Australian F1 driver MARK WEBBER's father said that teammate SEBASTIAN VETTEL’s disobeyance of Red Bull team orders "will not force Mark Webber into an early retirement," according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. Webber "has flown to Australia to consider his future after Vettel ignored instructions and overtook the 36-year-old to snatch victory in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix." ALAN WEBBER believes that Vettel’s credibility with Red Bull "will have suffered as he dismissed the notion that his son might not be on the grid for the next race, the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, on April 14." Alan Webber said, "I think it will take a while to earn the respect and trust again. Sebastian disobeyed team orders and most, if not all the team, are disappointed with him. Up and down the pit lane Mark has not lost any credibility at all. It’s probably Sebastian who has lost an awful lot" (LONDON TIMES, 3/26).
SANCTIONS UNLIKELY: The AAP reported Red Bull Team Principal CHRISTIAN HORNER said that "he was angry with Vettel for his defiance at Sepang, but it was unlikely the three-time and defending world champion would receive any sanction." Horner and, more surprisingly, Vettel's influential backer HELMUT MARKO conceded that the German "had broken the team's code by passing Webber for victory." Ex-F1 driver MARTIN BRUNDLE said, "Red Bull have got a huge problem because the next time they're in that situation, if they're one-two and they want to call off the fight with a few laps to go, he (Webber) is not going to trust anybody" (AAP, 3/26).
ECCLESTONE CRITICAL: In London, Oliver Brown reported F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE "has criticised Red Bull" for imposing team orders on Vettel and Webber. 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." Ecclestone warned that "the incident could return to haunt the reigning constructors' champions." He said, "Let’s assume that these two guys are in a position to win the championship at the end of the year, then there is no way that Mark is going to help Sebastian. So Sebastian has to think about that. Maybe there will be a stage when he would like Mark to help him, but I don’t think Mark is going to come up front and do it." Ecclestone’s "greater concern was for team orders themselves," and the fact that all four of the top places in Malaysia were decided in this manner after Mercedes’ refusal to allow NICO ROSBERG to pass LEWIS HAMILTON for third. Ecclestone said, "You shouldn’t have that, should you? It’s no good. The team principals know what is right and wrong" (TELEGRAPH, 3/25).
QUESTIONS LINGER: The AAP reported former F1 driver JOHN WATSON said that Vettel "should be forced to sit out next month's Chinese Grand Prix for ignoring team orders." Watson said, "The question is, what are the team going to do to sanction Sebastian Vettel? And the only solution I would find is suspending him for the next grand prix. You can't take the points away from him and give them to Mark Webber, a fine would be irrelevant, so the only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say 'you will stand out one race'" (AAP, 3/26).