Christian Horner has joked that managing the Sebastian Vettel versus Mark Webber relationship was “easy” compared to his current line-up of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Although there were signs of cracks in the Verstappen-Perez relationship when the Dutchman ignored team orders to help his team-mate in his battle for second place in the Drivers’ standings, it is by no means what Horner had to deal with when Vettel and Webber were team-mates.
The two, already known to have a fractious relationship, gave F1 fans the infamous Multi-21 drama at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Racing 1-2 at the Sepang circuit with Webber leading his then three-time World Championship-winning team-mate, Red Bull told the drivers to hold station – Multi 21 was the order.
Vettel defied the team’s instructions, passing Webber around the outside at Turn 4 to take the lead and the race win.
The Australian was furious with Horner, later saying he thought it was revenge for the 2012 title decider in Brazil where Webber could have hurt Vettel’s chances of a third World title when he squeezed him up against the pit wall, Vettel then spun by Bruno Senna.
Vettel recovered to P6 to win the title by three points ahead of Fernando Alonso.
There were shades of revenge in Verstappen’s recent antics with Perez, although by and large it is a friendlier relationship.
Horner was asked by Sky Germany about managing Vettel versus Webber against Verstappen versus Perez. He replied with a laugh: “Compared to our current drivers, easy.”
He added: “They (Vettel and Webber) were a great pair.
“We had some fantastic times when you look back now at what we did together. We’re all a bit older. Some a bit bigger.
“It was incredible, an incredible time for the team. Incredible time for these guys (Vettel and Webber).”
Vettel raced his last Formula 1 grand prix in Abu Dhabi, the four-time former World Champion having announced earlier in the year this season would be his last.
Instead of competing around the globe, he wants to take some time with family, explained the father of three.
However, Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko reckons we could see him back in the paddock one day, not as a driver but as a team boss or driver coach.
Asked about Marko’s comments, Horner joked: “Maybe as Helmut’s coach!
“Helmut goes back a long way with Sebastian and incredible all the years. And what an unbelievable career you’ve (Vettel) had, everything you’ve achieved on track, what you’ve stood for off track, absolutely chapeau.
“For us at Red Bull, you’re a very special part of our history. We had some great times together.
“You kept me on my toes. You never gave me a quiet moment. But I loved every minute of it.”