Sunday, 30 May 2010

What now for Red Bull?

The picture of Adrian Newey with his head in his hands sums up Red Bull's race perfectly. If there is one thing that will make you look silly in a race is crashing into your teammate, and it's only worse when you do so on your way to a podium.

The crash between Vettel and Webber cost the team several points, especially with Vettel retiring when he looked set for at least a podium and gifted McLaren a 1-2 in the process. Webber managed to keep going and salvaged 3rd, thanks to the big gap that the top 4 had to Michael Schumacher.

If Vettel had managed to pull that move off he would have silenced his critics who have been saying that he is being beaten by his teammate for several races in a row and to some extent, the ones that claim that he can't overtake. Instead, he is facing another two weeks of the media talking about how the pressure is getting to him.

Up to the point of the crash, he was driving a good race, having managed to jump Lewis at the pitstops (with some help from Lewis's own problems) and starting to pull away from him a little bit. Webber had to go into fuel saving mode, meaning that he was slower down the straight and Vettel, who had saved a couple of kilos of fuel, was able to run at full speed for an extra lap. So, realistically, that was his only chance to overtake and in doing so, he would also avoid being under pressure from the McLarens.

Maybe he got desperate or maybe he expected Webber not to give him such a hard time. The team seems to be putting the blame on both of them, which of course is the sensible thing to do in front of the media, saying that they should have given each other more space. Webber thinks that Vettel turned right too quickly and didn't give him a chance to react, which is what the replay shows too. Of course, it's hard to know without having all the data.

What I do find strange is that Vettel insists he didn't do anything wrong, while he has been very quick to apologise about less straightforward incidents in the past, like Australia '09. Maybe he expected Webber to move out of the way as he knew he was a lot slower due to being in fuel save mode. Psychologically, he must have been quite desperate to show he can beat Webber, since this was the first race in a few weeks where he had the speed and could have taken pole if it wasn't for another mechanical problem.

The media is already going crazy about team orders and favouritism, but Christian Horner is smart enough to realise that he can't favour one driver over the other at this stage, as it's unclear who will end up being on top after another ten races. The team will be very disappointed as this was one of the few races where they did everything perfectly, with the car having no problems, the pit stops being clean and the strategy working wonderfully. They need both drivers to be working together and stop giving points away, as McLaren isn't too far behind and they are ready to take advantage of Red Bull's mistakes.

Whose fault do you think it was? And how should the team handle it?


Fabio said...

The one to be blamed is Vettel. The team should apologise to Webber.

Ino said...

I agree. The only way Vettel's actions could be explained would be if he went over a bump or something and lost it. But that still doesn't mean that Webber was to blame. He could have given him more space, as it was his teammate, but he didn't have to. I can see why the team might be disappointed with Webber for that reason, but they can't possibly justify Vettel's move.

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