Red Bull team boss Mark Dutton insists there will be ‘no blow-ups’ between all-time champ Jamie Whincup and rising star Shane van Gisbergen, despite both racing up the front and being caught in tricky teammate situations at the past two Supercars events.
On tonight’s episode of Inside Supercars, Dutton said Whincup – the driver he engineered to five championship wins – had a renewed focus in pursuit of the number one and that everyone was calm behind the scenes.
“As long as they don’t take each other off,” Dutton said on the panel.
“A little bit of rubbing’s racing, but … they won’t take each other out.
“We did that in ‘14, it wasn’t fun. That’s not happening again.”
Dutton mirrored Whincup’s comments that racing van Gisbergen for the title would be no different than facing Craig Lowndes in previous years, though the quick Kiwi is young, hungry and intimidating on-track.
“I don’t see why it’s different,” the Red Bull boss said.
“Everyone’s getting on great. It’s still teammate on teammate – the complexity of it is now we have three.
“We’re hoping to get to the end of the year and have locked out the top three and then just take the gloves off and really have some fun.
“It’s awesome fun for the rest of the team and terrible for the individual driver and the race engineer when you’re fighting your teammates.”
With talented van Gisbergen in equal equipment to Supercars’ all-time best, there’s been much focus on how the two would stack up. But Dutton doesn’t believe the teammate change has affected Whincup as a driver – he just wants the win, as always.
“This year he’s had renewed focus,” Dutton said.
“Whether part of that is because Shane’s in there and doing well – I think it’s just that he lost the number one on the door, he’s a competitor and he wants it back.
“This year it’s pretty amazing and excellent seeing all drivers having the determination and focus that they do, it’s pretty special.”
Despite coming away with two second place finishes, while teammates van Gisbergen and TeamVortex driver Craig Lowndes came away with the two wins at Queensland Raceway, Whincup was happy with how it ended.
“He’s still a good mood because all the drivers – and Jamie’s no exception – when you get the maximum out of the car, you’ll be happy with your performance.
“He had a P2 car, and he got two P2 finishes, so it was a great weekend.
“You always want the win but if there’s a stronger car – the stronger car the whole weekend for me was Craig.
“We did a good strategy with Grant [McPherson on Saturday] and came through with Gizzy taking the win on strategy and better tyres, but car pace, Lowndesy had the fastest car all weekend.”
Supercars great Mark Skaife backed Whincup’s performance, saying his ‘QR’ performance was the signature of a champion.
“The days the car isn’t good enough, that’s where you win championships,” Skaife said.
“To hang in where he hung in, with blokes monstering him, he did a really good job.”