Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner insists that the difference in fuel mixture settings did not a play a major role in precipitating the collision between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.
While acknowledging that Webber had been asked by his engineer to turn his engine down, Horner says that the performance disadvantage for the Aussie was not enough on its own to have helped Vettel draw alongside. He says that the German just got a better run out of the previous corner.
He also revealed that when Vettel caught up with Webber – having gained 0.4s in the previous two laps – Webber asked the team for him to back off.
Speaking to this blog this week, Horner said: “I just don’t think that a difference in fuel modes, unless you are completely in the proverbial, is big enough. The revs stay the same, the mixtures change slightly, so we’re not talking much over a lap time. Renault quote a delta of 0.2s, but quite often we don’t even see that, the drivers just tend to go quicker and quicker even when we’re turning the revs back.
“Sebastian must have had an excellent exit out of Turn 9 to have got into the position he was in half way up the straight, because it wasn’t even like it was approaching the braking zone.”
Horner says that the fact that he had Hamilton close behind him spurred Vettel on.
“Sebastian was in a situation where he had to keep pushing, because he was under pressure, and he found himself in a position to make a move. He made a move, and it obviously all went wrong from there, which was hugely disappointing.
“Obviously it’s very frustrating for the team to see both drivers go out of the race at that point, it’s the one thing that we’ve always made clear is give each other enough room, if one is alongside, concede and fight back at the next corner. On so many occasions they’ve done that very well. Unfortunately for whatever reason that didn’t happen on Sunday.
“But we win as a team, we lose as a team, and we’ll confront these issues like any other issue and move on. I don’t expect it to be dwelt on.”
For more exclusive insight from Christian Horner, and my detailed analysis of how the race unfolded between the two drivers, see the features section of http://www.autosport.com.