APRIL 18, 2013
Marko denies Mateschitz threatened F1 exit
Dr Helmut Marko has scoffed at reports Red Bull could quit formula one over the 'Multi-21' team orders affair.
According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, owner Dietrich Mateschitz was furious when Sebastian Vettel ignored his bosses orders in Malaysia, triggering Mark Webber's anger and a slew of negative publicity.
Billionaire Mateschitz reportedly told the Milton-Keynes based team that a repeat of the team orders mess could result in him pulling the plug on F1 altogether.
"Nonsense. There's nothing to it," Mateschitz's right hand man Marko told Bild newspaper.
Nonetheless, the affair dubbed 'Multi-21' continues to cause headaches for Red Bull.
A photo of Webber dining with Red Bull's arch-enemy Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso in Dubai was posted on the drivers' Twitter feeds, triggering another wave of rumours.
Marko said: "It's nice that there are at least two friends in formula one."
Pedro de la Rosa, a Ferrari test driver, suggested the entire saga is a storm in a teacup, playing down suggestions Webber could quit Red Bull sooner rather than later.
"No," the Spaniard told Marca sports newspaper.
"How are you going to leave a team that is giving you a great car like that one?"
De la Rosa rubbished the conspiracy theory about Red Bull sabotaging Webber's RB9 in China last weekend.
"There is no sabotage," he insisted. "His teammate didn't follow a team order. He (Vettel) apologised.
"The fuel (situation in qualifying in China) was a mistake, and it's happened elsewhere before.
"I would like to be in his (Webber)'s skin. I don't see the controversy.
"It would be a problem if he wasn't in a position to win races," he added.