Red Bull to reduce the use of team orders after Sebastian Vettel row

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
F1: When team-mates fall out

Red Bull will reduce the use of team orders after owner Dietrich Mateschitz intervened in the Sebastian Vettel row.

Mateschitz has agreed with principal Christian Horner that Red Bull will change how they use the orders.

Horner said: "I had discussions with Dietrich and we agreed that Red Bull is not a fan of team orders.

"Therefore we will not impose team orders at the end of a race. However, we expect the drivers to act on the information they have from the team."

Vettel has apologised for disregarding an order not to pass team-mate Mark Webber to win in Malaysia last month, but has said he would "probably" do the same again.

Horner visited Mateschitz in Austria last Thursday where they discussed the situation.

Mateschitz is opposed to team orders on principle and wants to see the drivers race, as befits Red Bull's sporting philosophy.

But Horner said Mateschitz understood the complications in F1, where teams are often managing problems such as rapidly degrading tyres, or concerns over reliability.

Horner said Red Bull expected the drivers to "act in the best interests of the team because that is what they are employed to do - not only race for themselves but race and respect the interests of the team".

The situation in Malaysia was exacerbated by the long history of competitive tension between Vettel and Webber.

Vettel mentioned on Thursday ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix that he had "never had support" from Webber.

That is not strictly true, as there have been a number of situations in the past when Webber has obeyed team orders not to challenge Vettel when he felt he could have passed him.

However, there have also been times when Webber has ignored team orders not to challenge Vettel - and the team felt he was less than helpful in last year's championship-deciding Brazilian Grand Prix after being asked to support the German's fight with rival Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.

Red Bull have considered the situation within their team in the light of the Malaysia controversy and realised that they will as a result effectively be unable to force either driver to help the other in future.

So they are planning to try to run Vettel and Webber as two rivals who just happen to operate out of the same garage.

It was McLaren failing to do this that led to them losing control of the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Alonso when they were team-mates in 2007 - which cost both men a title either could have won.

It remains to be seen whether this will be a successful strategy or will end up hurting Red Bull's challenge in the long term.

Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, who is also Alonso's manager, has said recently that he feels the row at Red Bull will only benefit the Spaniard's title challenge.

Asked on Thursday for his views on Briatore's comments, Alonso said with a smile: "What Flavio says is always the truth. So once more I agree. He is a very clever guy and I agree with everything he says."