The 2020 Formula 1 season has not yet started, but that does not mean there is nothing to report. This time we remember an event that led to great controversy between teammates, the team itself and the entire F1 world. What's more, this controversy is well remembered and known throughout the world of motorsport. We are talking about the famous team order called "Multi 21". This was done at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix at the Red Bull team. Today we will remember it because it was a day like today of that year. Anyway, what happened in that race?
It turns out that the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix was the second date of that year's championship. The first race was held in Australia, but the Austrian team had not performed well that weekend, so Ferrari had accumulated quite a few points compared to Red Bull. Recall that those of Milton Keynes came from winning three championships in a row (2010, 2011 and 2012), both constructors’ and drivers’ so they wanted to continue their streak. In Malaysia, Red Bull had a lot of advantage compared to its closest rival, which was Mercedes. The Red Bull drivers of that time (Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel) were 1-2 in the last laps of the Grand Prix and did not have the slightest threat of losing the lead or second place, as they had a great advantage with the other rivals. Seb (who was in P2) was approaching to his teammate very fast (Webber was running in P1). Seb was willing to pass him to make it his victory, however Seb's race engineer told him on the radio "Multi 21". What was this referring to? The team order meant that car number 2 (Mark Webber's) had to finish ahead of car 1 (Seb's). Why was Seb ordered this? There were two reasons, the first was because his tires were not in excellent condition to attack a car for a position, so if Seb attacked, his tires were at risk of even more wear. The second reason was the most obvious, because if Seb or Webber had made a false move, chances are that the two Red Bull cars would have collided, and the Austrian team would have left the Malaysian Grand Prix without points.
With all this explained, comes the controversy. One lap after Vettel's race engineer told him about this team order, the German rider did not hesitate for a second and decided to attack his teammate, risking his manoeuvre to end badly. Fortunately, nothing happened and Seb took the lead in the race. Mark Webber was obviously angry, for the victory would have been his if Seb followed the team's order. When the Australian saw Vettel in his mirror preparing his overtaking manoeuvre, Webber decided not to fight for position and resigned himself to second position, as he did not want an accident to happen. Having lost the lead, Webber commented on the radio "good teamwork." After the culmination of the Malaysian Grand Prix, the three podium riders (Hamilton at P3, Webber at P2 and Seb at P1) were in the room where they normally drink water, wipe sweat and prepare to climb onto the podium. At that time things got tense, as Webber commented to Seb "Multi 21 Seb, Multi 21" referring to the fact that the German did not respect the team order and the victory would have been his.
There are theories that Vettel decided to attack his teammate because at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, the German was fighting for the championship, but at the start, Vettel was hit by a car and spun, making it even more difficult his comeback to win the championship. The German blamed Webber for not giving him enough space.
"Everything comes from Brazil 2012. Seb was playing the Championship and at the start he thought that I did not leave him enough space, he did not forget that." Mark Webber commented.
Seb for his part commented that his stay at Red Bull with Mark Webber as a teammate was not the most pleasant: "Mark and I were together for many years, but ... I don't think we worked well together!"
After the controversy of the race, Red Bull told Webber that they had already notified Seb of the team order, however, the German did not respect it. Anyway, 7 years have passed since that race and it is still a topic of conversation for racing fans.