Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has admitted that it was 'disappointing' that Mark Webber elected not to inform him that he had fractured his shoulder late on in the F1 2010 World Championship campaign – adding that the Australian should perhaps 'stay away' from mountain bikes from now on.
Yesterday, Webber revealed in his newly-published book reflecting upon his title near-miss, Up Front: A season to remember
, that he carried an injury through the final four races in Japan, Korea, Brazil and Abu Dhabi – the product of a second mountain-biking fall in as many years, and somewhat ironically, the first time he had been out on a mountain-bike at all since his leg and shoulder-breaking collision with an off-road vehicle during his Pure Tasmania Challenge in 2008 [see separate story – click here
The 34-year-old had been leading the drivers' standings at the time of the accident back in his homeland, but he ultimately went on to miss out on the laurels to Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel in a tense Abu Dhabi finale. The only people privy to the break were his trainer Roger Cleary and FIA doctor Gary Hartstein.
Whilst Webber himself has refused to blame the setback for his apparent slight dip in form in the closing stages and ultimate loss of a crown that for much of the middle part of the season had looked destined to be his, Horner suggests that his driver should have come clean – explaining that he had not the slightest inkling of anything being amiss.
“I didn't even know about the book, let alone the shoulder,” the Englishman told The Daily Telegraph
. “It is obviously disappointing that Mark said nothing. It was an injury that did not appear to have any effect on his performance, but all the same, it would have been nice to know about it.
“Our drivers have an obligation to make sure they are fit. It seems bikes don't agree with Mark, so maybe it would be better if he stayed away from them.”
Horner was similarly kept in the dark about Webber's broken shoulder in early 2009, with the six-time grand prix-winner disclosing only his leg injury to his team boss. The relationship between the two men has come under the spotlight on several occasions in F1 2010 – most notably in Istanbul and in the wake of the well-publicised 'Not bad for a number two driver!' outburst at Silverstone – with the general public perception being that RBR management is biased in favour of Vettel.