Embarrassment for Red Bull as drivers collide (updated)

Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso, Fuji Speedway, 2007 | GEPA / Mathias KniepeissMark Webber angrily criticised Sebastian Vettel after the collision between the Red Bull stable mates under safety car conditions in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Webber was running third when Vettel ran into the back of him on lap 46, putting both out.

Vettel later apologised but a furious Webber called him a “kid with no experience”. The normally PR-friendly Australian caused a few red faces at UK broadcaster ITV as well by directing a choice expletive at the German driver.

Webber has had a frustrating season with a string of car failures, the highlight so far being a podium finish in the European Grand Prix.

He might well have given Hamilton a hard time in the final phase of the race as Hamilton’s tyres were many laps older than Webber’s.

It was disappointment for Vettel too who was set for at least a points finish and possible even a podium, and the first points of the season for Toro Rosso.

The Italian team nevertheless scored their first point of the year with Vitantonio Liuzzi finishing eighth. But in another blow for the team that is also under investigation as Liuzzi may have passed Adrian Sutil under yellow flags.

Update: Vettel has been punished by the stewards for causing the collision with Webber. He will be relegated ten places on the grid at Shanghai next week.

Photo: GEPA / Mathias Kniepeiss

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14 comments on Embarrassment for Red Bull as drivers collide (updated)

  1. I was really rooting for Webber, Vettel and Button today. All of them had disasterous races.

    Had Vettel not made that fatal mistake, Webber may have even won the race, and Vettel may have been on the podium.

    This is inexperience on Vettel’s part though. He is a fast driver, and in time could be one of the new F1 generation greats, with the likes of Sutil, Kubica, Rosberg, Kovalainen and Hamilton (and later probably Piquet Jr and Senna).

  2. Yeah, I was cheering for him as well, what a dream it would be for a rookie and a torro rosso driver to get on the podium. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I guess this what makes Hamilton a stand out rookie right now, he doesn’t make these kind of mistakes. We’ll see who is really the best new driver after the banning of TC.

  3. Scott Joslin said on 30th September 2007, 12:58

    I can’t help but think that Mark Webber is always the one that gets caught up in these silly situations. He was over the top with Lewis on the second safety car period, accelerating right up behind him and then having to slam on the breaks. If you knew a rookie was behind you, perhaps a better driver would have taken that into account and no adopted such erratic behavior under the safety car period.

  4. Vertigo said on 30th September 2007, 13:30

    Regarding what Jian said about TC, I think Webber will shine when TC is gone, while people like Alonso and Fisico will struggle. Silly mistake by Vettel, but he will be champion one day if he gets a decent drive.

  5. For Vettel, I think wrecking out is its own punishment. In Webber’s place, I’d be just as angry; I think they’re both professional enough to make up in good time.

  6. Heh I thought Mark’s comment on ITV summed things up nicely :) A real pity though as both of them could have had a real go at Hamilton at the restart, he would have had to drive a bit defensively at that stage.

  7. Daniel said on 1st October 2007, 2:11

    Giving Vettel a full race seat was a premature move. He was doing a fine job as a test driver, he showed his value on the wet, but also showed that, in fact, “he’s a kid with no experience”, just as Webber said… Liuzzi was confortably outpacing him everywhere, except Fuji.

    Maybe he needed one or two more years as a test driver, or a season in GP2 (wasn’t he leading Renault World Series 2007 Season? Coming directly into Formula 1 was far too risky).

    Yes, he’s good, he’s a great driver, but he can end up ruining his reputation before his maturity comes…

  8. AndyJ said on 1st October 2007, 11:02

    Daniel, I’m sorry, thats nonsense. Vittel is in that seat on merit. Up to that point he was having a great race & season. What happened in the SC period was simply just a mistake (albeit an embarrasing one!). What Webber said was out of understandable frustration. If this season has proved anything, it’s that pure talent can succeed with minimal experience (Hamilton v Alonso).

  9. Number 38 said on 1st October 2007, 15:46

    Sorry Andy, Daniel got it right: “Giving Vettel a full race seat was premature” esspecially at the expense of Scot Speed. Speed was no star racer but it takes 3 to 5 years for an F1 driver to “mature” and Toro Rosso threw away a lot of training time and elected to start over from zero with Vettel and look what they’ve got…..he looks no better than the driver they dumped, Speed!
    And Luizzi is on his way out the door yet he’s topped Vettel by all standards. It’s TIME that makes a good driver, not a cabinet full of junior thropies.

  10. Daniel said on 1st October 2007, 19:17

    Number 38, thanks for that, and Andy, let me just make clear that I’m very pleased when I see rookies achieving great results, like Hamilton is doing, but Vettel is far from having a great season… let’s compare Vettel’s and Liuzzi’s performances so far:

    Vettel Liuzzi
    GP |Grid |Race GP |Grid |Race
    HUN 20 16 HUN 16 Ret
    TUR 18 19 TUR 15 15
    ITA 16 18 ITA 19 17
    BEL 16 Ret BEL 13 12
    JPN 8 Ret JPN 22 9

    Translating…
    Grid Positions:
    Liuzzi 3 x 2 Vettel

    Race Finishes
    Liuzzi 4 x 1 Vettel

    Race Finishes, only when both completed:

    Liuzzi 2 x 0 Vettel

    Concluding… Yes, Andy, Vettel deserves an F1 seat, but not yet…
    Lets hope he’ll improve his driving skills in time…

  11. I assume that the stewards felt that the “wrath” of Webber would not be a good enough penalty. One must choose the proper time to gaze down at the steering wheel. An arguement for HUD display? Of all the incidents this weekend, this was the most upsetting. I honestly thought that Webber would have something for Hamilton. Also, a top ten would have been great for young Vettel’s resume. I wonder if the penalty would have been 10 spots for one of the top drivers. I cannot say if Vettel deserves this ride or not. This is because in the USA I am only been able to see him during the race and ITV has a problem with showing the middle of the pack. I think the total time that Vettel has been shown driving before Fuji was about 1 minute total. Almost all that time in the race when he replaced Speed. I can say that what he did was a “rookie” mistake.

  12. I was looking forward to the restart as Webber seemed to be closing on Hamilton, but whether he could’ve passed him I’m not so sure.

    I feel sorry for Vettel as all the cars yo-yo back and forth between wild acceleration and heavy braking which could catch anyone out to be honest.

    A 10-place grid penalty is harsh in the extreme though, way over the top in my opinion.

  13. I fear Mark is going to be another “Chris Amon”, outstanding talent who can’t get the good luck.

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