Vettel apologises in person to all staff at Red Bull HQ

Sebastian Vettel on the podium after winning the Malaysian GP

Sebastian Vettel on the podium after winning the Malaysian GP

Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has apologised in person to Red Bull staff for ignoring team orders in a controversial Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend.

The team said the 25-year-old German had also spoken to aggrieved team mate Mark Webber, who had victory snatched away in the closing laps, after the race at Sepang and the pair had shaken hands.

“He’s said he can’t turn back the clock but he’s accepted what he did was wrong,” team principal Christian Horner said of Vettel, who visited the Milton Keynes factory on Tuesday to address employees.

“He’s apologised to the team and to every single member of staff for his actions, because he recognises the team is vitally important and being part of the team is a crucial aspect to being able to challenge for those championships.”

Sebastian Vettel crosses the line to win at Sepang

Sebastian Vettel crosses the line to win at Sepang

Vettel had also apologised to Webber in a news conference after Sunday’s race, saying he had made a mistake.

The German has won the last three drivers’ titles with Red Bull, who are chasing their fourth successive constructors’ championship.

The German had qualified on pole position in Malaysia but found himself behind his team mate after the pitstops with the team instructing the pair to hold station to save fuel and prevent excessive tyre wear.

The new Pirelli tyres for this season are quick-wearing and, with a comfortable time cushion between them and Lewis Hamilton in third place for Mercedes, the team wanted to safeguard the one-two.

Webber turned down his engine and eased off, assured that Vettel would do likewise, but Vettel seized the opportunity to overtake with both drivers going wheel-to-wheel as they battled for position.

Sebastian Vettel chases Mark Webber during the Malaysian GP

Sebastian Vettel chases Mark Webber during the Malaysian GP

“It was the intent of the team that Mark should win that race,” Horner told Sky television on Thursday, also ending any doubts about Webber’s plans for the rest of the year.

“He’s big enough to know that there was no malice, no intent from the team to create any situation like that. He’s in a car that’s capable of winning grands prix and hopefully going for a championship so I’ve got no doubt that Mark will see out the season with us.”

Horner recognised that the fans wanted to see drivers racing each other but said his responsibilities were to the 600 people employed by the team and whose bonuses are dictated by the position in the constructors’ championship.

“The responsibility is to make sure that the team achieves its maximum,” he said. (Reuters)

  • tinto

    He’d better not… A mannish behaviour for your facts is preferable, no matter consequences. He should have challenged Webber on podium right after he got hurt by Mark’s remarks. “…Interlagos Mark, Interlagos, you got a win from me in 2011 and you almost screwed my championship in 2012…”

  • Tamburello_1994

    That’s unfortunate. I’d rather Vettel stand fast and take it. (like a man)

    That’s my only beef with the whole affair. He knew exactly what he was doing and it’s ramifications. Why not just say that and get on with it?

  • JPSmoove

    I keep hearing, “there’s no doubt Mark will finish the season with RB.” His dad, Horner…pretty soon, Jackie S. will have a quote that Mark is going stick it out. Where is MW? I think he is probably fielding calls from other teams as well speak, what a bombshell that would be, if he switched teams mid-season. Not likely, but that would top this whole fiasco off nicely.

  • Hooters

    They said Lewis would never leave McLaren. Maybe Webber retires next week. Who know? $10m a year and racing one of the best cars in F1, two good reasons to stay. I think he wanted to go to Ferrari last year but he was too tall for their 2013 car. I think he and Hulkenburg tried out the 2013 Ferrari and just didn’t fit in it.

  • Highstoned

    If Horner doesn’t penalize Vettel, he proves he is not in charge of the team.

  • Alonslow

    The payback that Vettel will get from Weber should be sweet. If Mark sticks it out for the year, he will have chances to fight tooth and nail against Vettel in every race where he is behind him. He should ignore team orders and try his best to pass.

