The Vettel-Webber war and the Multi 21: Red Bull already knows how to deal with friendly fire

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Throughout the history of Formula 1, squad orders have often been instrumental in defining leagues. There are pilots who accept that secondary role; Perhaps the most emblematic was that of Philip Massa with Michael Schumacher. But many others rebel against their leaders and start internal wars.

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Red Bull could face a season in which the only competitor of Max Verstappen seems to be Sergius Czech perez, his escort to one point after two runs. But it wouldn’t be the first indoor battle for the Austrian team, who experienced a fierce fight between themselves a decade ago Sebastian Vettel AND Mark Webber what went down in history as “Multi 21”.

Occurred on March 24, 2013 inside Malaysian Grand Prix. Victory went to the then three-time German champion, although Red Bull’s wish was for the Australian to win, second at four seconds and 298 thousandths and ahead of the new Mercedes duo, Lewis Hamilton AND Nico Rosbergwho were the main rivals in the preview of that World Cup and, curiously, they would have been the protagonists in the following years of the last great confrontation between teammates.

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That day at the Sepang International Circuit, located about 40 kilometers south of Kuala Lumpur, the teams’ main concern was to avoid tire degradation due to Malaysia’s intense humid heat. Therefore, as Vettel started from pole position but was soon escorted by Webber, Red Bull gave the team the order to hold positions into the second race of the season to avoid another pit stop and maintain the 1-2 lead .

sebastian, multimap 21, multimap 21. And look at your tires, please…it was heard during the radio communication between Vettel and his track engineer.

Come on Sebastian, you have to give him space, hold your ground. – they reiterated.

The silence of the German who then he has won three F1 titles but is only 23 years old The result was an unexpected overtaking maneuver for Webber -13 laps to go-, who was told that Vettel had been warned to stay second. That’s basically what the code the engineers came up with meant: “Multi 21” indicate that car number 2 -of Webber- had to finish the race ahead of car number 1 -of Vettel-while when he was told “Multi 12” they were to end up in reverse, with the German ahead of the Australian.

“Good team work guys”

What happened on the track that day didn’t stay on track. First, because the communication between the pilots and their engineers was listened to during the broadcast. “Good team work”Webber released when he saw his partner’s attack and avoided contact, which would have taken them out of competition. “We told him, Mark, we told him”they answered from the paddock.

There, a young Christian Horner, who had been chosen to lead the new Red Bull team in 2005, said to Vettel after the checkered flag: “Great job Sebastian, great job. It seemed like I wanted it too much. There will still be some explanation to be done.”.

The Red Bulls, wheel against wheel.  It was a brilliant and risky maneuver by Vettel, which angered Webber.  Photo EFE/EPA/HAZRIN YEOB MEN SHAH

The Red Bulls, wheel against wheel. It was a brilliant and risky maneuver by Vettel, which angered Webber. Photo EFE/EPA/HAZRIN YEOB MEN SHAH

Once out of the cars, the drivers met before getting on the podium and, despite the presence of the cameras, the Australian, who was 35 at the time, scolded his teammate: “Multi 21, Seb. Yes, Multi 21″. The German didn’t argue and continued to watch him finish a bottle of water. Meanwhile, the podium was one of the most tense in memory.

After getting off, Vettel and Webber had a chat, in which the former mainly spoke. “He told me we would discuss it between the two of us with the team, he told me the most important thing was that we had won as a team. The next 48 hours were very tough.the Australian revealed some time later.

In front of the media, the German said that day: Soon after, I apologized to the team for putting myself above them.which I didn’t mean to do. There isn’t much more to say. I make no apologies for winningI think that’s why these people signed me up and why I’m here. I like racing and that’s what I do.”.

The first star to emerge from the Red Bull young driver academy won his fourth World Championship that year and those seven points difference weren’t decisive because he got them 155 points ahead of Fernando Alonso (Ferrari). Webber, who was third at 198, retired late in the season.

Some context: Was it a rematch?

They weren’t even teammates when they made their first crossbreed in Japan in 2007. It was the fifteenth F1 race for Vettel, who had made his debut that year at Toro Rosso, while Webber had moved to Red Bull from Williams.

Affected by the rain and poor visibility of Fuji, the German engaged a rookie mistake and, with the safety car on the track, he crashed into the Australian. “They’re kids, aren’t they? And kids have no experience. You do a good job and then someone comes along and ruins it.”The Australian said, enraged, because the two (who were looking for the podium) were out of the race for that touch.

Three years later, already as companions on a Red Bull that for the first time he had a chance to become champion, the competition between them was tight and the clash in Turkey when they were fighting for victory was a turning point in their relationship; it also undermined Webber’s confidence in the team.

On 30 May 2010 the Australian finished championship leader and a two match winning streak. In Istanbul, as if that weren’t enough, he took pole position and was the leader when he was ordered to slow down to save fuel, which caused Vettel to close in and go overtaking on lap 40. But when he was overtaking him on the left, his car skidded and caused the collision. Webber managed to continue on the track and finish third, while the German retired and as soon as he got off the Red Bull, helmet still on, he started gesturing in a circle with his index finger on his head to indicate that her partner was crazy.

Nobody backed Webber. Helmut Marko, the historian and still adviser of Red Bull, also justified Vettel why “I had to attack”. “When I saw Sebastian’s hugs on the pit wall on TV, I started to have serious doubts about who would blame Red Bull.”recounted the Australian in his autobiography Australian gritreleased in 2015. What happened after that Grand Prix was the creation of the Multi Mar 21 and Multi Map 12 code.

It wasn’t the only match of that World Championship, the first won by the lucky duo Vettel and Red Bull but in which Webber was 14 points behind. At Silverstone three races later, the German broke his front wing in practice and the team gave him the front wing of the Australian’s car, who took his revenge by winning the British GP. “Not bad for a number 2”he expressed sarcastically. Later, in Aussie Grit, he detailed: “There was a sequence of four races in mid-2010, from Istanbul to Silverstone, which marked the beginning of the end of my positive feelings at Red Bull Racing.”.

While the following season was a walkover for Vettel, who won his second title with 392 points against Jenson Button (McLaren)’s 270 and Webber’s 258, the 2012 season was decided in favor of the German in the last test, in Interlagos. There he staged a remarkable comeback after spinning after being hit by Bruno Senna on the first lap, finishing sixth and taking the title by just three points over Fernando Alonso, who failed to pass Button by 2.754 seconds. thousandths. Brazil.

“Everything comes from Brazil 2012. Seb played in the championship and At first he thought I didn’t give him enough space, he hasn’t forgotten thatsaid Webber – on whom his friendship with Alonso weighed in judging him for the Interlagos affair – after what happened in Malaysia in 2013.

Five years later, Horner confessed on the F1 podcast, Beyond the gridand resolved the doubts: “It probably culminated at the end of 2012 when Sebastian was battling Alonso for the title and Mark cornered him against the pit wall at the start of Brazil in the deciding round. Sebastian was hugely pissed about it. It was a rematch of the one won in Malaysia, two races later, separated by four or five months..

Source: Clarin

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