Bernie Ecclestone has hit out at Red Bull over the situation that has developed between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel following the Malaysian Grand Prix – arguing that the defending champions have no-one to blame but themselves for imposing team orders on the pair.
The duo were told to hold position after the final pit stops at Sepang only for Vettel to ignore the call and attack Webber for position, making a move for the lead and going on to win the race.
Vettel's move left Webber furious at the finish, with the German being widely condemned for the manner in which he clinched his first victory of the 2013 season.
Ecclestone however has taken a different view on the incident, arguing that the team shouldn't have imposed orders on the pair in the first place given Malaysia was only the second race of the year – and issued a warning that the incident could come back to haunt Red Bull later in the season.
“At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders,” he told the Daily Telegraph
. “It does not matter who it is.
“Let's assume that these two guys are in a position to win the championship at the end of the year, then there is no way that Mark is going to help Sebastian. So Sebastian has to think about that. Maybe there will be a stage when he would like Mark to help him, but I don't think Mark is going to come up front and do it.
“Imagine a situation where Sebastian was fighting against Alonso for the championship, and those points made a difference. If I was running the team I would say to Mark, 'Look, this is the position. You can't win the championship but Sebastian can, and it would be nice for the team if we had a world champion again'. But the problem is that conversation wouldn't go down too well with Mark. He would say, 'Well, remember what happened'.”
Ecclestone's criticism wasn't only reserved for Red Bull, with the commercial rights holder also saying Mercedes was wrong for instructing Nico Rosberg not to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the final place on the podium as the top four drivers at Sepang all took the flag having been given orders from their team in regards to their positions.
“You shouldn't have that, should you?” he said. “It's no good. The team principals know what is right and wrong. I was disappointed that Mercedes didn't let Rosberg go past. I thought that was a stupid decision. I think Rosberg could have chased the two Red Bulls down a little more. That decision wasn't sensible.”