Red Bull’s owner Dietrich Mateschitz has insisted that team orders will not play a role in determining which Red Bull Racing driver secures the outfit’s first World Championship title.
A host of media and Formula 1 figures believe that Mark Webber – with mathematically greater odds of taking the Drivers’ title than team-mate Sebastian Vettel – should be given first billing to chase down Fernando’s Alonso’s championship lead.
But the Austrian billionaire (pictured) has rejected such suggestions in an interview with the Der Spiegel newspaper.
“This is a sport and the best should win,” he affirmed. “Power, politics, manipulation and so on should be kept as far away as possible.
“The game is ‘come and get me, if you can’, and not ‘let me through because I’m better’,” he added. “Racing must remain racing.”
The view is in rather direct contrast with some of the previous actions of the outfit this season, the most famous of these being the team assigning a new-spec front wing to Sebastian Vettel as a preference of giving the wing to Webber at the British Grand Prix, a race Webber would go on to win and cheekily describe as “not bad for a number-two driver”.
There have been long-standing rumours of a division in the team hierarchy, with influential team advisor Dr Helmut Marko a known advocate of Vettel.
And with Webber on the wrong side of 30 and unlikely to remain in formula 1 for much longer, the team’s logic of remaining “emotionally behind” Vettel – as Webber described it overnight in Brazil.
The tactic of running an equal-footing strategy for both drivers so late in the season means that the squad runs the risk of losing both championships as the drivers pick points off each other, and this is a risk that Webber is certainly aware of.
“I’m a driver, and I think that of course you increase your risk of that happening if you race each other and potentially take each other out, or race as hard as you want all the way to the end then you might not get certain championships,” he is quoted by AUTOSPORT.
“But it’s certainly not my decision and what I think is really all that important to how we will probably go about it. You’d need to ask the people who run the team,” he added.
“Seb’s never led the championship this year and I have, so whatever happens in all the races we’ve had, we’ve now got two races to go and that’s what the scoreboard says,” he added, tellingly.
“Whatever the best way we go about handling trying to win the championship, we’ll see on the Monday after Abu Dhabi if it was the right way. If we don’t [win the title], then the sun still comes up on Monday morning.”
[Original image via Sutton Images]