Latest F1 news in brief - Monday UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
Vettel 'surprised by his own brutality' - the fallout
|Vettel knows only one thing - winning|
- Sepang shows Red Bull 'not united' - Alonso
- Kubica 'definitely' in running for 2014 - Boullier
- German faction sides against Brawn over Rosberg team order
- Malaysian F1 Given Thumbs Up
- Marko: The situation got out of control New
- Watson believes Vettel should be suspended New
- Analysis: Why did Vettel ignore team orders and pass Webber? New
- Mark Webber ponders Red Bull future after Malaysian GP New
Vettel 'surprised by his own brutality' - the fallout
(GMM) The victim of Sebastian Vettel's decision to ignore his team's instructions, Mark Webber predicted on Sunday that Red Bull would "protect" its triple world champion "as usual".
But that might not be the case this time. Publicly at least, Red Bull is angry the 25-year-old German ignored the team and attacked the sister car to win Sunday's Malaysian grand prix.
Afterwards, Vettel was contrite but he also claimed it was a "mistake", not done "deliberately".
"I didn't mean to ignore the call," he claimed.
Many couldn't understand what Vettel meant, and team boss Christian Horner isn't buying it.
"He made it quite clear what his intention was by making the move on Mark," he said.
Horner said it is wrong if Vettel's comments create the impression that he might not have heard the radio call.
"He knew what the communication was," Horner insisted. "He chose to ignore it.
"He's obviously chosen to hear what he wants to hear."
Horner said there was no point even asking Vettel - who had earlier screamed 'Get him (Webber) out of the way!' on the radio - to give back the position he had taken.
"Do you honestly think if we'd told him to slow down and give the place back, he'd given it back?" he insisted.
Nonetheless, there are those who believe that - no matter Red Bull's public position - Vettel is the obvious 'number 1' at Red Bull who only began to apologize late on Sunday because he realized his actions had not been well received.
The reaction of the press, for example, is near universal. "The ego is number 1," said Der Spiegel's Ralf Bach.
"While Rosberg obeyed (Mercedes), the defiant Vettel overtook ruthlessly -- probably because he has nothing to fear."
Agreed Bild newspaper's Frank Schneider: "Vettel looked as though he was surprised by his own brutality.
"More and more, he reminds of his idol Michael Schumacher, who was loved and hated, and Vettel is on the way there."
The pundits also agreed.
"In the end he has made his unofficial status as number 1 clear," said former driver Alex Wurz. "So this changes nothing."
Indeed, when Horner was asked if Vettel will be punished or penalized in any way, he said only that further discussions "behind closed doors" will take place.
"It appears a mild slap on the wrist is all an impotent team boss will be able to deliver to his star turn," said Mirror correspondent Byron Young.
Former F1 driver Patrick Tambay told France's RMC Sport: "I think the true character of Sebastian Vettel has been revealed.
"Outside the car, he is smiling and has the reputation for being very friendly. But when he puts on his helmet, he becomes a warrior, an ogre.
"He wants to win at all costs. It was roughly the same scenario between Mercedes' Hamilton and Rosberg, but the latter - a very well mannered boy - followed the instructions of his boss."
Added Niki Lauda: "Vettel won with all his might against the logic of the team. It was a serious mistake."
Former F1 engineer Joan Villadelprat told El Pais newspaper: "Having two roosters in the henhouse is never easy."
According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Sauber team manager Beat Zehnder admitted: "He (Vettel) has done himself no favors. This has not gone down well in the paddock generally."
Outside the paddock, however, German tennis legend Boris Becker said Vettel "did what a three time champ is supposed to do ... take matters in your own hands!"
Speed Week correspondent Mathias Bruner commented: "He did the right thing as a winner, but not as a sportsman."
The most serious ramification of the Sepang saga could be Mark Webber's career. Having shown Vettel the middle finger after the maneuver, the 36-year-old hinted to reporters that he could quit Red Bull or even formula one.
Horner played that down.
