Former F1 champion Niki Lauda says Red Bull need to back Mark Webber in the race for the 2010 title if the team wants to try and wrestle the crown away from Fernando Alonso and Ferrari.
Both Webber and team-mate Sebastian Vettel failed to score last time out in Korea, which allowed Alonso to move to the head of the championship standings thanks to his victory in a dramatic race at the new Yeongam circuit.
With just two races remaining, Webber is eleven points behind the Spaniard while Vettel has dropped to 25 off the lead – the equivalent of a race win.
Although the team has insisted it won't give preferential treatment to either driver, Lauda said the championship standings showed that the time has come for Red Bull to support Webber over Vettel.
"Red Bull needs to establish the team hierarchy now,” he was quoted by the Daily Telegraph
. “If they don't get behind Mark Webber, they may have to go without the title.”
Ex-racer Jos Verstappen agreed with Lauda, even if the Dutchman admitted that supporting Webber isn't the decision Red Bull would ultimately want to take.
"Purely mathematically, [Vettel] has a chance to be champion,” he said. “But as a team they really have to put everything behind Webber. He has a better chance of winning the title.
"Of course it's a difficult position for Red Bull, as the whole world knows who they would prefer to be in the best position. It's unfortunate for Vettel, but with his engine failure in Korea his championship did literally go up in smoke.”