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Red Bull rule out team orders in F1 title decider

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina, 12-14 November

Practice: Friday 12 November, 0855-1035 and 1255-1435; and Saturday 13 November 0955-1105, Red Button, online and 5 live sports extra
Qualifying: 1215-1420 on BBC One, Red Button, online and 5 live sports extra
Race: 1210-1515 on BBC One, Red Button, online and Radio 5 live sports extra

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel relaxed ahead of title decider

By Sarah Holt
BBC Sport in Abu Dhabi

Red Bull say they will not impose team orders on their drivers in an attempt to win the world championship.

Sebastian Vettel may be able to help team-mate Mark Webber beat Ferrari's Fernando Alonso if he cannot win the title himself in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Team boss Christian Horner said: "If one of them can't (win) but is in a position to help the other, it will be his choice not a team instruction."

Vettel said: "If the situation occurs, we know we are driving for the team."

The 19th and final race of the season at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina circuit will see either Alonso, Webber, Vettel or McLaren's Lewis Hamilton crowned champion after an epic championship race.

Alonso has an eight-point advantage over Webber while Vettel, who won last year's inaugural Abu Dhabi race, is 15 points behind the Spaniard.

CHAMPIONSHIP PERMUTATIONS
If Alonso wins or is second, he is champion
If Webber wins, he wins the title if Alonso is third or worse
If Vettel wins and Alonso is 5th or worse, Vettel wins the title
If Hamilton wins, Alonso must fail to score, Webber be 6th or worse and Vettel 3rd or worse for Hamilton to win the title

A win or second place for Alonso would be enough for the Ferrari driver to wrap up a third world title.

Webber will win the title if he wins the race and Alonso is lower than second. If Vettel wins, he needs Alonso to be lower than fourth to become champion.

Horner insisted that it would ultimately be up to his drivers to decide how to run their race on Sunday and that the team would not be issuing any guidance.

"We are in a situation where we have two drivers who can win this world championship," Horner said.

"Mark is in a better position than Sebastian but both go into the event with a genuine chance of winning it.

"The objective is to try and win the race but if one of them can't do that but is in a position to help the other it will be his choice.

"I have no doubt that they will do the right thing to help their team-mate.

"Fernando is the key; they need to know where he is.

"The question you're asking is for a driver to give up a grand prix victory in order for this team-mate to potentially win a world championship and we feel that is down to the driver, if he wants to do that it will be a gesture from the driver not an instruction for the team.

"If we were in a situation like we were in Brazil [when Vettel led the race from Webber] I could only imagine that if Sebastian were prepared to do something for his team-mate that it would be at the very end of the race but we're a long, long way from that."

Ferrari caused a controversy earlier in the season when Felipe Massa allowed Alonso through to win the German Grand Prix after a coded message over his team radio.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso

Alonso hopes for 'perfect' finish

The team were found guilty by the sport's governing body, the FIA, of using banned team orders and fined $100,000 (£65,000)

Historically, the FIA has not punished the use of team orders when they have been applied in a championship-winning race but Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz told Austrian reporters this week that he would be prepared to lose the title to Alonso rather than show favouritism to either of his drivers.

"We have always given the drivers equal opportunity," said Horner, who saw his team win their first constructors' crown at last Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix.

"We have two drivers who have pushed each other very hard and it's the sporting thing to do to allow them to compete.

"Neither driver agreed to drive for this team as a number two driver and we've always backed both of them equally to the best of our ability."

Red Bull have been accused of favouritism this season, most publicly at the British Grand Prix when a new front wing was taken off Mark Webber's car and given to Vettel before qualifying.

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

Three days before Vettel led home a Red Bull one-two in Brazil, Webber had reopened old wounds by saying it was "obvious" the team were more behind Vettel than him.

Many F1 insiders believe that if the situation was reversed, and Vettel was closer to Alonso in the standings, then Webber would be called upon to support the German driver's challenge.

But Horner again denied that there was an internal favouritism against Webber, saying: "To us they would both be deserving champions.

"It would be fantastic to come away with a drivers' championship but to us it doesn't matter which one.

"Both the drivers recognise the value of the team, they've produced a great car for them and both [Mark and Sebastian] are big team players. I've no doubt that either of them would do the right thing."

"We are going to give it everything we can and see how it pans out. Our target is a one-two and they know they need both need to finish but we must not underestimate our opponents."



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see also
Alonso in prime position - Webber
11 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Russians take over Virgin Racing
11 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Lotus to race in black and gold
11 Nov 10 |  Formula 1


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