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Those who caught our post-race coverage of the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend may still be scratching their heads wondering what happened. With the bulk of the race behind them, Red Bull Racing looked set to sail to a 1-2 finish, with Mark Webber (left) leading virtually uninhibited from pole. But then the unthinkable happened: Sebastian Vettel (right), who had been catching up to his teammate, moved to pass for the lead, but instead crashed into his wingman's car. Webber recuperated and took third place, but Vettel's race was over.

The big question on everyone's mind, however, is what exactly went wrong, and more pressingly, who was at fault. Opinions appeared divided among fans, pundits, even the team itself, and nobody was saying a thing. To observers it seemed obvious that Vettel was at fault, yet no clear attribution of guilt was issued. So what exactly happened?

Team orders, according to some speculation. The team claims it doesn't issue its drivers such controversial directives, but some reports indicated that just before the crash, team principal Christian Horner told Webber's race engineer Ciaron Pilbeam to instruct his driver to let Vettel by. Pilbeam reportedly refused – or simply neglected – to pass on the message, leaving Webber clueless to the plan.

If such team orders were indeed issued, Red Bull certainly isn't about to admit it. Pilbeam could get the old heave-ho as a result, but what good is a scapegoat if you can't place blame on him, anyway?

[Source: GrandPrix.com | Image: Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is now 100% clear that the team owner was favoring Vettel PERIOD as he made the call for the 2 drivers to reverse positions. And this inspite of the fact the team would have known that the Mclaren drivers were also being told to conserve fuel so were unlikely to press Vettel over much!
      Also Webber was being told to conserve fuel for only ONE more lap. Ergo Webber would have increased pace within a mile, or so, so the 2 RB cars race pace would easily have handled BOTH Mclarens. Thus the excuse that Vettel would come under pressure from Hamilton is rather economic with the truth.

      This shows that despite Webber handling Vettel easily the last 3-4 races AND being the WDC leader in points the Team Owner WANTS VETTEL to finish the season ahead of Webber even if it might cost a WDC trophy. That's scary!

      Internally Pilbeam is in a very uncomfortable position by refusing (or forgetting) to order Webber to back off and allow Vettel to overtake (AGAINST FIA regs).

      Vettel clearly sees the favoritism in his favor as he admits, now, he drove his car right into the path of Webber believeing that Webber would just move over/aside as a loyal pup.

      There are some major issues here...

      The FIA seemingly has well enough evidence from the team owners quoted comments that Webber should have backed off and Vettel be handed a non racing lead and this is 100% against the sporting regs.
      The eam publically tries tothen recover by saying that the 2 drivers are equal. So going forward what's going to be the story? Will the TO change his ways and allow the 2 to race equally? Will Vettel stop moving into other cars (team mates and others) expecting even a team mate to allow Vettel thru automatically?

      Anything more showing team orders affecting race positions will be very dangerous for RB. Yet if those orders are given and Pilbeam seems unwilling/unlikely to followthem can he be fired? If he is he could be ordered to fess up the facts by the FIA and this would likely bring a major penalty against the team.... If Webber disobeys such a new change position order would the team fire him?

      A lot of thin ice being treaded over at Red Bull.
      • 4 Years Ago
      1) I am yet to hear from anyone RELEVANT, save for german-speaking RB managers, that there's any doubt about Vettel being the one to blame. List of those who pointed clearly at Vettel:
      - Lewis Hamilton ("the gap was big enough")
      - Nico Rosberg ("clearly Sebastian’s fault")
      - Niki Lauda ([Vettel] "much too aggressive")
      - David Coulthard ("no need for Sebastian to be pulling right there")
      - Martin Brundle ("100% Vettel's fault")
      - Alex Wurz ("All my racing colleagues are in agreement that it was Vettel’s fault.")

      2) As for Vettel being under siege from Hamilton:
      a) The footage shows there was still safe distance between Vettel and Hamilton.
      b) Is it OK to throw Mark Webber just to save Vettel who has the same amount of points?
      c) Chief-engineer of McLaren said they we're already in fuel-saving mode, noting that RB most likely knew that as such info is being aired/broadcasted.

      3) Chief-engineer of McLaren also commented that they usually tell both their drivers to go fuel-saving at the same time, telling only the leader to slow down is, quote, "surprising".
      Why was Mark Webber told to go 'fuel saving mode' two laps before that collision has, in my mind, only one explanation: Vettel is the loved one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      while I cant say much about what transpired in those few seconds, I must admit though, it was the action I had been looking forward to. Only that, they went a whole 9 yards ahead and made it more interesting like never before.

      It sucked a lot but it was what made it worth waking up at 4 AM ona sunday morning. LOL.

      FYI, I am neither a Redbull fan nor a Mc Laren fan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Vettel had about a half car length on Webber and it looked like Vettel moved over assuming Webber would give him room. The racing line looked to be just right of Webber.

      Never assume, even if it's a team mate.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Vettel had the inside line, & he shoulda held it, instead of blatantly turning right into Webber. Anyone who watched the replay saw him cut the wheel, & saw his right rear wheel ramming into Mark's left front. Look @ Hamilton on Button if you want a clue as to how it should be done. Lewis held the inside line, and didn't need to turn sharply into Jenson to make the pass stick.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think MW should have given Vettel some room (he got the message and was on "fuel save mode"... that my friends are team orders).

      Just think how fun it will be when Kimi and Vettel are the Red Bull drivers ...
      • 4 Years Ago
      If anyone looked behind Vettel they would see that there were 2 McLaren cars catching him. They were not cruising. Webber was holding him up. If Vettel would have continued to follow then the McLarens would have passed both Red Bull Cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      you can't expect vettel to settle for 2nd when he feels he can make the pass. you can't expect a driver to respect his "teammate" if there are no "team" orders. if they are truly independent of one another, then vettel should view webber just the same as every other driver out there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        By the same argument, though, you can't expect Mark Webber to voluntarily give up the lead-- He's winning, and isn't obligated to let *anyone* pass him (aside from the odd blue flag... which would be very odd for Red Bull this year).
      • 4 Years Ago
      There already released a statement saying that things were cool with them and that they talked about it were looking forward to Canada. Although this was a terrible thing for Red Bull I really see it as nothing more than a mistake and they got over it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        you don't really believe such claims, do you?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Stupid team order garbage. Let em race!!! Never the less a spectacular if not peculiar race to watch.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Vettels move relied on Webber giving him space, and to make matters worse Vettel expected that he could merge into Webbers line.

      If you cant complete the overtaking move without forcing the other car to give you significant room it is not a legal pass option, not to mention Vettel should have urged on the side of caution, considering it was his team mate and they were currently 1, 2.

      Webber could have (and probably should have) given Vettel room, but it is no doubt Vettels fault first and foremost.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly, and I agree wholeheartedly.

        Not sure how Vettel merging into Webber's line while Webber's still on the line can't be Vettel's fault. Even the onboards from both cars showed that Webber stayed on his path and Vettel moved into him. Webber shouldn't have to give his line to anyone if he's on it.

        Either way, definitely added even more drama to the race and definitely made the championship points battle more interesting. Gotta love F1. :D
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