Red Bull will not ask Sebastian Vettel to play a supporting role in Mark Webber's quest to win the Formula 1 World Championship title, despite the German's own chances having dimmed when he suffered an engine failure in the Korean Grand Prix.
Vettel was forced to retire from the lead of the race, and whereas victory would have given him the World Championship lead, he is now fourth in the standings, 25 points behind Fernando Alonso and 14 behind teammate Webber.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it was too early for Vettel to give up on his own challenge, and that things could turn around quickly just as they had in Yeongam – where Webber began the race as the points leader before crashing out.
"As we saw in this race, at different points during the race, different drivers were leading this championship," Horner said. "We gave a big gift to Fernando today and as a team we need to look at that, but we've seen how quickly this can change.
"In last year's scoring there is only 10 points between Sebastian and Fernando and obviously Mark is even closer than that so our strategy will be to push both drivers. It would be wrong [to ask Vettel to do that]. Nobody has a crystal ball and if anybody could have predicted today's race I'm sure they would have done very, very well. This championship is not over until the last lap in Abu Dhabi and we will be pushing flat-out until that point in time."
Red Bull started the inaugural Korean F1 race with both its cars on the front row, and Horner admitted that it was a bitter experience to come away from the event with zero points.
"Sometimes motor racing can be cruel and for Red Bull it was one of those days," he said. "Sebastian and the team had done everything right, read the strategy and the conditions. He got himself in to a commanding position, almost in sight of the end of the race and then a catastrophic engine failure unfortunately denied us a certain race victory.
"Mark hasn't made many errors this year, but unfortunately made one today that cost him dearly. Mark is obviously bitterly upset with what happened today, but he will bounce back. After Valencia, which was the last time he had a DNF – he came back and won the next race. He'll bounce back at Brazil, it's a track he enjoys.
"Sebastian has been remarkably philosophical. He's dealt with that issue. It's cruel for him because it is not the first time and to lose a guaranteed victory right now is tough."