F1 » 11 July 2010
Red Bull faces new favouritism claims
Two drivers and one new front wing adds up to potential problems for Red Bull Racing ahead of the British Grand Prix.
Red Bull Racing could be on the verge of another spot of driver unrest after it emerged that Sebastian Vettel's car was fitted with a developmental wing from team-mate Mark Webber's machine shortly before going on to claim pole position for the British Grand Prix.
Although Webber topped the second phase of qualifying, and went on to claim a place on the front row for the Silverstone event, his demeanour in the post-session press conference belied his displeasure, with clipped replies to questions underlining the suggestion that he had been dealt a bum hand for a race he believed he could win.
Team boss Christian Horner attempted to explain away the decision by claiming that it had been made on the basis of the drivers' relative championship positions, even though Vettel had seen his version of the wing break during morning practice.
"After this morning's incident, we only had one new spec front wing available for qualifying, which Adrian [Newey] was very keen to run; not necessarily because it was better, but because it offered a new direction to look at," Horner confirmed, "Therefore, it came to me to make a difficult decision as to which car it went on.
"A situation like that is not ideal and it doesn't happen very often, but it went to Sebastian based on championship position, his performance in P3 and the drivers' feedback on the different front wings from yesterday."
Red Bull continued to dominate the Silverstone weekend, with Vettel and Webber in a class of their own in every session, but the Australian was clearly displeased by the decision to give his team-mate the wing.
"I think the team will be happy with the result today," Webber said, with the emphasis on 'team', before going on to reveal his frustration at lining up second, "I would rather be third on the grid. Fernando is on the clean side and, as usual, we know that second on the grid at most tracks this year is shit, so that's why pole is a big. Eight metres [to pole] is a pretty big gap, so we will see. I am sure I can sort it out and follow Sebastian through the first corner...."
Vettel, meanwhile, was able to celebrate a fifth pole from ten races, and was confident that he could repeat his win from last season.
"One thing is clear: we are the favourites," the German acknowledged, "I don't think there's a black and white answer on the wing. I was very happy that I could continue with the same kind of wing, because obviously after this morning, we didn't expect that to happen after the failure.
"Compared to last year, we have made a step forward all around, and have a very strong car here, so we should be able to win, but there are 52 laps between us [and the chequered flag]."
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