Kubica and Vettel collide (Video) (Update: Vettel handed penalty)

Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel clashed in dramatic fashion in the dying stages of the Australian Grand Prix.

Kubica was catching Vettel and leader Jenson Button at the time and looked set to mount an improbable bid for victory – instead his race and Vettel’s ended in the barriers.

Kubica had a clear run at Vettel and tried to pass him around the outside of turn three. But the pair banged wheels, and both ripped off part of their front wings.

Both continued but both got no further than turn five. Vettel put his wheels on the grass on the way into the corner and clattered into the barriers. Kubica simply under-steered straight on and met the same end.

Then followed the bizarre sight of Vettel trying to drag his now three-wheeled Red Bull around the track. At first the other cars hesitated to pass him as the safety car had been deployed, but Vettel eventually gave up and pulled his wrecked RB5 to a halt.

The drama meant the race ended behind the safety car for the first time since the 1999 Canadian Grand Prix. Vettel and Kubica were classified 14th and 15th.

Update: Sebastian Vettel has been handed a ten place grid drop penalty for the Malaysian Grand Prix for the incident. To my mind, it looked like a standard racing accident and wouldn’t have apportioned blame on either side. But Vettel immediately apologised so he must have considered himself at fault.

Advert | Go Ad-free


190 comments on Kubica and Vettel collide (Video) (Update: Vettel handed penalty)

  1. goofy said on 29th March 2009, 15:36


    my conclusion of these pix is that noone should be penalized… its a mistake by vettel but he had to less space to live

  2. kurtosis said on 29th March 2009, 15:50

    What happened to the tire tethers? The wheela are heavy and this one carried a lot of momentum out of that impact.

  3. darren said on 29th March 2009, 16:31

    Did Sebastian Vettel have the inside line or are my eye playing tricks ??

    Kubica had to go the long way round so carnt see how vettel did any thing wrong……….

    Silly penalty …….

    Well done lewis !!!!

    and of cause jenson !!!

  4. MartinWR said on 29th March 2009, 16:32

    From the point of view of a Jense fan I can only say that if Kubica had to take someone out, I’m glad it wasn’t the Brawn. If he had got past Vettel in one piece who can say he wouldn’t have pulled a similar stunt on Jenson in sheer desperation to win at all costs?
    Yeah, well if that looks as though I think Kubica bore most of the blame (in what was after all a racing incident), right, I do.
    The stewards should bow their heads in shame for an appalling decision.

  5. Nick said on 29th March 2009, 16:32

    Barrichello should have been penalised for the 1st corner, absolutely atrocious. Kubica defintely was the fault here, Vettal had the inside corner…

    • darren said on 29th March 2009, 16:51

      Barrichello was not to blame for the 1st corner , it was one of the mclaren’s that push him in to the redbull !!!

    • Patrickl said on 29th March 2009, 21:44

      I just looked at the start again and Barrichello picks up speed just when Webber passes. He then stays just in front of Webber’s back wheel and follows him into the corner while they are 3 abreast (Heidfeld, Webber and Barrichello).

      Sure Kovalainen taps him on the rear, but Barrichello was going to have that accident without that tap too. Even if he might have avoided crashing into the sidepod, at the very least Webber’s rear wheel would have gone over his front wheel.

    • Nick, watch out because you’re being seduced by the steward’s penalty-giving bol***ks. Because of the precedent they have set over the last couple of years, people now think you should give penalties to drivers who happen to make mistakes, not reckless or dangerous moves; this makes me very sad for the sport.

  6. moloko said on 29th March 2009, 17:21

    …well then imagine it was one of them: Alonso, Kimi, Hamilton or Massa. What would you say? That Fernando/Kimi/Lewis/Felipe was brilliant but and young, still unexperienced Vettel ruined his dream!…What would you say?1

  7. Daniel said on 29th March 2009, 17:29

    I agree with Keith that Vettel and Kubica crashed in a normal racing incident… but I think Vettel deserved to be punished for not getting back to the pits when he had the chance… trying to finish the race with a three-wheeled car meant he ran in unsafe circunstances, putting all the other drivers in danger…

  8. Toby Thwaites 93 said on 29th March 2009, 18:00

    Im pretty sure Kubica had the racing line, i mean the corner is a right hander and so the drivers stay on the left (where kubica was) and turn into the right to hit the apex (where Vettel was) and the videos show that kubica was trying to do just this.
    Someone please correct me if im wrong

  9. moloko said on 29th March 2009, 19:40

    Kubica was in front of Vettel already ca. 95m before “red/white” starts and that gives ca 110 to the point of collision. Vettel had more than 2 sec to think about it and avoid “touch”. Vettel did have enough “space” to turn knowing Kubica was all the distance (100m of braking) before him. Kubica took a risk and left Vettel exactly what he expected of driving skills of Red Bull mate. Friends…I will repeat myself from first post… Imagine, that was Alonso/Hamilton/Kimi/Massa driving hed to hed with Vettel…what would you say?

