it, did Webber? Yeah right, this was a Vettel variation of spoiled, stupid, arrogant brat comment which was perfectly worthy of the boos he got for it. Again, none of this is reflected in your post Keith

    4) Webber’s recent lapse in form? Again this was not a balanced comment from you, Keith. It’s the same continuation of the unbalanced view you held putting Webber 12th on your list behind even Sergio Perez, that completely and again conveniently ignores the huge misfortunes that befell Webber this year, especially in the second part of the season but also in the first part as compared to Vettel who only had the Silverstone failure. So the contest this year was far from as one-sided as dry stats(and you) make it look.

    I could maybe go on but I’ll stop it here. I’ll finish with what I wrote in another response, which you denied but the above article only served to prove it to me “Keith is no fan of Webber, that much is crystal clear”. We all have our opinions, and journalists aren’t different from any other human being(I have a couple of journalist friends so I should know about that). Sometimes(am not in any any way comparing your views to these) those views are completely ridiculous, such as respected journalist Joe Saward having a man crush on Tonio Liuzzi, but it’s inevitable to have our opinions and they’re all valid. Same as people, pointing out the inaccuracies as I did here.

    1. Regarding point 1), Webber did not obey the instruction. In fact he said on the radio “maintain the gap, yeah yeah” and continued hounding Vettel.
      Regarding point 2), I think the major gripe is about Webber’s driving during the restart after the mid race safety car where he drew alongside Vettel and almost squeezed him but the damp track caught him out.

      Regarding point 3), yes, Webber raced very fair with Vettel in Malaysia. As did Vettel with Webber. So, if you are saying Vettel should thank Webber for not driving him into the wall, well then Webber should also thank Vettel for not forcing him on to the grass. It was hard but fair racing from both. Which is probably why that pass is on its way to becoming the best pass of the year in the poll on this website. I think that pass deserves a pat on the back to both Red Bull drivers, not just Webber.

      Regarding point 4), even on the days that Webber did not have any misfortune, he was comfortably behind Vettel. Look at how long it took Vettel to pass Grosjean in Suzuki and how long it took Webber. Even in the last race, Webber battled all race versus Alonso who was only in the third fastest car. Perez on the other hand had many days where he could easily hold a candle to Button.

      1. ferrari was clearly 2nd fastest in brazil.

      2. @sumedh I don’t dispute that Webber ignored the team order at silverstone 11. I lauded him for that, and would’ve lauded Vettel for Malaysia had it not been a break of trust. You had agreed to this arrangement pre-race Mr. Vettel? Please be consistent and obey if it happens to be against you as well. And since Webber agreed to that too(he shouldn’t have done that, but he did), had the situation been reversed and it was Vettel who needed the protection with Webber ignoring him, then I would’ve slammed him as well. I never was in favor of team orders but i’m even less in favor of lying.

        I don’t think Keith mentioned the restart. I agree that Webber could’ve handled that restart better, however it must be viewed in context, as Brundle commented at the time Vettel got caught sleeping at the start. Kobayashi behind him was faster than him on the run to the line and Webber behind Kobayashi was faster than them both. So Webber had to go to the right to overtake Kobayshi only to find Vettel there so he had to go even wider and sacrifice his own race to not endanger Vettel and that’s what he did losing 6 places in the process.

        My point on Malaysia pass was that at the moment Vettel went to overtake Webber he could’ve pinned him to the wall, quite a few drivers would do the same. If Vettel would’ve been in the wall he would’ve had no chance to squeeze Webber to the grass, wouldn’t he? And anyway, I’m not complaining about the pass itself that Vettel made, as you say it was fair from both of them, but the manner in which Vettel broke the trust by agreeing to multi-21/12 prior to the race, and then ignoring it when it wasn’t in his favor wasn’t fair at all. That’s why I think, and voiced it in the relevant place, that this Pironi-like overtake should never have been even considered for best overtake and it’s(IMO of course), a disgrace to F1Fanatics that it’s winning it

        Not always Webber was comfortably behind Vettel. At Suzuka they had differing setups and differing strategies with Vettel’s turning out to be sllghtly better. Had Webber managed to stay in front of Grosjean at the start, his strategy would turn out to be the preferable and he would’ve won the race. There was hardly anything between Webber and Vettel at Suzuka pace-wise. Webber battled all race Vs Alonso in Brazil because of a bad start and a delayed pit-stop. Pace-wise there wasn’t any doubt who would end on top and before slowing down on the last lap Webber built a big lead on Alonso as expected. He wasn’t as fast Vettel but neither was he far off, that start did him in again but otherwise, very comparable.

