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Formula 1 47

Malaysia’s post-race interviews

Whenever I’m watching a Grand Prix I’m trying to come up with a ‘story of the race’ for every driver. It begins at the start and ends wherever they do – bullet points of places gained or lost from lights out, through the pit stops, their tyre performance, any crashes and bashes, thrills and spills.

There are some days, though, when the technical, lap by lap nitty gritty just isn’t relevant and it simply comes to down to human emotions. Sunday was one of those days.

f1  Malaysias post race interviews

I must admit, I was feeling the pressure while waiting to speak to Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. I would have just three questions to sum up everything – the emotions, the politics and the repercussions. But before I could apply my brain to that I had to interview the other 20 drivers and at that point they don’t care what else has been happening on track if it hasn’t affected them. They’ve just finished their own energy-sapping 56 lap race and have their own tales of excitement – or excuses – and it’s important to get those questions right too. Interviewing the other guys meant that I couldn’t watch the podium interviews and we never get to hear the press conference so it is difficult to judge the atmosphere before the drivers arrive in front of you.

Out of the top three, it was Mark Webber who came to me first. I always enjoy interviewing him; he is thoughtful, intelligent and has a much wider view of sport and the world. I’m not sure whether that view comes with age or maybe from moving so far away from home to pursue his dreams, but he always gives an honest and direct reply to any questions and that’s all an interviewer can ask for.

It was clear that he was emotional, trying to be restrained and yet clearly wanting to get his point across. He spoke about respect between himself and Vettel, about having to let Sebastian win in the days when team orders were banned. When I asked him if he was confident he would ever be allowed to challenge for a championship if he stayed at Red Bull he said he’d been asking himself the same question in the last 15 laps of the race.

f1  Malaysias post race interviews

To drive at those speeds with such precision in the colossal heat and finish second with that level of emotion and turmoil going on inside your brain is incredible.

I was next in line after the German TV crews to get Sebastian, but Lewis Hamilton came to me first. I had a brief but good interview with him and he was another who was hardly bursting with joy to be on the podium, saying it should’ve been Nico Rosberg instead. During my final question I was having to signal to Vettel’s PR to keep him there as he was obviously pretty keen to leave. Missing questioning the triple world champion was not an option for me. I did feel bad for Lewis as I wrapped up the conversation so I could bring in Vettel but he understands and maybe he was just glad not be the story on this particular day!

On came Vettel. Firstly, I wanted him to confirm that the order not to pass Mark had been given. It sounds pretty basic, but that question formed the rest of the interview. He said he did receive the order and as soon as he said that, I was free to challenge him on it and ask why he chose to ignore it. I’ve always found Vettel to be great in front of the camera and a pleasure to talk to, but as the interview went on and he realised how big the story had become, he started to look increasingly awkward, even ashamed by the end.

While Mark stood tall, open and angry, Sebastian was head down and apologetic. He said he wasn’t happy to win and that he wouldn’t sleep easily. But Mark wasn’t happy to finish second and I’m sure he wouldn’t be drifting off into a relaxed slumber that night either.

f1  Malaysias post race interviews

I don’t remember ever interviewing a more disheartened top four drivers. Even in Germany when Felipe Massa was told the infamous words “Fernando is faster than you”, Alonso still celebrated the win – although he had to play the part as team orders were not allowed.

If you can’t enjoy a victory then you would question the point of winning. The point is that if Sebastian Vettel goes on to win the championship by just seven points then this black cloud will suddenly have a thick silver lining and the matter will be forgotten by all those who benefit.

It certainly won’t be forgotten by others, including many more drivers than simply Mark Webber. To win races and championships you don’t have to be a nice guy on track, history proves that. It is all about where your priorities lie, winning championships or winning friends? Did Michael Schumacher lose sleep over some of his on-track antics? Who knows, but I imagine his seven world championships still give him plenty of sweet dreams.

