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Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Saturday, 10 July 2010 16:23 UK

British Grand Prix: Red Bull deny Vettel favouritism

Christian Horner

Red Bull boss delighted with dominance

By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at Silverstone

Red Bull have denied they favour Sebastian Vettel over team-mate Mark Webber after fresh controversy broke out at the British Grand Prix.

Vettel secured pole position after the team took their only new front wing off Webber's car to give to Vettel.

Team boss Christian Horner denied it meant Vettel was the favoured driver.

He said: "We'll continue to support both drivers in the best and fairest way we can. But sometimes you have a difficult decision and this was one."

The row comes after May's Turkish Grand Prix, in which Webber and Vettel collided while disputing the lead.

Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel

Vettel loving Silverstone after pole lap

After that race, the team initially backed Vettel even though most observers felt he was more to blame for the crash, only to later admit their stance had been a mistake.

This new situation arose after Vettel's front wing fell off its mounting points on the way into the 170mph Abbey corner in Saturday practice, damaging it beyond repair.

That left the team with only one wing, on Webber's car, and after chief technical officer Adrian Newey decided he wanted to run it in the race, Horner had to decide which driver would have it.

He said there was no lap-time advantage in the new wing. Vettel beat Webber to pole position by 0.143secs. The margin between the two in final practice was 0.034secs.

Webber made his dissatisfaction clear in the post-qualifying news conference by saying: "I'm sure the team is happy with the result today."


Vettel said: "From the outside, it is often quite difficult to judge what is going on. We know what we are doing, I think.

"I don't think it is black and white answer on the wing but I was very happy I could continue with the same kind of wing."

Horner said: "The performance between the guys was very close, very tight.

"Unfortunately we found ourselves with only one front wing with a different specification that had a slightly different characteristic.

"Both drivers tried it on Friday, one (Vettel) had a better preferences for it over the other and it was tried by both again this morning.

"Unfortunately sometimes I have to make a difficult decision, and with only one wing available and the facts we had at hand and basically based on championship decision as the criteria we used, that wing went to Sebastian today."

Vettel leads Webber by 12 points - the equivalent of a fourth place - heading into Sunday's race at Silverstone. Both men have two wins each and, until qualifying on Saturday, had four pole positions each.

Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - British GP qualifying (UK users only)

Horner denied the team were further strengthening the belief that they favour Vettel over Webber.

"I don't think so," he said. "It's our job to do the best we can as a team and sometimes you have to make difficult decisions and it is the first time we have been in a position where we only have one component.

"When you have two drivers running at the front there is perhaps a bit more emotion attached to it, but if you take away the emotion and look at the facts, it was the entirely logical thing to do."

It was pointed out that the fair thing to do was to leave it on Webber's car given that it had been bad luck that it broke on Vettel's.

Horner replied: "Look, both drivers as you saw yesterday swapped wings between the cars and the tests were inconclusive as to whether one wing was better than the other.

"There was nothing in lap time. There was a feel and characteristic difference where up to last night one driver had a preference for the wing over the other.

Red Bull's Mark Webber

Webber confirms different 'wing spec'

"If we were favouring one driver, we would give that driver the spare wing as well."

And when it was put to him that he would now have to spend more time with Webber convincing him that the team did not favour Vettel, Horner said: "Mark knows how we operate as a team. He knows there was no malice behind it or manipulation.

"Mark is a competitive guy, he's pushing hard, nobody likes to be beaten by their team-mate but at the end of the day they both drive for the team.

"We have given Mark a great opportunity to drive for a front-running team, he's doing a great job, he's driving brilliantly well.

"And today we had to make a difficult decision but tomorrow I would make the same decision because the team is bigger than any one individual.

"It was a team decision. The drivers don't specify the car. They never have and they never will.

"Adrian wanted to run the wing and based on the fact it was to be run, I have to make a decision as to which car it should run on. A logical decision, based on championship position but also P3, was it went on this occasion to Sebastian."

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see also
Dominant Red Bulls take front row
10 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
My car was undriveable - Button
10 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
British GP qualifying as it happened
10 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
British Grand Prix qualifying results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
British Grand Prix practice results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
British GP qualifying in photos
10 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Webber heads British GP practice
09 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren to abandon major upgrade
09 Jul 10 |  Formula 1

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