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Red Bull Racing made a right royal mess of the PR situation in Istanbul a few weeks ago when Sebastian Vettel collided with Mark Webber. This gave rise to the suggestion that the team was favoring the German over the Australian. The controversy dissipated only when it was announced that Webber would be staying on for another year – although Mark had actually signed his new contract on the night before the Grand Prix. The suspicion remained that the Austrian-owned team was favoring Vettel.
A pissed Mark Webber
Thus it was not a very smart move on Saturday at Silverstone to take the new front wing from Mark Webber’s car and give it to Vettel for the qualifying session. The two men started the day with two new identical front wings, but in the morning Vettel’s fell off the car when there was a problem with the fixation points. It was decided that Sebastian should be given Mark’s wing, because he was ahead in the World Championship.
“There was only one component,” said team principal Christian Horner. ” A team is bigger than one individual and Sebastian is leading the World Championship, so he was given the one remaining new wing. It was a tough decision but sometimes I have to make difficult decisions.”
A stony-faced Webber said that the team was happy with the 1-2 result, but was clearly not happy.
The whole thing leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth and while Horner tried to argue that the wing did not make much of a difference, there was no indication that the team would have considered the idea of taking the new wing away from Vettel to make sure that they two men had identical cars. This suggested that the team believes the new wing is better. Given that the two men were seven-tenths clear of the opposition it might have been wiser to let the two men use the older wings
The risk, of course, is that the new wing might fall off Vettel’s car tomorrow… in which case the team will have even more egg on its face. Joe Saward
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