The Reuters global sports blog
From the very first moment he arrived in Formula One as a curly-haired teenager, new world champion Sebastian Vettel was a young man in a hurry.
The 23-year-old Red Bull Driver, who became the youngest winner of the drivers’ championship with victory in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, has set records from day one.
Within seconds of his debut in Friday practice at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix, he had been fined for speeding in the pit lane. The youngest driver to take part in a practice session, in quick succession he became the youngest to score a point, youngest to secure pole position and youngest to win a grand prix.
Born in the same year that Red Bull sold their first can of energy drink, the race ace with the look of a tousled schoolboy and cheeky grin has always seemed a marketing match made in heaven for the newly crowned Formula One constructors’ champions.
Red Bull have gone out of their way to stress that they will not be handing out team orders at the decisive season-ending F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. Oh no. They do say they “expect” Sebastian Vettel to help team mate Mark Webber win the title should the situation arise but will not be “ordering” him to do so.
This seems to be an important distinction in a sport where the phrase “team orders” carries with it a stigma equivalent to “professional foul” or “ungentlemanly conduct” in soccer.
McLaren’s Formula One champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have both sought solace in the scoring system after recent setbacks.
But in fact, if they did the maths they might feel a little bit sore. Applying the 2009 points to the 2010 results so far, the title battle would actually be even tighter.
Mark Webber provided a different insight on Wednesday as he sat in the Red Bull hospitality unit — the usual description of motorhome hardly applies to a floating palace moored to the Monaco harbourside — and described how his evening had panned out after winning the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona last weekend.
The Aussie hero had just taken the third win of his career, dominating the race from pole and beating the rest of the field into submission. So how did he celebrate? A night on the town perhaps? Not a bit of it.
By anointing Jean Todt as his designated successor, Max Mosley has sent a pretty clear message to the troublesome Formula One teams.
They wanted him out but if they think they are going to get someone more amenable running motorsport’s world governing body, then they can think again.