Mark Webber, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013

Horner: Webber will stay “whilst he delivers”

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013In the round-up: Christian Horner says whether Mark Webber remains at the team beyond 2013 is in his hands.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Red Bull not ruling out Webber beyond 2013 (Reuters)

Horner: “There are an awful lot of drivers who would like to be sat in a Red Bull car, but he’s there on merit, and whilst he delivers for the team he will have that place.”

Boullier fears ‘insane F1 money war’ (Autosport)

“I think it’s insane to create a money war, when you start to pay your people crazy money.”

Ricciardo: Beating Vergne key (Sky)

“Obviously we want to consistently get more points this year but try and [also I need] do the best I can and that has to be finishing ahead of the Frenchman alongside me.”

SI’s 50 Most Powerful People in Sports #22 Bernie Ecclestone (Sports Illustrated)

“The diminutive 82-year-old British billionaire shaped modern Grand Prix racing and controls a sport that Formula Money reports as having $1.7 billion (??1.14bn) in annual revenue and more than 500 million TV viewers worldwide.”

Valtteri Bottas roars into Formula One with iron will to succeed (The Guardian)

“He does not, though, appear to get any more out of Raikkonen than anyone else. ‘I saw him in the paddock a few times last year. He doesn’t say a great deal. But in Finland we only say what we mean. We don’t try to be nice to someone unless we mean it. We say how things are. And if we don’t have anything to say, we don’t say it.'”

Webber unsure what F1 opener will bring (The Age)

“Mercedes can certainly pull a single lap out that’s pretty strong. Ferrari will definitely be there and they’ll be challenging for victories – as will Red Bull, as will Lotus, as will McLaren.”

Team by team: the commercial challenges facing the Formula One grid in 2013 (SportsPro)

“Vodafone enters the last year of its [McLaren] title sponsorship, with much speculation about whether it will continue a relationship which began in 2007. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh faces the task of either renewing with the telecoms firm, or looking elsewhere. Elsewhere could well be Mexico, home of the team’s new young charge Sergio Perez. Perez?s long-time backers Telmex have remained at his previous team, Sauber, for 2013, but McLaren remains one of the most attractive names on the grid.”

Concours: choisissez mon futur casque! (Romain Grosjean via Facebook)

Romain Grosjean is holding a poll on which helmet design he should use for the Bahrain Grand Prix.


Comment of the day

Do Toro Rosso give their drivers enough time to show their potential? @Red-Andy thinks not:

The main problem is Toro Rosso’s revolving door driver policy. If a driver doesn?t achieve more or less instantly, he’s out, to be replaced by whichever bright young thing in the Red Bull young driver programme Franz Tost likes the most that particular week.

I’ve no doubt that Ricciardo and Vergne could both be very good drivers given the opportunity ?ǣ but no more so than Buemi, Alguersuari, Bourdais, Liuzzi and Speed, all of whom were booted out from the team after a short time.

People put pressure on Vergne and Ricciardo because that is the reality they are living in. If your driving, straight from the get-go, doesn?t mark you out as an instant superstar (and in the last ten years you could probably count the number of those we?ve had in F1 on one hand), you will not last long at Toro Rosso. And in all likelihood you won?t get a shot anywhere else either.

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On this day in F1

The same two drivers finished in the top two places in the Brazilian Grand Prix 30 years ago today as they had one year previously. The difference was that this time only one of them was disqualified.

Nelson Piquet was allowed to keep his victory – 12 months earlier it had been stripped from him as his Brabham was found to be underweight.

The same happened to second-placed Keke Rosberg. In 1983 Rosberg was again disqualified from second place, this time for receiving a push start in the pits following a refuelling fire.

Niki Lauda was promoted to second ahead of Jacques Laffite. Here’s what happened to Rosberg:

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  • 54 comments on “Horner: Webber will stay “whilst he delivers””

    1. “I think it’s insane to create a money war, when you start to pay your people crazy money.”

      Then what do you call it when teams are spending four hundred million dollars per year and are refusing to ratify cost-cutting agreements? A schoolyard brawl?