  10. moloko said on 29th March 2009, 19:43

    …sorry for my English…some letters are missing after “submit comment” push.

  11. I believe the nature of the mentioned penalty is saying the Vettel should have lifted.

    I worry about something different, though; in the past, such a tap would have had wheels falling off of both cars nearly instantly- why didn’t the cars break in the corner where the contact happened?

  12. cptslow said on 29th March 2009, 21:01

    swaveck… looks like the topic isn’t going to be closed until someone forces it closed.

    it was, and discussion is futile, a simple racing incident. the grid drop is typical of f1 stewards meddling. first the FIA makes rules to promote tight racing with lots of overtaking, which i love. then they punish people when it happens.

    each point presented to say it was either KUB or VET at fault, i can rebut with little effort. as for the feathering of the braking. all drivers do that on every hard-braking turn entry, escecially with the outlawing of ABS. above a certain speed, your tires can handle all forces presented to them by the brakes dissipating energy. as speed goes down quickly under braking, downforce decreases making the car ‘go light’ so the tires tend to lock up, hence you feather the brake to remain in control. had VET not done that, then he would have understeered into KUB at the apex rather than after it.

    in fact the explanation of the braking technique is not complete. there’s also a little physics involved: kinetic energy vs. traction budget but that would be way beyond scope for a post such as this.

    good luck closing the argument, i’ll help keep it alive but by invitation only :-)

    btw, superb race this morning!

  13. Enigma said on 29th March 2009, 21:51

    Kubica had only a couple of laps left to catch & pass Button so he had to go for it, and with a mistake from Vettel in Turn 1 it was the ‘perfect’ opportunity.

    Vettel was falling back due to the Super-softs going off and in hindsight should probably have let Kubica go and perhaps have consolidated third place. But he’s a young charger and a racer and the decision to hold his ground was the 2nd mistake he made that lap. Because of Vettel’s rush of blood and Kubica’s impatience in getting past we were slightly robbed of a Button vs Kubica final lap showdown!

    In my books, it was a racing incident and I believe that there were no reasons for the Stewards to get involved (although it was right to fine Red Bull for telling Vettel to keep going with a strickened car, which could have wrecked someone else’s race). A 10-place grid penalty for Vettel is too great a penalty in my view. The loss of a possible 2nd/3rd/4th place would have been penalty enough.

    I also think that such naive honesty from Vettel should be commended, especially in an environment of big egos, he had big enough shoulders to apologise to the team instead of being bitter about getting squeezed by Kubica.

    Great GP. Overtaking in F1 = w00t. We’re in for a great year!

  14. Gerdoner said on 30th March 2009, 0:59

    Won’t really comment on the accident that much. For me it’s clearly a racing incident, 50/50. Ofc VET understeered into KUB, nobody denies that. But if Kub left VET a bit more space, maybe nothing would have happened. IMO he didn’t even had to pass Vettel on that corner, since he would have been on the inside line for the next corner. It was a high-risk maneuver, and Kub decided to take the risk. He could have waited, you know :S
    But boy oh boy, there’s a lot of i-know-it-better-than-you (all of a sudden ppl know where and how much Vettel braked?!) and fanboyism going on after that race, as you can see after reading these comments.
    Not only all of a sudden almost everybody is jumping on the BrawnGP bandwagon (not necessarily readers of this blog, but e.g. a lot of my british facebook friends are all of a sudden rooting for BrawnGP) and ofc they always believed in Button (yeah, right, that’s why almost no-one cared about him in the last 3-4 years), but also that “gotta be fan of my countryman” behaviour is a pain in my neck. Did I enjoy the race, although there was no German on the podium? Hell yeah, it was terrific, Button had a great race, as did Hamilton. Buemi did a nice job, too. I don’t need to be British or Swiss to acknowledge that, i just wanna see good racing. I think sometimes ppl get worked up way too much because their favorite driver is involved in sth. On the one hand it’s nice to have some passion for sth, but at some point it gets ridiculous. As seen in this discussion. Your opininion isn’t the be all, end all. Sometimes a IM(H)O helps ;)
    – Gerdoner, German, Mika Salo Fan ;)

  15. Kallan said on 30th March 2009, 2:33

    Well this is what Bernie wanted to see right? racing for the win -hence the ‘medals’ proposal. Vettel is a racing driver, he was hungry to prove himself and hold 2nd place. At speed/in the heat of the moment he obviously hesitated in letting Kubica by, when the possibility of holding the inside still seemed viable. I put it down to a split-second misjudgment that happened to have critical consequences.

    After encouraging ‘racing for the win’ and overtaking, I think to penalize him for this again sets a bad precedent and is inconsistent- so many other incidents like this go unpunished? ridiculous.
    The fine is just however.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.