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Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Monday, 19 July 2010 15:15 UK

Red Bull F1 team boss rules out driver favouritism

Red Bull boss Christian Horner

Horner happy with 'competitive drivers' (UK only)

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has intervened in the favouritism row surrounding his team and insisted both drivers should be treated equally.

The issue blew up at the British Grand Prix when a new front wing was taken off Mark Webber's car and given to team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

"If you ask me today who will be champion, I say one of our two drivers," Mateschitz said.

"The pits must not interfere because then problems begin in earnest."

Webber and team principal Christian Horner met last week to discuss the team's decision to swap front wings and clear any simmering resentments.

Now, Red Bull founder Mateschitz has also moved to quell any further tensions within the team and to prevent accusations of favouritism escalating by insisting there is no driver preference.

"This philosophy is not in keeping with my understanding of racing," Mateschitz told Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung .

"We do not have a number one and a number two driver.

"Both drivers have cars to exactly the same standard. The problem with the new wing at Silverstone was the first exception."

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Webber and Vettel both publicly vented their frustrations after the British Grand Prix earlier this month.

After taking the chequered flag, to move seven points clear of Vettel in the drivers' standings, Webber commented on the team radio: "Not bad for a number two driver."

Vettel, who battled back to seventh after a first-lap puncture, told the BBC after the race: "Sometimes good and bad, you get to know people better and see their true faces. I think I learned my lesson."

But Mateschitz has no intention of stopping either driver speaking their minds in the public arena.

"Such a thing would not be our style," added the Austrian tycoon. "Everyone can tell the truth - which is one of the highest virtues of Red Bull."

Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz and team boss Christian Horner
Mateschitz wants his Red Bull drivers to race each other for honours

Neither will Mateschitz stop his drivers going head-to-head on the track, even if it could potentially harm the team's championship chances.

Vettel and Webber lost out on a potential one-two at the Turkish Grand Prix as the pair collided when disputing the lead in Istanbul.

"Our two drivers know that they have to beat the other and they still need each other to take away as many points as possible from the competition," stated Mateschitz.

"You cannot just program a champion.

"We are talking about racing - the image of blood, sweat and tears is not by chance."



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see also
Webber clears air with Red Bull
15 Jul 10 |  Formula 1


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