Red Bull team boss Christian Horner believes Fernando Alonso encouraged his fans to boo Sebastian Vettel during the 2013 season.
The German world champion was the target of a spate of booing throughout the year which began at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, and from there it continued reaching a peak at the Singapore Grand Prix.
In the last few races in Asia the animosity towards Vettel has gone away.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Horner claimed the ‘bad guy’ character Vettel has increasingly played was “convenient” for his rivals.
“So they have encouraged that,” said Horner. “Whether that is Fernando Alonso taking off his cap and throwing it into the crowd as soon as Sebastian talks on the podium to get a reaction.”
Last month Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz compared Alonso to the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, saying the Spaniard is 'the worst of all at the psychological warfare'.
Not everyone agrees however, as Mercedes driver and fellow German Nico Rosberg believes the 26-year-old brought some of the booing on himself with comments earlier in the year suggesting the only reason he and Red Bull won was because the other teams don’t work as hard.
“It’s probably worthwhile talking to the fans to try to get their opinions (as to why they boo),” the Mercedes driver told Germany’s Sport Bild this week.
“The more successful you are, the more people will let you know what their opinions are of you, which is why it’s important to focus on the positive people around you."
The most controversial moment of Vettel’s season was undoubtedly the ‘Multi-21′ saga at the Malaysian Grand Prix, where the German purposely ignored team orders to stay behind team-mate Mark Webber and passed the Australian in a fraught battle.
“I think after the race his initial reaction was correct,” Webber told the Daily Mail this week.
“I think he was shattered at what he had done, but his reaction two weeks later in China – when he said that he was not sorry at all – was probably not the best way to encourage people what to think of him.”
The F1 roadshow returns to action this weekend, with USA welcoming the world's fastest drivers.
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