      Call me a cynic, but with Lotus having previously announced that their financial future is stable (particularly compared to other teams), I’m reading Boullier’s comments warning of a pending war as meaning that the team know how much money they will have to spend next year, but are afraid that other teams will beat them by simply out-spending them.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys I agree, if you want to spend millions per year you better spend them reward your personnel. Boullier also seems to hint possible financial incapacities, but I believe that his biggest fear is of losing Lotus brightest technicians to Mercedes…

      2. Or, they figure that James Allison might be on the way to McLaren at the end of the season, and are making a pre-emptive statement that the one and only reason he’s left Lotus is for ze monnnnneyyy.

      3. His point seems more to be that given all the other sources of expenditure in F1, it would be crazy to add spiralling wage inflation to them as well.

    2. It may have been 35 and above for the last week here in Melbourne, but the forecast for Saturday and Sunday is showers and 22!

      1. Melbourne’s been in the grip of a heatwave for the past week or so. It’s expected to break tomorrow or on Friday.

      2. Last night was the worst. But yeah, might have to take a jumper, lol. After the last 2weeks weather, who’d have thought

    3. I disagree with COTD, in any other team if you are a driver you have to deliver. So why should Toro Rosso wait so much for their drivers to mature?

      Lots of people complaint that driver fro feeder categories don´t get a chance, so if TR feel they have given their drivers enough time (2 years in most of the cases) a young talent should be given a chance.

      1. I think they were somewhat spoiled with what Vettel managed to do in his time there. Things have changed somewhat since then (among them being the car’s generally poorer performance) but still standout performances like Alguersuari gave us in his final year (his top ten and Q3 appearances, one being a 6th place at Spa) weren’t enough in a car that frankly wasn’t capable of much else.

        1. Not mention that he was 21 years old that year…

          1. But Alguersuari only outqualified Buemi 6 times in 19 races in 2011 (and 14 times in 46). However, yes, STR won’t get Vettel-esque performances from every driver, so there’s little use (and rather wasteful) in throwing in another two every other year.

            1. People seem to forget that the Toro Rosso Vettel was driving back then was essentially a Red Bull as it was a car from the previous year designed by Adrian Newey, and they were still getting some technical support from Red Bull to develop the car.

            2. people forget jamie set the car up for the race and thats where he achieved his results, in the race.

              at 21 being thrown on the heap when he was getting better and better is frankly crazy

            3. People forget they didn’t exactly set the world on fire and that neither Red Bull, nor any other team seemed to express any interest in keeping them in the sports. So criticize Torro Rosso/Red Bull all you want, Formula 1 is bigger than just those two teams. If there was any other team that would’ve viewed them as good enough, they would’ve been picked up, but they weren’t.

              They’ve had their chance, and deemed not good enough. So time for them to move on.

            4. @blackmamba – And you’ve forgotten that Red Bull then were 7th in the constructor’s championship, indicating that the “Adrian Newey Red Bull” that STR had wasn’t even that good.

              @q85 – And JA was outscored for 2 years before 2011. He had the capacity to qualify better.

      2. They could well be shining. Ricciardo towards the end of last season holding off both Webber in one race and Schumi in another was a great effort. In a car that was well below what red bull and Mercedes were capable of.

    4. The main problem is Toro Rosso’s revolving door driver policy. If a driver doesn’t achieve more or less instantly, he’s out, to be replaced by whichever bright young thing in the Red Bull young driver programme Franz Tost likes the most that particular week.

      I’d say there’s an even bigger problem than that – drivers are to be snatched away from the team the minute they show potential. It goes with the territory of being the Red Bull junior team, but it’s a problem because Toro Rosso don’t have the same opportunities to be competitive. Even HRT had the potential to compete with the front runners, provided that they could fulfil it. But Toro Rosso can’t compete because they don’t have full control over their own destiny.

      1. toro rosso drivers are rated on 1) how much time Vettel loses trying to lap them. whoever is best will be groomed to be Webbers replacement. would vettel have won the championship if the STR drivers had raced for position?

        1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          13th March 2013, 1:37

          @me262 Mention (with evidence, youtube link or something) a time when the STR deliberately crashed on a Ferrari or a McLaren last year, or at least made things impossible for them in overlapping. They couldn’t simply make things like these to Red Bull rivals because the stewards could have given them many penalties.

          1. @omarr-pepper crashed into a Ferrari or McLaren?? – just look at the championship decider in brazil 2013.. STR drivers moved over for him…and so did schumacher! Alguersuari got axed for getting in the way of a Vettel fast lap in qualy a few years back. Equally, can you provide evidence of Vettel being stuck behind an STR trying to lap or pass for position ever?

