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Horner rubbishes conspiracy theories
Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes Mark Webber will bounce back from his disastrous Chinese Grand Prix and has flatly denied suggestions there is a conspiracy against Webber within the team.
Following the team orders controversy in Malaysia, Webber had a torrid weekend, running out of fuel in qualifying and then grinding to a halt in the race when a wheel came loose. The underfuelling on Saturday was traced back to a problem with the fuel bowser, which has now been sent back to the team's base for further investigation, and it resulted in Webber starting the race from the pit lane.
From there he was able to get back into contention before a clash with Jean-Eric Vergne broke his front wing and forced him to pit. On the out-lap after that pit stop the right rear wheel came loose and eventually brought an end to his race.
Tensions are currently running high at Red Bull after Sebastian Vettel ignored team orders and overtook Mark Webber for the lead of the Malaysian Grand Prix three weeks ago. The act of defiance appeared to go unpunished within in the team, leading some observers to suggest a bias towards Vettel. After Webber's issues in China, wild conspiracy theories then emerged that the team had sabotaged its driver's weekend but Horner was quick to slap them down.
"That's complete rubbish," he said. "Forget about conspiracy, we are all about trying to get two cars to the finish as high as we can. Anybody who thinks that there is a conspiracy here against one of our drivers doesn't know what they are looking at. Mark knows exactly what happened. There is no conspiracy."
Horner is confident Webber will bounce back from his difficult weekend.
"I think he'll be fine," said Horner. "He's a tough competitor, he was driving very well and he was coming back through the field. We made some big changes overnight to gear ratios, downforce levels and set-up to assist him to do that and as we could see with the way these tyres are working it was going very well for him and he was back in the thick of it.
"The contact was unfortunate and then to have to retire the car was even more unfortunate. Obviously our objective is to get both cars to the finish as high as we can."
Speaking about the wheel problem, Horner said: "All four wheels were changed and the nose was changed and the report from the gunman, who obviously had extra time because it wasn't a hasty stop because of the nose change, was that the right rear was secure and done up tightly. Until we get the car back it's difficult to make any assumptions."