The Sky Sports F1 pundits spy a 'huge problem' at Red Bull after Malaysian GP row
Mark Webber still yet to accept apology from Sebastian Vettel
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 25/03/13 12:39pm
The Sky Sports F1 pundits suspect Sebastian Vettel's failure to obey team orders in the Malaysian GP will have far-reaching consequences for the harmony inside Red Bull and has the damaging potential to fester mistrust between the World Champion and Mark Webber.
The drivers' relationship at the triple World Championship-winning team has produced high-profile flashpoints in the past and in the closing stages on Sunday's Sepang race it experienced arguably its most controversial incident yet as Vettel, against the instructions of the team's management, attacked and passed race leader Webber for victory.
Although a contrite Vettel repeatedly apologised to Webber in the post-race press conference, the Australian has yet to accept the World Champion's apology.
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Assessing the likely fall-out from the explosive latest intra-team controversy at Red Bull, Sky Sports F1's Damon Hill and Martin Brundle agreed that a lack of trust from Webber towards Vettel was one likely damaging implication.
"There was clearly an understanding that they were on the edge with tyres so the team had to think about how hard they were going to push - and Sebastian wasn't playing to that card," the 1996 World Champion said.
"I think Sebastian has taken the view that possession is nine tenths of the law, and we'll argue about it later. He's said sorry but what is that really worth? And if you get a situation where there's no trust between the drivers being the team that's quite corrosive."
Fellow pundit Martin Brundle added: "Red Bull have got a huge problem because the next time they're in that situation, if they're one-two and they want to call off the fight with a few laps to go, he's not going to trust anybody.
"He's not going to trust them that it will all take place so he will keep racing."
Clearly emotional in his post-race interviews with Sky Sports F1, Webber made a cryptic reference to needing to "take my medicine" in the three-week break before the season reconvened in China after suggesting there had been "a lot of things on my mind" in the closing laps.
Speculating on what the 36-year-old might have been referring to, Brundle suggested it would naturally be difficult for Webber to fully control his true emotions.
"He's watched his team-mate win three consecutive World Championships in the same car with the same opportunity he's had and it must be very frustrating for him," Martin explained.
"Today, he had the edge - he definitely had the ability to win that race fair and square on pace - and he thought he'd been told 'your team-mate won't attack you'.
"He's now having to pull his punches. He really wants to scream and shout and kick and say 'this is outrageous' but he's got to play the team game and say 'look I'm going back to Australia, I'll take some medicine, let's see if the medicine's strong enough'.
"What does he mean by that? Does he mean he wants to leave the team? Leave F1? Can he get over it? So Mark's just lost a grand prix, feels someone's broken a massive trust and now he's got to play the team game as well in the middle of all of that."