            1. Not only Schumacher but all the German drivers moved out off his way, prove? There is a youtube video off the race from Vettel’s point of view… There you can see how many off the cars move out off his way as soon as he gets near them. Most off them driven by German drivers.

            2. wasnt even qualifying it was practice i think. he had no need to get out of the way at all.

            3. @me262 – No, Alguersuari was dropped for not being a good enough driver. What made him stand out from the rest of Red Bull’s driver scheme or the rest of the grid? He scored some points in 2011, but it was hardly outstanding, given that he never recorded a top six finish, while carrying a losing 32-14 qualifying record to Buemi.

            4. Vettel won his titles fair and square. You have to give him credit for performing under pressure. I’m a webber fan but Mark only has himself to blame for losing in 2010. (Korea crash in the wet). You can’t blame Schumi for moving aside in 2012 decider but Vettel would have passed them all anyway. Webber to win Aussie GP!

        2. It’s controversial but ultimately that seems to be the case, I’m surprised that no one is dumb enough to contest TR policy.

    5. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      13th March 2013, 1:43

      To continue with the Toro Rosso method to sack drivers, I wonder what would happen if they discovered another Vettel, a mighty rookie who everyone would say: “This one deserves to retire Webber and be alongside on the second Red Bull seat”…
      Would he really get a seat?
      I mean, would Red Bull hire a driver so talented who could probably set the stage for a new “Hamilton vs Alonso 2007”?
      Either a Toro Rosso driver is too “bad” so he can’t sit Webber on the bench, or the driver is too good that could menace Vettel supremacy in the team (I’m Vettel fan but I don’t buy the equality between drivers Red Bull claims… anyway, on equal machines, Vettel can still get the most of it more times than Webber)
      So… what do red Bull really want from a Toro Rosso driver?

      1. So… what do red Bull really want from a Toro Rosso driver?

        To be #3 and #4 Red Bull drivers and aid their WDC and WCC chances. Primary purpose of Toro Rosso is to fight for Red Bull, not for themselves.

      2. I bet that driver would have get and choose offers from other teams, rather than go to play second to Vettel.

        1. It does put Red Bull in an unusual situation. On the one hand, they’re not going to want a driver to challenge Vettel, unless they’re sure that driver can challenge him so regularly that Vettel effectively becomes the team’s second driver.

          On the other hand, they can’t hold that driver back because as we saw in the case of Sergio Perez and the ease at which McLaren got him out of the Ferrari Driver Academy, a team cannot absolutely control a driver’s career.

          Red Bull have recently said that they won’t stop Vettel if he decides to go to another team. So my guess is that they will try and work it so that the next driver joins the team to replace the outgoing Vettel.

          But it will be interesting to see what gaps open up and where. If Massa leaves Ferrari at the end of the year, it wouldn’t surprise me if they start trying to lure away the star drivers of other development programmes – they may just go after Antonio Felix da Costa or Stoffel Vandoorne. They cannot afford to sit on their hands and refuse to take ultra-talented rookie drivers anymore. Because as we’ve seen with the likes of Vettel and Hamilton, other teams will get to them first.

          1. add Jules bianchi to FERRARI’s wannabe 2nd Drivers and I wonder if Grosjean has a good season or two, He could be right on top of that Wanted List

            1. That’s not even close to the point I’m trying to make.

              I’m talking about rookie drivers who are a part of development programs with other teams – not drivers who are already in Formula 1 – that Ferrari might be interested in as a replacement for Massa.

    6. Webber should jump to MacLaren next year, I am sure a seat would be available by then.

    7. DjangotheChained
      13th March 2013, 5:58

      The bottom line is, Alonso has a no 2 driver (massa) for support, while vettel has 3 no 2 drivers for support.

    8. If Vettel was not driving for Red Bull, I am sure Webber with that car would have won atleast 1/3 WDC.. Its a shame for Webber that He have had to battle with a 24 year old Vettel, who with His talent and Age will always be regarded as the Present and Future for Red Bull.. It would have been though worth noting if Vettel had to drive with a Former World Champion (aka Kimi, Alonso, Lewis) , would He have got everything in his way..

      1. @sonkky Maybe 1/4th had 2009 gone different.

