Vettel-Webber feud not over yet, says Watson

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Five-times grand prix winner John Watson believes the feud between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at Red Bull will continues to cause problems at the team.

“The whole Malaysia thing has been swept under the carpet,” he told the BBC. I don’t know how long it can stay there.”

“I suspect we will still see ructions at races later in the year.”

Vettel and Webber’s most recent confrontation came at the Malaysia Grand Prix. But the pair first crossed swords before they became team mates.

Vettel versus Webber

Fuji, 2007 – Vettel, making his sixth start for Toro Rosso, crashes into the back of Webber while the pair are running second and third behind the safety car.

Istanbul, 2010 – Vettel moves across on Webber while overtaking him for the lead and the pair tangle. Vettel spins into retirement while Webber finishes third.

Silverstone, 2010 – Both drivers are given a single example of a new front wing but when Vettel’s fails in practice Webber’s wing is given to his team mate, who is ahead in the championship. The pair make slight contact at the start and Vettel drops backs with a puncture while Webber goes on to win.

Hungaroring, 2010 – Vettel drops behind Webber during a safety car period and is asked to hold up the queue behind him to benefit his team mate’s strategy. But he slows down too much and receives a penalty, allowing Webber to claim victory while Vettel finishes third.

Silverstone, 2011 – In the closing stages of the race Webber is told not to “hold position” behind Vettel but continues attacking his team mate for second place.

Interlagos, 2012 – Vettel, fighting for the championship, gets little co-operation from his team mate until Webber is repeatedly asked by the pit wall to let Vettel though.

Sepang, 2013 – Vettel urges his team to have Webber let him past early on but they refuse. Later he is told not to try to pass Webber but he ignores the order an overtakes his team mate to win.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.