'Multi 21': How the Red Bull RB9 spawned a famous F1 saying


'Multi 21' immediately entered the F1 vernacular when said in sheer anger by Mark Webber towards Sebastian Vettel – it came after duelling in one of grand prix racing's most dominant cars, the Red Bull RB9

3 Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2013 Malaysian GP Sepang

Webber is tracked by Vettel before the German muscles his way past

Getty Images

“Multi 21, Seb. Yeah…Multi 21,” said in a slightly indignant Australian accent, these words becoming an instant F1 catchphrase – notorious from the moment they were uttered.

They came from an incensed Mark Webber following the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, when his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel had disobeyed team orders to run 1-2 by pressing on to snatch the win from under his Aussie colleague’s nose. It was to become a classic F1 team-mate controversy.

‘Multi 2-1’ served as Milton Keynes code to hold station in the order of cars No2 (Webber) and No1 (Vettel) – but the then-three time champion clearly had no intention of doing so.

3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2013 Malaysian GP Sepang

Vettel appeared to be carrying grievances from 2012

Red Bull

Despite protestations from both race engineers and even team boss Christian Horner over the radio, Vettel went wheel-to-wheel with Webber and claimed the win for himself.

It was the result of a deeply-held grudge. The German’s actions originated not only from the threat in early 2013 to Red Bull’s dominance over the previous few seasons, but Vettel’s grievance at the way he’d been raced by his team-mate at the season finale in Interlagos the year before.

From the archive

At the start of the 2012 Brazilian GP, Webber had moved over on Vettel (who was up against Fernando Alonso for the title) at the race start, pushing him slightly towards the wall.

This led to the German falling back into the clutches of the midfield and then being turned around by Bruno Senna. Though Vettel managed to fight back to clinch his third F1 crown, he didn’t forget the move from Webber.

“He was disappointed that I couldn’t give him more room and then he felt that he got compromised into Turn 1,” Webber told Autosport years later. “So I believe that was still on his mind this day [in Malaysia].”

Though the RB9 would come to represent a run of true F1 dominance, the start of 2013 didn’t at first indicate that crushing supremacy.

Kimi Räikkönen had pulled off a Pirelli preservation masterclass to win the season opener in Australia and, as Webber remembered, things weren’t exactly going to plan in Sepang either.

Mark Webber Red Bull 2013 Malaysian GP Sepang

Webber leads with Vettel in the background

Red Bull

“We were getting smoked – we weren’t quick in practice Mercedes. Lewis [Hamilton] and Nico [Rosberg] were fast and we were under pressure that weekend to get the job done,” he said.

“Before the race, we said if we get in a position to start managing stuff, because everything’s on the limit in Malaysia, cooling, looking after the tyres etc there will be a call after the second pitstop.”

Come lap 43 and Webber emerged in the lead from said last stop – but Vettel was clearly having none of it. Moving to the outside of the Aussie as he emerged from the pitlane, the two began sparring in what would become a spectacular F1 fight – on and off the track.

2 ]Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2013 Malaysian GP Sepang

Vettel closes in


“Sebastian, multi-map 2-1, multi-map 2-1 – and look after your tyres please,” came the message from his race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin, who was summarily ignored.

At first Webber managed to hold the German off, but Vettel came at him again down the end of the pit straight at the end of that lap, just pulling out from behind Webber in time to avoid clipping him while fractionally missing the pit wall too.

Horner appealed, slightly limply, too – “C’mon Seb, this is getting silly now” – but also to no avail.

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The two would fight it out for several more corners before Vettel would eventually manage to get round the outside of Webber on lap 45 – and then immediately began to fight his corner by claiming the Australian had tried to put him into the barrier on the pit straight.

The German would go on ton win the race, with an extremely frosty podium and press conference following in the humid Malaysian heat.

“I was being told the target lap times, in relation to how the tyres are,” a brooding Webber noted. “Obviously Seb and Lewis [Hamilton] came back to me at one point in the race. I responded and lifted the pace up, and got away around the stop. Then we had a pretty good situation teed up towards the end of the race.”

Vettel confirmed Webber’s comments regarding grievances held after the race – as well as claiming he didn’t understand Red Bull’s instruction.

“I think being completely honest I never had support from his side,” the German said.

Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2013 Malaysian GP Sepang

Vettel gets the squeeze from Webber


“I’ve got a lot of support from the team, and I think the team is supporting both of us the same way. But in terms of my relationship to Mark, I respect him a lot as a racing driver, but I think there was more than one occasion in the past where he could have helped the team, and he didn’t.”

Asked if that had contributed to his behaviour in Malaysia, he noted: “Probably you could say indirectly. I was racing, and as a racing driver I was solely focused on winning the race. I don’t apologise for winning the race.”

From the archive

Not that any of this made it feel any more just to Webber.

“We’d spoken about it in the briefing beforehand, so it was all pretty clear,” he told Motor Sport years later.

“For me, it was a shame, after we’d come so far as a team, how fractured we were.”

At the time, the F1 veteran was stung in feeling that Red Bull hadn’t fought his corner enough – it was clear who the No1 was, and it wasn’t him.

From this point onwards, Vettel would never relinquish the championship lead. His superiority in the RB9 that race came to foreshadow the stunning dominance and he and the brilliant Adrian Newey-designed car would come to have once they built up steam that season, closing out the year with nine consecutive wins as he clinched his fourth world title.

Red Bull dominated the final season of the V8 era despite a shaky relationship with its engine supplier Renault, before the move to hybrid power units handed the winning momentum to Mercedes the following year.

4 Mark Webber Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2013 Malaysian GP Sepang

A less than happy podium at Malaysia 2013, with a sheepish Vettel and fuming Webber

Red Bull

The car might have enjoyed even more impressive stats had Webber contributed to the victory tally. However, not only did the Australian fail to win a race he finished runner-up to Vettel only four times.

The German had stamped his authority on the team in no uncertain terms, and the frustrated Webber never really recovered.

Despite the pace of the RB9 he failed to add to his career his career tally of nine wins, and he was rarely a match for his team-mate on pure performance. At the end of the year he quit F1 for a new career in WEC with Porsche.

In the hands Vettel of though, the RB9 was almost unbeatable.

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