The fall-out from the 'Multi21' affair at last month's Malaysian Grand Prix will not have any lasting affect on Sebastian Vettel, according to confidante Helmut Marko.
The ignoring of team orders created waves through the F1 paddock, with various sources claiming that Vettel has become more isolated due to his actions and reactions, particularly the contentious comments he made during a press call at last week's Chinese Grand Prix, but Marko insists that the German won't be bothered by what others think.
“Sebastian is not a politician who has to win an election,” he told Bild am Sonntag
, ”In F1, you don't count up your friends; only your points.”
Marko has also said that the identity of Vettel's 2014 team-mate won't be known until at least the summer, with Mark Webber's contract due to expire at the end of the season and doubts surrounding the Australian's plans amid the 'Multi21' furore and speculation that he may be a target for Porsche's sportscar programme. Kimi Raikkonen is the hot tip to join Vettel – ironically, the pair are
friends – but Red Bull also has a host of young talent waiting in the wings, including Toro Rosso pair Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, current reserve Sebastien Buemi and rising star Antonio Felix da Costa, who is currently plying his trade in the WSbR but stood in for Buemi at Shanghai last week.
“It's April, it's the fourth race,” Marko was quoted by Austria's Kleine Zeitung
, “We traditionally make driver decisions in the summer. Everything else is just rumours.”
Marko's fellow Austrian, former McLaren and Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger, also insists that Vettel doesn't need to be close to his rivals to survive in the F1 shark pool.
“Drivers like Senna, Schumacher and Vettel are unable to follow these sorts of team orders,” he admitted to Spain's El Pais
, “Drivers like this want to win every race and every championship. You can't talk to them and say 'actually, this is what we are going to do'. They'll make whatever reply they like but, when the time comes, their brain cannot process it.
“Sebastian had no need to justify himself, because everyone is aware of his position. He should focus on racing and winning - nothing else.”