Red Bull's Mark Webber has hinted he could consider his future in the sport in the wake of the Malaysian Grand Prix, where team-mate Sebastian Vettel deliberately disobeyed team orders and stole the victory.
Webber looked all set to take the laurels at the Sepang International Circuit and was around four seconds up on Vettel following the fourth and final round of pit stops. However, despite team instructions to preserve the cars and not race, Vettel had other ideas and opted to go on the attack, eventually passing the sister car on lap 46, even though his team-mate had turned his engine down and was starting to nurse his car to the chequered flag.
Speaking after the second round in the 2013 F1 World Championship, Webber was clearly miffed. Furthermore while the straight-talking Aussie did maintain his composure and diplomatically answered the various questions thrown at him by the world's press, he did seem
to suggest he might consider his place in the sport now in the break prior to next month's Chinese Grand Prix, although it remains to be seen how serious that threat is.
“I think it's very early days right now, it's very raw, obviously, and we need to work out how the team goes best forwards from here. That's obviously going to be discussed this week. I will be in Australia on my surfboard, the phone won't be engaged. We will see what happens,” he said.
While Vettel did apologise for not respecting the team orders, when pressed on if he accepts that apology and if he is now considering his future with the team and in the sport as a whole, Webber replied: “My mind, in the last 15 laps was thinking [about] that – [I was thinking about] many things, yes - many, many things,” he confirmed.
“I think Sebastian has respect for me and I have respect for him, but the situation today was not handled well,” he continued. “It's hard to put your finger on it all now after the race; when we're racing on the limit and pushing as hard as we can, then it's the worst situation for a team. I am sure they are bricking themselves and know that things can go wrong.
“There's a bit of history to this as well. I tried to isolate what happened at the end and we got something out of it today, but of course I'm not satisfied with the result. This puts heat on a few people and unfortunately there's no rewind button.”
Despite the end result, however, Webber insisted he was pleased with his performance and that was at least one positive.
“I was happy with how I drove today,” he stated. “I think it was a very good team result. We went into the race a little bit worried about how the race would unfold for us as a team in terms of performance. You still have to drive the grand's prix these days at eight-tenths – it's not like the old day when grand prix drivers are driving flat out and leaning on the tyres like hell – because the tyres are wearing out. So it's not the most satisfying thing for us as grand prix drivers these days – but it's the same for everybody.
“I got myself into a position where we were controlling the race. I was being told the target lap times, again in relation to how the tyres are. Obviously Seb and Lewis [Hamilton] come back to me at one point in the race, I responded and lifted the pace up and got away around the stop.
“Then we had a pretty good situation tee'd up towards the end of the race and after the last stop I thought that it would be interesting how the team would deal with. I was ready for a sprint to the end. Then the team obviously rang up and said: “The race is over - the pressure is off now. We need to look after the tyres to the end". Basically don't fight each other. I turned the engine down. We have some codes in terms of getting the cars to the end.
“I want to race as well, but in the end the team made a decision, which we always say before the race is probably how it's going to be – we look after the tyres, get the car to the end. But Seb made his own decisions today. He will have protection - and that's the way it goes. We know he's a very quick peddler but I was disappointed with the outcome,” Webber concluded.