    If during the latter half of the season, Vettel is leading the championship by a nice but not insurmountable margin, and Weber has chances to overtake, he should just keep sending his car into banzai attacks. Vettel will have no choice but to yield unless he wants to risk being taken out of the race.

  • joedoe

    tinto
    You got it. My only regret is that Seb apologised to MW. He had more support from Karthikeyan’s dog than from him…. End of story.

  • seeing scarlet

    sooooooooo tired of reading about the RBR daycare, jeez there’s got to be news somewhere.

  • JPSmoove

    Horner says, “Webber would have done the same thing”. Webber must a profit….”Vettel will have protection from the team as usual.” Anyhow, I wish there were a race so we could talk about something else. I have written more blogs on this subject, than history papers through high school..OMG, next!

  • Kimster

    Go joedoe. Can’t agree more. Mark is a whining poodle. For goodness he has done it himself in the past now he wants to create this huge hype with daddy webber. Just a last bit from my side. Would Michael, Alonso, Lewis and Kimi not have done the same thing? For one reason they would have – they are all champions who are fearless and follow their instincts. That’s why the rest will never be because they are just pawns in the game. Except Mark – he is an idiot.

  • F1Passion

    No way Webber will leave the team. He will hope that its close at the end of the year between Seb and some other driver and he will deliberately take Vettel out of the championship. Webber will stay just to have the chance to do that.

  • Magnus Rubensson

    I don’t think Vettel has anything to apologise for. These things have happened throughout F1 history, it’s nothing new.

    There’s also something else at stake here apart from the “Almighty Team” and I would like to look at this purely from the individual’s point of view:

    Last time I checked there was a Drivers Championship as well as a Constructors Championship. Vettel is aiming for a 4th Drivers title rather than the Constructors title (and I don’t see anyone ahead of him in the Drivers table).

    Michael Schumacher got five straight Driver titles 2000-2004 and Juan Manuel Fangio got four Driver titles in a row 1954-1957. Nobody else has four in a row.

    Prost, Brabham, Lauda, Senna, Stewart, Piquet… none of the triple F1 Driver Champions got four in a row.

    Vettel has a shot.

    Say what you will about him but the guy is s-e-r-i-o-u-s-l-y fast. You don’t win three titles in a row by braking on finish lines to let your teammate pass. You win titles by making sure YOU pass the line first.

    Ask yourselves this: if you were in his position and you had a very real chance of equalling Fangio’s statistics, would you REALLY bow down and start handing away victories to your teammate?

  • Magnus Rubensson

    ‘Quadruple champion’ in Prost’s case obviously…

  • webberbbq

    the whole problem comes down to horner not being honest with webber. webber needs to be told he is the no2. if he wants to be no1 im sure catterham would love to have his very good abilities and experience. once he has left i will take his place as no2 at redbull and happily wipe sebs arse if need be! and i’ll do it for free just to drive in the greatest car in the greatest sport. these drivers need to remember they are living the dream!

  • webberbbq

    the whole problem comes down to horner not being honest with webber. webber needs to be told he is the no2. if he wants to be no1 im sure catterham would love to have his very good abilities and experience. once he has left i will take his place as no2 at redbull and happily wipe sebs ar se if need be! and i’ll do it for free just to drive in the greatest car in the greatest sport. these drivers need to remember they are living the dream!

  • Steve

    What a nonsense story this is. I suppose it has some interest as an illustration of the power of the press to whip up controversy out of nothing. I notice that every story – including this one – manages not to mention the fact that Webber has a history of defying team orders himself: instead the casual and ill-informed F1 fan is given the impression that ignoring team orders is some freakishly unusual once in a decade event.

  • anime mouse pad

    These days people are carrying their laptops and notebooks everywhere.
    Remember that calling over your peeps and inviting
    your colleagues on your birthday party are different.
    Reference price: 23,999 yuan There is no doubt Intel The Core i7 is the world’s most powerful processor performance, but their impact will be Intel Intelligent trend over time in the future the concept of the main push.