The 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix will go down in history as one of the most dramatic moments in the sport’s rich legacy. What started as a routine race quickly turned into a tale of deception, drama, and controversy that would shake the foundations of one of the most successful teams in Formula One.
Red Bull Racing, the reigning champions at the time, had dominated the sport for several years with their star driver, Sebastian Vettel, leading the charge. The German driver was in top form that day, taking the lead of the race from pole position and never looking back.
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But as the checkered flag approached, everything changed in an instant. Vettel’s teammate, Mark Webber, was closing in on him, determined to take the victory for himself. However, the team had other plans. Over the radio, they ordered Vettel to hold his position and allow Webber to win the race. This was their so-called “Multi 21” strategy, a code used to indicate that the team’s No. 2 driver was to be given priority over the No. 1 driver.
Vettel, however, disregarded the team’s orders and overtook Webber on the final lap, crossing the finish line first and securing the victory for himself. The move sparked outrage and disbelief among fans, commentators, and the team itself. Webber was visibly angry on the podium, and Vettel’s actions caused a rift within the team that would never fully heal.
The aftermath of the incident was intense. The FIA, the governing body of Formula One, opened an investigation into the matter, but ultimately no action was taken against Vettel. The team, however, suffered greatly from the negative publicity and had to work hard to repair its image.
Despite the controversy, Vettel went on to win his fourth consecutive World Championship that year, cementing his place as one of the greatest drivers of all time. But for Webber, the events of the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix marked the end of his time at Red Bull Racing and he retired from the sport at the end of the season.
The Multi 21 scandal will always be remembered as a dark moment in the history of Formula One. It showcased the cut-throat nature of the sport and the lengths that teams will go to secure victory, even if it means betraying their own drivers. It was a stark reminder that in the high-stakes world of Formula One, anything is possible.