“Shit happens” reads the press release from Red Bull Racing on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by the above very staged photo to – ahem – confirm that Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are now best of buddies after their race-destroying collision on the 40th lap of last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
The co-conspirators met with team management at the Red Bull team’s HQ to thrash out their differences and publically draw a line under the incident that has dominated the F1 headlines for the last five days. The team has made a grand show of insisting that its drivers and team members have now put the matter to bed and are looking forward to next weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.
“The team had got us into a great position and it wasn’t good for
Mark them what happened – so I’m sorry for them that we cost Mark lost the lead of the race,” said Vettel after the meeting. “Mark and I are racers and we were racing. We are professionals and it won’t change how we will work together going forward. We have a great team and the spirit is very strong. I’m looking forward to Canada.”
Webber added: “It’s a shame for the team, as
I we lost a good opportunity to win the race. It’s sport and these things can happen, but it shouldn’t have done.
“I feel for everyone at Red Bull, at the factory and everyone involved. Seb and I will make sure it doesn’t happen again and
if it does I will kill him will continue to work openly together, no problem. We have talked enough on it now, it’s done, we’re looking ahead and I’m focused on the race in Canada next week.”
While this is yet more PR spin from the team, my guess is that this is probably as good as we’re going to get on the matter. In the midst of the ridiculous and churlish in-fighting amongst the team – let in no uncertain terms by the team’s
quote for hire advisor, Dr Helmut Marko – it seems that Webber has largely emerged with his dignity intact for (comparatively) refraining from the mud-slinging that the rest of the team seemed rather hell-bent on pursuing. I would very much contend that the team has lost a lot of credibility which will take time to regrow…
BBC commentator Martin Brundle made the interesting and very apt observation that Red Bull has a history of “treading on its own tail”, and the very public disrespect shown by the team management is actually the nub of most F1 fans’ anger.
Perhaps a public apology from the head honchos for their very unprofessional conduct would be in order, although it certainly won’t be forthcoming.
Something still smells a little off in this entire fiasco. Webber defended successfully for many laps from the attacks of Lewis Hamilton, and I find it hard to digest that the team’s protégé, Vettel, was somehow so vulnerable to the same attacks when he was riding shotgun to Webber after the pit stops.
Regardless of who was principally at fault – I would contend that Vettel’s ‘chop’ was not helpful, but equally argue that Webber is well-known for having the widest car on the track – the fact that we’re given more PR spin and window dressing is more disrespectful to the racing fans. We’re adults and would appreciate being treated like that, rather than being spoon-fed fairytale press releases.
While it may be convenient to bury such incidents, they do tend to have a habit of resurfacing later down the line. The team needs plenty to work for them at the next round in Canada, and they’ll certainly need all the luck they can get.
[Original image via Red Bull]