Red Bull driver tensions rise over wings

Mark Webber and team mate Sebastian Vettel at the post qualifying press conference at Silverstone

Jul.10 (GMM) Mark Webber was furious after qualifying second for the British Grand Prix at Silvesrtone. Red Bull brought only two examples of a new front wing design to Silverstone, and on Saturday morning Sebastian Vettel’s broke during the pre-qualifying practice session.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6 runs wide after suffering a front wing failure. Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Silverstone, England, Saturday 10 July 2010.

Sebastian Vettel with his front wing damaged during final free practice

The team took Webber’s front wing off the sister RB6 and fitted it to Vettel’s car before the young German secured pole position for the race. The previous specification was used by Webber, who qualified a tenth off Vettel’s pace.

The story emerged immediately after qualifying, when Australian Webber refused to put his arm around Vettel for the usual post-parc ferme qualifying pose for photographers.

And the 33-year-old’s demeanour had not improved in the press conference, when he surmised that “the team is happy with the result”.

Webber also did not stop for his usual talk with television interviews in the paddock.

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing. Formula One World Championship,  Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday 9  July 2010.

Mark Webber reportedly fuming after qualifying

Team boss Christian Horner said as recently as Friday afternoon that Webber and Vettel are treated “with transparency and equality”, receiving “equal priority and treatment”.

“I think the most important thing for any driver is to know that he’s getting equality of equipment and priority,” added the Briton.

But straight after qualifying Horner had to fend off claims that Vettel is being crudely favoured over Webber. The RB6 is the runaway dominant car at Silverstone, but in morning practice one of two examples of a new front wing specification broke on Vettel’s car.

The other new wing was fitted to Webber’s car, so – based on “championship position and the performance in FP3″ – it was taken away from the Australian and given to Vettel, team boss Horner explained whilst surrounded by reporters after qualifying.

23-year-old Vettel, 12 points ahead of Webber in the championship but trailing the lead of the McLaren drivers, went on to secure pole position with the wing.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing. Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, British Grand Prix, Practice Day, Silverstone, England, Friday 9 July 2010.

Sebastian Vettel during practice

Within memory of the team’s handling of the teammates’ Istanbul crash, Webber was visibly furious on Saturday afternoon, surmising that “the team is happy with the result”.

Horner said the 33-year-old should not be angry. “He knows there was no malice in the decision, no manipulation. Unfortunately we found ourselves in a situation with only one front wing of a certain specification.”

He added, “There was not really a laptime difference between the (new and old) specifications, but there was a slight difference in characteristics, with one driver expressing a slight preference for those characteristics,” said the Briton.

Horner confirmed that Vettel preferred the new wing, but admitted that the decision might make it appear that the young German is being favoured.

“You don’t always want to, but sometimes you have to take a difficult decision, and today that decision went with Sebastian,” he said.

  • http://Thailand Muddles

    Vettel is Mr Horners little boy and he is their No 1. Mark must feel pretty shattered by their decision. I hope the wing falls off and he runs over it and it puts him out of the race.
    Go Weber.

  • Opposite Lock

    Yep, it might get a bit dicey between those two on the first few corners. Alonso and Hamiliton will be waiting to pounce…