    9. What’s Hamilton telling us? All slides are closed.

      1. @verstappen perhaps he’s saving us all from Nicole’s next album :)

      2. Perhaps it is just a preview of the next Mercedes steering wheel.

    10. Red Bull are not perfect in the way they treat their junior drivers.

      For example, the timing of Alguersuari’s dumping was awful – he should have been told earlier. And I won’t defend some of Marko’s behaviour.

      But on balance, being in the Red Bull junior driver programme is pretty sweet. Take Alguersuari’s example.

      In 2007, they supported him with a Red Bull drive in FR 2.0 Italia. In 2008, they supported him on the way to winning the British F3 title. And in 2009, they gave him a plum seat in FR 3.5, before plucking him mid-season to take a seat at Toro Rosso (premature, but he didn’t say no, did he?).

      He was then given 46 grand prix starts with a mid-field team, without having to put his hand in his pocket or find a truckload of sponsors. Two and a half seasons is, on any view, a fair go.

      Jaime’s dumping was harsh, but there’s no such thing as a nice end when the team shows you the door. Just ask Koboyashi or Glock, to think of a couple of examples.

      Either you think Alguersuari didn’t have the talent to progress to a better team, in which case it’s hard to argue with Toro Rosso’s decision. Or you think he did have the talent, in which case the obvious question is, why hasn’t another team signed him?

      Alguersuari is a 22 year old with a good chunk of F1 experience, as well as a stint as Pirelli’s test driver. Alonso, Hulkenberg and Grosjean have all shown that spending time out of racing F1 doesn’t have to mark the end of your career. If he gets another chance, it will be because Red Bull helped him get to F1 in the first place.

      Ask any up and coming teenage driver if they’d like a works supported climb up the junior formula ladder, and two and a half seasons in F1, at not cost, and you’d be run over in the stampede.

      At a time when everyone complains about the number of pay drivers, the fact that there’s a team willing to spend money on developing talented drivers is cause for praise, not criticism. Sure a lot of drivers will get ejected along the way, but since there will only ever be one or two seats available at the pinnacle, that’s inevitable. Most will still be much better off for the chance.

      1. This has to be a contender for tomorrow’s COTD. Excellent.

      2. Brilliant post. Way too few people see it this way and realize that there has been a backstory to those drivers’ F1 careers.

      3. I agree with everything you’ve said. Great post.

        I also think you’ve touched on an issue that a lot of other commenters on here seem to get stuck on, namely: if the rejected STR drivers are so good, why hasn’t another team picked them up?

        At a time when everyone complains about the number of pay drivers, the fact that there’s a team willing to spend money on developing talented drivers is cause for praise, not criticism. Sure a lot of drivers will get ejected along the way, but since there will only ever be one or two seats available at the pinnacle, that’s inevitable. Most will still be much better off for the chance.

        While a works-supported climb up the junior formula ladder is surely a good thing for showcasing talent, the problem is that once Red Bull drops these drivers, they lose their funding. As so many F1 teams are employing pay drivers because they simply cannot afford not to, the fact that the former-Red Bull juniors lack sponsorship funds would surely count against them when it comes to seeking a drive with another team.

        On the whole, though, I agree that the Red Bull junior programme should be praised. I don’t like the cut-throat attitude, and I’m no fan of Helmut Marko, but it’s nice to see a company putting so much money into developing young, talented drivers.

        1. @ladym A cut-throat attitude is to be expected at the top. It happens at football clubs too (or any decent club that has a youth program). Most of the youth team does not end up in the first team. Nobody complains about that and sees it as normal. However, when it comes to Formula 1, and Red Bull in particular it seems, it’s suddenly a problem for many people. They are looking for a next world champion, not just any decent driver. And in that process most will fail. In 62 years of Formula 1 only 32 drivers have become world champion. They’ve struck gold with Vettel, and I’d be very surprised, and impressed, if they will again so quickly.

      4. This is an excellent comment, I think STR suffer from the anti-RBR brigade extending their hatred to the junior team and looking to criticise in any way possible. I think the key point is that all of these dropped drivers who have been given a great opportunity have so far failed to pick up drives with other teams. If other teams don’t want them why do we expect STR to keep running them when they have plenty of other young drivers coming up from the other formulae.

