Different fuel settings played no part in crash, Horner insists

Horner had a lot of explaining to do after the race

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.

19 Comments

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19 responses to “Different fuel settings played no part in crash, Horner insists

  1. David

    It seems that every time Horner and the likes open their mouth, they just dig themselves deeper. If Renault quotes a delta of 0.2s, and Webber lost 0.2s on each lap up until the incident (40-41), doesn’t it mean that the mixture made all the difference, or at least most of it? What did I get wrong?

    • Sorry you need to read the feature on http://www.autosport.com. Webber did not lose that time, Vettel gained it…

      • Mick

        Vettel gained it because he was pr0bably using a qualification engine trim burning his entire 1kg fuel advantage one straight. The speed difference was markedly different, not 0.2seconds over a whole lap and more than just a tow. Webber was on fuel save, Vettel on a hot setting. Question is, why? Webber had spare fuel, hello 1:29 flat anyone?

        Not very sporting considering that once overtaken it would have returned to rank and file with simply the positions swapped. Dont fall for RBR spin.

      • There’s no evidence that Vettel was on a ‘hot’ setting, if you read the feature on Autosport.com he had been on fuel save earlier and could run to the end on the optimum race setting, which Webber had enjoyed for all or most of the first 38 laps. That said his 0.4s improvement in lap times, just as Webber went to fuel saving, is impressive. As I say in the story, he could either have been told that Webber was on the fuel saving setting (which Horner denies) or he saw Webber start to have a few tyre problems and slide around. Either way he could have found that time simply by realising that this was his big chance and just going for it…

    • tEQUILLA sLAMMER

      EXACTLY!!!! i thought they had already stated that Vettel had AN EXTRA KILO OF FUEL onboard with which to set those 2-3 faster laps, after Webbo had been told to lean off , so wtf is horner on about?? marko fd up and now horner is trying to spread the sh!t thinly so the stench goes away as quick as possible! guaranteed RBR will be tryoing to play low-key next race so lets all hope Mark fakkin dominates practice and qualy!!!! #:)

  2. Time to give in and shell out needed $$ for autosport.com

    My one hope is that Journos get to see some of that money

    • I wish… But it is worth it. Let’s face it in pre-internet days people were happy to pay money for their news. My favourite rock music magazine costs me something like £55 for 12 issues but I would not miss it!

      • Peter Coffman

        The thing is, unless people resume paying money for their news, there will eventually be no authoritative, well-researched news to be had….

      • Good point! I hope everyone realises this blog is a hobby for me that generates no income, something I do because it’s fun to try and get a bit of interesting news or opinion out there. I am happy to do it, but for example it uses up time that I could spend on work that might actually help pay my travelling costs to the races…

      • The problem we have (in the US anyways) is that we never really paid for news even before the internet. Take for example any magazine subscription in the US, you almost never pay more than $2 per month for the majority of them. One thing that shocked me a year or two ago is the huge difference in the business model between the US and the UK and rest of Europe.
        So for my British magazines I have to pay 3-4 order of magnitudes what I pay for US magazine subscriptions.

        I like the UK model better, mainly because I have found that the journalism is better issues are not filled with advertisements.

        I am a huge fan of your blog, and I for one greatly appreciate the fact that you keep it up. Between you, James Allen, and Joe Saward I get a lot more insight into the world of Formula 1 then from more traditional sources.

  3. CTP

    This is the key thing that almost everyone seems to be missing about the incident, and why RBR blamed Webber more than Vettel for the crash:

    “…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.”

    • BreezyRacer

      Now we can truly appreciate just how improbable Webber’s hot streak has been. He needs to thank Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica for his wins in Barcelona and Monaco. Lewis for getting out of the pits ahead of Vettel, thus preventing this same act in that race, and Kubica for qualifying second at Monaco, putting a gap between himself and Vettel.

      This whole thing could also explain Mark’s burning desire to gap the field on every restart at Monaco so Vettel couldn’t get close.

      That RB6 chassis has to be like a drug to someone like Webber though, and Webber’s only shot at the WDC to date.

      And last year after kicking Vettel’s ass in Germany Mark’s performance mysteriously feel off till Red Bull saw the chance for a constructor’s championship.

  4. Mark

    “Obviously it’s very frustrating for the team to see both drivers go out of the race at that point…”

    Erm, Mark didn’t go out of the race. Or did Christian not notice that?

  5. ASorrill

    Having looked at the replays, although the gap Mark left was tight, there was still sufficient room for Seb to pass.

    I feel Seb had not completed the pass when the crash happened – and there wasn’t time for Mark to ‘concede defeat’ because, as Christian says, they weren’t near the braking zone yet and Seb just had his nose in front when the car veered to the right, ie he lost control of his car.

    Yes, Mark should’ve maybe given more space to Seb, but at the angle his car turned in on, he would’ve probably still hit his teammate. 

  6. John S

    Red Bull needs some professional spin-doctors….and BAD!

    They come out with more conflicting statements every day.

    Horner says that Webber was told to turn down the mixture (one would assume revs) to save fuel and that slowed webber down .18/lap. Now that didn’t slow him down at all.

    I need to get my wadders on as the BS is coming in too fast.

    • For the record, the interview was done before Christian spoke to his own PR people for yesterday’s official Q&A. I spoke to him again today for a small update.

  7. F1 Kitteh

    Probably something we’ll never know, but I wonder what would have happened if in an alternate reality, they were both able to keep on going after the accident and finished 1-2 anyway. Would Marko still blame Webber? Would Horner still say Webber should’ve conceded and fight back? What about if their positions were swapped in the process and Vettel won? Hmmm…….

  8. John S

    Well, there you have it. We now know for a fact that Vettel turned into Webber (as he now admits he did). You’ve got to ask why he did that and there can only be two answers 1) he’s completely wreckless or 2) he was told by the team he was to pass and that all was well in RBR-land; his teammate was moving aside for him.

    If it’s #1, then the FIA needs to investigate his wreckless behavior; especially at 190+mph.

    If it’s #2, the the FIA need to investigate the team orders which attempted to alter the results of the championship and breaches rule 151c.

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