Rivalry between Drivers . Red Bull Formula 1 2010

July 15, 2010


river rivalry – what else is new The 2010 Formula One season certainly is the season of stormy relations between team colleagues, the relation between Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel reached its boiling point last weekend after the team decided to take the newly developed front wing of Webber’s car and simply bolted it on Vettel’s car to replace the one Vettel had damaged during free practice. Webber was furious and even said he regretted signing a new one- year contract with the Red Bull team. Webber did the only thing he could do, he won the British Grand Prix, left the competition including Vettel miles behind him, and during a moment of sweet revenge couldn’t help himself shouting over the radio when he crossed the finish line: "Not bad for a number two driver!"

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Mark Webber, winner of the 2010 British GP.

Earlier this year Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton also had some problems, and at Ferrari (although they deny it) there is also something going on. Fernando Alonso overtook Felipe Massa in the pit lane entrance in China and almost pushed him into the gravel trap, and last weekend Alonso hit Massa from behind and punctured his rear tyre when he didn’t get out of his way fast enough, and the pair is rarely seen talking to each other. Rivalry between team mates is as old as the sport itself, and in some cases it resulted in a complete on and off track declaration of war.
In 1981 Williams drivers Carlos Reutemann and Alan Jones had their problems after Jones won the title in 1980 and became first driver. During the 1981 Brazilian GP Reutemann ignored team orders and went on to win the race, after that their relationship went even more sour. Reutemann later said he wanted ‘to bury the hatchet’ which led to Jones’ classic comment: "Yeah, in your back."
Ferrari drivers Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi clashed during the San Marino GP in 1982. Pironi seemingly ignored team orders and overtook Villeneuve to take the win, Villeneuve was so upset he left the podium after he had collected his second place trophy, and vowed never to speak to Pironi again. Two weeks later he was killed during the qualification of the Belgium GP, which left Pironi with the eternal burden and stigma of being ‘a traitor who killed Villeneuve’. Pironi died in 1987 during a off-shore powerboat accident.
Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell had problems when they drove for Williams, Piquet didn’t expect Mansell would be such a strong opponent, but he was, which resulted in a polemic of mutual offences. Piquet went way over the line when he commented Mansell’s wife was ‘an unattractive woman’. Many still believe this internal struggle cost Williams the title. Alain Prost and Mansell drove for Ferrari in 1990, but again the relationship went sour, Ferrari’s internal politics intensified the tension between the two, and there were numerous cases of favoritism when the team gave Prost the best car and aero parts.

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Ayrton Senna leading 1994 San Marino GP prior to his fatal crash.

Prost and Ayrton Senna drove for McLaren in 1988 and 1989, and this was by far the most famous battle between team mates. In the beginning McLaren pretended there was a healthy rivalry between the two drivers, but it soon became apparent the relationship was anything but healthy. This resulted in the famous crash in 1989 during the Japanese GP, when Prost didn’t give Senna enough room at the last chicane, and the pair collided. Prost retired from the race, but Senna managed to get going again with the help of the marshals and won the race, and as he thought at that moment, the championship as well.
But hours after the race the FIA Stewards concluded Senna had cut off the chicane and disqualified him from the race, which meant Prost won the championship. Senna was furious and accused FIA President Jean-Marie Balestre of corruption and favoritism. Senna returned the favor to Prost in 1990, when he, again during the Japanese GP, ran Prost in his Ferrari off the track right after the start, both drivers ended up in the gravel trap, but this time it was Senna who won the championship.
And that takes us right back to 2010, there are some similarities between the Prost/Senna feud and the Webber/Vettel and the Hamilton/Button feuds, back in those days many insiders believed it just not such a great idea to have two champions, or champions to be, in one team. It often results in a clash between two big egos, which in the end can cost a team the title. Hopefully that will not happen with Red Bull and McLaren, but both teams will have to make sure the situation as it is now will not escalate
Copyright. Motorsport Magazine.com 2010. All Rights Reserved


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