We knew it would happen and sure enough, come the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, 3 weeks after the Malaysian GP debacle, everyone is talking about Multi 21 again. But what are they saying? Well fear not because Badger GP is here, with the help of Twitter, to compile all the comments and goings on.
What is Multi 21 all about?
Firstly, “Multi 21” is a term that the Red Bull Racing team used to inform their drivers that they should remain as they are with car 2 ahead of car 1 – i.e. Mark Webber ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Webber was told to turn down his engine to conserve fuel and ‘bring it home’ for a solid 1-2 finish for the team. Vettel also heard the Multi 21 message and whether he understood it or not, he ignored it and overtook Webber for the victory.
The podium was a sorry sight – Webber unhappy, Vettel looking a bit mixed up (emotions wise) and Hamilton saying he shouldn’t be there (his team mate Nico Rosberg was told to hold station behind the brit, despite being faster).
The whole debacle was the main talking point of the race sadly. The debate arising around team orders reared it’s ugly head along with calls for drivers to be punished, teams to be punished and many comparing Vettel to Schumacher.
So what happened afterwards?
Immediately after the race, Sebastian Vettel realised how annoyed Mark Webber was and following the podium interviews, where Webber was dejected claiming Vettel would have protection despite ignoring team orders. Sebastian Vettel then apologised to Mark Webber. Later that week Vettel apologised again. It’s safe to say many fans and journalists were confused by all this.
And now, ahead of the Chinese GP the Multi 21 chatter has blown up again…
Credit to Christian Horner and the Red Bull Racing team who said they would deal with the matter internally – all went quiet until today over in Shanghai… Again credit to the team for letting their drivers talk rather than reel off PR spin, but Multi 21 was clearly the main focus of the press calls.
Vettel has now said that doesn’t apologise for winning. He has also said that Mark Webber didn’t deserve the win in Malaysia and added that he’d do what he did again. He also then added that he didn’t understand the message from the team. It’s all very confusing.
The triple world champion also added that there’s no big fuss within the team and that he’s never had support from Webber. We think he’s referring to Brazil 2012, whilst challenging for the championship title when Seb also said that Webber could have helped the team in the past and hasn’t, hinting that the Malaysian overtake and ignoring the Multi 21 team call was a form of payback.
What are others saying?
Of course there are many in the paddock who like to voice their opinions, but here are our highlights; Damon Hill – “We want to see racing on track, not from the pit wall”, Felipe Massa – “Red Bull team orders not intelligent”, Fernando Alonso – “I’d obey team orders” and Jenson Button expressed his surprise at Vettel’s attitude about the whole thing and saying he’d do it again, and also at Red Bull even trying to do such things at only the second race of the season. @EliGP summed up Vettel’s comments today in one handy tweet too:
So to set the record straight: Vettel didn't understand what Red Bull wanted, but apologised for something he would do again anyway
— Pablo Elizalde (@EliGP) April 11, 2013
The sun has set in Shanghai ahead of Friday practice and from all the words exchanged today, the general concensus according to the drivers is that all is fine within the team. It’s clear from the comments that Mark and Seb have far from had a ‘kiss and make up’ session and that Red Bull are struggling to control and make good between the two. Mark has said he’s not going anywhere and will stay at the team for 2013 and Seb seems to have withdrawn his apology over his misunderstand / ignoring of “Multi 21”.
In other news
There’s a grand prix this weekend so we’ll have some actual racing to talk about, phew. Oh and if you haven’t got one yet, bag yourself a Multi 21 tshirt at our new Badger GP shop. There are Multi 21 mugs and hoodies there too.
Mark Webber also has a new post-Multi 21 haircut. Yes, really.
Thanks to Twitter, @AlanBaldwinF1, @EliGP, @AutosportNews, @F1Enigma, Autosport_Ed, @willbuxton, @croftyf1 for posting tweets from the track and helping us all build a picture of what’s going on ahead of the Grand Prix.