An irked Christian Horner has revealed he found out about Mark Webber’s decision to leave Red Bull only an hour before the rest of the world.
“I suppose an hour’s notice is a bit short,” the Briton told reporters at Silverstone.
“I think the guys at the factory would be disappointed to learn about it on the internet.”
Horner’s comments sparked immediate rumours of ill feeling as the Australian departs F1 for Porsche, with memories of the ‘Multi-21’ affair and strained relations with Sebastian Vettel and Helmut Marko still fresh.
“I informed Christian before the announcement which contractually I should do, so that’s what we did,” said Webber.
The 36-year-old said the way the news broke was not supposed to be a slight on his colleagues on the factory floor at Milton-Keynes.
“They’ve been superb for me on the floor there,” said Webber, “but Porsche were very keen to make the announcement. It was about Porsche and Mark Webber today.”
And in fact, it seems Red Bull’s billionaire owner – and key Webber ally – Dietrich Mateschitz knew about the plans well in advance.
A sponsorship deal for 2014 and beyond may even have been done during the week.
“It (Webber’s move) has been known by us for a few weeks,” Austrian Mateschitz is quoted by Speed Week.
“We have been talking about it quite a few times,” he added, amid reports Webber visited Mateschitz in Salzburg this week before returning to Britain.
“Mark will remain a part of the Red Bull family,” said Mateschitz.
© RIF | GMM