"Both of them have just sat in a debrief, talked very constructively about the car and focused on where we need to improve and where we need to be better for the next race.
"The team didn't manipulate any situation, there was no conspiracy, so why he needs to be thinking about his future or anything like that is just pure emotion," he added.
One thing is for certain. Martin Brundle wittily observed during his Sky commentary on Sunday that the "relationship that never was" between Vettel and Webber is now definitely over.
"They are probably not going out for dinner together," agreed Dr Helmut Marko.
Sepang shows Red Bull 'not united' - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso, who wears a giant Samurai tattoo on his back and neck, sounded disappointed to have missed Sunday's war between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.
Beached in the gravel when his Ferrari's front wing collapsed following early contact with Vettel, the Spaniard wittily admitted on Twitter that he had "missed a good moment" when the Red Bull duo's already tense relationship vanished completely amid the latest team orders scandal.
"I will try not to leave them alone again," added Alonso.
Actually, he said the Red Bull saga is just clear evidence of what he already knew.
"It's amazing," he is quoted by AS newspaper, "because it's always the most legal team, the team that always does everything right and never bad things, but today was a little bit of truth.
"It doesn't happen at Ferrari -- we're the most united team. They say they are, but you can see that they are not."
And Alonso was definitely not amused when recalling his first-lap contact with Vettel.
"He (Vettel) practically stopped in the middle of the corner. He was at least 10kph slower.
"It was a surprise to find him there," he added.
Alonso's front wing was damaged, but he did not pit for a new one at the end of the first lap. The wing soon collapsed, stranding his Ferrari in the gravel.
"It's easy to say we should have done something else," he said. "The wing didn't seem so damaged, even on television, and so we decided to continue, because we knew we were going to put on dry tires on lap three or four.
"We took a risk and it went wrong, but I think we were very unlucky."
Alonso said he thinks he could have fought for the win.
"Red Bull didn't impress too much this weekend," he insisted. "They know they have problems with the degradation; even Mercedes was fighting for victory until 20 laps to go.
"The podium was practically guaranteed," added Alonso.
Kubica 'definitely' in running for 2014 - Boullier
(GMM) Robert Kubica is "definitely" in the running to return to formula one with Lotus in 2014.
Turning down an offer to return to circuit racing in the German touring car series DTM this year, the Pole has got off to a highly competitive start as he prepares to contest the second-tier world rally championship in 2013.
The 28-year-old admits he cannot currently drive a single-seater due to the limitations of his still-injured right arm, but he has not ruled out a return to F1 at some point.
In 2010, Kubica drove for the Eric Boullier-run Renault team - now known as Lotus - and the former BMW driver was preparing for his second season in 2011 at the time of his near-fatal rally crash.
It was believed the relationship with Lotus had subsequently broken down, but Frenchman Boullier now insists he would have Kubica back.
"If Robert is completely ready for a return to formula one, he definitely would be among the candidates," he told Russia's f1news.ru, when asked about Lotus' 2014 lineup.
Currently, Lotus' number 1 driver is Kimi Raikkonen, but the Finn is yet to commit beyond the end of his 2013 contract.
Boullier was asked if Raikkonen will still be in F1 next year, and he admitted: "It's a very good question! I don't know the answer."
Another candidate to join the team in 2014 is therefore Davide Valsecchi, the reigning GP2 champion who has signed on this year as Lotus' official reserve.
Asked what chance the 26-year-old Italian has of racing in 2014, Boullier answered: "He has a better chance than anyone else.
"We have some plans for this season and we will see how he copes with his work -- on the track and off.
"Not in the course of a grand prix (weekend), but he will test with the old car."
German faction sides against Brawn over Rosberg team order
(GMM) Mercedes' German-speaking faction has spoken out against the team orders that prevented Nico Rosberg from finishing on the podium in Malaysia.
German Rosberg asked and asked again to be let past his new British teammate Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, who was saving fuel to the finish as he ran in third place.
Team boss Ross Brawn answered repeatedly: "Negative."
