Christian Horner: “We could see it coming for a couple of laps…”

Horner: Man in the Spotlight... Photo: Cooper

Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has made it clear that he won’t tolerate a repeat of the collision that cost the team a one-two in Tutkey.

He refused to place total blame on either Mark Webber or Sebastian Vettel, saying that they had not given each other room, in contradiction to the usual pre-race instructions that they should.

“It was a massively close race between ourselves and McLaren today,” said Horner.  “We managed to get ourselves ahead of the McLaren, we had a better pit stop, we had a better strategy with Sebastian. And we had them in first and second.

“The time difference was so small, and Sebastian obviously on the prime tyre felt happier than Mark, and for a couple of laps was looking pretty dangerous there. And then he got a run on him and we all saw what happened. To give away 28 points to McLaren… We gave it to them on a plate today, which is disappointing for all the guys that put in so much hard work. Very frustrating.

“They are both at fault. Should they have given each other room? Yes.”

Asked to apportion blame, he said: “I think the two of them, they’re big boys. If you look at the McLaren drivers, they both gave each other room, they raced each other hard, and I didn’t see two McLarens in the fence. It’s really disappointing for the team to get into that position. The one thing we always ask, yes they can race each other, but give each other room, and that’s exactly what didn’t happen today.

“I just think that they were far too far over on the left. Sebastian had got a run, and then he came across too early. For me they didn’t give each other enough room, it’s as simple as that. As we saw with the McLarens, they fought each other and didn’t manage to hit each other.”

Horner contradicted suggestions by Red Bull motor sport boss Helmut Marko that Webber was totally at fault.

“Absolutely not. I think Sebastian had a clear run, and he was quicker at that point in the race. And Mark kept him on the dirty line, and Sebastian came over arguably a bit too early. We could see it coming for a couple of laps.

“The drivers are fairly strong willed individuals, but they both drive for the team, they both recognise that. They’ve always been very good in the past, as we’ve seen in Malaysia, as we’ve seen in other places. They’ve been racing each other very closely throughout this season. It’s hugely frustrating to see this event happen today.”

Vettel didn’t apologise when he went to the pit wall before the end of the race, but Horner said he had no issue with that.

“He hadn’t seen a replay, I think that he was frustrated, Mark’s frustrated, we need to sit down with both drivers and go through it. We’ve got to bounce back. It’s inevitably when you’ve got two guys fighting at the front that occasionally you’re going to get incidents. What you don’t expect is to see them within your own team.”

Asked whether this was his worst day as team boss, Horner said: “It’s a very frustrating day for the team, because both of them drive for the team at the end of the day, and the team lost 28 points, and both of them lost out today, and it’s really disappointing when we should have had a one-two finish.

“It’s one that we’ll have to manage. They’re both grown-ups, they both have to look at it objectively, and we need to move on from here. What’s happened, happened. We need to make sure that we go to the next race and make sure that as a team, including the drivers, they learn from this, and we don’t find ourselves in this position again.”

21 Comments

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21 responses to “Christian Horner: “We could see it coming for a couple of laps…”

  1. CARSON44

    I think Christian Horner needs to watch his drivers in interviews, specifically the after qualifying interview. Seb Vettel was not happy in that interview and he did little to conceal that fact. I think a strategy talk yesterday would have gone a long way in avoiding the fubar of this day. Also the after race interview with the winners; Mark Webber is seldom at a loss for words, but today he could not muster a comment about what happened. The sign of a man biting his tounge, hard. Who could blame him?

  2. John S

    Helmut Marko clearly says there were team orders being used. Is anyone asking about this?

  3. Alan

    Christian Horner, as team boss, is trying to be as impartial between his two drivers as possible and fair play for that.

    Helmut Marko on the other hand seems to have been watching a different race and is blaming the whole thing on Webber, claiming that Vettel was ahead and Webber should have yielded so Vettel could then take the racing line into the corner.

    I’m of the opinion that, ahead or not, if Vettel was not a full cars length in front and in a position to make the corner as a result of his positioning on the track then he should have backed out of the move rather than drifting into Webber with a some-what mis-guided expectation that Mark would simply get out of the way.

    Any thoughts on Marko’s comments?

    • I’ll post a Helmut Marko exclusive interview tomorrow… he is pretty clear about how he sees it

      • Steve Clark

        Seems young Mr Horner has his work cut out for him at the office on Monday morning. He has to manage both drivers and both bosses. It will make for interesting reading to be sure.

      • Peter G

        I think Helmet Marko is being a bit “one eyed” about the whole affair.

    • dtm

      How can Horner be impartial when in full view of the worlds TV he and all the RBR people on the pit wall are hugging Vettel as if he was unlucky and had nothing to do with incident on the race track. Vettel needs to grow up and admit he was in the wrong. If he was quicker than Webber there was still loads of time to take Webber and give RBR a well earned one two. Watch Webber start to have problems with his car in the coming month

  4. k2san

    Can’t wait for that interview! I do not believe this is easy to be solved within the team.

