Seven years on, it’s still one of those infamous phrases which will take its place in Formula 1 infamy for generations, and leaves a rotten taste in the mouth for many.
March 24, 2013 was a date which saw Red Bull split down the middle, leaving an irreparable chasm in the team garage. According to the Multi-21 team order, race leader Mark Webber was supposed to finish the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of teammate Sebastian Vettel, who had been ordered to maintain P2.
However, in full view of the world – and with Webber having turned down his engine – Vettel muscled his way through in the closing laps to steal victory, depriving Webber of what would have been his final F1 win.
Watch Foxtel in an instant. Catch up and settle in with no installation & no lock-in contract. Sign up to all of Foxtel Now with a 10-day free trial. New customers only.
The podium celebrations were hardly celebrations, with Webber also berating Vettel in the cool down room in front of the camera: “Multi-21, Seb. Yeah, Multi-21.”
It was tension not seen between teammates since the animosity between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, although Vettel – a reigning three-time world champion – had the team in his corner, while Webber was at the time hurtling towards retirement.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed that Vettel’s actions in Sepang weren’t just based off personal motivation to win, but in an act of revenge following an incident in the previous year’s title decider.
“It probably culminated at the end of 2012 when Sebastian was fighting [Fernando] Alonso for the championship and Mark squeezed him up against the pit wall at the start of the race in Brazil, in the championship decider,” Horner told the official F1 podcast in 2018.
“This ultimately resulted in him getting turned round by Bruno Senna. Sebastian was hugely angry about that.
“There was a hangover of that that led into Malaysia, literally two races later, split by four or five months. You had a situation where you have Mark in the car ahead, Sebastian on new tyres in the car behind.
“The tyres were pretty fragile, we’re telling them hold position and Sebastian thought, ‘f**k you’.”
The Vettel-Webber relationship had been fractious for some time, even before the Malaysia meltdown. Vettel was the Red Bull academy’s first genuine star and had already steered himself and the team to three straight driver-constructor doubles between 2010 and 2012.
Webber, meanwhile, joined the Red Bull family in 2007, and had one real shot at the title in 2010, only to crash out in Korea while in the standings lead before losing out to Vettel in the Abu Dhabi season finale.
Vettel had started the 2013 Sepang race from pole, but Webber held the lead for much of the afternoon as the Red Bull duo kept the duelling Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg behind.
Once Vettel defied the Multi-21 order with 13 laps to go, the Red Bull pit wall was left knowing they would walk away with the perfect result – a 1-2 finish – but with one driver under fire despite executing a ruthless assault, and the other left knowing where he stood.
In his autobiography, Aussie Grit: My Formula One Journey, Webber shed more light on the drama: “I knew within two laps that Seb was going to take matters into his own hands despite the reassurance over the radio that the race was mine. I started defending, but as a result of our respective qualifying runs he had new tyres and I didn’t.
“Whatever his thinking was, when he overtook me I wasn’t so much angry as very sad that the team had reached this sorry state.”
Horner’s managing of the race was also there for all to see, radioing to the German at the time: “This is silly Seb, come on”. It later escalated to the point where Webber thought Horner was trying to satisfy his Red Bull seniors, prompting the Australian’s wife and long-time manager Ann to seek an explanation from the team principal as to why Vettel had avoided punishment
The response? That the Milton Keynes outfit had received a letter from Vettel’s lawyer, stating that the team was in breach of his contract by giving the world champion ‘an unreasonable instruction/team order’.
At the next race in China, Vettel told Webber of his frustration after what happened in Brazil four months earlier, Horner describing that discussion as “probably as tense as it could get”.
There, Webber felt his and Vettel’s relationship had hit rock bottom: “The ensuing conversation was the most disappointing moment of our entire relationship. [Vettel] said he was pissed off by what I had said on the podium in Malaysia, that while he respected me as a driver he had no respect for me as a person.
“That was a heavy line for me. I simply said, ‘Then our relationship is in trouble. That’s it.’
“I had clung to the belief that we might sort things out between us but I couldn’t help thinking someone must have got in his ear to cause such an about-face.
“Christian later Insisted it was all of Sebastian’s own doing, his justification being that it was payback for Silverstone 2011 and Brazil 2012. I could have gone back a lot further than that.”