Red Bull Racing’s team Principal Christian Horner says that Vettel knew what the team communication during the Malaysian GP, but he chose to ignore it.
Webber led the race following the final pit stops and team ordered hold position to the end of the race but Vettel passed Webber on the lap 46 following an intense battle.
Following the race Vettel apologized to the team and Webber for what happened – claiming his actions in disregard orders were ‘not deliberate’ – Horner says he is not convinced.
Why, Horner was asked, did he not order Vettel to give the place back, given there were more than 10 laps to go?, Horner told the media: “Do you honestly think that if we had told him slow down and give the place back, he would have given it back?
“There was no point. He had made it quite clear what his intention was by making the move. He knew what the communication was. He had had the communication. He chose to ignore it. He put his interest beyond what the team’s position was. He was focused on those eight points difference between second and first place – which was wrong. He has accepted it was wrong.”
“Following cars very closely destroys tyres,” said Horner. “We know we have been marginal all weekend on tyres and what we didn’t want to do is run out of tyres and take an unnecessary risk. From a team’s point of view, we are trying to manage the race from that final stop to the end of the race.
“At this point of the season it made sense to bank the 43 points. All you are doing to allow the two to race from a team perspective is to take unnecessary risk at this stage of the championship. Obviously Sebastian chose that he wanted those eight points and chose to take things into his own hands. He has apologized to his team for that and has apologized to Mark for that, and that is it.”
Horner said the matter was discussed at length in the post-race team debrief and he hoped the outfit could move on.
“We spoke to both drivers, and I have spoken to both drivers, and Sebastian has apologized to both Mark and the team,” Horner added.
“So we have conducted our debrief as we would usually do and we will focus on the next race.”
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