Michael and Sebastian are friends. Just look how Schumacher moved over in Brazil last season to let his fellow German get the points he needed to win the championship. That is something which still riles Ferrari, even though Vettel would have got past eventually.

f1  Malaysias post race interviews

If Sebastian needs counsel he has the retired Schumacher. If Mark needs an ally then he has his friend and ubiquitous championship contender Fernando Alonso and that might be a lot more damaging to Vettel in the long run.

Mark Webber might not win a world championship and he might not be able to stop Sebastian Vettel from claiming his fourth title but one thing is for sure, he certainly won’t help him win it again. Those days ended on lap 43 on Sunday March 24, 2013.

Read Simon Arron’s Malaysian Grand Prix report here, and the epilogue here.

You can see Lee’s interviews with Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton here.

f1  Malaysias post race interviews

Add your comments

47 comments on Malaysia’s post-race interviews

  1. Jamie, 26 March 2013 13:43

    Great column Lee.

    Interesting to hear how it unfolds/unfolded from the point of view of the person who has to get the answers for us viewers after it all happens!

  2. Terry Jacob, 26 March 2013 13:46

    Seen Webber lose the plot too often in the past . There are years in the history of Formula One when he could , maybe , have picked up a championship but , good though he is , he isn’t ever destined to be remembered one of motor racings absolute gods .

  3. Dan Sandford, 26 March 2013 13:57

    Lee. Along with your journalist colleague Will Buxton, you have both summed this past weekend up in words I can only dream to construct. Well done to you and Will. Journalism at its best.

    And as for team orders – pah!!!!

  4. Ray In Toronto Canada (Ray T (the other one)), 26 March 2013 14:09

    Hello Lee!

    Enjoyed your comments. Thank you!

    I don’t think Vettel can afford to play “clean” and “nice” with the likes of Webber and Alonso.

    In the case of Webber, the Aussie has never gone out of his way to help Vettel. So, why would Vettel expect any type of ‘help’ now?

    Also, Lee, hasn’t Webber disobeyed orders from Horner before?

    I think if you look back over the past two or three years – and be honest about it – you’ll note that Webber’s gone on record that he won’t follow orders.

    So, I can’t shed a tear for him.

    In the case of Alonso, well, we ALL know that he’s been far from “squeeky clean”, whether it was regarding SpyGate, e-mails which led to a $100 Million fine against McLaren, CrashGate/Singapore 2008 at Renault…or having Massa subjugated and humiliated in a far worse fashion than anything Webber’s experienced.

    Rarely will a reporter bring up how Alonso has picked up points in less than “sporting” ways in 2010 and 2012 (Look at the broken seal on Massa’s engine at Austin, for instance.)

    So…As long as Vettel has to battle the likes of the Alonso-Ferrari axis, he can’t afford to play “Mr Nice Guy”.

    I didn’t like what Vettel did on Sunday…but i’ve liked what Alonso has done down the years even less!

    I’ll take the lesser of two evils, thanka.

    Kind regards,

    Ray in Toronto, Canada

  5. Eric Dymock, 26 March 2013 14:11

    Lucid, thoughtful, well-written column; careful analysis that goes beyond a simple race report and describes what people are like.

  6. Adam Gompertz, 26 March 2013 14:12

    Good column Lee. Wish you could have more of the presenting role on the BBC show.You have great knowledge and obviously a way of seeing through the smoke to get to the heart of things as well.

    Well done. Feel for you waiting for Seb and the tension pre-interview.

  7. Paul Hunt, 26 March 2013 14:38

    “if Sebastian Vettel goes on to win the championship by just seven points then this black cloud will suddenly have a thick silver lining and the matter will be forgotten by all those who benefit.”

    Unless Mark is second just seven points behind!

    Team orders are allowed because it is impossible to police “no team orders” – sportsmanship and integrity are mutually exclusive terms. Sadly at present it seems the racing stops after the last pit stop.

  8. CC, 26 March 2013 14:39

    If you ever see this can you ask Vettel if he ever get’s mistaken for Calvin Harris? Cheers

  9. Thomas, 26 March 2013 14:54

    Vettel didn’t need to pass Schumacher to win the title in Brazil.

