• Team principal holds musical evening at his home
• Webber unhappy with Vettel’s perceived No1 status
The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, orchestrated a musical evening at his Northamptonshire home in an attempt to bring harmony to his feuding drivers, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
Webber sang the famous Bryan Adams number Summer of ’69 and Vettel picked up his guitar and strummed Deep Purple’s Smoke On Water. Then, to prove that both drivers could sing from the same hymn sheet, everyone at the party joined together for the Don McLean classic American Pie.
“We haven’t been offered any recording contracts and the neighbours will probably be complaining about the noise but everyone here let their hair down and celebrated the fact that we had just won the British grand prix and our 11th race in 88 attempts,” said Horner.
Webber won yesterday’s race, his third victory of the season, but the win was overshadowed by anger after being asked to give up his new front wing and give it to Vettel, who had damaged his own car. Vettel duly won pole position, with Webber in second place. But Webber closed his German rival down by the first corner and charged on to victory.
When he crossed the line Horner said: “Well done, Mark. You’ve won the British grand prix.” A bitter Webber retorted: “Thanks guys – not bad for a No 2 driver.” Webber said later he would not have signed his new contract with Red Bull for next year if he had known “that was the way it was going to be”.
After the race Webber’s mechanics reportedly gloated in the direction of Vettel’s men, brandishing the old front wing the Australian had been forced to use.
The relationship between the two drivers had taken a turn for the worse, quite literally, in Turkey six weeks ago when they crashed into each other when first and second. Most experts blamed Vettel for the collision but the Red Bull boss, Helmut Marko, who has guided the German’s career since childhood, blamed Webber, infuriating the older driver.
It was reported that Horner and Webber would meet today but those clear-the-air talks did not take place. “We will sit down in the next week and have a chat,” said Horner, who in the meantime is hoping that the music at his post-race barbecue might have soothed the evident rift between the Red Bull pair.
“I have always had a good relationship with Mark since the day he beat one of my cars in a support race at Silverstone in 2000,” said Horner. “I can understand emotions running high in an intense battle with your team-mate but the bottom line is he won the British grand prix with an excellent drive.
“He was flawless, he had a better start than his team-mate and that was the difference between the two of them. It’s actually a positive for the team to have two guys who are pushing each other so hard.”
Privately, though, Red Bull have been angered by Webber’s comments and will remind the driver this week that the team is bigger than any individual. Webber, though, is not changing his views. In an interview in Australia today, when asked whether he would have a beer with Vettel after a race, he replied: “Definitely not.” And when asked about the next grand prix in Hockenheim he said: “We don’t want the German national anthem played in Germany. We know that, mate.”
McLaren, meanwhile, are revelling in Red Bull’s difficulties. “I hope there are cracks and divisions in all our competitors and they all fall apart but I am not going to rely on it,” said the team principal, Martin Whitmarsh.
And drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button joined in. Hamilton said: “It’s not nice” while Button added: “It hurts mentally not to be given the same car as your team-mate.”Ends