Time for change at Red Bull

Bayden Westerweller Roar Guru

By Bayden Westerweller, Bayden Westerweller is a Roar Guru

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20 Have your say

    Mark Web­ber and Sebas­t­ian Vet­tel can­not con­tinue to be teammates beyond this sea­son, this much is cer­tain fol­low­ing the Malaysia Grand Prix debacle.

    How they will con­tend with being in the same garage for the remain­der of this cam­paign is another question.

    Web­ber has been at Red Bull since 2007.

    Includ­ing his two-year stint when the out­fit was known as Jaguar, this is his ninth sea­son at Mil­ton Keynes.

    Now is the time for a change of scenery, but that doesn’t mean the Aus­tralian is the only one who might not be at Red Bull much longer.

    Sebas­t­ian Vet­tel has won three (con­sec­u­tive) dri­vers’ cham­pi­onships at Red Bull, a feat which will be remem­bered for many years to come, and take a great effort to match.

    How­ever, there comes a time when a rela­tion­ship reaches its sum­mit – Michael Schu­macher was cast aside two years after claim­ing his fifth con­sec­u­tive title with Fer­rari, and the signs were there dur­ing the Malaysia Grand Prix that the Ger­man is test­ing the patience of Chris­t­ian Horner and Adrian Newey a lit­tle too much for their liking.

    In pre­vi­ous sea­sons, the Ger­man has ruf­fled feath­ers with his obses­sive hunt for the fastest lap dur­ing the dying stages of a race, his lat­est refusal to acknowl­edge team orders may have taken mat­ters one step too far.

    Per­haps irreversibly.

    One doesn’t need remind­ing of Turkey 2010, when Vet­tel took it upon him­self to dive down the inside of an unsus­pect­ing Web­ber, a move which ended in tears, fray­ing intra-team rela­tions for the remain­der of the season.

    Those wounds have been reopened with the lat­est incident.

    This early into the sea­son, the fall­out has the poten­tial to desta­bilise the entire outfit’s title defence.

    Horner wasn’t afraid to admit Vet­tel defied the team’s instruc­tion to remain behind Web­ber, remark­ing, “He knew what the com­munca­tion was. He had the com­mu­ni­ca­tion. He chose to ignore it.

    “He put his inter­est beyond what the team’s inter­est was.”

    Horner echoed Webber’s podium inter­view sen­ti­ments, adding, “Obvi­ously Sebas­t­ian… chose to take things into his own hands.”

    An indi­vid­ual who has made no secret of his awe at Vettel’s achieve­ments, his com­ments are telling.

    Even Vet­tel sup­porter no.1 Hel­mut Marko was bemused by the sit­u­a­tion, say­ing mat­ters had “got out of con­trol”, unlike his usual stance in sup­port­ing his pro­tégé irre­spec­tive of the circumstances.

    The worst kept secret in the pad­dock is that the Ger­man wants to one day race for Fer­rari, many see this as an inevitable out­come, and Vet­tel may have taken a step towards the exit door at Mil­ton Keynes sooner than anticipated.

    How­ever, as long as Fer­nando Alonso is at Fer­rari, Vet­tel is unlikely to be there, and should he con­tinue to flout the team’s wishes, he may be forced to look else­where in the interim.

    Else­where could be Mercedes.

    The irony of such a move wouldn’t be lost on Lewis Hamil­ton, after it came to light that the Briton asked Bernie Eccle­stone to secure him a seat along­side Vet­tel at Red Bull for this sea­son, prior to switch­ing to the Ger­man marque.

    Sea­son 2013 is still in its infancy, 17 rounds remain and already the title favourites have a mas­sive headache on their hands, which risks devel­op­ing into some­thing much worse, espe­cially if Vet­tel con­tin­ues to take things into his own hands.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • Roar Rookie

      March 26th 2013 @ 7:58am
      stam said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:58am | ! Report


    • Roar Guru

      March 26th 2013 @ 9:57am
      Mark Young said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

      Gday Bayden!
      It will be fascinating to see how this all sorts out at Red Bull won’t it? I tend to think they will come down on Sebs side but you feel it could well be on Mark’s side. Martin brundle made a fascinating point that Mark’s palce in the team is secure because Dietritch Masechitz is a huge fan.

      The best scenario, from our perspective is that the punish Vettel, a little, which motivates both him and Webber to go at each other like dogs all season long.

      It could be the tastiest in team fight since Ralf and Montoya, or Mansell and Prost, or Senna and Prost, or Prost and Arnoux (actually Prost had a few falling outs didn’t he!)

      • Roar Rookie

        March 26th 2013 @ 9:34pm
        stam said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

        I dont think you can put this rivalry up there Mark.
        Unfortunately Seb is quicker on almost every track, qualifies better, starts better etc.
        It’s just every now and then Webber can get ahead of Seb.
        It’s not a rivalry when Seb and I think Webber knows that if they are racing neck and neck Seb is going to win everytime

        • Roar Guru

          March 26th 2013 @ 9:42pm
          Mark Young said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

          Oh I agree Stam, Mark is not as good as Seb.

          However, I think Red Bull want to keep him because he is good enough to be right behind Seb, and take points away from the McLarens, Ferraris etc. We all saw what happened when Alonso took the fight up basically alone last year until the last few races.

          So they want to keep him motivated enough to drive hard, hence my spec that Red Bull with ‘punish’ Sebastian.

          The other thing, is that Mark has won some Pukka Grand Prix.
          He was immense at Silverstone last year, and has won Monaco twice, and you don’t win Monaco once if you are a slouch.

          • Roar Guru

            April 10th 2013 @ 9:53am
            Mat Coch said | April 10th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

            Together Mark and Seb have delivered 6 world championships and almost 40 wins.