  10. Julian Shersby, 26 March 2013 14:56

    As with Irvine before him it is one of those almost Greek style tragedies that Mark Webber did not win the one and only F1 championship he ever could and should have won three years ago. Just like Irvine at Ferrari with Schumacher that opportunity has now gone forever and Mark is now forced to play second fiddle forever to a team mate who will normally outgun him at almost every turn.

    That kind of situation can only be mentally damaging to a driver as Felipe Massa’s unaccountable loss of form playing second fiddle to Fernando Alonso for so long showed. The remarkable thing in Massa’s case is that some how he turned it around and is now performing at the level he should be performing viz a viz Alonso in terms of genuine ability. Like Irvine and Webber he also shares the tragedy of having had that one opportunity to take the F1 crown that so sadly did not work out for him.

    As a keen spectator of F1 for the last 30 years the new 2000s theme of the number 2 drivers at the leading teams also staying put for years along with the number 1 (for whom the reason for staying on is more obvious) does seem a great pity as it deprives us of so much potential new interest in the sport from one year to the next.

    Just imagine how much more exciting the 2013 season would actually be had Lewis Hamilton joined Red Bull in place of Webber and Webber had joined Alonso whilst Paul Di Resta had joined Mercedes. Instead we are left hoping Hamilton can perform miracles with clearly inferior machinery and that Raikkonen and Lotus’s win in Australia was more than a flash in the pan.

  11. Julian Shersby, 26 March 2013 15:28

    I probably went off on one in previous comments about how the 2013 season could have been if the owner of Red Bull had not been so unswervingly loyal to his No 2 driver or of course if Sebastian had not perhaps vetoed the idea of Lewis joining him as team mate (something which he will never publicly admit to but in reality is a likely scenario).

    In any event just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your thoughtful and penetrating analysis on the very different personalities of the different drivers and in particular the pure honesty and straight forwardness of Mark Webber compared to the spin and swagger of both Alonso and Vettel – in part probably brought about by the stratospheric level of their driving ability compared to all the others.

    Given the parachuting in of Suzi Perry it also seems a pity the BBC will not give you a better vehicle than Inside F1 to develop your analysis skills instead of burying the program with no EPG entry, no Iplayer entry and a marooned broadcast slot on BBC News that very few F1 fans are likely to stumble on (unlike Ted Kravitz’s more heavily promoted equivalent show on Sky – or so I hear as I do not pay the Sky dollar).

    I also have to question the sanity of the BBC’s non live race coverage making us wait 6+ hours for the Aus/S’pore race highlights programs till after 2pm on Sunday with the result being foisted on us while we wait at every turn by BBC radio news. And as the BBC clearly can’t afford Eddie Irvine’s airfare or hotel bill for the non live races why can’t they use you as their race analyst on these occasions?

  12. Aditya, 26 March 2013 16:11

    I’ve heard it way too many times, and want a final, conclusive answer, and I’m hoping you’ll have it.
    ppl are always bringing up s’stone 2011, where Webber ignored “Maintain the gap”, and are saying he got as good as he gave. as far as last weekend’s concerned, it’s clear that Seb basically overtook Webber after being instructed to hold position, and after Webber turned his engine down to “Multi 21″ after team told him the race’s over(RT @RussBroom Multi-map is a pre-programmable, driver selectable feature of the MES std ECU), maybe with a higher engine setting, but definitely with better tyres.

    i just wanted to ask you if the s’stone ’11 situation is similar. AFAIK, team asked Webber to hold position, but neither seemed to really slow down, whereas Webber was visibly slower last weekend.

  13. Dave Steele, 26 March 2013 17:48

    A wonderful article Lee, I also like what you tweet. As someone else said on here its a pity you are not on screen more during the BBC coverage. I listen to you more than anyone else on BBC or Sky as you know your stuff so well – and know how to express it. Very well done.

  14. Ian Henderson, 26 March 2013 18:34

    Can you trust a person that does not respect his boss?
    His he a team player?
    .

