Given that both men passionately believed they were in the right and the other bloke was in the wrong, I was quite impressed with the way in which Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel kept their respective under control while they were being grilled by the media in the aftermath of their controversial collision in Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
Yet make no mistake about this; a line has been drawn in the sand which will almost certainly defeat the Red Bull management’ s efforts to totally retain control of the two men’s actions in the remaining 12 races on this year’s calendar. It’s much like the situation which was allowed to develop at McLaren in 2007 when Fernando Alonso took umbrage at Lewis Hamilton’s apparent precocity. Once the genie is out of the bottle in such circumstances, it’s never going to be put back.
OK, so the accident was totally Vettel’s fault. And don’t give me the old malarkey offered up by Red Bull tycoon Dietrich Mateschitz’s right hand man Helmut Marko to the effect that young Seb had already completed the overtaking maneouvre. He had pulled alongside, for sure, but he then went and heaped totally responsibility for the accident on his own shoulders by simply turning right into the hapless Australian’s car. What in heaven’s name did he think he was doing?
I will make a prediction. This Turkish debacle will blight any efforts to re-sign Webber in 2011. For all Christian Horner’s balanced and mature management of the Red Bull team, having the owner’s right-hand man coming down against Webber will have severe long-term implications for the Milton Keynes-based squad’s equilibrium for the rest of the year. Kissing and making up in situations like this is never easy, largely because it highlights tensions which were present long before the eruptions at Istanbul Park.