Red Bull Racing will leave any decision on team orders wholly up to its drivers in the Abu Dhabi season finale, with the management convinced Sebastian Vettel will do the right thing off his own back if needed.
The team has refused to throw its weight behind its leading driver Mark Webber in the closing stages of the season, which has left both him and Vettel in contention for the crown at the final race of the season. Red Bull Racing's tactics have, however, left the team in a situation where if Vettel leads Webber home at the Yas Marina circuit – with main rival Fernando Alonso third – then the title will go to the Ferrari driver. That means the team could be put in a situation where the only way it can guarantee itself the drivers' crown as well as its constructors' title is to get Vettel to sacrifice the lead to his teammate.
Vettel himself drew short of confirming he would concede the win if required when asked by the media after the Brazilian Grand Prix, while Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner made it clear the team will not issue any team orders from the pitlane either.
"I don't think there are any difficult decisions to be made," Horner said about the situation. "We have two drivers that drive for the team, who have had tremendous support and equality this year. It would have been wrong to switch the drivers today, as both drivers have the chance of winning the World Championship.
"Nobody has a crystal ball, nobody can foresee what will happen next weekend and all along we have tried to do the best to support them equally. And of course if they find themselves in a situation where one, because he cannot win, needs to help the other then of course I can only imagine that they will do that. But it will have to be a driver decision. You only have to look at the characters of the individuals that drive for us to recognize that they will do the best to ensure the best team results."
When asked if he was sure Vettel would do the right thing if required, Horner said: "Ultimately it is their decision. They both drive for the team and I know that they will both do the best that they can in that situation, should it arise, for the team. Nobody has a crystal ball and nobody can predict what will happen in a week's time. Both drivers go into the race weekend with a genuine chance of taking the world title."
He added: "We will back both drivers equally and both drivers drive for the team. They will do whatever is right I am sure, at the end of the day, for the team. I have zero doubt about that. Had that situation occurred today, if Fernando had been ahead, then of course Sebastian would have done what was right for the team.
"But that was not the situation. Both drivers have taken valuable points off Fernando today and both go into Abu Dhabi eight points and 15 respectively behind – which in today's scoring we have seen can change quite quickly."
Vettel will win the championship if he wins the race in Abu Dhabi and Alonso fails to finish fourth or higher, while Webber will be champion if he wins and Alonso is no higher than third.