  15. Michael Spitale, 26 March 2013 18:51

    I agree with many of you.. Webber comes off as a hypocrite… His fans love how he will not bow down to team orders, and he is not afraid to challenge Vettel even when he is out of the title hunt. Then he panders to the media like the sad puppy when the far superior Vettel ignores team orders and passes him.

    Vettel knows Alonso is allowed to walk all over Massa and that every point counts. I don’t blame him for taking what he could get. Webber always comes up short when it matters, no way RB can count on him.

  16. R.E.B, 26 March 2013 19:12

    I agree with the other comments on here about the BBCs under utilization of Lee. The same goes for Gary Anderson. The Beeb should consider teaming up Lee and Gary with David Coulthard. With all due respect to Ms Perry and Mr Jordan, I think we can do without them. Just my opinion.

  17. Bill, 26 March 2013 19:27

    Poor Mark! After everybody dried their eyes, maybe oughta read this column from Mark:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/14145893

    “To manage it but then be told to hold position is something I wasn’t prepared to follow at the time. If I’d backed off and held the gap at three seconds, as I was asked to do, it would have been much more difficult for me to sleep after the race.”

    Post race press conference Silverstone 2011:

    Q. (Adam Hay-Nicholls – Metro) Mark, Christian Horner has said that you should be fine with the team orders at the end and if you and Seb had raced until the end you would both have ended up in the fence. Do you agree with that? Was it the right call? Does this mean realistically that you are out of this championship?

    MW: I am not fine with it. No. That’s the answer to that. If Fernando retires on the last lap we are battling for the victory so I was fine until the end. Of course I ignored the team as I want to try and get another place. Seb was doing his best and I was doing my best. I don’t want to crash with anyone, but that was it. I tried to do my best with the amount of conversation I had. ”
    One-way conversation obviously as I wasn’t talking too much back. There was a lot of traffic coming to me, but I was still trying to do my best to pass the guy in front.

    Q.(Adam Hay-Nicholls – Metro) Do you remember roughly how many messages you had?

    MW: Probably four or five.”

    So, crocodile tears then, Lee McKenzie?

  18. Michael Spitale, 26 March 2013 19:34

    “Mark Webber might not win a world championship and he might not be able to stop Sebastian Vettel from claiming his fourth title but one thing is for sure, he certainly won’t help him win it again. Those days ended on lap 43 on Sunday March 24, 2013.”

    no no no Lee.. those days ended last year when Mark slammed the door on Seb in Brazil at the start… and when he forced him to go 3 wide at the restart… Meanwhile Massa had to move over for Alonso twice in 1 race and took a 5 gridder the race before….

  19. Mike Dimmick, 26 March 2013 21:46

    @Aditya: Sure, the cars have a ‘multi’ control that’s programmed by entering numbers to select a mode, but I think Red Bull were using that as a code to tell the drivers to stop racing and bring home car 2 (Webber) in front of car 1 (Vettel). Why use a code if team orders are allowed? You don’t want to tell the other teams what you’re doing!

    Webber made a point of emphasising ‘multi 21′ to Seb in the anteroom before the podium ceremony. If they’d just been told to save fuel I think he’d have said so.

    Of course, the use of a code phrase meant that Vettel can claim to have misunderstood the message – plausible deniability. I don’t think he’s that stupid and nor does Mark, but management seem to be buying it – at least in public. An unambiguous instruction like Brawn gave Rosberg seems better in the long run, even if it gives your strategy away to the opposition.

  20. Molly, 26 March 2013 22:36

    To be honest I can’t get my head around what all the fuss is about. Team orders are a joke and have turned what should be an exciting RACE into nothing more than an expensive procession. Good on Vettel, if the rest if them had the guts to go out on the track and actually race then F1 may become watchable once again

  21. Tim Elmes, Cork, Ireland, 26 March 2013 22:48

    70Enjoyed the article, Lee, again the presure to speak straight out of the car is incredible. After the race I was furious with Seb, Mark is a gentleman his control & fury was incredible to witness, I think Seb decision making in the heat of the moment is seriously questionable has been for a while just ask Bruno Senna.. This is a seriously dangerous sport, on the week of Eliot de Angelis’s birthday its important that someone needs to remind Seb of this, or we could just as easily loose him, if he’d hit that wall at 170.. Well this would be a different conversation, he’s very lucky to have Mark as a team mate and needs to wake the hell up! Thanks again Lee, your doing a fantastic job!

