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Gentlemen’s Agreement?

I still spend a lot of my time, it seems, being surprised and/or puzzled by things that are going on in the world of Formula 1 — and the past couple of days are no exception.

During SpeedTV’s Japanese Grand Prix coverage, Steve Matchett made a comment that I wish I’d had the presence of mind to write down at the time.  It was something about Mark Webber being furious after qualifying; he also, if I recall correctly, began to say something about there having been an agreement in the Red Bull garage — and then he was interrupted and didn’t have the opportunity to elaborate.

I’ve been wondering about that comment and waiting to read something about this in the F1 press, but there’s been nary a hint of anything until this morning.  Maybe?  From Motorsport:

Corriere dello Sport said their apparent reluctance to fight one another at the head of the Suzuka field revealed a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ had been reached.

I’d love to get some further comment on this from someone. What kind of gentlemen’s agreement is being speculated about, here?  Were Vettel and Webber “fighting” (i.e., racing) each other up there at the head of the field during the race?  And, if not, for the love of God why not?  The last time I checked, they were both in serious contention for the world championship title.  I like to think that Webber would have tried to overtake Vettel if the opportunity had presented itself.  And no, overtaking is not impossible on the Suzuka circuit, as Kamui Kobayashi so handily illustrated on Sunday.  So maybe the opportunity really never did present itself?  Or was it simply not worth it, from Webber’s perspective, to take a chance?  It’s not as though he was off the pace, as he showed by snagging the fastest lap of the race right at the end.  Mark himself had this to say, in the post-race press conference:

. . . it is a beautiful track but it is basically a formation finish. Both Sebastian and I just following each other around and it is very difficult to get much closer. Anything around about a second or second-and-a-half is about as good as it’s going to get around here, so very happy with how I drove this weekend.

Hmm.  Well, his cardboard cutout did look happy, I guess, at the post-race festivities and in the team picture with the trophies.  Mark Webber in the flesh, however, was nowhere to be seen.

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s a non-issue, and I’m wasting my time wondering about it at all.  But that comment from Steve Matchett — it’s like a pebble in my shoe.  Annoying, making it hard to concentrate fully on other matters, but maybe not so bad that I want to stop in the middle of the street and take my shoe off?  Eh, you get the idea.


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