Skip to main content

Fuming Webber goes surfing to cool off

updated 11:36 AM EDT, Mon March 25, 2013
An unhappy Mark Webber, left, with Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel at the postrace press conference in Malaysia. An unhappy Mark Webber, left, with Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel at the postrace press conference in Malaysia.
HIDE CAPTION
Vettel defies team orders
Vettel defies team orders
Vettel defies team orders
Unlucky 200 for Alonso
McLaren's mistake
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sebastian Vettel defies team orders to pass and claim first win of 2013
  • German apologized to teammate Mark Webber, who was leading the race
  • Former McLaren driver John Watson calls on Red Bull to suspend Vettel for one race

(CNN) -- Has there ever been a rivalry in a sporting team quite like the one between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber?

Their fractious, not to say poisonous, relationship reached a new low on Sunday, after the three-time world champion ignored Red Bull team orders to snatch victory from Australian Webber at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

With another three weeks before the next grand prix -- the Chinese GP on April 14 -- Webber plans to going surfing as he reflects on his treatment by Vettel and his place in the Red Bull hierarchy.

"I'll be catching a few waves on my surfboard and reflecting on everything that's happened," Webber told reporters.

"There were a lot of things going through my head in those closing laps," he said. "Not just from today, but from the past as well."

Engines on, Formula 1 returns!
Engines on, Formula 1 returns!
Who is the greatest F1 driver ever?
Who is the greatest F1 driver ever?
Red Bull Show Run

The past probably includes the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix, a race in which Webber was flying when, on the verge of a hat-trick of wins, he and Vettel famously crashed -- leading to a sense of ill feeling within the team.

Read: Vettel apologizes after controversial F1 win in Malaysia

Despite protestations in public to say otherwise from team principal Christian Horner, the frustration for Webber is that he is very much the team's understudy.

Vettel has long been nurtured by Helmut Marko, titled a motorsport consultant at Red Bull but widely regarded as the eyes, ears and mouth piece of team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, and a figure Webber has not always seen eye to eye with.

"Seb made his own decisions and will have protection as usual," continued Webber after Sunday's race, a not too subtle reference to the Australian's apparent place in the Red Bull pecking order.

"It's something that Sebastian has apologized for and it's something that we will discuss internally as a team," added Horner, who in February at the launch of the RB9 had insisted: "As a team we will do the very best we can to support both drivers."

Red Bull Show Run
Formula One season off to a racing start

But former McLaren driver John Watson went so far as to say that Red Bull should suspend Vettel for one race.

"If Christian Horner doesn't reassert his authority in the team -- because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel yesterday -- then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be," Watson told BBC Radio on Monday.

"The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix.

"You can't take the points away from him and give them to Mark Webber - that's now history and Sebastian has the benefit of those seven additional points."

After the event, Vettel was apologetic, suggesting the incident had been a misunderstanding rather than a direct violation of team orders.

"I didn't mean to and I apologize, " Vettel told reporters. "I'm not happy I've won, I made a mistake and if I could undo it I would. It's not easy right now and I owe apologies to Mark and the team."

The Malaysia Grand Prix also raised more questions about the very essence of the sport with teams handing down orders to drivers rather than allowing them to race.

While Vettel ignored a call to stay behind his teammate Webber, Lewis Hamilton benefited from team orders.

The 2008 world champion claimed his first podium finish for Mercedes after colleague Nico Rosberg was told not to attack him as both drivers were seeking to maintain their cars.

Team orders have long been a controversial part of F1, and were banned in 2002. However, that rule was dropped in 2011 after it became apparent that teams were finding ways around it.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Take the fittest driver in Formula One and test him against two of the world's leading triathletes in a high-performance laboratory.
updated 12:04 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
Mercedes has the fastest two cars in Formula One this season but there is just one problem -- there can only be one world champion.
He's the best of the rest -- Daniel Ricciardo has been Formula One's surprise package in the first half of the 2014 season.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
updated 7:10 PM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Thu May 22, 2014
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
updated 11:00 AM EDT, Thu May 1, 2014
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN ARABIC BY SUHEIL HOWAYEK: (FILES) Brazilian F1 driver Ayrton Senna adjusts his rear view mirror in the pits 01 May 1994 before the start of the San Marino Grand Prix. Senna died after crashing in the seventh lap. Some 45 drivers, including Senna and Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, have been killed during Formula One races whose tracks are dubbed by some as the 'circuits of death.' AFP PHOTO/JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU (Photo credit should read JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
ADVERTISEMENT