SYDNEY: Mark Webber is not considering his future in Formula One and will drive in next month’s Chinese Grand Prix despite a strained relationship with Sebastian Vettel, his father said.
The Australian, 36, was incensed when his Red Bull teammate defied orders and overtook him to snatch victory in last Sunday’s Malaysia Grand Prix.
He returned to Australia for some reflection and was reported to be contemplating missing the April 14 Chinese Grand Prix, but his father Alan said his son would be on the Shanghai starting grid.
“We’ll be up in China for the next one,” Alan Webber told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
After the race Vettel said “I’m not proud I did it” and Webber’s father said he believed the triple world champion was sincere, but the damage to the already fractured relationship had been done.
“I think it will take a while to earn the respect and trust again,” he said.
Webber said it was not just his son who was upset with Vettel, pointing out that the Britain-based Red Bull team had also expressed their displeasure.
“Sebastian disobeyed team orders and most, if not all the team, are disappointed with him,” he said.
“Up and down pit lane Mark has not lost any credibility at all. It’s probably Sebastian who has lost an awful lot.”
Alan Webber said Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz had confirmed his son’s position on the team was “assured”.
Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has warned that the incident could come back to haunt Red Bull.
“Let’s assume that these two guys are in a position to win the championship at the end of the year, then there is no way that Mark is going to help Sebastian,” Ecclestone told Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
“So Sebastian has to think about that. Maybe there will be a stage when he would like Mark to help him, but I don’t think Mark is going to come up front and do it.”
Webber and Vettel have a strained relationship, with the Australian openly questioning the support he gets from the team hierarchy, compared to that the German receives.
After the Malaysia race there were none of the customary team celebrations on the pit wall and Vettel received lukewarm congratulations from his colleagues.
Webber showed Vettel his disgust prior to the podium presentation at Sepang, pointing to Red Bull’s implicit race instructions over the team radio.
Following a heated exchange in the team garage, both drivers scowled their way through the victory podium ceremony before the race fans.
“I think it’s very early days right now, it’s very raw, obviously, and we need to work out how the team best goes forward from here,” Mark Webber said after the race. “That’s obviously going to be discussed this week.
“I will be in Australia on my surfboard, the phone won’t be engaged. We’ll see what happens.”
There is a history of bad blood going back to Vettel’s crash with Webber at the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix that ended the German’s race and wrecked the Australian’s chance of victory.
Vettel leads the drivers’ championship on 40 points, with Webber third on 26. Red Bull is also on top of the constructors’ standings with 66 points.