Former F1 star Hans-Joachim Stuck has hit out at the 'absolute outrage' that prevailed at Red Bull Racing over the weekend of the British Grand Prix, and claims Dietrich Mateschitz should seize the bull by the horns as it were and replace both Christian Horner and Dr. Helmut Marko with Scuderia Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost.
Prior to qualifying at Silverstone – the tenth round of the F1 2010 World Championship campaign – the developmental front wing on Mark Webber's car was removed to instead be fitted onto the sister RB6 of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, with the rationale being that the young German should be favoured by dint of his more advantageous position in the title standings.
However, the move prompted the angry Australian to make his feelings very clear after dominating the race the following day by sarcastically quipping over the pit-to-car radio on the slowing-down lap that his performance had been 'not bad for a number two driver', and subsequently telling the world's media 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'.
That was the catalyst for a furore at Red Bull in which team principal Christian Horner – whose decision it was to swap the wing over – has been widely vilified as the villain of the piece.
As another victim of the PR disaster that ensued, Vettel, likewise, has not come out of the episode with his reputation greatly enhanced for holding his tongue for several days before finally breaking his silence to argue that 'such things do not belong in the public' and contending that he was 'brought up to show respect' – with the inference being that in electing to wash his dirty laundry in public rather than discussing the fall-out in private, that is precisely what his team-mate had not done [see separate story – click here
Stuck, though, believes the incident bears all the hallmarks of the energy drinks-backed outfit's divisive motorsport consultant Marko – and he advised Red Bull magnate Mateschitz to ditch the controversial Austrian and his 'puppet' Horner in favour of Tost, who himself has something of a 'trigger-happy' reputation when it comes to pressing the driver ejector-seat button, as the likes of Scott Speed, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Sébastian Bourdais can doubtless attest.
“What the team management did in Britain was an absolute outrage,” the man who is now Volkswagen's motorsport representative wrote in his refreshingly outspoken column for the TZ
newspaper. “Whoever decided to take the new wing away from Webber qualified for his final pension.
“Christian Horner is just a puppet – the strings for Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz are pulled solely by Marko. Mateschitz must respond by putting in a new man at Red Bull; Tost is in every respect one of the best managers in F1.”
Both Horner and Marko were openly critical of Webber in the wake of the infamous Turkish Grand Prix coming-together in Istanbul in late May, despite the vast majority of paddock observers holding Vettel squarely accountable for the clash. Marko has also raised eyebrows by declaring that he would like to see the New South Wales native replaced at RBR in 2012 by current STR ace Sébastian Buemi.