x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Horner to have talks with Webber as Red Bull look fractured again

Mark Webber is not happy with being told to maintain the gap to Sebastian Vettel in second, during the closing laps of the British Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel leads Red Bull Racing teammate Mark Webber at the British Grand Prix. Webber was left unhappy after team orders told him to cool off his chase for second place.
Sebastian Vettel leads Red Bull Racing teammate Mark Webber at the British Grand Prix. Webber was left unhappy after team orders told him to cool off his chase for second place.

SILVERSTONE, ENGLAND // The Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner is ready for showdown talks with Mark Webber following the Australian's flagrant disregard for team orders at yesterday's British Grand Prix.

Webber was told on at least four occasions to maintain the gap to Sebastian Vettel as he closed in on his second-placed teammate over the closing stages at Silverstone.

The 34-year-old, however, ignored the calls and instead hounded the reigning champion up until the final lap when Horner ordered him to back off.

At the finish, Horner was left far from impressed and he is ready to remind Webber of his future responsibilities to the team.

"I'm surprised at what he did, so it's something he and I will talk about in private," said Horner. "At the end of the day the team is the biggest thing. No individual is bigger than the team.

"I can understand Mark's frustration in that, but had it been the other way round, it would have been exactly the same. From a team point of view, there was a big haul of points on the table and it made absolutely no sense to risk seeing both cars in the fence and coming back on a tow truck.

Horner said that team orders are a necessity in certain situations and the closing laps of a race was one of them. He added that it was "pretty clear" that Webber was ignoring the orders of his race engineer during the closing stages of the race.

"Both drivers are now first and second in the world championship," Horner said. "We're not going to do anything to jeopardise that."

Webber could have closed the gap to Vettel to 74 points if he had claimed second, but now finds himself trailing by 80.

Immediately after the race Horner remarked that Webber "should be fine" with his decision, but that was far from the case as he put his argument forward for his actions.

"I'm not fine with it, no," responded Webber. "If Fernando had retired on the last lap then we would have been fighting for victory. I was fighting until the end.

"I ignored the team because I wanted to try and get another place. Seb was doing his best, I was doing my best."

Vettel was forced to defend himself against accusations his second place was "a sham", and that as world champion he should not have to resort to the team giving him a helping hand.

The German, however, stood his ground as he said: "I tried to stay ahead. Obviously we are racing each other. There's nothing wrong with that.

"Surely from the team point of view, if you have the cars quite isolated in second and third then there is no point in racing.

"There is no point trying to do something stupid because the points for the team are the same, and the difference between second and third is not massive."