Ecclestone defends Vettel’s Malaysian GP behaviour

Bernie Ecclestone has defended Vettel’s Malaysian Grand Prix behaviour and has said that he doesn’t think Red Bull will suspend the German driver for the Chinese Grand Prix.

“If I was Sebastian Vettel, having won three world championships with the team, and somebody came on the radio to me and started giving me instructions I’d probably do exactly the same as Kimi Raikkonen did when he came back when they gave him some instructions the other day and say “I know what I’m doing”,” Ecclestone told Sky Sports News.

“I don’t think he’s undermined Christian’s authority at all because Christian knows exactly what should have happened and didn’t happen. Put yourself in Christian’s position. What should he now do? Did he give orders in the first place and if he did how could he then give more orders?

“I think what you have to do is think very carefully and I always say “show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser”. Sebastian is not a loser. Sebastian is a winner.

With John Watson having recently said that he believes Vettel should be suspended by Red Bull for a race, Ecclestone was asked what he thought of the idea.

“Leave Sebastian out?” he said. “No, I don’t think I’d give that any consideration.

“I’d say to Sebastian, just don’t make me look like an idiot.”

Watson: Red Bull should suspend Vettel for one race

Former McLaren driver John Watson believes that Sebastian Vettel should be suspended by his team for a race for disobeying team orders at the Malaysian Grand Prix.

With 13 laps left, Sebastian Vettel overtook his team-mate Mark Webber at the Malaysian Grand Prix and went on to take the top step on the podium. This was despite orders from his team to stay behind Webber. Webber was clearly unhappy with the race result and there was a definite iciness between the two drivers at the podium ceremony.

“The only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say ‘you will stand out one race’,” Watson told BBC Radio 4. “I know that if other drivers in other teams disobeyed a team order they would be suspended or even fired.

“If Christian Horner doesn’t reassert his authority in the team – because he has been totally subjugated by Sebastian Vettel – then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be.

“The only conclusion I can reach is that Vettel should be suspended for the next grand prix. You can’t take the points away from him and give them to Mark Webber – that’s now history and Sebastian has the benefit of those seven additional points.

“You can’t really fine him. It is almost irrelevant to fine to him.

“So the only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say, ‘you will stand out one race’.”

Red Bull could re-brand Renault engines

Red Bull is not ruling out rebranding its Renault engines in future.

French supplier Renault, although complaining its recent successes have not been well enough recognised, is regarded as Red Bull’s ‘works’ partner. Brand ambassador Alain Prost admitted one of his goals is to talk up Renault’s contribution.

“How many people out there know that Renault has won the last three world championships?” he rhetorically asked Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “We have to sell ourselves better. People should know what we do and why we do it,” added Prost.

However, Renault could be set to sink further into the background at Red Bull at some point in the future.

Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has admitted the team’s Renault engines could be rebranded, as the title sponsorship with new title partner Infiniti is further ramped up.

“Yes, at some point there could be a Red Bull-Infiniti,” the Austrian billionaire told Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

Source:GMM

Two second gap makes Red Bull ‘worried’ – Surer

The faces of Red Bull chiefs became notably “worried” as the winter pre-season period wrapped up recently.

That is the claim of Marc Surer, a former F1 driver turned German-language commentator. Indeed, as the final test week concluded in Barcelona, Mercedes sped to the top of the time sheets, whilst Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel languished two seconds too slow.

“The faces of the (Red Bull) bosses looked worried,” Surer said in an interview with T-Online. “They were missing two seconds to Mercedes, and that’s a lot, even if Vettel was carrying a lot of fuel.

“They seemed surprised by how quickly Ferrari but especially Mercedes could go.”

So why the sudden problem for Red Bull?

Throughout the test period, every driver and pundit in the paddock was predicting another strong season for the reigning champions, particularly with the rules remaining basically the same as in 2012.

“Red Bull was holding back the newest parts, so that the competition could not copy them,” Surer explained. “But they didn’t work; the car didn’t become faster.”

Another possibility is that Red Bull’s game of bluff is working just as planned.

Niki Lauda, Mercedes shareholder and chairman, told the German broadcaster RTL: “I am delighted that we showed at the last test that we are quick.

“But I also know that the value of testing is extremely limited, because we do not know whether and to what extent the other teams have been bluffing.”

So yet another possibility is that Red Bull’s formerly struggling rivals have simply caught up.

“Everyone is closer together because there have been no rule changes,” said Lauda.

“So if you had a slow car, you try to catch up, while if you are Red Bull, you have more difficulty to develop your car because you were already at the top.

“We have a good car, no doubt,” the famous Austrian told Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper. “But to know where we are compared to Red Bull, we need to wait for the first race.”

Source:GMM

Tost: Red Bull still best in 2013

Red Bull is still F1’s top team, according to Franz Tost.

Austrian Tost is the boss of the energy drink company’s Italian based second F1 team, Toro Rosso.

Asked to ponder the 2013 pecking order following two of the three pre-season tests in Spain, Tost answered: “The teams are close together, but by and large, not much has changed.

“Red Bull Racing will be the measure of all things in 2013,” he said in an interview with Speed Week. “Hopefully Toro Rosso will make a significant step forward,” added Tost.

Source:GMM

Lauda: Vettel’s Red Bull contract ‘long term’

Sebastian Vettel is locked into a “long term” contract with Red Bull, according to Niki Lauda.

Triple world champion Lauda, now the Mercedes team’s chairman, revealed he is aware of the precise term of the reigning world champion’s current deal.

“I know Sebastian’s contract with Red Bull and it’s long term,” the famous Austrian told Italian television Griglia di Partenza. “That’s why we didn’t try to take him under contract at Mercedes,” added Lauda.

At the same time, Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport daily that Vettel is committed until the end of 2014.

“Anything else was never in question,” said the billionaire.

But what about 2015 and beyond? Would Red Bull consider signing Fernando Alonso, should German Vettel be wooed to Ferrari, who have ruled out putting the two together?

“If he (Alonso) is still racing, then why not?” Mateschitz said.

The publicity-shy Mateschitz also steered away from right-hand man Marko’s recent criticism of Mark Webber, saying one of Red Bull’s strengths has been its “perfect drivers”.

“Webber is both a strong and charismatic character and an exceptional driver,” he insisted.

Mateschitz, however, acknowledged that many in formula one would like to see Red Bull finally beaten in 2013.

“It’s an understandable desire, but it’s also understandable that we are going to try to prevent it,” he said.

Mateschitz said “sports” like formula one will “always be an important part” of the energy drink Red Bull’s budget, and is not ruling out entering the world of two wheels.

“MotoGP is a fantastic sport that has always fascinating me,” he said, admitting a foray for Red Bull is “certainly conceivable”.

Source:GMM

Marko: Horner is not leaving Red Bull

Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko has refuted rumours that team boss Christian Horner could be headed to Ferrari in the near future.

Horner has recently visited Maranello and this has prompted rumours that he could be defecting to the scarlet-clad F1 team. This is despite the fact that several noted F1 figures were also present – including Bernie Ecclestone, Martin Whitmarsh and Niki Lauda – to discuss the Concorde Agreement with Luca di Montezemolo.

Marko told Sport Bild, “How could Christian be negotiating in Maranello if we’ve just extended his contract until 2017?”

Source:GMM