Despite Christian Horner's admission that he found it 'disappointing' that Mark Webber elected to keep his late-season shoulder fracture from him, two former grand prix drivers-turned-expert pundits have sprung to the defence of the Red Bull Racing star.
In his newly-released book, Up Front: A season to remember
, Webber has revealed that he contested the final four races of F1 2010 with a shoulder injury following a pre-Suzuka mountain-biking fall back in his homeland [see separate story – click here
], and in a further indicator of the extent of his strained relationship with RBR team principal Horner, the Englishman has made no effort to hide his frustration at being kept in the dark [see separate story – click here
However, describing Webber's efforts in Japan, Korea, Brazil and Abu Dhabi as 'absolutely heroic' considering the pain he was in and reasoning that the Australian likely kept quiet about the injury so as not to 'weaken his position within the team' – with many contending that Red Bull needed merely the slightest excuse to favour his team-mate Sebastian Vettel – Hans-Joachim Stuck claims the 34-year-old's approach was only logical.
“Of course he has obligations to his employer,” the 1970s ace and current VW advisor told German news agency SID
, “but it (the injury) cannot have been very bad. Still, to have that handicap and continue to show such good performance, I tip my hat to him. Without doubt, he did everything possible to try to become world champion.”
Those sentiments are broadly corroborated by Christian Danner, who competed for Zakspeed and Arrows amongst others in the late 1980s and now commentates for German TV. The 52-year-old argues that given Webber told FIA doctor Gary Hartstein about the injury and received treatment from him at race weekends, he did all he needed to do.
“If the FIA knew about it then he did nothing wrong, and it cannot have been too dramatic otherwise he would not have had such good performance,” he mused.
In the light of the latest public disagreement between Webber and Red Bull Racing, there remains speculation that the six-time grand prix-winner will sensationally quit the Milton Keynes-based outfit prior to the beginning of the F1 2011 campaign.