Motorsport: Drivers lock horns at Red Bull

Mark Webber doesn't bother to mask his fury at race winner Sebastian Vettel after the Malaysian Grand Prix. Photo / Getty Images
Mark Webber doesn't bother to mask his fury at race winner Sebastian Vettel after the Malaysian Grand Prix. Photo / Getty Images

Mark Webber has returned to Australia to consider his future as the corrosive atmosphere within his Red Bull Formula One team hits an all-time low.

Webber accused Red Bull of protecting teammate Sebastian Vettel after the German disobeyed team orders and passed the Australian on Sunday to steal victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Vettel was contrite later, admitting, "I f***** up," but Webber was furious and returned to Queensland to think about his future.

He said he would cut off all contact with the team during his break.

"I think it's very early days right now. It's very raw, obviously, and we need to work out how the team goes best forwards from here," Webber said.

The situation was reversed two years ago when it was Webber who defied team orders in an attempt to pass Vettel in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

At the time, Webber said: "Of course I ignored the team as I want to try to get another place."

The pair also clashed at the Turkish GP in 2010 and the Japanese GP in 2007 when Vettel was driving for Red Bull's sister team Torro Rosso.

Vettel apologised for not respecting orders but, when asked if he was now considering his future with the team, Webber said: "My mind, in the last 15 laps, was thinking [about] that." Webber was sceptical whether Vettel would be admonished by the team because he would "have protection as usual".

Vettel's determination was already felt when he told the team via radio in mid-race that "Mark is too slow - get him out of the way". But Webber stood his ground and Vettel was rebuffed by Christian Horner immediately after his passing move when the team boss told him: "This is silly."

Behind the pair, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg obeyed an order to stay in fourth behind Lewis Hamilton although he had the faster car and was clearly frustrated afterwards.

However, Hamilton said the situation was wrong and his podium place belonged to Rosberg.

Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion, and former driver Martin Brundle both said any previous trust between the two Red Bull drivers would have evaporated, creating a dilemma for the team.

-AAP

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