MAY 30, 2010
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner On Turkish GP Controversy
Red Bull-Renault's Team Principal Christian Horner comments on the accident between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at the Turkish GP:
Q: What is your opinion of the collision between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel?
I think you give each other enough room and it's as simple as that. As we saw with the McLarens, they fought each other and didn't manage to hit each other.
Q: Was it to do with the fact that Mark had such a good run and Sebastian has looked a bit down in the the last two races?
It was a massively close race between us and McLaren today and we'd managed to get ourselves ahead. We had a better pit stop and a better strategy with Sebastian and we had them first and second but the time difference was so small and Sebastian on the prime tyre felt slightly happier than Mark and for a couple of laps was looking pretty dangerous. He got a run on him and we all saw what happened. So to give away 28 points to McLaren -- we gave it to them on a plate today -- which is disappointing for all the guys who have put in so much hard work. It's very frustrating.
Q: What did Sebastian say when he came up on the pit wall. Did he apologise?
He was as pissed off as Mark sounded in the press conference...
Q: But did he apologise?
Q: Do you think he should have?
I think he hadn't seen a replay and was frustrated. He's frustrated, Mark's frustrated and we need to sit down with both drivers and go through it because we've got to bounce back. It's inevitable when you've got two guys fighting at the front that occasionally you are going to get incidents, but what you don't expect is to see them within your own team. We'll bounce back in Montreal and Valencia but they are two tracks that are going to play to McLaren's straightline speed advantage.
Q: Is it your worst day as team principal?
It's a very frustrating day because both of them drive for the team and the team lost 28 points and they both lost out. It's disappointing when we should have had a 1-2.
Q: Is it going to be an ongoing problem from now on?
It's one that we will have to manage. They are both grown-ups and we need to look at it objectively and move on. What's happened has happened and we need to go to the next race and make sure we learn from it.
Q: Helmut Marko is clearly suggesting it was Mark's fault and he should have given way because Sebastian was a couple of lengths ahead. It seems there's a division?
I think that Sebastian had a clear run and he was quicker at that point in the race. Mark kept him on the dirty line and Seb came over arguably a bit too early. You could see it coming for a couple of laps and it's frustrating. One of the instructions I was giving was that I didn't want to see the two drivers fighting each other in that way.
Q: Marko says that (Red Bull owner) Dietrich Mateschitz is deeply disappointed and something will have to be done in future to stop it happening. What can you do?
Drivers are strong-willed individuals but they drive for the team and it's important they recognise that. They've both been very good in the past, as you saw in Malaysia and other places, and they've been racing each other throughout this season. It's hugely frustrating to see this happen today.
Q: Had you already warned both drivers on the radio?
No. We speak before the race every weekend and the one request I have is for them to give each other respect and room. From the team point of view it's the worst possible thing that you can see. As we saw with Lewis and Jenson they fought hard and gave each other just enough room.
Q: You said you could see it coming?
You could see that Sebastian had a pace advantage and I think Mark wasn't quite as happy on that prime set of tyres and the problem was that you have two McLarens right behind you and you are not in a position where you can back off at that stage of the race. It's a racing incident that is hugely disappointing.
Q: Will you have to sit down with both to ensure no lingering animosity?
I'll sit down with both, go through what happened and do our best to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Q: Mark kept an F-ducted McLaren behind him for 40 laps, so how did Sebastian get a run on him? Did he turn an engine map up or something like that?
No, he just got a tow. They run identical engine maps and have identical equipment, so just managed to get a good run out of T9 onto the straight and got a tow and they were slightly under-geared for the wind conditions today and that obviously benefited Sebastian when he was in the tow.
Q: How did he get a tow? Did Mark make a mistake?
I haven't seen Mark's data from that corner but you could see the previous lap that he was looking like he was starting to struggle a bit on the tyre and that Sebastian was very close to him. He had a little look the previous lap and then got a very good run out of T9 and got into his slipstream. He was three-quarters of the way past when they made contact.
Q: So why did Mark say in the media press conference that the journalists needed to do some digging?
I have no idea.
Q: Are you blaming both drivers or are you saying it's more Mark's fault or more Sebastian's?
I'm annoyed that they both got themselves into that situation. One car was quicker than the other at that stage of the race, he got a run, he was squeezed to the left and wasn't given a lot of room but then moved early so, yes, they're both at fault. Should they have given each other more room? Yes.
Q: But Sebastian's reaction when he got out of the car was that it was Mark's fault...
I think Mark would see it differently but it's not about blame it's about learning from it.
Q: How worrying is it that on a track you were clear favourites for, McLaren took the fight to you?
I think McLaren have been very strong and have a big advantage in a straight line, as you saw by Lewis dragging his way back past Sebastian after the start. They have a good straightline advantage and we have to use the performance of our car in other areas. But it was very frustrating between two teams that were far ahead of the rest today. What's really frustrating is that we got all the calls right strategy-wise, we managed to get Sebastian ahead of Lewis, we had two good pit stops and got them into commanding 1-2 positions. To go from that to a third place and a DNF is obviously hugely disappointing.