12 April 2013
Vettel/Webber clash just 'healthy rivalry' says Horner
"Of course there have been lumps and bumps along the way, there have been incidents between the two drivers. But we retain them because they are both fiercely competitive individuals, they drive each other forward and they bring the best out of each other," he insisted.
"What's happened has happened," Horner continued. "We can't change it, we can't go back and it's a question of looking forward and focusing on this event and obviously the next 16 events after this.
"As a team we're working as closely as we've ever done, as in both drivers to work closely together, to continue to improve, to continue to give their feedback to the team to keep moving forward because our competitors aren't far away," he added. "The drivers need the team - they're an essential part of the team and one element of 500 or 600 people."
But where did this leave the team in the future - could they expect their drivers to listen to team directives in a race, given that Vettel has already shown he'll ignore them if he feels its in his best interests and Webber now likely to same the attitude? Horner said he's discussed the situation with the owner of Red Bull, Dietrich Mateschitz.
"Dietrich is a purist, he's a fan of the sport," said Horner. "Red Bull is clear in its intent that it wants to support competition and Red Bull athletes across all different categories of sport. Of course in Red Bull Racing we also have a team, so there exists that conflict of what the drivers want and what the team wants.
"The purist obviously wants to see the drivers race and race wheel to wheel and in fact as the drivers have done on many, many occasions," he continued. "Sometimes you get instances that you have to deal with. Our primary concern in Malaysia wasn't the two drivers racing each other, it was the fact we were concerned about tyre degradation from all the information that we'd seen [previously] during that weekend in terms of managing the race to the end of the race with the least risk possible.
"The call that we made at that point in time didn't suit what Sebastian's intent was and therefore you end up in this conflict between driver desire and the team's position and it's something we've discussed," Horner said. "It's something we're clear on going forward where of course we will trust the drivers.
"We will allow them to continue to race each other, they will have the information, they will know what they need to do with that information," he summed up.
But what they will actually decide to do with that information once it was out there remained a question hanging in the air over Red Bull heading into the 2013 Chinese GP at Shanghai International Circuit this weekend.
"I don't think Sebastian for one moment thinks he runs the team," stated Horner. "He knows what his job is, he knows what we employ him to do, he knows why we employ him to do it and he's been with Red Bull for a long time now, as a junior driver and as a F1 driver and now as a multiple World Champion.
Tagged as: Sebastian Vettel , Mark Webber , Webber , Red Bull Racing , Christian Horner , Horner , Malaysia , China , Shanghai , Dietrich Mateschitz , team orders , Chinese
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