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Red Bull will let Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel race



Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be allowed to continue to race each other despite their crash while leading the Turkish Grand Prix.

The two collided when Vettel tried to take the lead from Webber, handing title rivals McLaren a one-two finish.

Team principal Christian Horner told BBC Sport: “We won’t be instructing one driver or the other to concede or overtake.

“They will be racing each other; the most important thing is they respect they are driving for a team and I believe they do.”

Horner, in an exclusive interview, said he believed both men had “learnt from what happened at Istanbul – [that] if they find themselves in that situation again, they don’t push themselves so hard.”

Most pundits and ex-Formula 1 drivers, including BBC Sport’s David Coulthard and Martin Brundle, pinned most of the blame for the crash on Vettel.

Although Webber gave the German only just enough room on the inside, Vettel turned right into the Australian while he was still alongside him.

But after the Turkish Grand Prix Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko, a close confidant of the drinks company’s boss Dietrich Mateschitz, laid the blame squarely with Webber.

And Horner also hinted strongly that he felt Webber was responsible for the accident for not giving his team-mate enough room.

Horner now says the team were wrong.

“There were a few opinions that were voiced without all the facts available. Emotions are running high, one or two comments were made without all the facts to hand.

“In the cold light of day it was a racing accident, nothing more, nothing less. It was wrong to blame either driver.

“Both drivers are professionals, they’re both grown-ups, they’ve both been in that position racing wheel to wheel, both with themselves and with competitors, and I’m sure it won’t happen again.

“It’s wrong for us as a team to apportion blame. They both got themselves into a situation which was arguably over the limit.

“The result was that both of them found themselves in a situation that they didn’t want to be in, the result was contact and a loss of points for the team and a gift of points to our rivals.”

Vettel continued to insist in a BBC Sport interview this week that he was not at fault.

Asked about this, Horner said: “I don’t think either driver is going to stick their hand up and say ‘yes, it was all down to me’. As Mark has said, both drivers will go to their graves with differences of opinions.

“We got the drivers together, sat down with Adrian [Newey, the chief technical officer], with Helmut and we had a very positive and constructive meeting.

“Mark is one of the hardest guys in grand prix racing, he’s is a tough racer, a tough competitor.

“He’s mentally very strong and he’s in the form of his career at the moment and he won’t give a quarter, and arguably the person you least want to be overtaken by is your team-mate.

“I think both drivers recognise from a team point of view that it was a disastrous outcome.

“They were sorry for the team, the body language between them was very relaxed because they are good team-mates, they work well together and they have raced each other successfully wheel to wheel on several occasions and an incident like this we won’t allow to disrupt that relationship.”

Red Bull’s response in the immediate aftermath of the accident has strengthened a widespread belief that the team favour Vettel and has led to conspiracy theories that they were trying to engineer a win for him.

But asked about reports that he had told Webber’s race engineer to order the Australian to let Vettel past, Horner said: “I don’t think I actually said ‘move’.

“I don’t talk directly to the drivers until after the race. Mark’s engineer had no instruction to tell Mark to move out of the way – 100% clear.”

He added: “There was no conspiracy trying to get one car past the other or getting one to slow down.

“We were allowing both drivers to race and I don’t think that is wrong. What I do believe is wrong that they unfortunately drove each into each other!

“Red Bull is about racing, it’s not about processions, otherwise we would have given team orders after the first turn or the pit stop.

“We had two guys that we are trying to give equal opportunity to win the world championship and win races being heavily pressured by the McLarens.”

Horner said it was likely the two drivers would be racing hard against each other again at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

But he said he expected Red Bull’s comparative lack of engine power to make things difficult on a track that features a lot of long straights.

“This weekend represents one of our biggest challenges of the year,” he said.

“The next two races in Montreal and Valencia our horsepower is heavily weighted. We know we have a deficit to the benchmark engine in F1.

“With the F-duct McLaren have done a good job in optimising – that will be obviously an advantage. But our car has its strengths in other areas.

“If we can be quick in Montreal we have nothing to fear between now and the end of the year in terms of circuits.

“But we have some mighty opposition. Sometimes you have to pinch yourselves – in a short space of team this team is beating and competing with the likes McLaren and Ferraris which would have been unthinkable over the last two years.”

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