  22. John Read, 27 March 2013 02:55

    It was a 14 point ‘turnaround’, not 7.

    If Webber-Vettel would have finished in that order, they would now be equal on points.

    So, to overcome the injustice Vettel would have to beat Webber in the title race by 14 points-plus, not 7 points-plus.

    But it’s worse than that of course because now the team have reason to favour Vettel due to his 14 point lead over Webber………

  23. JOE PIZZARELLO, 27 March 2013 03:51

    THERE ARE POLITICS AT PLAY IN ALL APECTS OF LIFE. BUT THE PEOPLE THAT CREATE AND FORCE THE POLITICAL GAME AND FAVORITISM OVER SPORTMANSHIP AND FAIR PLAY COULD SUFFER CONSEQUENCES. I FOR ONE WON’T POP A CAR OF RED BULL ANYMORE. IT’S MY SMALL PROTEST TO THE MANAGEMENT OF THE TEAM FOR THEIR LACK OF ALLOWING THE DRIVERS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. AM I JUST AN IDEALIST FROM THE OLD/VERY OLD SCHOOL. HEY I’M ONLY 61.

  24. Simon Lord, 27 March 2013 04:34

    So Mark did the same to Sebastian at Silverstone in 2011 then complains when Seb does it back in 2013? Sounds like the Pot calling the Vettel black…

  25. Debjit, 27 March 2013 05:45

    The last line sums it all up.

  26. Ray In Toronto Canada (Ray T (the other one)), 27 March 2013 12:22

    The level of hypocrisy from the media and those who never liked Vettel to begin with is palpable.

    1) There should NOT have been team orders at this stage of the season IN THE FIRST PLACE!

    2) If Webber wasn’t signed up to be an order-following Number 2 then why should Vettel be obliged to be an order-follower?!?!

    Where is the logic, then?

    3) Had Webber been behind and given the order, Webber would have ignored it in the race (as he’s done in the past), then cried blue murder after it (as he’s done in the past)…and the press would have been in a tizzy saying that Vettel was RBR’s Number 1 (as it’s done in the past).

    You CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS, folks!

    As I said, the level of hypocrisy around some quarters is palpable.

    In the end the “right” Red Bull driver took the 25 points on Sunday because that driver has the best chance of beating Alonso in the 2013 World Championship.

  27. Will Hoe, 27 March 2013 15:07

    I hope this is not the start of Sabastian turning into Micheal Schumaker, win at any cost which is a shame because he is a great driver and does not need to put himself in this position.

    Lets see how the season unfolds and if the team ask Mark to pull over, whats going to happen if the championship rests on it.

    I think Christan Horner has got to stamp his mark back on drivers who step out of line.

    No driver is bigger than the team

  28. Ray In Toronto Canada (Ray T (the other one)), 27 March 2013 15:51

    OK, but what can or should Horner do?

    It would be dumb and utterly stupid and unprofessional to “reprimand”/”bench” the World Champion – and current World Championship leader – for one race.

    That would be like “cutting your nose to spite your face”!

    And, how would Vettel sitting out a race help RBR, Infiniti and Renault…not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of moderately-paid employees at Milton Keynes who’s BONUSES depend on their cars’ finishing positions?

    The last thing Red Bull can afford to do is make a public mockery of the greatest 25 year old the sport’s seen and then see him sign for Ferrari or Mercedes for 2015.

    A guy of Vettel’s calibre doesn’t come along very often. The history of Red Bull’s Young Driver Programme – the BIGGEST in the world – is littered with umpteen drivers who were cast aside and didn’t ‘make it’.

    So…Who’s going to step up and fill Vettel’s shoes?

    The one and only guy who comes to mind is Raikkonen.

