Red ‘Bulls’ need to be kept in the pen
Red Bull need to read the riot act to their simmering Formula One drivers even as they lick self-inflicted wounds from a Turkish Grand Prix nightmare.india Updated: May 31, 2010 23:09 IST
Red Bull need to read the riot act to their simmering Formula One drivers even as they lick self-inflicted wounds from a Turkish Grand Prix nightmare.
If they let a feud fester between Australian Mark Webber and German Sebastian Vettel, it will play straight into the hands of rivals McLaren --- who know a thing or two about bad blood between team mates but are currently basking in unity.
Three years ago, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were barely on speaking terms at McLaren and, after shooting themselves in the foot in Hungary, ended up losing both championships to Ferrari.
Sunday's needless collision between the two Red Bull drivers cost the team the constructors' championship lead, a second successive one-two finish and Webber his third victory in a row.
World champion Jenson Button, now Hamilton's teammate at new leaders McLaren, said the fallout could be even more destructive if not nipped in the bud.
“We are all competitive and sometimes you find it difficult to back down in certain situations but when you look at the data and look at the footage, someone's always in the wrong,” the Briton said.
“So it's about owning up and moving forward.
“And if they can't do that, it does play into our hands because we go to Canada having finished first and second, those two crashed and when you're not getting on I'm sure you don't share information as much.”
Resentment clouds judgement in a sport requiring split-second decisions and total focus. There is a risk of drivers getting hung up about beating certain individuals, losing sight of the bigger picture.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner will have to bang some heads together since neither championship leader Webber nor Vettel, the biggest loser on the day after scoring no points, showed any signs of forgiveness on Sunday night.
“Sebastian was as pissed off as Mark sounded in the press conference,” he told reporters.
“He was frustrated, Mark was frustrated, so we've got to sit down with both drivers and go through it because we've got to bounce back.”
Before the start of the season, the focus was more on McLaren than Red Bull when commentators tried to size up potential flashpoints.
Having two champions in one line-up, at a team seemingly built around Hamilton, appeared to indicate trouble ahead. Instead, there have been few ripples.
They fought each other on track on Sunday but gave each other space and plenty of respect.
At Red Bull, where there have always been suspicions that Vettel is favoured, Webber was seen more as an effective number two and team player.
By raising his game, the Australian has changed the dynamic and Vettel appears to be feeling the strain.