Afterwards - but before Hamilton admitted on the podium that he was uncomfortable about finishing third - Rosberg told strategist Brawn on the radio to "Remember this one."
It was a saga not unnoticed by Mercedes' newly-arrived Austrian shareholders and bosses Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff, who were not amused.
"From a sporting perspective, that was wrong," Lauda told German television RTL.
"They should have let him (Rosberg) go.
"We need to talk to Ross, if this is the strategy to be used from now on," he added.
Wolff agreed: "From a sporting point of view, that's not what we want to see."
Brawn, whose role as team boss is believed threatened by the Austrian duo and also the likely arrival of McLaren's Paddy Lowe, is understood to have defended the 'team order' on the basis that Rosberg was also low on fuel.
Rosberg denied: "I did not have to save fuel. Everything was alright.
"I will sit down together with Ross to rethink whether this was really the right decision."
The 27-year-old's rationale is that, with tires in good shape and fuel in the tank, he might have been able to chase down the leading Red Bulls.
According to Auto Motor und Sport, 1996 world champion Damon Hill agreed: "He might at least have been able to hurry the Red Bulls into a tire problem."
Rosberg added: "I don't know if I would have gotten the Red Bulls. But I felt good at the time.
"I was doing well and would have liked to see how far I could have gone."
Justifying his anger on the radio, he explained: "I tried to get them to reconsider their decision."
But Rosberg denied Red Bull figure Dr Helmut Marko's claim that the episode demonstrates that Lewis Hamilton is Mercedes' obvious "number 1" driver.
"I can understand how this (episode) creates that impression," Rosberg responded, "but I am sure that if I had been in front, the decision would have been the same."
Malaysian F1 Given Thumbs Up
Malaysia has been "given the thumbs up" by Ecclestone.
Ecclestone said, "There are no dramas and all the people are very nice and good to deal with." He was commenting on Malaysia playing host to F1 races since '99. Ecclestone added that the Sepang Int'l Circuit will need a "paint job."
In Dubai, M. Satya Narayan reported after four consecutive sellouts, the Yas Marina Circuit "will now open its ‘Abu Dhabi Hill’ to accommodate extra spectators" for the '13 F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -- the fifth running of which will take place on Nov. 3.
Organizers announced the start of ticket sales with a 20% early bird discount available until May 31. This year's race will "see an increase in the number of spectators from 50,000 to 55,000." GULF NEWS
Marko: The situation got out of control
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has admitted that the battle for the lead between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix was ‘out of control’, with the German ignoring team orders to overcome his team-mate.
Despite repeat calls from team boss Christian Horner to hold position and stick to a pre-race plan, Vettel attacked for the lead and ultimately found a way past Webber, leaving the latter heavily frustrated and Marko with little defense for his actions.
"They had a race going on and we told the drivers to stay in the positions because we were worried about the tire wear," Marko, who raced in Formula 1 in the early 1970s, told Sky Sports. "But at this stage it got out of control I have to say. It was Christian who said we had to look after the tires and stay in position.
"He (Vettel) was immediately behind and then there was a race. At this stage you can’t talk to racing drivers."
Marko says internal discussions will take place ahead of next month's Chinese Grand Prix in a bid to resolve the situation, with the pair on uneasy terms after the race.
"The team will have a word because we have to control the drivers," he added. "It’s not like at Mercedes where it’s a clear number one. We treat the drivers the same."
Watson believes Vettel should be suspended
Former grand prix star John Watson believes Red Bull should suspend Sebastian Vettel after the German ignored team orders to win Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
Triple world champion Vettel had been told to hold position behind team-mate Mark Webber after the pair had completed their final pit stops at Sepang. But he overtook the Australian to take the victory, despite team boss Christian Horner telling him over the radio his behavior was “silly”.
Watson, who raced for the likes of Brabham and McLaren during the 1970s and 80s, believes Vettel’s actions undermined Horner’s authority within the team, and a one-race suspension is needed to put the 25-year-old in his place.
Watson told BBC Radio 4: “If Christian Horner doesn’t reassert his authority in the team — because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel yesterday — then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be.
