Red Bull's Christian Horner denies Mark Webber conspiracy

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Chinese GP: Mark Webber's weekend to forget

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has rejected suggestions of a team conspiracy against Mark Webber.

Webber had a problem-hit race in China, when a lack of fuel in the car in qualifying put him at the back of the grid and a wheel fell off in the race.

Asked about the idea that Red Bull might be trying to hamper Webber, Horner said: "That is complete rubbish.

"Forget conspiracy. It is all about trying to get two cars to finish as high as we can."

Webber's problems came in the first race following the team orders row at Red Bull in Malaysia.

His team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who is regarded as being the team's favoured driver, had ignored an order not to pass Webber to win in Malaysia and, although the German has since apologised, he said in China he would "probably" do the same again.

Red Bull have said they will reduce the use of team orders in future.

Following Webber's difficulties in qualifying in China, when the car stopped out on the track and was later found not to have enough fuel in it to provide the required sample, there were suggestions the issue had conveniently ensured Webber was kept away from Vettel in the race.

Webber was forced to retire from the grand prix when his right rear wheel came off because it had not been correctly secured at a pit stop. It narrowly missed Vettel's car, which was passing at the time.

Red Bull were fined 5,000 euros (£4,262) for an unsafe release from the pits.

Horner said: "Anybody that thinks there is a conspiracy here against one or either or any drivers doesn't know what they are looking at."

The team blamed a problem with a refuelling rig that had delivered three too few litres into the car.

When it was pointed out Webber had avoided answering a question about why it had happened, Horner said: "Mark knows exactly what happened. Exactly. That's it. There is no conspiracy."

Horner said the equipment - a fuel 'bowser' - would be examined back at the team's factory to assess what had gone wrong.

Webber, who has a three-place grid penalty in Bahrain this weekend for colliding with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne to trigger the pit stop that led to his problem, admitted China had been a weekend to forget for him.

"You could not script it, could you?" he said.

He added: "They know there were a lot of things on the weekend, some in my hands but a lot of them out of my hands.

"Red Bull are a world-class team. They know there are small things we can focus on, incremental steps here and there."

When it was pointed out that Red Bull had not looked world-class in China, he said: "We had some problems which can happen. But as a complete team we don't want to make a habit of those."

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