This week’s drama appears to be centered on Christian Horner’s remarks concerning Fernando Alonso and his negative impact on the teams he has been a part of throughout his career. The Briton accused the double world champion to ‘cause a bit of chaos everywhere he goes’, which triggered the person involved to react (almost) instantly on Twitter.
However, it seems flamboyantly evident that the Red Bull Racing team has been far from avoiding chaotic situations during its short-stretched history. What happened in the second half of the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix pops up as an adequate and accurate example of inconvenient intra-team shenanigans. Vettel’s iconic disobedience to the order coming from the pit wall went down in the F1 Annales under the name of ‘Multi 21’, whose behind-the-scenes have been recently revealed by Horner himself in Formula 1’s brand new ‘Beyond The Grid’ podcast hosted by Tom Clarkson.
It emerged that Vettel had been eager to get his payback on teammate Mark Webber since the 2012 Brazilian GP, where he claimed his third world title following a tense and eventful race.
"Sebastian was fighting Alonso for the championship and Mark squeezed him up against the pit wall in Brazil in the championship decider. That ultimately resulted in (Vettel) getting turned around by Bruno Senna. Sebastian was hugely angry about that…Because we discussed it before the race, that Mark wasn’t in the championship - do everything possible to support your teammate.”
"But then there was a hangover of that that led into Malaysia. Literally two races later, split by about four months. So then you’ve got a situation where Mark’s in the car ahead, Sebastian on new tyres in the car behind. The tyres were pretty fragile, we’re telling them ‘right, hold position’ ... and Sebastian thought ‘f*** you.’"
There you have it. Vettel’s vindictive and untamable desire of payback translated into on-track actions, which had been silently cooking up for months. The Multi 21 episode is among the most dramatic fights between teammates at Red Bull and Horner’s late gave it a whole different flavour, as it was revenge-driven. The most plausible interpretation back in 2013 was orbiting around Vettel’s ferocious hunger for success, which caused him to ignore the team order, but we may now bin that hypothesis and realise that, as Horner debunked the deed, it was just part of an immature scheme woven by Vettel’s mind.