Mark Webber has been forced to apologise for disparaging comments about his Red Bull team following his win in the British Grand Prix on Sunday.
Webber’s sarcasm after crossing the finish line and subsequent criticisms have caused a massive fallout as the team scrambles for unity.
Both current teammate Sebastian Vettel and former teammate David Coulthard have told Webber he should have aired his complaints in private.
The Australian was furious when Vettel was given a new front wing from Webber’s car ahead of qualifying at Silverstone, perceiving the team was favouring the young German.
Webber now clearly regrets his remarks and has issued a statement following talks with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner to clear the air.
“My disappointment on Saturday after qualifying spilled over into Sunday but it was simply due to the fact that I, along with every other driver on the grid, wanted the best possible chance of success,” Webber said.
“Sebastian received the newer front wing for reasons which were not clearly explained to me until Saturday late afternoon.
“Obviously I can see why a team may at certain points have to favour a driver with more points in the championship, if there are only enough resources to fully support one of us.
“We’ve already debriefed the race weekend at the factory and have cleared the air.
“It’s now understood that, should we face this unlikely dilemma again, preference will go to the championship points leader,” he said.
“Of course things get said in the heat of the moment which, with hindsight goggles on, probably shouldn’t have been said.
“Formula One is a highly charged and fiercely competitive arena where emotions and adrenalin do run high from time to time like in many sports and my comment on the radio after the race was an example of Australian sarcasm either at its best or worst depending on how you choose to take it.”
Webber said there was no dispute between himself and Horner following the Britisg GP controversy.
“Christian Horner and I have known each other for many years. We’re friends and have a strong mutual respect which continues and extends to other activities, such as our GP3 team and interest in finding and nurturing young racing talent.” he said.
“The respect within the team extends to the drivers. I know I have a very good driver as a team-mate and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
“We share information freely in team meetings and contribute to the development and improvement of our cars.
“Seb and I are not enemies, we’re just two drivers that are pushing hard and want to do the best for ourselves and the team, it’s as simple as that.”
Vettel indicated Webber should not have openly criticised the team.
“The most important thing is the atmosphere within the team,” Vettel said. We have a really strong car and the only thing that can stop us is ourselves.
“I’m brought up to show respect for one another, Vettel told the German newspaper Bild. “Such things do not belong in the public, they should be handled internally by the team.”
Coulthard agrees. “Red Bull would doubtless prefer it if Mark aired his grievances in private,” he wrote in his London Telegraph column.