China - Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber may have grabbed
the headlines after Vettel defied Red Bull orders to win in Malaysia,
but they are not the first team mates to spectacularly and publicly fall
SOUR GRAPES: The controversial Malaysian GP still hangs over Red Bull team mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel . Their current dislike is nothing new in F1 though, and has been around in each era between drivers. Image: AFP
Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna became sworn enemies at McLaren
in the 1980s, while Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell were bitter rivals
even before they found themselves in the same garage at Williams during
the same era.
And then there was Gilles Villeneuve and Didier
Pironi at Ferrari, also in the 1980s, whose relationship turned
decidedly sour after an infamous incident that Vettel and Webber were to
replicate more than 30 years later.
It was the 1982 season, the
San Marino GP when Pironi overtook Villeneuve, who believed that
broke a team order. Villeneuve then did likewise to take back the lead
in the penultimate lap.
But on the final lap Pironi passed his
fellow Ferrari again, swerving dangerously in front of Villeneuve to
snatch the win. Villeneuve believed the Frenchman had defied team
orders, and was furious.
Villeneuve was killed weeks afterwards when he crashed during qualifying at the Belgian GP. It is
widely accepted that Villeneuve died in pushing himself to better the time of his nominal team mate.
The 1997 World champ Jacques Villeneuve, son of Gilles, said: "Ignoring (orders) is just plain wrong. The best example is my father and Didier Pironi. Just
look at the problems that caused," after the Vettel-Webber controversy.
"His (Vettel's) behaviour was just stupid. Such negative energy does not help the team and also, if he now needs help from Mark, he cannot be
sure he will get it."
After that Ferrari dumped its policy of equality between its drivers.
the reigning three-time World champion, apologised after defying Red
Bull team principal Christian Horner in March 2013 in Malaysia to snatch
Webber's lead and win in the most controversial of circumstances.
he appeared to make an about-change on Thursday (April 11) in Shanghai, ahead of
the Chinese GP, saying that he would do the same all over again
if it meant winning. Besides, he argued, Webber didn't deserve to win
Horner was subjected to a barrage of questions on Friday
as to how he hoped to foster a truce between a pair of individuals
whose relationship, while never being too good, has now reached a new
"Sebastian hasn't achieved the success that he has in his
career by being submissive," said Horner, describing the Vettel-Webber
rivalry as "healthy".
"He saw an opportunity, he took it into his
own hands, he'd saved a set of tyres from the previous day and he wanted
that victory more than anything else.
"I think he justified to
himself that previous events that had taken place (between the two
drivers) was part of his judgement on what he chose to do that day."
Brawn, Horner's counterpart at Mercedes, also had a delicate situation
to deal with between his drivers in the aftermath of Sepang.
recruit Lewis Hamilton, whose relationship with Jenson Button turned
increasingly fraught during 2012 at McLaren, came home third. But only
after team mate Nico Rosberg had been ordered not to overtake the
THE GOOD BOY
Unlike Vettel, Rosberg obeyed. But he struggled to hide his frustration with the decision.
"It's both a team sport and an individual drivers' sport and the teams will try to find the balance between those two objectives," Brawn said.
"And they don't always marry easily.
"We want our drivers to race. The rule is don't hit each other and that's all we ask of them and we want them to race. We have demonstrated many times that we're happy to let our two drivers race."