F1: Webber Initially Ignored Team Orders; Future To Be Discussed 'In Private' Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Jul, 12 2011 | 0 Comments

Mark Webber has admitted to deliberately ignoring Red Bull's imposition of team orders in the closing laps of the British Grand Prix.

The Australian revealed that he received four or five calls from his engineer to back away from teammate Sebastian Vettel, before team boss Christian Horner sternly issued the terse order to "maintain your position".

Briton Horner said immediately that while Webber will be frustrated, he "should be fine" with the team strategy.

"I am not fine with it, no," Webber said. "I ignored the team as I wanted to try and get another place."

The situation has rekindled memories of last year's in-fighting about equality between Vettel and Webber, and brought into renewed focus the fact that the latter's contract is yet to be renewed for 2012.

"Well, I cannot change that - that's part of such actions," championship leader Vettel told F1's official website after the Silverstone incident.

Asked if the situation might affect Webber's contract negotiations with Red Bull, Horner - who admitted he was "surprised" with the driver's attitude - said at Silverstone: "I sincerely hope not.

"It's something he and I will talk about in private," added the team principal.



Raikkonen No Longer Red Bull Candidate: Horner

Kimi Raikkonen is no longer a candidate for a race seat at Red Bull, team boss Christian Horner has said.

Last year, the 2007 world champion - who left F1 in 2009 and has since been racing in the world rally championship as well as NASCAR - was linked with a return to F1 with the energy drink's premier team.

Red Bull's Austrian broadcaster Servus last week conducted a viewer survey about who should be Sebastian Vettel's teammate next year.

Mark Webber received 26.2 per cent of the vote, ahead of Finn and former Ferrari and McLaren driver Raikkonen with 26.1. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button received 17.4 and 16.4pc of the vote respectively.

"Kimi is a great driver," Horner is quoted by Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, "but I believe he has put F1 behind him."



Friendly wager shows Alguersuari back in favour

Jaime Alguersuari is back in favour at Toro Rosso, according to the Spanish press.

Very recently, the 21-year-old was heavily tipped to make way at the Red Bull junior team for Daniel Ricciardo.

But the Spaniard Alguersuari then achieved consecutive points finishes in Canada and Valencia, reportedly spurring Red Bull's driver manager Helmut Marko to instead find a place at HRT for Ricciardo's mid-season debut.

At Toro Rosso, Alguersuari is now fully back in favour, with a third consecutive points finish at Silverstone compounding his new status.

According to Spanish sports daily AS, Marko and Alguersuari had a friendly wager before the British Grand Prix.

"If you score tomorrow (Sunday), I'll pay you double for the points you score, but if you don't, you give me a case of my favourite Spanish wine," Marko reportedly told the youngster.



Red Bull to decide 2012 Toro Rosso lineup - Tost

Franz Tost has admitted team owner Red Bull will decide Toro Rosso's 2012 driver lineup.

A mid-season driver change had been expected for the energy drink's secondary team this year, but Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi duly upped their game and have kept their places for now.

Red Bull's rising star Daniel Ricciardo therefore made his debut last weekend for the struggling Spanish team HRT, but a full-time place at Toro Rosso is regarded as likely for the 22-year-old Australian next season.

"He can't drive for Toro Rosso (in 2011) because we have two race drivers who are doing a good job," confirmed team boss Tost to redbull.com.

"What our driver pairing will be in 2012, I don't know yet. This will be decided by Red Bull at the end of the season."



Ferrari-powered signatures end exhaust saga for now

Ferrari and Sauber brought an end to the exhaust blowing saga that marred the British Grand Prix weekend.

The teams rowed at Silverstone about the FIA's clampdown and how it could be equitably applied to the four engine manufacturer's distinct V8 engines.

Ultimately, Charlie Whiting proposed to scrap the clampdown and simply revert to the Valencia setup, where changing engine settings between qualifying and the race were banned but off-throttle blowing was unrestricted.

Williams initially opposed the reversion but eventually signed the letter of unanimity, leaving Ferrari-powered Ferrari and Sauber yet to agree.

"We thought primarily of the image and the fans of Formula One," Sauber managing director Monisha Kaltenborn told Auto Motor und Sport, explaining the Swiss team's eventual change of heart.

"We are glad that we now have an agreement," she added.

In the pages of La Stampa, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali agreed: "These stories, with everyone thinking only of what advantage they can get, are not good.

"For this reason we kept a low profile. Without thinking about what we will or will not lose, we have signed the agreement to return to what we had before Silverstone," he confirmed.



Renault looks to scrap front-exit exhausts

Renault is looking to debut an all-new exhaust design in response to its slide in performance since the FIA's clampdown.

Even though the rules will return to their Valencia specification in the wake of the off-track saga at Silverstone, the Enstone based team was already struggling on the streets of the Spanish port city.

It was at Valencia that teams were no longer allowed to change engine maps before the race, with Renault previously one of the most aggressive in running special qualifying modes to maximise their innovative front-exiting exhausts.

Red Bull designer Adrian Newey said Renault has been the most affected by the clampdown on off-throttle blowing so far.

"There is no other reason to have the exhausts exit so far forward," he said.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said on Sunday that the team is therefore devising a more conventional exhaust layout, with boss Eric Boullier hinting it may be ready for the Nurburgring in two weeks.

"We have some good developments coming, which unfortunately were not available for Silverstone but will be ready when we reach Nurburgring," said Boullier.

"These will take our performance forward, of that I am convinced."

Conversely, it is tempting to assume that Ferrari's return to victory on the same weekend as the full FIA clampdown was no coincidence.

But winner Fernando Alonso doesn't think so, and he is therefore not nervous about the rules returning to Valencia specification in Germany and beyond.

"For me, nothing. I don't think it was a big factor," said the Spaniard, who won on Sunday with a new package for the 150 Italia and without having to use the hard slick tyre.



Renault team could lose Renault power in 2012 - report

Rumours about the health of the team currently known as Renault refused to disappear at Silverstone.

Boss Eric Boullier recently dismissed the rumours, hinting that they were triggered mischievously at Monaco by his predecessor Flavio Briatore.

But six weeks later, there was once again similar talk in the paddock of the British Grand Prix, not long after Williams was announced as engine supplier Renault Sport's newest partner team for 2012 and beyond.

Apart from the continuing naming connection, a customer engine contract and their historical links, the French marque is no longer involved with the Lotus-sponsored Renault team.

And Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the team might even be powered by Cosworth engines next year.

"This is fiercely denied by those in charge," the magazine acknowledged.

However, the Williams situation is perhaps relevant, particularly with the fanfare of the Renault engine announcement involving former works champions Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve at the team's Grove headquarters last week.

As for Lotus Renault, "poor results and apparently still pending payments for the engines do not make things any better", Auto Motor und Sport added.


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