Red Bull set to meet as crash crisis deepens
3 June, 2010
Jun.3 (GMM) Red Bull’s clear-the-air meeting, to be attended by both Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, will take place at the team’s Milton-Keynes headquarters on Thursday.
The meeting comes amid new developments in the wake of last Sunday’s collision of the two RB6 cars whilst they led the Turkish grand prix.
While team figures have backed away from pointedly blaming Webber for the incident, isolated as a scapegoat could be his race engineer Ciaron Pilbeam.
Already heavily criticised by Dr Helmut Marko, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport claims that Pilbeam not only failed to pass on information about the charging Vettel, but actually told Webber to use his overtake button to repel the attack.
Red Bull has said Webber was – unlike Vettel – in a fuel-saving engine mode at the time of the contact, and was also struggling with tyre wear.
And in quotes published by British newspapers The Independent, the Mirror and the Telegraph, boss Christian Horner revealed that Webber asked the team to advise Vettel to back off the lap before the crash.
“There was no way you could do that because of the McLarens being right there,” said the Briton.
And team advisor Marko told Bild newspaper: “Mark had radioed the pits to say he was having problems and was slow.”
Also slow was his pitstop, 33-year-old Webber claimed after the race, joking that his crew “put fuel in, I think”.
According to some German reports, video footage exists of Horner mouthing “pass!” on the pitwall in the moments immediately before Vettel’s overtaking attempt.
Niki Lauda thinks German Vettel, 22, is clearly the team’s number one driver.
“Whoever thought previously that Webber is the number two was well informed,” the triple world champion is quoted by German-language spox.com. “It was only because the team wanted to influence the race that it got messed up,” the Austrian continued.
Red Bull insists that Webber and Vettel are treated equally, but Marko is quoted as saying appointing a number one would be an “easier” strategy.
“But that is not in the spirit of our team,” he insisted.
Added Lauda: “In terms of the team, Webber is to blame (for the crash) because they wanted him to wave Vettel past. But that would be team orders and not allowed.”
He also points out the current difficulty, with Vettel apparently favoured but Webber leading the world championship and 15 points clear of the sister car.
“I would be logical for the team to focus on one driver, but usually that would be the one who is in front,” said Lauda.
Webber wrote on his Twitter on Wednesday: “Bloody hell guys, thank you for your support. Sport can be amazing sometimes, huh, that’s why we love it!
“Head down for Canada,” he added.
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