Can Webber and Vettel kiss and make up?
It goes without saying that the Malaysian Grand Prix was completely overshadowed by the acts of Sebastian Vettel and the Red Bull team. A triple world champion, of whom it now seems, will stop at nothing to pick up a fourth Formula One World Championship title. Not even team orders, sourced from the team that made Sebastian Vettel the Sebastian Vettel we all love, or for some perhaps, increasingly loath.
On the face of it, the German’s Malaysian antics are pretty simple: he ignored his superiors. The orchestrators to his domination of the sport. He went wheel-to-wheel with team-mate Mark Webber. And, well, he’s now in the doghouse as a result of it. The reaction both internally at Red Bull, aswell as outside the walls of the team, has been colossal, with argument, debate, strongly worded views and calls for action swamping what was actually a fantastic Grand Prix, which in itself had a number of talking points.
The sticking point for many disgruntled observers is the sheer divide in mentality between Vettel and Webber. The latter, obeyed the order from team boss Christian Horner to effectively nurse the car to the chequered flag shortly after emerging from his third and final pit stop in the lead. Following a brief close-encounter with Vettel, Webber maintained first place, and Horner’s request was further enforced by the radio call of ‘multi21’; a coded message sent out to both drivers effectively meaning ‘hold station and be friends’. The Australian referred to ‘multi 21’ in a fit of anger post-race, whilst confronting his German counter-part. With Webber obeying and Vettel offending, a clash and subsequent backlash was always on the cards.
May we remember that until two seasons ago, team orders were completely outlawed. The idea of team-mates swapping positions under a team order was one met with a slapped wrist and exuberant facial expressions. Following calls from team bosses however, the F.I.A lifted the ban, and in doing so, opened yesterday’s predicament up to a whole host of opinions and interpretations. Team orders are allowed. Whether they are morally right or not to those who have the helmets on or not, is largely irrelevant. As drivers, Webber, Vettel, and the rest of the Formula One fraternity are employees to their respective teams, and in being so should respect their wishes and demands.
So what will be the outcome – will we see a photo like the one below?
(originally released following the Turkey 2010 clash)