RED BULL Racing team principal Christian Horner has confirmed Mark Webber will not be favoured over Sebastian Vettel in Brazil next week.
Following Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix, in which the team suffered its first double DNF for 51 races, Horner stated the debate over team orders would be reviewed.
With Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso moving ahead in the championship following his fourth win in seven races, it has left Webber trailing by 11 points and Vettel by 25. The suggestion was the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 7 would be the ideal time for Red Bull to throw its weight behind Webber to deny Alonso the drivers’ title.
But with Vettel mathematically in the hunt, Horner is refusing to dispense with the philosophy he has remained loyal to over the past two seasons. “We have two fantastic drivers and we will continue to support both equally,” Horner said.
“As we saw in Korea it is impossible to predict what will happen with five drivers being so closely in contention. For example, with 10 laps to go Sebastian had moved into the lead of the championship, with Alonso then moving into the lead following our bad luck.
“It just goes to show that situations can change very quickly. Ultimately, as we now approach the end of the championship, the mathematics will speak for themselves. I’m certain both drivers will do everything possible to achieve the best result for the team.”
Horner, meanwhile, has slammed claims by Gerhard Berger that Webber deliberately attempted to take out one of his title rivals in Korea as “ridiculous.” Webber crashed out on lap 19, spinning into a wall after the wet conditions caught out the 34-year-old.
In drifting back across the circuit, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg was unable to take evasive action, also retiring after hitting the Australian.
It led to a bizarre claim from Berger on Austrian station Servus TV that Webber “would have preferred Alonso or (Lewis) Hamilton,” rather than taking out Rosberg. He added: “He could have hit the brakes and stopped the car at the wall.”
Horner has naturally issued a robust defence of Webber, who issued an apology after the race.
“As with every incident in Formula One, opinions will always be made without all the facts,” Horner said.
“Just to be absolutely clear – Mark’s intention was not to take out another driver after his crash in the Korean Grand Prix, and it’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise. After Mark’s impact with the wall, it was clear on the TV and from the data that his car was badly damaged.
“However, the natural and immediate instinct of any competitive driver is not to give up and to keep going. In the atrocious conditions, Mark made the snap decision to continue as every driver would in that situation. It’s absurd to suggest that Mark would ever deliberately take out another driver.’’
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