Red Bull will not issue a team order in favour of championship leader Mark Webber or his challenger Sebastian Vettel for the final three races of the Formula One season, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz says.
Mateschitz told DPA ahead of Sunday’s South Korea Grand Prix that the two drivers can not afford mistakes and need to depend on each other in order to claim a first title for themselves and the team.
“There will be no team order from our side. The driver who makes the least mistakes and is faster should, or will, win,” the Austrian billionaire Mateschitz said.
Webber tops the championship with 220 points from Vettel and Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who have 206 points each. McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button also have a title chance on 192 and 189 points, respectively.
Red Bull also led the constructors’ standings with 426 points from McLaren (381).
But the team, which has been in F1 since 2005, is taking nothing for granted in a season with plenty of ups and downs.
The 23-year-old Vettel has been a hothead at times, colliding with Webber in one race and with Button in another. Webber, 34, has managed to stay out of trouble most of the time on the track.
There is speculation that Red Bull’s top brass would prefer Vettel to win the title because he better fits the image of the Austrian drink makers.
But Mateschitz dismissed this, saying: “If we win the drivers’ title we would be happy for both in the same way because each one would deserve it.” Mateschitz believes that Vettel has a slight edge over Webber at the moment, coming off a second-place finish behind Alonso in Singapore and victory in the last race in Japan.
“Sebastian seems to have a slight edge as far as speed is concerned. We will see whether Mark’s advantage (in the championship) is enough to win the title.
“It is important that they both know that they need the other man to become world champion, and that they are also driving for the team and the constructors’ championship,” Mateschitz told DPA.
With 25 points awarded for a victory, many scenarios are still possible until the November 14 finale in Abu Dhabi, most notably Alonso stealing the title for Ferrari.
But Mateschitz said that Red Bull should prevail, at least on paper. “You can never rule out technical problems or accidents you didn’t cause. In this respect we don’t need luck, we must rather have no bad luck,” Mateschitz said.