JUNE 28, 2010
Webber questions Kovalainen; Gascoyne blames Webber
The subject of blame for Mark Webber's monumental crash during the European Grand Prix has predictably split opinion.
Webber admitted that he was fortunate to be in one piece after the shunt. 'Red Bull gives you wings' is the company's advertising slogan and it is no exaggeration to liken Webber's crash to an aircraft accident – the landing speed of the average jet is around 150mph and Red Bull's telemetry showed that Webber was still full throttle at fractionally more than 190mph when he took off over the back of Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus!
Webber, attempting to fight back through the field after an early tyre stop following an awful first lap, where he dropped from second to ninth, was unused to actually racing against one of the new team cars, normally only encountering them in a lapping situation. This time, however, Kovalainen was trying to defend his position, an action Webber viewed as somewhat pointless but didn't make a big issue of. What caught him out was Kovalainen, obviously with much less downforce and grip than Webber's Red Bull, hitting the brakes much earlier than Webber's normal braking point.
"Initially I thought Heikki was letting me go," Webber said, "And then he braked 80m before I did on the previous lap. It was a massive surprise. It's a different category that the new teams are in. I've driven slow cars too and when someone comes at that closing speed, how long is that going to last for? Another 15 seconds. So it's not worth (fighting) it."
Red Bull's Christian Horner said: "I think Mark is blameless. I don't blame Heikki for it either - he's a pro and was racing a car that's a great deal slower."
Lotus chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne, however, claimed: "Mark charged up behind Heikki and he had a much quicker car. Heikki had to brake where he braked because of the grip he had. At the end of the day it's up to the guy overtaking to find a way by safely, and Webber didn't."
Webber confirmed that he will be okay for Silverstone in a fortnight's time: "The hits were pretty hard and I'm a bit tender here and there, but no worries. It was my Monte Carlo and Barcelona winning chassis and one that has secured a lot of pole positions, so it's been good to me, and was again in saving me from injuries. I'm still incredibly positive, it's halfway through the championship, so let's get on with it."
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