Christian Horner has now labelled the notorious Turkish Turn 12 collision as a racing incident between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull Racing Team Principal discusses the run-up to the moment, instant reactions and how the squad will make amends ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend.
We had a unique situation during the Turkish Grand Prix where the first four cars were separated by two seconds, with Mark having led every lap until Lap 40. The race was the fastest of the season to date, with all four drivers pushing each other extremely hard.
On Lap 38, Mark changed his mixture setting based on his fuel consumption to a slightly leaner mode, which had an average lap time loss of about 0.18 seconds, whilst maintaining the same revs. Sebastian had conserved more fuel than Mark during the race and therefore was able to run in a slightly better mode for an additional couple of laps.
On Laps 38 and 39, Sebastian’s pace picked up and he closed right up to the back of Mark while under considerable pressure from Hamilton behind. After a very strong run through Turn 9, Sebastian got a run and strong tow and moved to the left to pass Mark. Mark held the inside line and adopted a defensive position, which he is entitled to do. When Sebastian was three quarters of the way past, he moved to the right.
As Sebastian moved to the right, Mark held his position and the ensuing result was contact that resulted in Sebastian retiring, Mark damaging the front-end of his car and the team losing a one two finish. Ultimately both drivers should have given each other more room.
Was either driver to blame for the incident?
What we expect from our drivers, as team-mates, is that they show respect for each other and allow one another enough room on the race track. Unfortunately, neither driver did this on Sunday and the net result was an incident between the two.
During the previous six 1-2 finishes we have achieved, there have been many incidences of close racing between our drivers and they have previously always abided by this understanding.
What do you think about Sebastian’s actions when he got out of the car?
The adrenaline was flowing and obviously there’s a great deal of frustration when you’ve just crashed out of a race. It will be discussed and I am certain that the air will be cleared before Canada.
Some people commented after the race that Mark was to blame – why was that?
Ultimately, we win as a team and we lose as a team and on Sunday we lost as a team, as a result of our two drivers having an incident. Having looked at all the information, it’s clear that it was a racing accident that shouldn’t have happened between two team-mates. After looking at all the facts that weren’t available immediately after the race, Dr. Marko also fully shares this view.
What do you think would have happened if Mark and Sebastian hadn’t collided?
Our priority, as a team, is to finish first and second, irrelevant of the order. The Turkish Grand Prix was the closest race of probably the last twelve months, with significant pressure coming from both of the McLarens. Sebastian’s pace improved from Lap 37 onwards and he appeared to be the faster of the two Red Bull drivers. Had the incident not have happened, I believe we would have achieved a 1-2 finish and a maximum score for the second race in succession.
Were you happy that Sebastian challenged Mark for the lead at that point in the race? You had a 1-2, so why not stick with that?
With the pace of the McLarens and with it looking like Sebastian was the quicker of the two Red Bull cars, the priority was to win the race. With intense pressure from Hamilton behind, who was in a McLaren that had a significant straight-line speed advantage, it would have been impossible to back Sebastian off. Therefore it was acceptable to us for him to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre.
Neither driver was given any instruction to change position. There are no team orders within Red Bull Racing, other than that the drivers should race each other with respect.
How will you resolve the situation?
We’re a very strong team and we will sit down and discuss this openly with the drivers in order to learn from what has happened and avoid a situation like this arising again.
One of the strengths of Red Bull Racing is the team spirit here, which has contributed to the performance that we have achieved so far this season. The drivers are both intelligent individuals and this issue will be resolved prior to the Canadian Grand Prix.