      5. A very interesting and agreeable post, there, @tdog .

    11. Bottas: the iron man?

    12. Seems like a lot of change going on for McLaren at the moment. Potentially the end of this current title sponsor, the loss of their protégé, the step up to becoming a fully-fledged road car manufacturer, and what looks like an increasingly likely change from Mercedes to Honda power in the near future. All coming at a time when the sport is in a period of significant technical, financial, and administrative change. The times, they are a changing.

      Of course, I don’t doubt that they’ll emerge from all this upheaval still one of the strongest teams on the grid, in fact maybe even stronger for it, but it does feel like the end of a bit of an era for them. One which I think can be looked upon as fairly bittersweet – where they’ve often been the fastest team on the grid, and almost always had one of the best drivers, but somehow managed to win just one drivers’ championship. It’ll be interesting to see how the team refocuses itself going forward.

    13. I’m really interested as to what would happen in the scenario that Mark Webber retires, but the Toro Rosso breeding machine still fails to produce the standard of driver they’re looking for to replace him. Surely they wouldn’t bring in Buemi? Or would Marko be forced swallow his pride, and bring in someone like Hulkenberg or even Raikkonen whilst they wait?

      1. If the STR boys don’t deliver and Mark calls it quits I hope RBR bring in Heikki.

    14. A better than average driver, Webber. I think his reputation has been unjustly tarnished, collateral damage in the campaign to discredit Vettel. But if Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton are “A” drivers Webber is certainly a “B” driver, which makes him better than most on the grid. On his day he’s as good as anyone, but he can also have some appallingly bad days, such as Abu Dhabi last year where he started on the front row, then went steadily backwards, crashing into several different people and eventually out of the race.

      I can understand why RB keep him on, and also why Marko made the comments he did.

      1. I totally agree with you. I will always remember Webbers debut race in Australia 11 years ago. He finished sixth and showed his quality. He’s been doing that ever since in both bad and good cars. Some great performances in unvompetitive cars. If Webber hadn’t had the misfortune of being teamed up with Vettel for the last 4 years he would have been considered a great driver by many. But Webber was unlucky and was teamed up with the youngest point scorer, pole sitter, race winner, World Champion, double World Champion and triple World Champion in F1 history. That would have been devestating for anybody. But Webber is still doing his absolute maximum to compete and refuse to give up. He deserves a lot of credit both for his ability and his attitude. And that’s the reason Red Bull want to keep Mark Webber, great talent and as tough as they come.

        1. One correction- Mark Webber was fifth in his debut race, which only makes your otherwise correct post even stronger.

    15. Jumping on the STR comments, The biggest problem I have always had with STR is that that team isn’t run like a normal team in that decisions are not necessarily made in the best interest’s of it.

      All STR exists for is to ‘find the next vettel’ rather than to find & retain the best drivers for itself in order to give the team the best possible opportunity to score good results, points & move up in the constructors order.

      Most of the drivers who have been booted out of STR for ‘not delivering’ have actually been very good, solid drivers which other teams almost certainly would have retained.

      Jaime Algersuari gets mentioned a lot for example, I know that a lot of the mechanics & engineer’s within STR rate him very highly not just for his technical input but also because of his race pace & consistency.

      Also remember that he was thrown into the car Mid-2009 having done no testing outside of 2 straght line runs, He then spent the final part of 2009 learning F1 on the fly, As one would expect in that situation he made some mistakes & was somewhat inconsistent.
      Going into 2010 he showed improvement & through 2011 (Especially the 2nd half) he showed further improvement & likely would have been even stronger going into 2012.

      Regarding his firing, People often say ‘if he was good some other team would have picked him up’, well he did have offers from other teams in late 2011 but turned them down because STR were telling him he was safe for 2012. By the time they dropped him the only seat available was with HRT & since he had no backing they opted for Karthikeyan instead.
      Going into this year, He had a verbal agreement with Force India from last June but they ended up needing someone with funding & Jaime doesn’t bring any funding with him, Bianchi & Sutil had good backing which is why FI ended up looking at them instead.

      Regardless, It was fairly clear last year that dropping both drivers hurt STR as they never had anyone with F1 experience to help them figure out a tricky to setup car, Had they retained Jaime or Buemi they would have had a better season as both were very good in the car feedback/setup area.

      Looking to the future, Ricciardo & Vergne are both very good & both deserve to remain in F1 on talent alone. However with Red Bull having at least 2 equally talented guys ready to step up I would not be surprised if one or both end up out of STR for next year (And that doesn’t mean moving upto the main team either).

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