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Red Bull’s Horner shoots down conspiracy claims

Apr 14, 2013, 8:29 PM EDT

Christian Horner AP

Infiniti Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has denied claims of conspiracy against driver Mark Webber, whose chaotic Chinese Grand Prix weekend ended with his right rear wheel coming off shortly after a pit stop during the race.

“We’re all about trying to get two cars to the finish as high as we can…[A conspiracy against Webber] is complete rubbish,” Horner said according to The Telegraph. “Any people who think that there is a conspiracy against one or either driver do not know what they are looking at.”

The wheel incident incurred a fine of 5,000 Euros against Red Bull. In a double-whammy, Webber will also have to suffer a grid penalty of three positions at next week’s Bahrain Grand Prix for his role in an incident with Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne.

For weeks now, Horner has been caught in the middle of Webber and World Champion Sebastian Vettel’s dispute over team orders that began at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Shortly before the weekend began in Shanghai, he admitted that he was powerless to stop the feud, which appeared to intensify further with Vettel’s comments that his Australian teammate didn’t deserve to win at Sepang.

“If those guys are in a position to win in the final 10 laps of a Grand Prix, they are going to race each other,” Horner told the Telegraph’s Oliver Brown on Thursday. “From [team owner] Dietrich’s [Mateschitz] perspective, he is very happy with that so long as it won’t compromise what the team achieves at the end of the season. He just doesn’t want to see them crash into each other.”

Vettel finished fourth on Sunday in Shanghai, narrowly losing out on a podium to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

  1. sabatimus - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    BS. Red Bull is about protecting Vettel and alienating Webber so that he’ll quit, so they can find a better driver.

    • icemanpjn - Apr 14, 2013 at 9:26 PM

      Don’t be ignorant. While it seems pretty obvious that Vettel is the clear team favorite, that’s the end of it. This article regards to conspiracy theories that suggest deliberate sabotage of Webber, which is absurd.

      1) The team gets paid for constructor championship results, not for a driver winning the drivers championship. This means they definitely want both drivers scoring as many points as they can get. You can’t do that by sabotaging one of your own cars.

      2) The more successful the team is and appears to be, the more appealing they are to sponsors, the more appealing their merchandise will be, and the more successful they will be at advertising Red Bull (the drink.) Making blunders or apparent sabotage and yourself are both bad for public perception. They aren’t going to deliberately look incompetent by choosing to make mistakes.

    • apexassassin - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      Webber only gets 1 year deals so they can replace him any time they choose. Vettel is simply faster and has been since he first drove for BMW Sauber.

  2. techmeister1 - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:39 AM

    Horner got half of the comment correct. Red Bull wants both cars to finish as high as possible for maximum points and champions/sponsor money. They also want to protect Vettel at all costs even when he is a despicable person and non-team player. IMO Red Bull does conspire to be sure that Webber finishes second to Vettel even though Webber has proven that when he has equal equipment on any given day he is faster than Vettel as he was in Malaysia.

    As far as the race in China the failure to properly fill Webber’s fuel tank mightl have been a fuel bowser issue but one has to wonder as the same fuel system was used to fill Vettel’s tank. I’d say from the many times that Webber’s KERS and DRS has failed and the typically slower pitstops he gets, there is a conspiracy to insure he finishes second to Vettel. The wheel falling off in China was likely due to the 2 second pitstops and/or a mechanic error or mechanical issue. I don’t believe that even Red Bull would knowing send their driver out with a loose wheel.

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