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Webber, Vettel partnership doomed?

2013-03-27 07:41

’THANKS FOR NOTHING MATE’: Mark Webber poses with Malaysian GP winner and team mate Sebastian Vettel in what will be remembered as the most awkward F1 podium of 2013.

Feuding team mates Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel will not stay together at Red Bull after the 2013 Formula 1 season, according to former Renault boss Flavio Briatore.

Briatore, who has been part of Webber's management throughout his grand prix career, said he had spoken to Webber after the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.

He said Webber was still furious with triple world champion Vettel winning at Sepang after ignoring team orders and overtaking him in the closing laps.

DAMAGED RELATIONSHIP

Briatore:"I don't think the relationship can be sewn together again."

Asked if he expected one of the two to leave the team at the end of 2013, the Briatore replied: "For sure. Last year already there were problems."

Webber is out of contract at the end of the season while Vettel is tied to Red Bull until at least the end of 2014.

He and Vettel have had several flare-ups since the start of their pairing in 2009, including a collision at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix that cost Webber a victory and sent Vettel out of the race.

Webber has long maintained that the team favours Vettel, despite their insistence that the two have equal status.

'SHOULDN'T BE ANY TEAM ORDERS'

Briatore said Malaysia had showed that Vettel was in charge at Red Bull, rather than team principal Christian Horner. Webber's father Alan calmed speculation that his son could stay away from the third round of the championship in China on April 14.

Alan said: "We'll be up in China for the next one. I think it will take a while (for Vettel) to earn the respect and trust again."

Vettel apologised to Webber after taking his 27th grand prix win and recognised he had made a mistake in going against the team instructions.

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who is close to 25-year-old Vettel, criticised Red Bull for causing the controversy.

Ecclestone said: "At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is. Maybe there will be a stage when he (Vettel) would like Mark to help him, but I don't think Mark is going to come up front and do it.

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