    Yes, Vettel disobeyed orders. But is that anything new at Red Bull?

    No!

  29. dave cubbedge, 27 March 2013 16:12

    …but Ray in Toronto, the reason why so many of us hypocrites are mad is because after three years of Vettel we would like someone else up there, please. I personally don’t care if it’s Webber, Alonso or Charles Pic.Part of watching the races in an era of domination is to see who can upset the applecart.

    Back in Senna’s day, a bunch of my friends would have GP parties and the common thread was that ABS meant ‘Anybody But Senna’.

    The same guy winning the title every year gets old and boring. Jimmie Johnson – I want to see him get beat at every opportunity. It doesn’t always work out that way.

    Vettel will probably eclipse Schooey’s record by the time he’s finished. And while I appreciate his obvious superior talent to the current crop of pilots, there’s nothing wrong with me wanting the other guys to have a chance. If that makes me a hypocrite, oh well, I’ve been called worse.

  30. Ray In Toronto Canada (Ray T (the other one)), 27 March 2013 17:34

    Dave:

    Yes, but the hypocrisy about following or not following team orders at Red Bull has NOTHING to do with fans’ desire to see “a different winner other than Vettel”.

    The two concepts are entirely different.

    The 2010 and 2012 World Championships were to-the-wire affairs. They were hardly a case of “one guy dominating”.

    In 2010, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton and Button all had a shot.

    In 2012, Vettel, Webber, Alonso. Hamilton and Raikkonen even were in the mix.

    If Vettel is the superior Red Bull driver over a full calendar season, then he “derserves” what he achieves.

    You may want “someone else” to win. I, however, want to see the “best” guy winning even *if* it’s Vettel yet again.

    Like it or not, even on Sunday Vettel was the faster RBR driver overall. [He asked the pit wall to “get” Webber “out of the way” in an earlier stint and was slowed down by the team ignoring him (rightly so, from a fan’s perspective). And, then, when it was crunch time, he put the hammer down and went for it.

    Forgive me for thinking that the Malaysian GP – only race 2 of the year – was a 56 Lap race and not a 43 or 44 or 45 lap race.

    Do you see what’s happening over at Mercedes now?

    Lauda has come out and criticized Brawn for calling Nico off.

    Anyway, it’s a very early season and there shouldn’t be team orders at this stage.

    Wanting “someone other than Vettel to win” isn’t ‘hypocrisy’. It’s mainly ‘a desire’. One has nothing to do with the other.

    Cheer, Dave

  31. Michael Spitale, 27 March 2013 20:08

    I notice a lot of you talk about Schumacher “winning at any cost”….

    Just curious why none of you say the same thing about Alonso. The guy was a complete baby his one year at Macca when he was not allowed to run over his teammate and then pulled stiff like stopping in the pits to mess up Hamilton in Hungary. If Vettel caused Webber to go out on track late and miss his qualy lap people would die, but when Alonso does it it is ok? Alonso has ZERO respect for his teammates they are simply there to help him win races.

  32. John Read, 28 March 2013 00:29

    You make some good points Michael.

    Maybe it is time now for Webber just to ‘go for it’ regardless of any team orders.

    Of couse, Helmut can sort things out in the pits if Webber starts to beat the golden child.

  33. Gordon Ramsay, 28 March 2013 07:05

    Firstly, Great read Lee. Showed too, how difficult your job is and how your words have to be chosen wisely. Also showed your understanding of the sport and the skill of driving one of these cars when you mentioned how Mark was able to finish with these emotions raging through him. Being able to hit the same spot, corner after corner, lap after lap is truly outstanding.
    Nico wasn’t happy about sitting behind Lewis and Lewis has matured in a way he wouldn’t revel in this podium. Nico summed it up when he confessed to being only an employee of Mercedes. He realises the team has the bigger picture.
    I think Sebastian was selfish in his actions and down right disrespectful of his teammate, colleagues and team bosses. Seb was someone who, in recent years has won me over with his raw talent. During Sundays race, his true colours rose to the top like slag always does during refinement. Mark could easily ran him wide at turn 4 and was within his rights to do so but chose not to. I don’t know if I’d have shown the same grace.

