Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner says the team will move to clear the air with Marfk Webber over the front wing row that has engulfed the team, even though he has no personal regrets about the decisions he made at the British Grand Prix.
Race winner Mark Webber was furious that Red Bull Racing opted to take a new front wing design off his car and hand it to teammate Sebastian Vettel for qualifying at Silverstone. Still angry after the race, Webber wryly told Horner on the radio on his slowing-down lap: "Not bad for a number two driver!"
The Australian later urged his team to get together after the weekend to go through the issues – and claimed he would never have signed a new deal with Red Bull Racing if he knew he would have been treated in such a manner.
Reacting to the controversy, which dominated talk in the paddock post-race, Horner denied that the events of the weekend meant Vettel was being favored by the team – but he promised that those involved in the matter would get together to sort things out.
"Mark Webber has driven for this team for four seasons," said Horner. "He knows the depth of passion and the depth of commitment that, as an independent team, this team has put in to get two cars at the front of the grid. Mark knows that better than anybody.
"As a team member, he is an important part of the team and he has delivered his bit – as every other individual has today. Of course we will talk about it. If the air needs to be cleared, it will be cleared. But, he has been around long enough to know that as a sportsman difficult decisions have to be made."
Although there has been a media and fan backlash against the decision to swap wings on the two Red Bull Racing cars for qualifying, Horner says he has no second thoughts about what happened.
When asked, considering the reaction outside the team, whether he regretted the decision, Horner said: "No, because we are a team. We are pushing as hard as we can to produce the fastest cars that we can. Sometimes decisions have to be made. We found ourselves in a situation we didn't want to be in with one wing, that we wanted to run – and whichever side of the garage it was going to go to, one side was going to be unhappy.
"So, therefore, I had to apply that logic – and I will stand by that logic. And we will stand by that at the next event, should we find ourselves in the same situation. It was done at very, very short notice. It was done probably 25 minutes before qualifying when we actually found out that the component was able to be run. It was something that Adrian [Newey] was very keen to run for future development, and that was a decision that was made."
Horner also confirmed that if a repeat situation of having a single component occurred at the next race, then it would favor its leading driver in the championship – who now is Webber.
"The fairest way that I could see was to look at championship position – but if that happens at the next race, where I sincerely hope we won't be in a situation where we will only have one component whatever it may be, the same rules will apply."
Horner also played down Webber's post-race quip on the radio – and reckoned that there was no danger of the Australian leaving the team after the events of the weekend.
"Mark is king of the one liners, as we all know," he said. "I think the biggest thing today is that he has won the British Grand Prix and I am more than happy with his drive. It is a throw-away comment by Mark, who has just won the British GP. I don't take that comment with any malice behind it. He was upset about the decision yesterday, and I can only imagine that he was disappointed he didn't get the wing yesterday. But I can't cut it in half."
Speaking about his contractual comments, he said: "Well, Mark has not signed a contract as a number two driver. He knows the lengths that the team has gone to, with the weight difference between the two drivers, to try and achieve parity. He knows how much we have done to support him. I have no doubt that when he has a chance to reflect on this – yes, lessons can be learned. But looking objectively at it – he as a sportsman will recognize that sometimes difficult decisions have to be made."
He added: "Mark has a contract with us for the future. We've provided him with a car that has enabled him to run at the front, win grands prix and challenge for the World Championship. I doubt very much that he is going to walk away from that."