Loyalty and Formula 1 really don’t mix. Sure they get mentioned in the same sentence, but you’ll need to look hard for it. Perhaps somewhere in the garage behind the used tyres.
F1 is a brutal sport, where all the talk in front of cameras can’t divert from the cold hard facts of data: pages of it, reels of it, countless megabytes of it, all telling tales of a brilliant performance or abject disappointment.
Teams support drivers, drivers support teams, teams support engine manufacturers. Support only lasts when walking hand in hand with performance, as there really are no crutches to lean on in F1.
Red Bull only needs one man to win the drivers’ championship, but two solid performers to win both. With the performance advantage they’ve managed to maintain so far this season, both are most definitely what they’re aiming for.
Despite intense media speculation over the new contract, departure, new contract of Mark Webber, his performances have given Red Bull no reason to believe he won’t fulfill his end of the deal.
Drive and determination have never been Webber’s shortfall. Up until recently, consistency has been. As long as Sebastian Vettel fulfils his end of the bargain, then I feel consistency – not speculation – will take them to both championships in 2010.
Webber’s data has been crunched and analyzed. For the most part this season he’s not come up wanting. We wait to see if Red Bull put all the speculation to bed by offering him a new one-year contract, which will make him happy. Season deals do suggest though, a love affair not really as strong as both parties would like it to be though strong enough to hold on for the time being.
Even new relationships aren’t without pressure. How long before Fernando Alonso’s new beating red heart gives up that famous passion for Ferrari? Not as long as they provide enough prancing horses to bring him back to the front where he feels he belongs. A very tough bargain, yet the strength of the relationship depends on it.
The same goes for Robert Kubica in many ways. Renault knows that to keep him, they have to wow with more than the strength of their spirit. Renault team principal Eric Boullier was recently stated the obvious when saying that if Renault gives Kubica a car he can win with, he will stay.
Boullier knows like everyone else in Formula 1 that talk is cheap in this game. Only performance can win the marathon.