  34. Andrew Scoley, 28 March 2013 08:19

    Strange how the driver behind always thinks they are faster than the one in front. Usually because the one in front is pacing himself. Alonso/Hamilton Monaco 2007? Hill/ R Schumacher Spa ’98? Hamilton/Button Turkey 2010?

    I’m still trying to understand the situation at Mercedes. Lewis said Nico deserved third. Nico passed him at one point so why didn’t Lewis let him go? Had team orders been issued before this?

  35. Charles Norman, 28 March 2013 11:12

    I have read all of the comments in this feature and the ones in the other two associated features. What strikes me more than anything else is the fact that no one, myself included, have not picked up on the most important issue that could have huge ramifications for the future.

    Red Bull’s team managements apparent toothless dealings with Sebastian’s choice of ignoring team orders both during the race and afterwards have now set a precedent.

    The message that this sends out to a new generation of drivers is clear. It is OK to disregard an order issued by your team. This is exactly the same sort of thing that brought about the deterioration in driving standards that began in the 1980′s. People say that it was the actions of some former World Champions that encouraged the unacceptable standards of driving. However in reality it was weak governance that was really to blame.

    In the real world a badly behaved child is not to blame for its actions, poor parenting is the key. The similarities are real.

    Christian Horner’s weak team management was never more apparent than during the race, exacerbated by his facile remarks afterwards. His remark to Sebastian during the race reminded me of the ineffectual parent of a naughty child in a supermarket “Oh! Don’t do that”.

    A reminder to Mr Vettel that the other Sebastian would be in the car in China if he did not move back behind Webber was all that would have been needed. Christian’s stock would have risen immeasurably as a result, now he can kiss goodbye to ever getting the Ferrari job.

  36. Sandra, 28 March 2013 11:40

    The real victim of Vettel’s arrogance is Christian Horner who, it’s been demonstrated, is about as much use as a chocolate teapot when it comes to stamping authority on those reporting to him, or defending them against those to whom he himself reports. Still, he’s got Bernie rooting for him, what more does he need?

  37. Ray In Toronto Canada (Ray T (the other one)), 28 March 2013 12:25

    This dissing of Horner in these forums is a joke!

    Let’s see…what other team manager is on the cusp of collecting 8 World Championships in 4 years?

    Domenicalli? No!

    Whitmarsh? No!

    Boullier? No!

    Did Flavio? No!

    Last time this happened was with Todt under very unusual circumstances.

    I bet deep down inside Horner will have been thrilled to see the “right” Red Bull driver winning at Sepang because, all too often, the other one has failed to show up at crucial points of the season.

    Like it or not, Vettel is Horner’s faster AND more consistent driver. Period!

    And, like it or not, Vettel has proven to be a driver who’s had WAY less bad baggage than either Alonso or Hamilton.

    Vettel is an angel in comparison to the shenanigans Alonso has been involved in…and Red Bull will need Vettel more than they’ll need any other driver over the next few years.

    And for those who think ‘the other Sebastian’ (Buemi, is it?) can step up to fill the great Vettel’s shoes, think again.

    Buemi wasn’t good enough. If he was, he’d be on the grid right now.

  38. Charles Norman, 28 March 2013 13:44

    To Ray In Toronto,

    Do I understand that by using the term “dissing” you mean that “people” are disrespecting Christain Horner? Unfortunately I am old school and have little understanding of these modern slang terminologies.

    I personally was not disrespecting Horner merely making the obvious observation that his actions were weak, and his comments thereafter were facile.

    Am to understand therefore that if you had someone disobey an instruction that you gave in a very public forum then you would let it pass and be happy with it?

    On another matter of disrespect I think there are probably a number of very knowledgeable people on here who feel very aggrieved at being referred to as hypercritical, and whose comments are a “joke”.

