The aftermath of one of a spectacular Red Bull ‘own-goal’ (L-R): Dr Helmut Marko; Christian Horner speaks with Vettel; the German’s fury with Webber [All images via AUTOSPORT]
The golden rule in a Formula 1 team is to never have your two drivers conspire to collide with each other, and the Red Bull team kicked a monumental own-goal as their two drivers, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, managed to collide while duelling for the race on lap 41 of the Turkish Grand Prix.
The collision saw a furious Vettel retire on the spot, while Webber pitted for repairs and limped home in third place. Not only did this gaffe cost Red Bull a possible 1-2, but it allowed McLaren to achieve the coveted result and vault from third to first in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
Such has been Red Bull’s relative dominance over the other teams to-date, that both the drivers and the team should be comfortably leading both Championship points’ tables. But Red Bull have again, seemingly, belied their own brilliance and mirrored several instances of their 2009 campaign (where they finished runner-up to Brawn in what many believed to be the better car), with a litany of mechanical failures, tactical blunders, and now this sorry mess.
From from clearing the air in private, Red Bull seems to have publicly imploded, with every side blaming another. F1 commentators felt that Vettel was to blame for causing the accident, while key figures within the team are pointing the finger at Webber, claiming he should have recognised that – at the time – Vettel was the quicker driver but under threat from the rapid McLarens.
In the post-race interviews, it’s interesting to read the comments from all quarters…
Webber: “Seb had a big top speed advantage went down the inside, side-by-side and he turned right pretty quick and there was contact. It happened pretty fast…a shame for team and not an ideal day. Obviously we didn’t want to come into contact with each other but it can happen sometimes, not ideal. There was a long way to go in the race, it wasn’t a guaranteed victory but it was an interesting few metres on the track and wasn’t the result we wanted.”
Vettel: “Well I mean I’m not very happy now, obviously, after something like this happening but, yeah, I mean we were all pretty much same conditions – same speed, same pace. I felt I was able to go quicker and came close on the last two or three laps before incident. I dived down the inside and all of a sudden I lost the car – on the TV you can see we touched. I’m not the kind of guy who … pushes the fault to one guy; we are a team at the end of the day we have to respect that fact. It was important points for the team, for myself, it’s not the best case.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner: “From a team perspective I’m really disappointed because the team had done everything right – we’d out-strategied (sic) the McLarens, who were strong today. To see both cars touch each other was really disappointing. I’ve spoken to Sebastian, he got a run and they should never had been where they were. It’s really disappointing for the team – it’s cost them a lot of points. The priority is to beat the other teams and today we handed 43 points on a plate to McLaren. The team really deserved to win this race. We need to sit down, go through it and come back stronger at the next event. What we always ask is that the drivers give each other room. Today neither yielded, and the result was the team losing a lot of points, Mark losing a lots of points and Sebastian losing a lot of points – the net result is everybody loses. We saw today with Jenson [Button] and Lewis [Hamilton], they raced each other and they gave each other space, and that’s what we ask,”
Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko: “Webber was slower and Vettel had immense pressure from Hamilton. Unfortunately, Mark was not told about the situation accurately by his race engineer. [Webber] had radioed the pits to say he was slower on the straights [than Vettel]. He knew the situation and had just been informed about the pressure Hamilton was putting on [Vettel]. Vettel was so much faster that he had to pass.”
This is going to be one massive fall-out in the team and I’d expect the grumbling to continue all the way into Canada!
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