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Horner rubbishes conspiracy claims

NEWS STORY
14/04/2013

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has reacted angrily to claims that there is a conspiracy against Mark Webber within the team.

Yesterday, following the Australian's problem in qualifying which saw him run out of fuel and subsequently excluded from the session and banished to the back of the grid there were suggestions in some sections of the media that there was a conspiracy against him. Indeed, the Sky F1 team adopted a noticeable 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink' attitude in terms of the Australian's problem.

This follows Sepang and the subsequent fall-out, a situation which has been rigorously stirred up by sections of the media and certainly not helped by Sebastian Vettel's total lack of contrition when asked about events in Malaysia on Thursday.

Today, Webber's weekend went from bad to worse. Starting from the pitlane after the team opted to make numerous changes to his car - in an effort to assist him - he was involved in a clash with Jean-Eric Verge. Returning to the pits for repairs, shortly after leaving it was clear he had a problem, advising his crew over the radio that the right-rear (wheel) didn't feel right. Sure enough, a few corners later, the Red Bull ground to a halt, unlike the errant wheel which continued - detached from the car - for another hundred yards.

Webber was subsequently hit with a five-place grid penalty in Bahrain for the clash with Vergne, while his team was fined 5000 euros for releasing the Australian with his right-rear wheel not fitted correctly, a breach of Article 23.12 of the FIA Formula one Sporting Regulations.

When it was subsequently suggested that there is a conspiracy within the team against Webber, Horner's face visibly reddened.

"It's complete rubbish, forget conspiracy," he said. "We're all about trying to get two cars to the finish as high as we can. Anybody who thinks there is a conspiracy here against either driver does not know what they are looking at."

When it was suggested that Webber hadn't entirely dismissed the idea of a conspiracy against him, the media doing its best to fan the flames, Horner said: "Mark knows exactly what happened... exactly!!! That's it. There is no conspiracy."

Asked to explain today's wheel incident, he said: "Until we get the car back we're not too sure. Prior to that he had an incident with Jean-Eric and damaged the front wing and we had a puncture on the left front, so all four wheels were changed and the nose was changed.

"The report from the gun man, who had extra time because it wasn't a hectic stop due to the nose change, was that the right-rear was secure and done up tightly.

"So it's difficult to make any assumptions. Whether it's as a result of the incident, the contact, I don't know. Unlikely I would have thought, but until we have all the information it's difficult to draw any conclusions."

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