Ecclestone fumes over “stupid” team orders

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Bernie Ecclestone was not happy at seeing the closing laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix shaped by team orders.

Both Red Bull and Mercedes issued instructions to their drivers to hold position while running in the top for places of the race.

Ecclestone criticized both teams in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

“At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is,” said Ecclestone.

While much attention has focused on Red Bull after Sebastian Vettel defied an instruction not to overtake Mark Webber, Ecclestone targeted his criticism at Mercedes as well. Team principal Ross Brawn repeatedly ordered Nico Rosberg not to pass Lewis Hamilton.

“I was disappointed that Mercedes didn’t let Rosberg go past,” said Ecclestone. “I thought that was a stupid decision. I think Rosberg could have chased the two Red Bulls down a little more. That decision wasn’t sensible.”

Meanwhile Red Bull responded to criticism of their tactics and Vettel’s response to them by issuing a statement:

“Following Sunday’s race in Malaysia, there is obviously a lot of opinion and comment. As advised on Sunday, this situation will be dealt with internally.

“It’s worth noting that this is not an entirely new situation for us. At Infiniti Red Bull Racing, we have two drivers who both want to win races and championships and this has been the case since Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel started driving together in 2009.

“Together, the driver pairing of Mark and Sebastian has achieved 35 wins, 80 podiums, 13 one-two finishes and six FIA Formula One world championships. This successful period includes some spells of intense on-track rivalry between our drivers.

“Each incident has been managed in our own way behind closed doors and this will be no different.”

‘Still quite early’ for Ricciardo to think about Red Bull F1 future

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Daniel Ricciardo feels it is “still quite early” to make a decision about his Red Bull Formula 1 future despite seeing teammate Max Verstappen announce on Friday he would be staying with the team until 2020.

Verstappen, 20, put pen to paper on an enhanced F1 contract with Red Bull, with his previous deal due to expire at the end of next season in parallel to Ricciardo’s own agreement.

Ricciardo was asked following practice on Friday why he is yet to strike a new deal for himself with Red Bull, and explained he is in no rush to make a final decision when he has over a year to run on his current contract.

“It’s not that I’ve said no to anything. It’s just still quite early I think,” Ricciardo explained.

“People talked a little bit about contracts and the silly season for next year, but I thought that would still happen next year. It’s still quite early.

“If I’m to try and extract some positives out of his news it’s that it gives us good confidence for next year. He and his management see a lot of positives in the team to continue like that.

“I’m 100 per cent here next year, I can at least say that, and I think it gives both of us confidence that we’ll keep progressing the way we are.”

Red Bull said upon announcing Verstappen’s new deal that it wants to “build a team around him”, with the 20-year-old standing out as a once-in-a-generation talent.

The focus surrounding Verstappen has not left Ricciardo feeling as though he is in the shade or in any way playing second-fiddle to the Dutchman, stressing he has no internal concerns at Red Bull.

“For sure, as far as media goes, he certainly gets a lot of attention. He’s broken records for his age and things like that, so rightly so,” Ricciardo said.

“Take the media out of it, as far as inside the team, new parts on the car, things like this, there’s always been parity and equality.”

Verstappen is only the third driver to commit to a deal beyond the end of next season, following Sebastian Vettel at Ferrari and Fernando Alonso at McLaren on multi-year contracts.

All 10 F1 teams have at least one free seat for 2019, making Ricciardo a possible candidate for seats with either Mercedes or Ferrari were he to consider a move away from Red Bull.

Speaking to British broadcaster Sky Sports, Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko said he felt Ricciardo was “putting himself on the market” by waiting to make a decision on his future, but that talks would take place when possible.