Mark Webber has revealed that he and Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner have now 'cleared the air' in the wake of the events of last weekend's British Grand Prix, and insists that despite a brace of controversies between the duo this season already, he and team-mate Sebastian Vettel 'are not enemies'.
The developmental front wing on Webber's RB6 was contentiously removed prior to qualifying at Silverstone to be fitted onto Vettel's car instead, after the German's had broken during Saturday morning practice – arguably preventing the Australian from successfully challenging for pole position, which he missed out on by little over a tenth of a second.
The episode also stirred up further accusations of favouritism within the energy drinks-backed outfit with memories of Istanbul still fresh in the mind, when both Horner and Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr. Helmut Marko had publicly blamed Webber for an embarrassing collision for which the majority of paddock observers deemed Vettel squarely responsible – similarly resulting in post-weekend 'talks'.
At Silverstone, the New South Wales native went on to make his feelings known after triumphing imperiously the following day, by claiming on the pit-to-car radio that his performance had been 'not bad for a number two driver' and lamenting in the post-race press conference that he 'would never have signed a contract again for next year if I believed that was the way it was going to be going forward'.
Horner explained the front wing decision by dint of Vettel's superior world championship standing and practice pace – adding that he would use the same rationale again – though the Englishman did concede afterwards that his 'one regret' was having not discussed the matter with Webber first [see separate story – click here
], and after the pair met at RBR's Milton Keynes factory this week, the man from Queanbeyan was quick to play down any suggestions of a growing rift.
“We've debriefed at the factory and have cleared the air,” the 33-year-old wrote on his personal website. “Of course things get said in the heat-of-the-moment which, with hindsight goggles on, probably shouldn't have been said. F1 is a highly-charged and fiercely-competitive arena where emotions and adrenaline do run high from time-to-time.
“My disappointment on Saturday after qualifying spilled over into Sunday, but it was simply due to the fact that I, along with every other driver on the grid, wanted the best possible chance of success. My comment on the radio after the race was an example of Australian sarcasm – either at its best or worst, depending on how you choose to take it.
“Sebastian received the newer front wing for reasons which were not clearly explained to me until Saturday late afternoon. Obviously I can see why a team may at certain points have to favour a driver with more points in the championship, if there are only enough resources to fully support one of us. It's now understood that, should we face this unlikely dilemma again, preference will go to the championship points leader.
“Christian Horner and I have known each other for many years. We're friends and have a strong mutual respect which continues and extends to other activities, such as our GP3 team and interest in finding and nurturing young racing talent.
“The team has produced an awesome car and has come a long way in a short space of time. There are more than 500 people at the Red Bull Racing factory, and I know that each and every one of them shares the highs and lows that Sebastian and I experience during the season. The support we both enjoy is phenomenal.
“The respect within the team extends to the drivers. I know I have a very good driver as a team-mate and I wouldn't want it any other way. We share information freely in team meetings and contribute to the development and improvement of our cars. Seb and I are not enemies – we're just two drivers pushing hard and want to do the best for ourselves and the team, simple as that.”