Ever-outspoken former triple world champion Niki Lauda has praised Red Bull Racing for its outstanding success in F1 2010, arguing that the energy drinks-backed outfit clinched the drivers' and constructors' crowns 'in the most correct way'.
Sebastian Vettel became the sport's youngest-ever world champion in Abu Dhabi last weekend, but had Red Bull followed arch-rival Ferrari's lead – evinced most flagrantly at Hockenheim – of favouring one of its two drivers over the other, the 23-year-old would not have done so.
Had RBR followed the advice of many in the paddock and changed the order around in the preceding Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos to allow Mark Webber to triumph over his team-mate – much as Ferrari had done with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in the famously controversial German Grand Prix back in the summer – then Vettel would have entered the Middle Eastern finale with little more than a mathematical chance of lifting the laurels.
As it was, the Australian's form at Yas Marina was insufficient for him to pip Alonso to the title regardless of whether a switch had been made in São Paulo, and the German's against-the-odds victory ultimately justified the Milton Keynes-based squad's persistent reluctance – in the face of stern criticism from observers – to place all of its eggs in Webber's basket.
In doing that, asserted RBR motorsport consultant Dr. Helmut Marko, the team would have travelled to Abu Dhabi 'with only one driver with a chance instead of two...and probably the wrong driver', reasoning that 'it is always better to have two strings to one's bow instead of one'.
Red Bull Racing chief technical officer Adrian Newey has already expressed his opinion that it was that very policy of driver equality that confused Ferrari in Abu Dhabi, by causing the Scuderia
to take its eye off the ball as it struggled to keep tabs on both Webber and
Vettel – and ended up covering the wrong one [see separate story – click here
Lauda – who had been a vociferous advocate of the use of team orders in the season finale – now concedes that Red Bull handled the situation in precisely the right, and most honourable way.
“'Didi' (Dietrich Mateschitz – Red Bull owner) said he would do it like the Olympic Games, but F1 is not the Olympics,” the 25-time grand prix-winner told Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung
. “It's incredible how this team won in the end in the most correct way. For me, it's unique in the 60-year history of the sport. If there were only two [or] three politicians who acted like Mr. Mateschitz, we would be in a better place.”