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SBD Global/June 10, 2013/Franchises

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber Tensions At Red Bull Overshadowed By Tire Controversy

F1's preoccupation with the controversy surrounding Mercedes-Benz's secret tire test "has deflected attention from the strained relations between Mark Webber and imperious world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel," according to Mark Fogarty of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Relations between the Red Bull Racing pair, which had been cool at the best of times, "descended into public rancour at the end of March after Vettel ignored team orders and overtook Webber to win in Malaysia." The ensuing enmity "cast doubt on Webber's future with Vettel-centric RBR and, indeed, his future as he approaches his 37th birthday." While it has been overtaken by a juicier conflict, the Australian's position at RBR "is still uncomfortable in the wake of Vettel's defiance of the 'Multi 21' agreement in the Malaysian Grand Prix." Vettel's decision to ambush Webber, overtaking after Webber "had 'turned down' his engine and was at a performance disadvantage, destroyed what little trust there was between them." Whether Webber wants to stay at Red Bull for another year or if, indeed, he will be offered another contract renewal "are the key questions" (SMH, 6/9).
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