Shanghai: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner angrily dismissed talk of a conspiracy against Mark Webber as "complete rubbish" after the Australian's dismal weekend in Shanghai.
The spotlight was on Webber at the Chinese Grand Prix after team-mate Sebastian Vettel snatched victory from him in Malaysia last month. Webber said he was looking forward to getting in his car and putting the furore behind him.
However, he was thrown out of qualifying in Shanghai when a technical error left him with not enough fuel, then on race day on Sunday his afternoon came to an abrupt end when a wheel fell off on lap 16.
Horner though was determined to put any talk of a calculated team effort against the 36-year-old Webber firmly to bed.
"That is complete rubbish," he was quoted by autosport.com as saying.
"Forget conspiracy. It is all about trying to get two cars to finish as high as we can.
"Anybody that thinks there is a conspiracy here against one, or either, driver doesn't know what they are looking at."
He added: "Mark knows exactly what happened. That is it. There is no conspiracy."
Webber had pitted after a collision with the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne, an incident that will see Webber relegated three places on the grid in Bahrain this weekend.
His Red Bull team were fined 5,000 euros ($6,500) over the wheel fiasco.
"After changing the nose and all four tyres, Mark reported a problem with the right rear (tyre) on the out lap, which had certainly left the pit lane fully torqued up," said Horner.
"The right rear then came detached from the car and caused Mark to retire. Until we get the car back, it's not possible to yet conclude the exact cause."