Sebastian Vettel has said that the retirement of Mark Webber at the end of the season will be a loss to him and Red Bull despite their relationship as teammates being frosty at the best of times.
The two have come together in a number of incidents dating back to Vettel’s Toro Rosso days back in 2007, and the final straw came at this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix when the German driver ignored team orders to pass Webber and take the win. Although he admitted that on a personal level he was not close with Webber, Vettel said that he would miss the Australian driver as a teammate.
“Obviously we didn’t have the best relationship on a personal level but I think in terms of working professionally together for the team it has been very strong,” Vettel said. “Both of us have tried very hard to improve the car and surely the fact that he will not be around next year will be a loss for the team, a loss for myself because it has been always a huge challenge.
“I’ve learned a lot from him and I can stand up straight and say that there were many times and many places where I benefited from him.”
As teammates, Vettel and Webber have claimed four of a possible five constructors’ championships and revelled in a dominance that has only been witnessed a handful of times in the history of the sport. Although the Australian driver has failed to match his younger and now quadruple-champion teammate, his retirement after this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix will leave Red Bull requiring some adjustment in 2014 upon the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo from Toro Rosso.
Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.
The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.
Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.
Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.
“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”
Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”
Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.
The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.