Saturday, 17 July 2010
Red Bull - Who should carry the can?
Is it any wonder that Adrian Newey has got no hair? You design a car which blows away the rest of the field, you've managed to bolt on the exhaust blown diffuser that you have been aspiring to perfect since the fateful, never seen McLaren MP4-18 of early 2003, and through a combination of unreliability and the complete implosion of the operational team that you're working with, all of your hard work is in grave danger of being frittered away,
The problems are many, and during the early season when reliability seemed the biggest problem at Red Bull, most notably when Sebastian Vettel had to nurse his ailing car home at the opening race of the season after earlier having held a comfortable lead at the front. Newey was on the receiving end of some flak for making a car which was so fast that it was fragile by design, but he is now no more than an innocent bystander, wincing through a crack in the energy station door as his hapless colleagues bounce from one crisis to another, seemingly intent on throwing their championship challenge away.
It would be an absolute travesty if this car did not win one, if not both, of the titles this term after it's early dominance. If they do fail, where will blame be most likely, and justifiably apportioned? Here is a rundown of the key actors in this comedy of errors turned horror show:
Dietrich Mateschitz - Team owner, has ploughed vast amounts of his own money into the team, and remains largely in the background, perhaps only his recruitment policy could be called into question.
Helmut Marko - Never has anyone involved in sport had a more appropriate christian name. His role at Red Bull Racing is murky, but every problem encountered at the team usually coincides with his pearls of wisdom. Publicly blamed Webber for the crash at the Turkish GP, outwardly favours Vettel (likely due to the fact that he is a product of the Red Bull young driver programme), and seems to constantly make contradictory public statements about the team's affairs.
Christian Horner - Until recently, you would have had difficulty finding anyone involved in F1 who had a bad word to say about team principal Horner, but his thinly veiled suggestions that Mark Webber was to blame for the collision at Istanbul Park that cost his team the 1-2 saw his man management skills called into question for the first time. That, followed by the almost unfathomable decision at Silverstone, to take the surviving upgraded front wing from Webber's car and hand it to Vettel, without offering Webber any explanation in advance, has opened up many more questions about his leadership amongst even the most loyal Red Bull apologists.
Drivers - You couldn't conduct this discussion without analysing the drivers role in this debacle; Vettel, by the admission of people far more qualified than I, should have taken the lion's share of the blame for the Istanbul cock up, rather than parading around the run off area at turn twelve, gesticulating that Webber had lost the plot. As for Webber, there are only so many times that you can make a rash statement to the world's media and then retract them, citing "heat of the moment stuff", before you become a liability.
The fact of the matter is, is that none of the protagonists of the sorry affair come out with much credit, and if I were in their position, I would watch my back. Mateschitz has already shown that he is willing to put his money where his mouth is when he brought in Newey and the design team and should he find himelf in a position where he feels his operational staff, or indeed his drivers, are holding the team back, then expect heads to roll.
You can find me on Twitter: @daimccann