Q&A: Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle on the raging intra-team battle at Red Bull
Sky Sports analyst thinks team have a major problem
By William Esler. Last Updated: 12/04/13 2:20pm
With tensions at Red Bull still high heading into the Chinese Grand Prix, Martin Brundle has his say on Sky Sports News about the intra-team battle which looks set to provide a riveting subplot to the 2013 season.
Have Red Bull managed to draw a line under all of the controversy from Malaysia?
Martin Brundle: "Not at all, it has all been inflamed. I thought Red Bull would turn up here with a fireman's hose and put the fire out and PR the thing completely out of existence. Mark Webber has said his piece, but not as powerfully as Sebastian Vettel, who was very punchy and very confident. He just said 'look I'd do it again if I was faced with the same situation. I'm sorry, but I'd still do it again.'
"I think a lot of the fans are a bit confused about whether he is sorry or not - he just went for the victory and took it and says he 'will do it again. Mark has never really helped me or the team out. I respect him as a driver.' Maybe it is a bit of payback for stuff that has happened in the past, but it has really roared into life - and it is great, isn't it."
Did it shed new light for you on what has going on inside this team for the last three years?
MB: "No, we know there is a lot of tension and it has flared up - whether it was Turkey 2010, Silverstone 2011, Brazil last year - when Mark was pretty brutal against Sebastian when he was trying to win the World Championship - and so you know there is a lot of tension.
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"You have two very competitive drivers who do not want to yield - Mark moving towards the end of his career and wants some success, Vettel has three Championships in the bag and wants to blitz every record there is and his job is to win, not to be popular. He might be losing a bit of popularity, but I don't think he cares too much."
This comment from Vettel that he would do the same thing again - where does that leave Christian Horner? Does it give you the sense that it is Sebastian Vettel running this team and not the Team Principal?
MB: "I think it leaves the team with a major problem because you have to manage the team through the season, through the year. They are limited to eight engines through the whole season, they have to make one gearbox last for five races, they always start the race with not enough fuel which needs to be managed - they don't want to carry that extra weight through a grand prix and there is the team's Championship position to cope with.
"When you are out on the race track you haven't got all the information everyone on the pitwall and at the back of the garage and at the back of the factory have - where there are 20 or 30 very clever people working out the strategy of the race. They are controlling that - you can't control that from behind the steering wheel - so if you are given instructions you really have to follow that. You just can't disregard that completely and I think it leaves them with a difficult situation. The boss, Dietrich Mateschitz, has said there won't be team orders anymore and that he wants his drivers to race - well that just plays into the hands of the other teams."
In terms of what Sebastian Vettel has said and done since the incident, has he damaged his own reputation? Some people are putting him with Michael Schumacher and some of the unscrupulous things he did, is that fair or not?
MB: "You could add in Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna - all the great champions were selfish winning machines and they really didn't care too much about their reputations in that respect. I think there is a sporting line which you don't cross - it is honour amongst thieves in many respects, but then I didn't win three World Championships and Sebastian Vettel already has at 25-years-old. So he is just saying if he sees a gap, I will go for it - whether that comes back to haunt him we will find out."