Vettel to blame for collision
Red Bull team leaders are going to have to sit down with both their drivers to make sure their crash at the Turkish Grand Prix does not wreck morale in the camp. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber collided as they fought for the lead and the crash ended both their chances of winning in Istanbul. The cars touched when Vettel tried to overtake Webber on lap 41, spinning Vettel out and losing Webber ground as he ended up finishing third behind the McLaren-Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
I am sure Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, will have sat both drivers down already and gone over it, and they will have looked at all the video replays as well to try and understand what happened. From a driver's perspective it was simply an unfortunate incident but Red Bull will want to make sure it does not disrupt the smooth running of the team. I tried to put myself in Vettel's shoes when I looked at replays of the crash and it looks as if he got alongside heading to Turn 12 on the back straight, and then began to move over to the right to take the racing line, expecting Webber to have moved across.
The problem was Webber had not moved and had kept his line and that led to the contact. Vettel was not all the way past when he tried to move across from left to right and it was simply inexperience on his part. He was trying to force the move but ultimately there was no reason for Webber to have to give up his line. It is called motor racing for a reason and Webber was simply racing and making it difficult for Vettel as is his right.
His aim was to keep Vettel on a tight line so it would be difficult for him under braking at Turn 12 and he could re-pass him on the exit of the turn as his teammate ran wide. I do not think Webber did anything wrong, but it is going to be important for Red Bull to make sure there is no long term damage in the relationship between their drivers, which had been excellent until Sunday. Both are pleasant guys and I am sure they will move on from this. They have to as there is a world championship at stake and how both react is going to be important for their respective hopes.
Webber came out of the incident in Turkey the better off as he finished and scored points, but it should have been a much better weekend for him, Vettel and the team. McLaren were the beneficiaries as they picked up their third win of the season, but there was also tension at their garage after the race. From what I understand Hamilton was disappointed about being told to back off and save fuel, then be immediately challenged by Button, who briefly got past him before Hamilton re-took the lead.
Button was told immediately after their battle to back off himself and save fuel, and feelings were running high at McLaren afterwards, which is understandable as both are fighting to win the title. And they did show how to race without taking each other off, although they did have small contact when Button re-took the position. It was a great late duel to watch. Red Bull and McLaren were the class of the field in Istanbul, with Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes GP leading the rest of the field some 30 seconds behind.
The key thing in Turkey was the F-duct system. McLaren had it and it gave them a big straight-line speed advantage. Red Bull tried it during practice but abandoned using it as they were not getting the desired result from it. I spoke to Adrian Newey, Red Bull's technical guru, after the race and he admitted the team is under pressure. Red Bull still have an advantage with their car, but McLaren have made a big step forward and have got their F-duct system working very well. It is now up to Red Bull to respond and Newey knows it.
I do not think it will be crucial to the outcome of the next race in Canada, but it will be very important at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix next month with the long straights there. The Turkish Grand Prix was my second race as the drivers' representative on the panel of stewards and from that regard it was largely uneventful as the drivers behaved themselves and made my job very easy. Johnny Herbert is a former Formula One driver who competed in 161 races, winning three times
Published: June 1, 2010 04:00 AM