F1: Vettel or Webber will quit Red Bull, says Flavio Briatore
SEBASTIAN Vettel and Mark Webber will not stay together at Red Bull beyond the end of this season, according to Flavio Briatore, who claims to have spoken to the Australian in the aftermath of Sunday’s controversial Malaysian Grand Prix and been told that the relationship is fractured beyond repair.
“I don’t think it can be sewn back together again,” said Briatore, the former Renault team principal who has been a part of Webber’s management throughout his grand prix career.
Asked if he expected either Vettel or Webber to leave Red Bull at the end of this year’s campaign, the Italian replied: “For sure. Last year already there were problems.”
Webber remains furious with triple world champion Vettel for breaching team orders at Sepang by overtaking him in the final laps and has returned home to Australia with Ann Neal, his English partner, for a fortnight’s rest ahead of the next race in Shanghai.
Amid suggestions that the 36-year-old was re-examining his future in Formula One, Neal told Telegraph Sport on Tuesday: “There is no question whatsoever about Mark not continuing this season. He will be in China and looking forward to racing.”
While Webber is out of contract in November, Vettel is tied to Red Bull until at least the end of 2014.
The two have had a series of contretemps dating back to the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix, when a collision cost Webber victory and sent his 25-year-old team-mate off the track.
Webber has consistently maintained that his young German team-mate is given preferential treatment by the reigning constructors’ champions, and Jenson Button argued that Vettel’s actions in Kuala Lumpur represented a serious violation of team discipline.
“If you are told to do something by the team, and you completely ignore what they say and it costs your team-mate a win, that’s big,” Button said. “I find team orders difficult anyway but to disregard them is something different.
"We all want to win, but Sebastian drives for Red Bull and they have to call the shots. So many times it has worked in his favour. I think that it will hurt Sebastian in the long run. I am surprised he did it.”
Mark Webber’s father Alan acknowledged that it would be a struggle for Vettel to regain his son’s trust. “Up and down the pit lane Mark has not lost any credibility at all,” he said.
“It is probably Sebastian who has lost an awful lot. I think it will take a while to earn the respect and trust again.”
He also stressed that the entire Red Bull team had expressed displeasure with Vettel’s conduct: “Sebastian disobeyed team orders and most, if not all the team are disappointed in him.”
- Oliver Brown, Telegraph.co.uk