Red Bull has not ruled out the possibility of using team orders to help Mark Webber finish second in the drivers' World Championship this year, but says that for now both its drivers will remain free to race.
Having wrapped up the drivers' and constructors' championships already, the team has openly admitted that its priority in the final three races of the campaign is to get Webber into the runner-up position behind Sebastian Vettel.
That target has prompted talk that Vettel could find himself needing to sacrifice a win if Webber was behind him on the road and needed the extra points that he would get for a victory.
Speaking about the prospect ahead of the Indian Grand Prix, team principal Christian Horner said that the squad would prefer Webber to earn the runner-up position himself, but added that switching places was not totally out of the question.
"I think that from a team perspective we will do everything we can to help Mark," said Horner. "It is a conversation we would need to have with the drivers, but I am sure Mark would want to achieve it under his own merit. I am not sure he would like to be given something, but I am quite sure if asked the question, Sebastian would be willing to do that."
Horner reckons that finishing second in the title chase is of value to Webber, which is why the team will do what it takes to achieve such a result.
"For Mark, it has importance," he explained. "More importantly, it would be nice to see him win a race before the end of the year. Obviously, Sebastian's target is a statistical one – that is his remaining challenge this year. We are just going to approach this weekend as any other and just go for it."
When asked if the achievement of finishing second would be lessened if Webber earned it through a gifted position, Horner added: "I am not sure Mark would like to achieve the result that way, so I think it is probably just a better approach to let the guys race and get on with it, and that is the approach that we are going to certainly adopt.
"If there was a situation at the last race where a position could make a difference, then that's different. But for the time being we are going to let them race and get on with it, as we have done all year."
Vettel himself reckoned it was far too early to consider the possibility of giving up a place for Webber if required.
"Frst of all, it is a long race," said the German. "We have seen this year in particular that the races are long and a lot of things can happen at the beginning, but also in the end overtaking is definitely possible.
"So, the race order may not be clear five to 10 laps to the end. For sure it depends where you are, so we worry first of all to make sure that we are in a strong position and then the scenario situation comes last. That is probably the easiest one to manage."