At the recent British GP Mark Webber started from pole but it was Sebastial Vettel who took the lead at turn 1. Both drove a solid race and in the closing stages it was clear Webber was considerably faster than Vettel, closing right up on him in the last few laps. At that point team boss Christian Horner issued a now legal team order for Webber to "maintain the gap" behind Vettel, which he ignored and closed right up to Vettel's gearbox.
A row erupted over both Webber ignoring his team order and the issuing of the team order itself. Christian Horner has defended his issuing of orders under the auspices of wanting to prevent the two cars coming together and taking each other out, as in Turkey last year. Since winning the constructors championship last year they (Red Bull) have found there is significant monetary reward for every place further up the order they finish, and have taken the approach that the Team is greater than the Driver. I can understand his logic, and to a large extent I agree with it. I also have no problem with team orders. F1 is a team sport and team orders are legal.
What I don't understand is Christian Horners reasoning, given the stated goal. Why didn't Horner order Vettel to move aside and let Webber through? Webber had the pole. Webber was clearly faster in the closing stages. If Vettel moved aside for Webber we would have the following:
- Tthe Red Bulls still would have collected 33 points and finished 2-3.
- Vettel's lead in the championship would barely be dented.
- Red Bull and Horner would not be being lamblasted in the media, as they currently are.
- Webber would not be dispirited thinking he now has no chance in the title.
The only possible negative is the young german Vettel might be a little unhappy. Its' pretty clear now (not like it wasn't) that Red Bull are doing a Ferrari and are focussed on Vettel. I get that. I do. But it's hypocritical from Horner and Red Bull, after their spraying of Ferrari over team orders last year.
See here for more