Red Bull Racing has revised its pit stop procedures ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, after rival Ferrari shadowed its moves in Spain last weekend.
Mark Webber got trapped behind Fernando Alonso for much of the race in Barcelona, and was unable to get back ahead of the Ferrari through strategy after the Italian team called its Spanish driver in every time Webber headed for the pits. Ferrari's efficiency in copying Red Bull Racing's tactics prompted wild claims from Red Bull's motorsport adviser Helmut Marko that its Maranello-based team was spying on it by hacking its team radio.
Although those views are not shared by other senior team personnel, Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has no doubts that Ferrari was using legitimate means to copy his team's tactics – which is why it has reacted to ensure it cannot be caught out in a similar fashion again.
"Pit stops are all part of the game and Ferrari's only way to beat Mark was to cover him in the pit stops," explained Horner in Monaco on Wednesday. "They saw something we were doing that was giving away when we were going to stop, and would call Fernando in – because it couldn't be coincidence that he just happened to stop every time that we called Mark in. That is within the regulations.
"In the end, we made a dummy call. Fernando came in and Mark stayed out, but, unfortunately, by that time, he had lost so much time to Jenson [Button] and Lewis [Hamilton] that the podium was not possible. But it is all part of the game and all part of being a team sport – it is only like a dummy pass in a rugby match or any other sporting activity."
Horner said that with some of the team's radio calls to Webber coming at the very last second, the only way that Ferrari could have reacted with its car ahead on the road was if the team had spotted a pre-pit stop action in the Red Bull garage.
"That is why we have changed our procedures this weekend," he said. "I don't know if mechanics were putting their hands in their pockets at the wrong time, or it was someone picking a tire up. But, anyway, we have changed our procedures this weekend to be less transparent."