I’m not an impartial journalist, I have my favourites and I’m not afraid to shout about them. So as a Mark Webber fan, the Malaysian Grand Prix has left me feeling a little conflicted.
First things first, I don’t like team orders. I think team mates should be allowed to race. That’s why I always loved the dynamic between Button and Hamilton at McLaren. They would race and they’d do it without taking each other out.
I think Red Bull have seen that Webber and Vettel racing one another can get a little dangerous (see: Turkey 2010).
Seeing Vettel overtake Webber at the weekend, after expressly being told not to do so, first off filled me with excitement. Vettel wants this, he is not going to be content to come second. Good, why should he be, if he is faster he should overtake.
But, but… I wanted Mark to win.
Slightly further back while all this was going on, there was a very similar fight going on between Hamilton and Rosbergy for third and fourth. Rosberg desperately wanted to overtake a fuel-saving Hamilton but was told not to. The difference is, he obeyed.
Hamilton was quite gracious during the podium interview. He said that Rosberg deserved third place.
The problem with all this is what if Vettel now beats Webber by five points in the Championship and gets another title? I can’t really comprehend that situation (and it is unlikely, let’s face it) or how on Earth Webber would feel.
Webber’s relationship with Red Bull has been a little tense in the past couple of years but no more so than when Helmut Marko came out and said he didn’t think Webber was much good (I’m paraphrasing, here…). Such comments just before the 2013 testing got underway was sure to shake Webber a bit even though he dismissed what Marko had said.
I didn’t think Webber was going to stay on at Red Bull this season but after all this I definitely can’t see him coming back for 2014. Maybe the rest of the season will change my (and his…) mind. I’m not the only person to think this, Flavio Briatore – a man of such virtue – said of the Webber/Red Bull relationship: “I don’t think it can be sewn back together again.”
Flav (we’re old mates) has been a huge part of Webber’s management throughout his career. It’s not unlikely that Webber would’ve shared that with him. However, if Webber does leave Red Bull, and Flavio thinks he will, where will he go? I don’t think he’d take a step backwards so that means there might not be any Webber in 2014.
I think all of this may make way for more team orders in races to come to fix the points Webber and perhaps even Rosberg feel they’ve lost…
Also, I’d like be reminded of this on a regular basis.