        As for Perez, I disagree with your comparison. First Button is nowhere near as fast as Vettel(in fact I don’t think he’s any faster than Webber, except than in very special circumstances). Second in the races most of the time Button was ahead of Perez both in midpack, and if you compare it to the RBR situation where Vettel would run first in clean air while Webber would fight in traffic after falling back at the start you can see why it’s perceived why Perez was closer to Button than Webber to Vettel. You might also mention that Perez beat Button 10-9 in qualifying. To answer that I’ll ask the following question: To which team-mate Button DIDN’T lose in qualifying? He was destroyed by Lewis every year, beaten by Rubens Barrichello in his own championship season no less 10-7, and in every season they had together apart from 2007 which ended in a draw. In fact the only team-mate Button ever beat in qualy over a full season was Takuma Sato. So no big achievement there. In summary I can’t see how Perez is in front of Webber in the ratings(same about Di Resta, Ricciardo and Button for that matter but that’s not a discussion for here).

        1. There wasn’t a pre-race agreement. So you might praise Vettel in Malasya, like Webber in Silverstone 2011.

          1. @elisa Please read my response to Mads above

    2. @montreal95 A transparent attempt to put words into my mouth. I am not and have never claimed to be for or against any driver. Your pretend I only have negative things to say about Webber which plainly isn’t the case.

      1. @keithcollantine I never said such a thing. I hate to quote myself but the first sentence of my post proves this clearly isn’t the case. I said it was more or less balanced article, didn’t I? My post may seem long and fully negative but i’d only disputed a few things in the article that I felt were not balanced. I also didn’t agree(as I mentioned above), with your end of year rating for MW, as I would put him P8, above Perez, Ricciardo, Di Resta and Button but I’m only one of many people who have things they disagree with in your rating. I don’t see what’s wrong with that. And the post seemed long because I tried to explain every point I made as best as I could.

        If you feel like replying to any of the points I made please do. And if saying that IMO you’re not a fan of Webber is putting words in your mouth, than what’s left for my mouth I wonder?

  19. Great article Keith but why no mention of the weight difference between the two drivers?

    1. Probably because, once the ballast is applied, there’s no difference ;)

  20. As the article rightfully points out … Webber is far from an innocent party in the degeneration of his relationship with Vettel. Malaysia was simply a dose of his own medicine and his whining and pantomime was quite pathetic IMO.

    Webber is a good driver, but Seb is clearly in a different league …. a pill that was apparently too difficult for Mark to swallow, until Vettel shoved it down his throat at Sepang.

  21. Does the Silverstone wing decision reflect badly on Red Bull? Yes.

    Why? Decisions like that are completely normal in F1. If a team has one new part the default position is to give it to the driver with the most points – in this case, Vettel. Lotus spent much of 2013 giving Kimi the latest parts while Romain had to make do with older stuff – and nobody raised a peep about it.

    1. @jonsan There were two parts. Seb’s broke, they took the part off Mark’s car prior to qualy and given it to Seb. Big difference. You don’t do that when your 2 drivers are fighting each other in the championship, unless one of them has a designated number 1 status or is far away in the lead. Vettel was barely ahead of Webber by a few points and it was the middle of the championship. How can you compare it to the completely different Lotus situation? If there’s only one part before the start of the weekend then yes you give it to the driver better placed in the championship. In the Lotus this year Kimi was fighting for the championship until the change in the tires and was always in a big lead over Grosjean since race one who was even behind Massa on points. But in 2010 Vettel only took the lead from Webber prior to the race thanks to him winning Valencia and Webber’s DNF

  22. Pauline Lowrey
    24th December 2013, 8:10

    Re the Hungary 2010 incident: Webber was not ‘patently blameless’…..If you look at the footage of the race on most of the camera angles, it looked like a ‘racing incident’ but on one of the clips it was as clear as day that Webber turned in towards Vettle to clip Vettles tyre, spinning him off the track (known as giving him a kiss). The BBC has broadcast other clips of Webber doing the same thing, so there is documented evidence that that incident was not unique, Webber has done it more than once.

  23. …oh my, how the tables have turned now.

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