THROWBACK: Red Bull F1’s Horner Explains ‘Multi-21’ Drama to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Published 04/09/2021, 8:40 AM EDT
SOCHI, RUSSIA: Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner talks in a press conference during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Laurent Charniaux – Pool/Getty Images)


With the tragic passing away of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, it is perhaps best to honor him by recalling a certain moment when the Royal family had connected with the weird and wonderful world of Formula 1 racing. This meet-up where two very different worlds collided took place soon after the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix and the infamous ‘Mult1-21’ fiasco between Red Bull teammates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

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The Milton Keynes-based outfit’s team principal Christian Horner had spoken about the meeting a few years ago.

He said, “That was probably as tense as it could get. I had been invited to a lunch hosted by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, which I expected there to be about 200 people at. There turned out not be 10 of us there. This was at Buckingham Palace. It was just after the ‘Multi 21’ scenario.”

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SHANGHAI, CHINA – Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing drives during practice for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

“I had this bizarre situation of having to deal with the drivers and then go to lunch with The Queen and Prince Philip and explain to her what ‘Multi 21’ was and why our Australian driver was particularly grumpy with our German driver.

“I had that conversation over lunch with The Queen and she seemed to show great interest in it.”

What was the ‘Multi-21’ fiasco at Red Bull all about?

‘Multi-21’ was essentially a code, a team order used within Red Bull. It basically meant that both of the drivers had to hold positions. They weren’t allowed to race or overtake each other.

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However, in the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, Vettel disobeyed the orders. His teammate Webber was leading the race when the order came over the radio. That meant he was guaranteed to finish the race in the first place, ahead of Vettel. But little did he know that Sebastian had other plans.

The German opted not to heed the order and fought Webber on track to eventually steal the race win. Safe to say, Webber wasn’t too pleased as he was heard uttering the words ‘Multi-21’ to Vettel after the race, questioning what his teammate had just done.

Their relationship was never too friendly even before this incident, but this was when their rivalry reached a crescendo. However, thankfully for Red Bull, they didn’t have to deal with the sparring duo for too long. Webber eventually retired after the 2013 season, putting an end to what was at times an intense teammate rivalry.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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