Mosley blames Webber for Vettel collision
3 June, 2010
Jun.3 (GMM) As Red Bull drew a line under the matter on Thursday, former FIA president Max Mosley waded into the debate about the collision between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in Turkey.
After a meeting in Milton-Keynes on Thursday, the team issued a statement that included a jovial photo of the teammates with the caption ‘Shit happens’.
“I’m sorry for the team that we lost the lead of the race. Mark and I are racers and we were racing,” German Vettel, 22, is quoted as saying.
With the blame-game apparently put to bed, Mosley however told the German newspaper Die Welt that he thinks the crash was Australian Webber’s fault.
Interestingly, 70-year-old Briton Mosley is a close friend and former F1 ally of Red Bull’s Austrian billionaire owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Dr Helmut Marko, also Austrian and Mateschitz’s right-hand man on motor racing matters, also initially blamed Webber for the lap-40 shunt at Istanbul Park.
“From my perspective,” said former long-time FIA president Mosley, “I do not think that Sebastian Vettel should receive the blame for the collision.”
Mosley added: “At the time of the accident Vettel was clearly faster than Webber. At this stage he (Vettel) had the right and the duty to overtake.”
Red Bull has revealed that Webber was running a fuel-saving engine setting while Vettel was not, and that the Australian radioed the pits to ask the McLaren-pressured Vettel to drop back.
Moreover, the team claims Webber’s race engineer Ciaron Pilbeam failed to pass on a radio message warning the 33-year-old not to repel an attack by Vettel, whose tyres were reportedly also in better shape than Webber’s.
Marko aside, most of the F1 world said it was Vettel who aggressively turned right whilst alongside the sister RB6 driven by Webber.
“I do not agree,” said Mosley, strongly siding with Marko, who along with team boss Christian Horner also attended Thursday’s clear-the-air meeting.
Said Mosley: “It can be clearly seen that Vettel had already passed Webber before the collision, and at that time Webber should have given him more space — especially as they were already on the far left side of the track.
“Now you could argue (about the blame) if it had not been Webber’s teammate, but as it was, he (Webber) should have respected his responsibility to the team.
“Remember, both cars were doing almost 300kph, so considering the risk, he (Webber) should have taken a chance to improve his position at another point in the race.”
When told by the Welt interviewer that the same rationale also applies to Vettel, Mosley answered: “The crucial point speaks for Vettel and against Webber — that one driver in this moment was fast, while the other was slow.”
Mosley, who speaks fluent German, also said he does not believe Red Bull’s apparent desire to see Vettel ahead of Webber amounts to illegal team orders.
“I cannot see that,” said the Briton. “Vettel was under pressure from Lewis Hamilton, he was faster than Webber, and to shake off the McLaren he needed to pass the slower Webber.
“Even if this situation was declared to the drivers by radio, this would not be a team order or a manipulation of the drivers’ championship, but rather an explanation of a particular situation — (it is) necessary information for the drivers.”
Comparing the situation to Ferrari’s infamous place-swapping in Austria in 2002, Mosley said “one was a conscious manipulation of the world championship, the other is the legitimate explanation of a racing situation.”