    I am very new on this site but since joining have done a fair bit of back reading. I have seen many of your “posts” all of which seem to contain a very trenchant and similar theme. You have said that others need to look at the “bigger picture”; well with the greatest of respect maybe it is you who should view things from a wider and larger perspective.

    Incidentally whoever said that Buemi was as good as Vettel?

  39. Ray In Toronto Canada (Ray T (the other one)), 28 March 2013 15:01

    Hi Charles,

    First of all, I would like to apologize to you – and others on here who may feel as you do – if i’ve offended in any way.

    I mean it sincerely.

    To answer some of your questions…

    …Perhaps Horner did exactly wanted to do:

    Perhaps Horner killed two birds with one stone, namely:

    1. Sent orders (BEFORE the pass was made) to protect a 1-2.

    By doing this, he did his job (in my opinion).

    2. Wasn’t overly critical of, arguably, the fastest/greatest driver on the grid.

    By not being overly critical of Vettel he was also doing his job…that of trying to keep Vettel from going to (and strengthening) Ferrari or Mercedes in 2014 or 2015.

    I’m merely being logical in my approach to why I think Horner did what he did.

    Once the pass was already made, there was little else he could do (without alienating Vettel so much that he’d sign elsewhere).

    Re: Buemi.

    Someone suggested “another Sebasitian” could have been used as some form of threat.

    Well, what good would that do for the 400 or 500 other employees’ bonus prospects when it comes time to dole out the FOM prize money the teams get for their WCC points/positions?

    Threatening Vettel doesn’t do anything for Red Bull. Indeed, I can only see it weakening them…and, possibly, strenthening their enemies (Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren.)

  40. dave cubbedge, 28 March 2013 16:36

    nice post Charles.

    If I’ve learned anything by communicating here, it is that we all share a common ground of being racing fans, but we all have our own reasons for being fans. For some, being on the bandwagon of the current superstar is enough, for others, looking for that rare result is what keeps us coming back. I fit into the latter category. I’d put up with watching 100 Vettel wins if I could see one race like Barcelona last year where someone who is not usually at the top gets the job done. That’s what makes my boat float. It’s a bigger thing to me for the underdog to rise above than for the established star to predictably roll off a series of wins.

    I was hoping Sutil would’ve won that Melbourne race, bet y’all could’ve predicted that.

    and Ray, apology accepted.

  41. Carl, 28 March 2013 20:14

    The almost incredible ruthlessness of Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher lives on in those impressionable, and not too smart, younger drivers foolish enough to emulate them.

  42. Charles Norman, 29 March 2013 09:30

    Thank you Dave for your kind words. In my limited way I just wished to add another take on the events of last weekend; cause and effect so to speak.

    Thank you also Ray for your apology; I have no doubt about your sincerity which I am sure will be much appreciated by other “posters” who may have been aggrieved at some of the terms used.

    I feel no need to add anything to my previous observations, and anyway it now appears the matter was just a “misunderstanding” according to Dr Marko and that it has all been sorted.

    So as dear old DSJ would have said “all’s well with the world”.

  43. Will Hoe, 29 March 2013 15:17

    What Red Bull Racing should have done, On the pit wall they can control the cars why not just turn his engine down problem solved

  44. dave cubbedge, 30 March 2013 15:37

    Denis Jenkinson – just what would he have made of all this?

    Comments from MS staff are welcome…..(Nigel?)

  45. Will Hoe, 31 March 2013 21:15

    He would have been as hopping mad as Mark was and he would have learned a valuable lesson. Red Bull own the team they can do what they like.
    Look this is a 7 day wonder, next week or next race it will be something else or somebody else.

  46. Steve W, 1 April 2013 07:01

    What’s next? Are the drivers going to have to wear suits and ties when they’re in the cockpit? Will the team’s designated PR person for each driver be required to ride along on top of the airbox during the Grand Prix?

  47. Adam, 6 April 2013 20:45

    Wow, what a great article! Absolute pleasure to read. I Appreciate your conclusion, Lee and I’d love to read some more insights to your profession.
    I was very sad about Mark and hope he’ll bounce back.

    Greetings from Poland!

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Lee McKenzie

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