“The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix.
“You can’t take the points away from him and give them to Mark Webber — that’s now history and Sebastian has the benefit of those seven additional points.
“You can’t really fine him, it is almost irrelevant to fine him, so the only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say ‘you will stand out one race’.”
Webber and Vettel’s relationship has been particularly fractious since they crashed into each other while disputing the lead of the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix. They also fell out over Vettel being given first call on a new front wing at the British Grand Prix later in the same season.
The tension between the two has lingered ever since, and Watson expects Red Bull to face a real battle getting the pair to work together between now and the end of the season.
“I think once the blood has cooled down and the team get the two drivers together, Webber will see the season out, but it will be a very fractious relationship,” he added.
“I don’t know what favors Mark Webber can be asked to provide to Sebastian Vettel if that should ever arise in the future.” Irish Times
Analysis: Why did Vettel ignore team orders and pass Webber?
It is clear that the Malaysian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel’s 103rd F1 race, will prove a turning point in his career.
Vettel admitted on Sunday night in the post race press conference that he will be looked upon as the “black sheep” after he ignored team orders and passed Mark Webber in the closing stages of Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, when the Australian thought the race had been called off by the Red Bull team.
Interestingly, had they finished with Webber ahead, they would now be level on 33 points in the drivers’ table. And the way Red Bull works, the driver with the highest championship position takes priority in certain situations. By virtue of having a win, Webber would be placed above Vettel in the table.
Also central to Vettel’s motive was the fact that the man he considers his main title rival, Fernando Alonso, did not score any points in Sepang and to leave the extra seven points on the table for finishing second rather than winning, was not something Vettel could contemplate, even if his team could.
Some have praised Vettel for being a “real racer” others have castigated him for violating sporting ethics. To be clear: He did not pass Webber in a racing situation, because Webber was acting on the belief that the racing was over. The situation was reversed in Silverstone two years ago when Webber was told not to pass Vettel in the closing stages, but had a go, eventually backing off. So he is not blameless in this story either.
Interestingly, yesterday the FOM TV director broadcast Mercedes’ team order instructions but not the Red Bull coded instructions. So it is not clear what was said to Vettel and when.
Normal practice in those situations is to inform the pursuing driver first, so that the situation is controlled immediately and then to inform the leading driver that he will not be attacked by his team mate.
What makes yesterday’s situation more intriguing is that Vettel was on a different tire strategy from Webber; having made an error by pitting too early for slicks which cost him the lead to Webber, Vettel was attempting to get the win back by running a strategy which would see him on the faster (medium) tire in the closing stages. Webber was on the hard compound which was around 0.6s per lap slower.
So Vettel was anticipating a late race challenge on Webber using faster tires and DRS and clearly so was the Red Bull strategy team, because they oversee both cars.
But team boss Christian Horner has confirmed that once the final stops were completed, Vettel was told to follow Webber home and he disobeyed that instruction. James Allen on F1
Mark Webber ponders Red Bull future after Malaysian GP
Mark Webber admits he will consider his future with Red Bull in the wake of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel's decision to ignore team orders and overtake Webber to win the race in Sepang left Webber fuming and claiming on the podium that Vettel "will have protection as usual" from the Red Bull hierarchy. Later, Webber was asked if the developments will make him consider his future with the team and maybe even in Formula One, to which Webber responded: "My mind, in the last 15 laps was thinking that many things, yes. Many, many things."
Expanding further, Webber said his anger wasn't solely based on the actions of Vettel in Malaysia.
"Let's just say there were a lot of things going through my mind in the last 15 laps of the Grand Prix, lots of different reasons, not just from [the race] but also from the past. We'll see what happens. We've got three weeks before the next race."
Webber added that he will spend some time between races in Australia to contemplate his future.
"I think it's very early days right now, it's very raw, obviously, and we need to work out how the team goes best forwards from here. That's obviously going to be discussed this week. I will be in Australia on my surfboard, the phone won't be engaged, see what happens."