Team principal desperate to restore order ahead of Chinese Grand Prix.
Mark Webber will not walk away from Red Bull despite his controversial clash with team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the Malaysian Grand Prix, according to team principal Christian Horner.
Defending champion Vettel deliberately disobeyed team orders by overtaking Webber in the closing stages of Sunday’s race, before driving to victory and leaving the Australian fuming.
Webber, 36, admitted that he had thought about “many things” over the race’s closing stages, but Horner has dismissed speculation that he might be tempted to leave the team.
“It was the intent of the team that Mark win that race,” Horner said. “We didn’t suddenly give Sebastian instruction and say: ‘Go and pass your team-mate.’
“He (Webber) is big enough to know there was no malice or intent from the team to create any situation like that.
“He is in a car capable of winning grands prix, and hopefully going for a championship, so I’ve no doubt Mark will see out the season with us.”
Horner also revealed that Vettel visited the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes, central England earlier this week to apologise for his conduct.
“He’s accepted what he did was wrong, but that he can’t turn back the clock,” Horner told Sky Sports News.
“He has apologised to the team, apologised to every single member of staff for his actions, because he recognises the team is vitally important, and being part of a team is a crucial aspect of being able to challenge for those championships.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko claims that Vettel and Webber have made peace.
“They don’t have to be completely on the same page, but it must be a solid working partnership,” he said.
“Sebastian apologised in the press conference and I think that was the first correct step to make.
“There was a debrief afterwards with the relevant discussions about the race and then there was a handshake between the two drivers. For us now the issue is settled.”
Returning to the incident, Marko says Red Bull lost control of the situation when Vettel deliberately ignored his team’s instructions after his final pit stop.
“We told Sebastian to hold his position because we didn’t know what the tyre situation was and both drivers needed to bring home a good finish for the team,” added Marko.
“But then came the attack against that strategy and it got out of control. You couldn’t control it over radio or anything like that. Sebastian the racer came out and took the lead.”