Sebastian Vettel needs to accept the reality of a number 2 role for the good of Red Bull’s 2010 title chances.
That is the claim of former triple world champion and outspoken commentator Niki Lauda, following reports the young German is reluctant to give up the chase for his first title in deference to the team’s points leader Mark Webber.
The news also follows boss Christian Horner’s insistence that the team will “support both (drivers) equally” in Brazil and Abu Dhabi “in line with Red Bull’s credible sporting ethos”.
But with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso leading the championship and fully backed by his teammate Felipe Massa, Lauda said Red Bull’s policy is a road to failure.
“Red Bull needs to establish the team hierarchy now,” the great Austrian is quoted by Bild newspaper.
“If they don’t get behind Mark Webber, they may have to go without the title.”
Lauda’s only concern is that the exercising of team orders within Red Bull is done in a way that does not “cheat the spectators”.
Jos Verstappen, who in the mid-90s at Benetton was Michael Schumacher’s number 2, agrees that Vettel should be playing that role now.
“Purely mathematically, he has a chance to be champion. But as a team they really have to put everything behind Webber.
“He (Webber) has a better chance of winning the title,” the Dutchman wrote in his column for De Telegraaf newspaper.
“Of course it’s a difficult position for Red Bull, as the whole world knows who they would prefer to be in the best position.
“It’s unfortunate for Vettel, but with his engine failure in Korea his championship did literally go up in smoke,” added Verstappen.
But Horner sounds unlikely to have a change of heart, telling the BBC he finds it “frustrating” that 7 points of leader Alonso’s 11 point lead was due to inheriting the German grand prix win from his teammate Massa.
“It (losing the title to Alonso) would be frustrating because we’ve obviously worked under the auspices that team orders have been illegal,” he told BBC radio.
© RIF | GMM