  5. cb12000

    ” I do not believe this is easy to be solved within the team.” k2san, I couldn’t agree more.
    Having read the various statements from Marko and Horner, I’ve been left in little doubt that the leadership of the team favor Vettel. How is that going to go down with Webber?
    I see this as an incident clearly caused through a mistake by Vettel, with the team leadership not only refusing to lay the blame on him, but actually reversing the blame onto a completely inculpable Webber.

  6. Soeren

    If you were the RBR team boss and saw your drivers in this situation while leading 1-2 … would you really want to tell the guy behind to slow down and risk being caught? No. Would you be happy with the guy in front risking the whole result for the team by playing hardball and hardly giving any room at all to his teammate who comes rocketing past? Definitely not. In a battle for the (race and championship) lead between drivers from different teams, what Webber did would have been perfectly right. When defending against his teammate, it was bollocks, absolutely egoistic from Webber.

    • Alan

      Webber was battling for the race win and, ultimately, is now leading the championship.

      He therefore has every right to battle for the title so why then should he simply yield to a petulant and impatient Vettel (team-mate or not) who thinks he can force him out of the way by turning in on him?

      Not yielding doesn’t make Webber ‘egotistic,’ it shows him to be a racer which, the last time I checked, was what Formula 1 was all about.

      Vettel didn’t ‘rocket’ past him, as you put it. If he had done he would have been far enough ahead to pull in in front of Webber and take the corner with no problems.

      There has been talk that a bump may have caused Vettel’s drift to the right and into Webber.

      Be that as it may, Webber was absolutely faultless as all he did was drive in a straight line.

      The whole excuse coming out from the Red Bull team that Vettel would have been caught by Hamilton if told to turn his engine down like Webber smells very fishy to me and it seems more like a standard pre-prepared excuse they had ready to roll out for the engine difference between their two cars.

      If Vettel would have been caught by Hamilton then would the same thing not have happened to Webber, had Vettel gone past him safely?

      Rather than the Hamilton excuse, it seems to me that Vettel botched an opportunity gifted to him by his team to switch the two Red Bull cars.

    • deflated

      Okay, so Marko/Horner’s post-race rationalisation was:
      1) Hamilton was going to pass Vettel
      2) Vettel was faster
      3) If Vettel passed it would be a sure-fire RBR 1-2 finish.
      Never mind how silly that sounds – Vettel couldn’t hold off Hamilton but Webber would have no problem??? – but the speed difference between Vettel and Webber was manufactured by RBR by instructing Webber to save fuel. Why not keep Vettel’s fuel-heavy car in 2nd where his late-race speed advantage would be very useful in holding off the MacLarens? Either RBR have no faith whatsoever in Vettel’s ability to defend a position or this was at best an epic screw-up by RBR/Vettel.

      I can just imagine the message to Webber: “Mark, we realize that you are leading the WDC, have led every lap of the last 2 and a half races and have held off all comers from pole for 40 laps here but we want you to go to fuel-save mode so Seb can pass you because Hamilton might pass him.” Just asinine if you’re trying to win.

  7. ani

    webber had all rights to do what he did … he just didnt have time to react to vettel moving right ( thats what he said – but i believe he could have avoided vettel). he just didnt budge . vettel should know better next time 🙂
    it always is pretty tight with webber . abu dhabi last year , wasnt it quite so with button ?

  8. Dave

    I think we’ve discovered who really runs Red Bull, and it’s not Mr. Horner.

    Marko and Mateschitz are clearly pushing for “their boy” to win, and it must grate that recently Webber’s been hogging the headlines. It was a clumsily engineered attempt to gift Vettel the win, and it’s backfired spectacularly on the team.

    Mark’s made of strong stuff, so hopefully he’ll see out this year with his dignity intact then leave for greener pastures.

  9. tom

    it would also be nice to hear your thoughts, not only the mere coverage of yesterday’s situation. I know it’s hard to put the full blame on one driver but who do you think is more responsible?

  10. Aloh

    Who would be to blame if it was Hamilton (instead of Vettel) involved in the incident with Webber ?

  11. tom

    To make myself clear – in my opinion it was more Vettel’s fault than Webber’s. And if it was Hamilton there and the situation was exactly the same, consequently he would be more responsible.

    • Elio C

      Tom,
      I couldn’t agree more. Mark kept his car on a straight line. Vettle should not have assumed that Mark would slow down. The move of Vettle to the right, was nothing but Vettle’s mistake!

      On the video you clearly see Mark’s car on a straight line! Either way, it was great to see my McLaren team on top at the end of the race!

      Pressure getting to Red Bull

  12. Noahracer

    Helmut Marko is a complete dips–T! He never amounted to anything as a driver and now he’s passing himself off as a “Doctor?”

    Isn’t he just a lawyer?

    He’s ignorant of racing facts, he is a total political player and pits driver upon driver.

    Mark Weber ought to be like Alan Jones and tell him in no uncertain terms where to put it all!

    I’m done drinking Red Bull until the owner/manufacturer takes positive steps and rids himself of this fraud of a “doctor.”

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