I was going to write a longer post on this but all the main points seem to have become apparent elsewhere. Christian Horner has the management skills to get the best out of a team of people, and I do believe there is favouritism to Vettel, but I do not believe it comes from Christian Horner. Listening again to the Motorsport podcast when he was interviewed, I noticed he talked fulsomely about his excellent working relationship with Dietrich Mateschitz, but completely avoided talking about Helmut Marko at all. It was Princess Diana, in that blatantly scripted Panorama interview, that said, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” A team boss needs the direct support of his boss, but Marko seems to have the power to interfere, and leave Horner to take responsibility for the messes it causes, including the need to lie to the media, and us, even when it is obvious he is being untruthful. Mateschitz is an intelligent man without airs that has achieved huge success in business from small beginnings, so surely he should be able to see that he needs to keep his adviser off Christian’s back so the guy can do his job. After all, he did not put Helmet in charge of RBR or even STR.
This popped up on Autosport last week. The gist is that after Vettel’s new front wing was damaged, that it was thought so was the new front wing Mark had. So they took it off him, then realised only the paint was harmed, so had to make a decision about which driver to give it back to, picking Vettel. Is this the best they could come up with in two weeks? It was not that they decided to take the wing off Webber to give to Vettel, but they decided to take the wing off Webber, and then decided to give it to Vettel! Well, does that not make all the difference? Is this the explanation that reassured Mark Webber when they had their clearing-of-the-air chat?
Of course, we were all supposed to believe they had all kissed and made up after the Turkey incident, especially with the news that Mark had re-signed with the team. It turned out the contract was renewed before Turkey, and comments the Australian made after the wing-episode revealed that even aside from that he was still deeply unhappy with his status in the team. Webber has been persuaded to toe the party line again in public but must still be seething. When he talked about saying too much in public about it, wearing his heart on his sleeve, tricky decision, that he was part of a sensational team, he did include, “But the upshot is that it will go the other way in the future – it just will, even if that’s hard for people to believe.” Does he believe that, and do we?
Christian Horner is obviously almightily relieved that the media swarm have now moved onto the team-order issue at Ferrari. The evening after the race he described it as the, “clearest team order”, comparing it to Austria 2002. Before Hungary, he vocally backed the ban on team-orders. Very much a case of pouring petrol on the neighbour’s burning house so it will not be noticed his is still smoking.