Webber: Need to bounce back and be united

1 June, 2010

Mark Webber

Mark Webber

Jun.01 (Grand Prix 247) The scrum of journalists camped outside the Red Bull Racing Energy Station wanted to know only one thing after the race: whose fault was it? The incident in question was the collision between Mark Webber and his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, while they were dicing for the lead of the Turkish Grand Prix.

Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing

“I am very comfortable with my side of things,” said Webber, “I saw Sebastian coming down my inside, so I stayed tight because I wanted him to be on the dirty stuff as we approached the braking area. I held my line and he moved across on me; there wasn’t much contact, but you don’t need much at 300kph (186mph) for it to end in tears.”

Webber was able to continue in the race – albeit after a pitstop for a new front wing – and he went on to finish third, behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. But his fourth podium of the year wasn’t what the world’s press wished to talk to him about; the media wanted to know why Sebastian – in an identical car – had managed to get such a good run on Webber during the immediate lead-up to the accident.

Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing

“The team had asked me to turn down my engine,” says Webber, “which is what I did. Whether or not Seb got the same message, I don’t yet know, but that might explain why he was suddenly so much quicker than me along the straight. Of course this outcome was a very unfortunate result for Red Bull Racing because Seb’s DNF meant we gave McLaren 28 points on a plate. But let’s not forget that I finished third; I’ve had worse days in my life.”

Up until lap 41, the Turkish Grand Prix weekend had gone very well for Webber. He’d tested Red Bull Racing’s new ‘F-duct’ during Friday practice, with some promising results, and he’d gone on to take his third pole position in a row on Saturday afternoon. He then made the perfect getaway at the start of the race and the first time he came close to being headed was when he had the incident with Vettel.

Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing

“There were still 17 laps to go at the time of the accident,” says Webber, “but I’m confident that I could have won this race. I wasn’t quite as happy on the prime tyres as I’d been on the options, but the car still felt okay; I felt in control of the race.

“Seb and I have to sit down and chat about what happened. We’ll probably have a difference of opinion about what happened until we go to our graves, but we’re both adults and we need to press on. If we’d been fighting for 18th and 19th positions when the accident occurred, no-one would have cared; as it was, we were fighting for the lead and it’s all anyone wants to know about.”

Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing

In a video interview on Sunday evening after the Turkish Grand Prix Webber spoke about the incident that has gone on to grab headlines around the globe. Below is an transcript excerpt from the video released by Red Bull on Monday night.

Webber: “In the second stint I had Sebastian behind me. We did many, many laps. Unfortunately Sebastian tried a move, for both of us in the end it didn’t work out. We made contact and it’s a real shame for the team obviously, because we lost the opportunity to win the race. One of us could have won it obviously.

In the end we only got third place, but this is sport and it can happen. I feel for everyone at Red Bull and everyone at Milton Keynes, everyone that has been involved. These things can happen some times.

Mark Webber of Australia and Red Bull Racing

If you look back after it all happens you would want to handle things a lot more differently and this is something we all learn as a team. We are in unchartered waters, both of us leading the championship, both of us at the front. The team collectively with the drivers have to learn how to deal with these situations so we can do better in the future. That’s all we can probably learn from it.

I was optimistic of getting a very good result here [Turkey]. I know the McLarens were going to fight us hard and victory would not be as straightforward as the other ones. In the end I did not get the victory. I recovered and that will be some consolation, but bittersweet really. I feel a lot for the team tonight and Red Bull. So I won’t be celebrating tonight.

We [Red Bull team] are still learning and unfortunately in Turkey we learnt in a way that wasn’t the best way, but teams like Ferrari and McLaren have had these days and they know how tough it can be when you have some adversity. We need to bounce back and be united as a team and keep going.”

Sources: Red Bull F1 Media and markwebber.com

Video released by Red Bull on Monday (31 May 2010) night:

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