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Red Bull hits back at Briatore claims

NEWS STORY
27/03/2013

Red Bull has dismissed Flavio Briatore's claim that one of its current drivers will leave the team at season end in the wake of last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Italian, who manages Mark Webber, has claimed that the situation at Milton Keynes is beyond repair and that the Austrian outfit will be unable to retain the two drivers for 2014.

Ignoring the fact that Webber is on a one-year contract, that he is approaching, ahem, thirty-seven, and that Briatore was forced to leave the sport in disgrace following the infamous Crash-gate scandal, the fact is that with three titles to his name Sebastian Vettel would have to do something pretty awful in order to be dropped.

"We are two races into the current season and it's far too early to be talking about 2014," the Austrian team is understood to have told the BBC. "Mark and Seb have driven together since 2009 and the pairing has achieved 35 wins, 80 podiums, 13 one-two finishes and six Formula 1 world championships.

"This successful period includes some spells of intense on-track rivalry between the two drivers, which began in Turkey 2010 and has seen both drivers ignoring team orders at different times.

The team has managed the situation each time in its own way behind closed doors," the team continued. "It's pure speculation that Mark will not drive with the team in 2014. Mark's contract has been renewed for the last few years on an annual basis - he has continually chosen to drive for the team each year and the team has similarly wanted to continue working with him, as he is an excellent driver and a competitive racer."

The team also rejected Briatore's claim that the fact Christian Horner didn't attend the podium ceremony was a sign of weakness and a break with protocol.

"It is one person's opinion that the team principal must go to the podium for the team's first win of the year," said the Austrian outfit. "Christian has not previously always attended the first win podium and Lotus also did not send their team principal to the podium in Australia so this is irrelevant.

"A 'weak' team principal would be unable to steer a team to three consecutive world championships and oversee and manage the extensive teamwork that goes into this achievement - while managing two talented racers. This feat has only ever been achieved by four teams in the entire history of the sport."

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