            They are an incredibly successful partnership. Ahead of them lies only Schumacher and Barrichello.

          • Roar Guru

            April 10th 2013 @ 9:53am
            Mat Coch said | April 10th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

            Together Mark and Seb have delivered 6 world championships and almost 40 wins.

            They are an incredibly successful partnership. Ahead of them lies only Schumacher and Barrichello.

      • Roar Guru

        April 10th 2013 @ 9:52am
        Mat Coch said | April 10th 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        Mateschitz can’t play te bad cop. He has Marko for that. He cannot be critical of either driver without receiving poor press.

        Mark was guilty of ignoring team orders in Brazil. He was guilty of ignoring team orders in Silverstone a few years ago too.

        There are two sides to this coin. What Vettel did was wrong, but did you really expect a triple world champion to sit behind his nine-time race winning teammate? It is that killer instinct which makes him the driver he is; he is more like Senna that we care to remember (not that I believe Senna was especially good for the sport).

        Changes at Red Bull are hard to see; there is not yet a ready replacement. Neither Ricciardo or Vergne have done another and to employ another driver would be an admission that Marko’s grand plan has failed.

        The question of whether Seb did was sporting is another issue.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 11:28am
      Sean said | March 26th 2013 @ 11:28am | ! Report

      This is quite possibly the dumbest, out-of-touch theory i have ever read on this site.

      Red Bull are NEVER going to favour an ageing 36 year old driver in the twilight of his career (who has consistently and systematically been upstaged by his team mate), over a concurrent, 3 time, hugely marketable, in his prime, world champion.

      I think Stam’s rebuttal states it perfectly by just saying “No”.

      • Roar Guru

        March 26th 2013 @ 12:52pm
        Bayden Westerweller said | March 26th 2013 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        At no point does the article suggest RB should favour Webber…

        • March 26th 2013 @ 1:41pm
          Sean said | March 26th 2013 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

          The whole premise that Red Bull would ever consider letting Vettel go while he is at the top of his game, is so fanciful, it is absurd!

        • Roar Rookie

          March 26th 2013 @ 9:35pm
          stam said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

          Bayden do you honestly believe that they will ever boot Seb out?
          The only way I see him leaving red bull is if its his own decision

    • Roar Rookie

      March 26th 2013 @ 12:46pm
      Michael Waldron said | March 26th 2013 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

      Could the problem be the ‘team orders’ concept? If the drivers were allowed to end the race on their own terms, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 1:45pm
      Tlux said | March 26th 2013 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

      Vettel is up there with Alonso and Hamilton as the biggest names in the sport.

      Any team would have any of them.
      So here are his non-redbull options.
      – Ferrari
      – Mclaren
      – Mercedes
      – Renault (err.. i mean Lotus)

      I think Mclaren could be a place for him in the future. Whilst at this moment, they arent competitive, they will win a race this season, and will fight for championship next year or year after.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 4:16pm
        Blaze said | March 26th 2013 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

        Question is, how many other top drivers in the field would want vettel as their team mate?..

        • March 27th 2013 @ 9:19pm
          Jo M said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

          Brilliant question, Blaze.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 1:58pm
      Johnno said | March 26th 2013 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

      Marky little Canberra raiders ball boy from Quenbeyan when he was a kid, has to accept his place on the food chain. He is just not that important in the red bull set up. He is the puppet the clear No 2, and the rules are clear.
      Seb can do what he likes, and if you don’t like it leave.

      Mark knows the score, yet he takes the millions, yet he complains, oh poor baby.
      It’s Mark with the problem, not i love strudel, and crisp shirts and i’m a precious little thing Vettal, or Red Bull.

      Red Bull make it clear who there favourite son is, and if you don’t like it leave.

      So Mark should just leave if he want’s and craves fairness so much.

      Instead he whinges and complains yet is happy to take Red Bull’s millions.

      Go and have a red bull Mark, and have a cry poor didums.

      Many drivers would do anything to be in Mark’s position, earn millions as the no 2 driver and being a puppet to precious princey whiny has to be the favourite son i love my apple strudel and Europe, Vettal.

      Maybe running the go-kart track, at your local Quenbeyan, where you can be treated as top dog, maybe more to your liking Mark.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 3:34pm
        Warren said | March 26th 2013 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

        Strewth Johnno, your ramblings here are as bad as over on the Union blog!

      • March 26th 2013 @ 4:24pm
        Blaze said | March 26th 2013 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

        Johnno, can you do me a favour mate? Can you actually ask the rest of the drivers in the field if they would be happy to be vettels bitch for their racing careers? I’d be really interested to know who would put their hands up, and I’m sure the team they are driving for would like to know also…

        • March 26th 2013 @ 5:28pm
          Johnno said | March 26th 2013 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

          Forget the Hamilton’s and jenson button’s there leading drivers, they’d of course say no.

          Money talks Blaze, the average drivers if were offered millions of dollars, or a young up-start driver looking for there big break i’m sure they would, 2 or 3 million a year, to clean the plates when Vettel has finished his apple strudel, im sure many in the world would. $2-3million a year, to clean plates and make Vettell apple strudel, no problems there you’d get 20 drivers lined up right away doing whatever it takes ti please our favourite son Vettel, and make him his favourite apple strudel, and as he is a little precious pedantic boy, he loves his shirts pressed so ironing must be done too. $2 or $3million most upcoming or veteran drivers would be in like Flynn.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 9:24pm
            Jo M said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:24pm | ! Report

            Hey Johnno,

            Just clicked onto this for the first time tonight. What was the dinner menu? I guess Indian is gone cause the cricket is over. Schnitzel, sauerkraut and stein’s instead of lassi’s and butter chicken and coconut fish and rogan josh?

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