Red Bull duo have to split, says Briatore
26 March 2013 – Former Benetton and Renault team boss Flavio Briatore believes that Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber must part ways at the end of the 2013 Formula 1 season if Red Bull is to retain its place at the top of the Formula 1 pecking order, with the pair embroiled in a controversial team order row at last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.
Vettel ignored repeated instructions from the Red Bull pit wall to hold position behind team-mate Webber in the closing stages of the race, going on to claim the victory and push an already strained relationship to the limit. Briatore, who has long played a role in Webber's management, is certain that Vettel’s actions will signal a split for 2014.
"That's for sure," Briatore explained to Italy's RAI Radio when asked if he expected Vettel or Webber to leave Red Bull at the end of the season. "Their car is very competitive so the drivers want to stay there, but it [the Malaysian Grand Prix] was proof that no one is in charge at Red Bull. Vettel is the boss. You can't have a team manager also doing the driving.
"I don't think there's a relationship anymore. It was already very formal between the two drivers. Now Vettel says he will help Mark, but Mark doesn't need help. He should have won the race and it's possible that Vettel will win all of the other races."
Briatore went on to criticise Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, explaining that he showed weakness by not stepping onto the podium for his outfit's first win of 2013.
"Normally the Team Principal goes onto the podium for the first race victory of the season," Briatore commented. "Christian didn't even have the strength to go on the podium, because they are scared with a driver in charge instead of the manager.
"You would go if you win the championship or the first race, and after that you would send a Race Engineer or your Technical Director. The fact that Christian did not go after scoring a one-two finish says a lot about his weakness compared to the others."